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Universal routes to spontaneous PT-symmetry breaking in non-hermitian quantum systems

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Article number030101
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/03/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical review a
Issue number3
Number of pages0
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


PT-symmetric systems can have a real spectrum even when their Hamiltonian is non-Hermitian, but develop a complex spectrum when the degree of non-Hermiticity increases. Here we utilize random-matrix theory to show that this spontaneous PT-symmetry breaking can occur via two distinct mechanisms, whose predominance is associated to different universality classes. Present optical experiments fall into the orthogonal class, where symmetry-induced level crossings render the characteristic absorption rate independent of the coupling strength between the symmetry-related parts of the system.

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©2011 American Physical Society