Topological photonics aims to replicate fermionic symmetries as feats of precision engineering. Here I show how to enhance these systems via effects such as gain, loss and nonlinearities that do not have a direct electronic counterpart. This leads to a topological mechanism of mode selection [1,2,3], formation of compactons in at band condensates , and topological excitations in lasers when linearized around their working point . The resulting effects show a remarkable practical robustness against disorder, which arises from the increased spectral isolation of the manipulated states. Common to them all are structured intensity distributions of the topological modes which correspond to an anomaly.
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