Abstract

We study the effect of lifting the degeneracy of vortex modes with a parity time (PT) symmetric defect, using discrete vortices in a circular array of nonlinear waveguides as an example. When the defect is introduced, the degenerate linear vortex modes spontaneously break PT symmetry and acquire complex eigenvalues, but nonlinear propagating modes with real propagation constants can still exist. The stability of nonlinear modes depends on both the magnitude and the sign of the vortex charge; thus PT symmetric systems offer new mechanisms to control discrete vortices.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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