Photonic Nambu-Goldstone bosons
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Condensed matter physics
We predict the existence of a Nambu-Goldstone excitation in the propagation of light in nonlinear periodic lattices. We use methods of condensed matter physics that emphasize the peculiarities stemming from the interplay between the nonlinearity and the lattice periodicity. By means of nonlinear Bloch and Wannier functions we provide an explicit construction of the effective free energy of the system, valid for long-range, or, equivalently, low-energy excitations around Bloch solutions. Using then Landau mean field theory for phase transitions we determine the possible stable ground states of the optical system and their stability conditions. Low energy excitations above a stable ground state are fully controlled by the U(1) phase of the optical field, which appear as a Nambu-Goldstone boson, analogous to those predicted in condenser matter and particle physics systems. We support these results by numerical simulations both for spatially periodic and finite nonlinear Bloch wave solutions. We demonstrate how finite-sized nonlinear Bloch light structures embedded in a linear periodic lattice act as tunable metawaveguides for the phase Nambu-Goldstone waves.