Solitary waves induce waveguide that can split light beams

Mar 15, 2012

Researchers have designed the first theoretical model that describes the occurrence of multiple solitary optical waves, referred to as dark photovoltaic spatial solitons. The findings by Yuhong Zhang, a physicist from the Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Science, and his colleagues is about to be published in the European Physical Journal D. Because the shape of dark solitons remains unaffected by the crystal in which they travel, they induce waveguides, which can be used, for example, to reconfigure optical beams by splitting them.

Dark solitons are generated in so-called photorefractive crystals – crystals that respond to an incoming light beam by decreasing their refractive index as optical intensity increases, causing in the incoming beam to defocus. This effect is called nonlinear self-defocusing. Dark solitons occur when the diffraction of an incoming beam by the notch, located at the crystal's entrance, is compensated by the crystal's self-defocusing effect. As a result, dark solitons can induce waveguides for light beams, allowing them to travel unchanged through photorefractive .

The authors performed the first numerical simulation to model the formation and evolution of one-dimensional multiple dark solitons inside a photorefractive crystal, relying on an approximation technique called the beam propagation method. By expanding the width of the dark notch located at the entrance of the crystal, which, unlike in previous studies, was not given any special function, they showed it was possible to create multiple dark solitons.

These solitons appeared in either odd or even numbers, depending on the initial beam phase or amplitude. The authors also confirmed previous findings that showed that when multiple solitons are generated, the separation between them becomes smaller. Further, the solitons become progressively wider and less visible, the farther away they are from the main dark notch entry location.

Explore further: Direct visualization of magnetoelectric domains

More information: Zhang Y., Lu K., Guo J., Li K., Liu B. (2012), Steady-state multiple dark photovoltaic spatial solitons, European Physical Journal D (EPJ D). DOI 10.1140/epjd/e2012-20560-4

Related Stories

Finding the right soliton for future networks

May 14, 2008

European researchers say their study of self-sustaining solitary light wave packets could result in a new generation of computers and optical telecommunications networks. Using light rather than electronic or magnetic devices ...

Sharpening the focus of microscopes

Dec 02, 2011

A new advanced imaging scheme—with a resolution ten times better than that of its counterparts to date—can resolve objects as small as atoms1. Previously, the maximum resolution of optical instruments, ...

Scientists discover new water waves

Jul 19, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- By precisely shaking a container of shallow water, researchers have observed wave behavior that has never been seen before. In a new study, Jean Rajchenbach, Alphonse Leroux, and Didier Clamond ...

Recommended for you

Thinner capsules yield faster implosions

6 hours ago

In National Ignition Facility (NIF) inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments, the fusion fuel implodes at a high speed in reaction to the rapid ablation, or blow-off, of the outer layers of the target ...

Direct visualization of magnetoelectric domains

8 hours ago

A novel microscopy technique called magnetoelectric force microscopy (MeFM) was developed to detect the local cross-coupling between magnetic and electric dipoles. Combined experimental observation and theoretical ...

Upside down and inside out

10 hours ago

Researchers have captured the first 3D video of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out, from a sphere to a mushroom shape and back again. The results could help unravel the mechanical processes at ...

Heat makes electrons spin in magnetic superconductors

Apr 24, 2015

Physicists have shown how heat can be exploited for controlling magnetic properties of matter. The finding helps in the development of more efficient mass memories. The result was published yesterday in Physical Review Le ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.