As the counterpart of Hermitian nodal structures, the geometry formed by exceptional points (EPs), such as exceptional lines (ELs), entails intriguing spectral topology. We report the experimental realization of order-3 exceptional lines (EL3) that are entirely embedded in order-2 exceptional surfaces (ES2) in a three-dimensional periodic synthetic momentum space. The EL3 and the concomitant ES2, together with the topology of the underlying space, prohibit the evaluation of their topology in the eigenvalue manifold by prevailing topological characterization methods. We use a winding number associated with the resultants of the Hamiltonian. This resultant winding number can be chosen to detect only the EL3 but ignores the ES2, allowing the diagnosis of the topological currents carried by the EL3, which enables the prediction of their evolution under perturbations. We further reveal the connection between the intersection multiplicity of the resultants and the winding of the resultant field around the EPs and generalize the approach for detecting and topologically characterizing higher-order EPs. Our work exemplifies the unprecedented topology of higher-order exceptional geometries and may inspire new non-Hermitian topological applications.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)