In periodic systems, band degeneracies are typically protected and classified by spatial symmetries. However, in photonic systems, the point at zero frequency is an intrinsic degeneracy due to the polarization degree of freedom of electromagnetic waves. For chiral photonic crystals, such an intrinsic degeneracy carries chiral topological charge while having linear band dispersions, different from the general perception of charge-2 nodes being associated with quadratic dispersions. Here, we show that these topological characters originate from the spin-1 Weyl point at zero frequency node of triple degeneracy, due to the existence of an electrostatic flat band. Such a topological charge at zero frequency is usually buried in bulk band projections and has never been experimentally observed. To address this challenge, we introduce space-group screw symmetries in the design of chiral photonic crystal, which makes the Brillouin zone boundary an oppositely charged nodal surface enclosing the point. As a result, the emergent Fermi arcs are forced to connect the projections of these topological singularities, enabling their experimental observation. The number of Fermi arcs then directly reveals the embedded topological charge at zero frequency.
- Received 26 December 2022
- Accepted 24 April 2023
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Atomic, Molecular & Optical