Spin-orbit coupling of light in asymmetric microcavities
When spinning particles, such as electrons and photons, undergo spin–orbit coupling, they can acquire an extra phase in addition to the well-known dynamical phase. This extra phase is called the geometric phase (also known as the Berry phase), which plays an important role in a startling variety of physical contexts such as in photonics, condensed matter, high-energy and space physics. The geometric phase was originally discussed for a cyclically evolving physical system with an Abelian evolution, and was later generalized to non-cyclic and non-Abelian cases, which are the most interesting fundamental subjects in this area and indicate promising applications in various fields. Here, we enable optical spin–orbit coupling in asymmetric microcavities and experimentally observe a non-cyclic optical geometric phase acquired in a non-Abelian evolution. Our work is relevant to fundamental studies and implies promising applications by manipulating photons in on-chip quantum devices.