Superfluidity of Light and its Break-Down in Optical Mesh Lattices

Published in Physical Review Letters, 2021

Martin Wimmer, Monika Monika, Iacopo Carusotto, Ulf Peschel, Hannah M. Price
Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 163901 (2021)

Hydrodynamic phenomena can be observed with light thanks to the analogy between quantum gases and nonlinear optics. In this Letter, we report an experimental study of the superfluid-like properties of light in a (1+1)-dimensional nonlinear optical mesh lattice, where the arrival time of optical pulses plays the role of a synthetic spatial dimension. A spatially narrow defect at rest is used to excite sound waves in the fluid of light and measure the sound speed. The critical velocity for superfluidity is probed by looking at the threshold in the deposited energy by a moving defect, above which the apparent superfluid behaviour breaks down. Our observations establish optical mesh lattices as a promising platform for fluids of light.