Abstract

We study both theoretically and experimentally the effect of nonlinearity on topologically protected linear interface modes in a photonic Su–Schrieffer–Heeger (SSH) lattice. It is shown that under either focusing or defocusing nonlinearity, this linear topological mode of the SSH lattice turns into a family of topological gap solitons. These solitons are stable. However, they exhibit only a low amplitude and power and are thus weakly nonlinear, even when the bandgap of the SSH lattice is wide. As a consequence, if the initial beam has modest or high power, it will either delocalize, or evolve into a soliton not belonging to the family of topological gap solitons. These theoretical predictions are observed in our experiments with optically induced SSH-type photorefractive lattices.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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