Experimental observation of Berry phases in optical Möbius-strip microcavities
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The Möbius strip, a fascinating loop structure with one-sided topology, provides a rich playground for manipulating the non-trivial topological behaviour of spinning particles, such as electrons, polaritons and photons, in both real and parameter spaces. For photons resonating in a Möbius-strip cavity, the occurrence of an extra phase—known as the Berry phase—with purely topological origin is expected due to its non-trivial evolution in parameter space. However, despite numerous theoretical investigations, characterizing the optical Berry phase in a Möbius-strip cavity has remained elusive. Here we report the experimental observation of the Berry phase generated in optical Möbius-strip microcavities. In contrast to theoretical predictions in optical, electronic and magnetic Möbius-topology systems where only Berry phase π occurs, we demonstrate that a variable Berry phase smaller than π can be acquired by generating elliptical polarization of resonating light. Möbius-strip microcavities as integrable and Berry-phase-programmable optical systems are of great interest in topological physics and emerging classical or quantum photonic applications.