Abstract

Evanescently coupled passive waveguides experience optical forces of attractive or repulsive nature, depending on the mode of operation. Here we explore the optical forces between parity-time-symmetric coupled waveguides, with balanced levels of gain and loss. We find that, besides the diagonal stress components that result in a pressure normal to the surface of the waveguides, this system exhibits an off-diagonal stress component that creates a shear along the propagation direction. In addition, for a critical value of balanced gain and loss, the normal pressure can be reduced to zero. These anomalous optical forces are related to the unusual power flow in coupled active-passive channels, and open interesting opportunities for microfluidics and micro-optomechanical systems.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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