Symmetry breaking: balancing asymmetries

Bruno Garbin, Julien Fatome, Gian Luca Oppo, Stuart G. Murdoch, Miro Erkintalo, Stéphane Coen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


Spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) is a ubiquitous natural phenomenon where a system characterized by certain symmetries can evolve into a state that does not exhibit those symmetries. SSB underpins many fundamental phenomena, including phase transitions in meta-materials or Bose-Einstein condensates, the emergence of the Nambu-Goldstone and Higgs modes of crucial importance in particle physics, or bifurcations in lasers, and could have significant applications, especially in photonics. Physical systems however often exhibit deviations from perfect symmetry because of naturally occurring imperfections. How small asymmetries affect SSB-related dynamics is therefore an important problem. Surprisingly, this has barely been considered in experiments, and even then restricted to situations with only one asymmetry parameter [1]. Here, we report spontaneous breaking of a mirror symmetry in an optical experiment with two controllable asymmetry parameters. Specifically, we explore how controlled asymmetries affect the range of co-existence of two homogeneous states (HSs) with different polarizations in a driven Kerr resonator, and discover that different asymmetries can compensate for each other.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe & European Quantum Electronics Conference (CLEO/Europe-EQEC) , EQEC_2019
PublisherThe Optical Society
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)9781557528209
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019
EventEuropean Quantum Electronics Conference, EQEC_2019 - Munich, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 201927 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameOptics InfoBase Conference Papers
VolumePart F143-EQEC 2019


ConferenceEuropean Quantum Electronics Conference, EQEC_2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB)
  • amplitude modulation
  • resonant frequency
  • optical ring resonators
  • photonics
  • dispersion
  • bifurcation
  • Bose-Einstein condensation


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