Non-Abelian gauge field optics. (arXiv:1802.09866v2 [physics.optics] UPDATED)

The concept of gauge field is a cornerstone of modern physics and the
synthetic gauge field has emerged as a new way to manipulate particles in many
disciplines. In optics, several schemes of Abelian synthetic gauge fields have
been proposed. Here, we introduce a new platform for realizing synthetic SU(2)
non-Abelian gauge fields acting on two-dimensional optical waves in a wide
class of anisotropic materials and discover novel phenomena. We show that a
virtual non-Abelian Lorentz force arising from material anisotropy can induce
light beams to travel along Zitterbewegung trajectories even in homogeneous
media. We further design an optical non-Abelian Aharonov-Bohm system which
results in the exotic spin density interference effect. We can extract the
Wilson loop of an arbitrary closed optical path from a series of gauge fixed
points in the interference fringes. Our scheme offers a new route to study
SU(2) gauge field related physics using optics.

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