The strange world of self-induced transparency and light bullets

Jun 27, 2006

The remarkable phenomena of self-induced transparency and solitons will be studied in a new project supported by a grant of £397K from EPSRC. This joint theoretical and experimental project, involving scientists from the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey along with colleagues in the UK, France, and the USA, will study fundamental quantum coherent phenomena which may one day have applications in optical information processing.

The passage of very bright, very short light pulses through an optical material shows many interesting and useful effects. Normally, the pulse would spread out in space and time as a result of diffraction and dispersion. However when the pulse is very bright, nonlinear effects can exactly cancel this spreading, and the light pulse propagates without any change in shape: a 'soliton' or 'light bullet'.

It is easier to form solitons when the light is confined to a small cavity, and 'cavity solitons' are now attracting interest as a way of storing and manipulating data for optical storage or optical computing. Another effect, seen when the pulse duration is very short, is self-induced transparency (SIT), in which the material which normally absorbs light becomes completely transparent to a bright, short-duration light pulse.

This research project is based on theoretical predictions by one of the co-investigators, Dr. Gabriella Slavcheva. Using a new theory of nonlinear coherent pulse dynamics based on Richard Feynman's model of atoms in an electromagnetic field, Dr. Slavcheva predicted the existence of cavity solitons formed as a result of self-induced transparency.

With the help of collaborators from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and the University of Arizona, the scientists from the ATI will employ both theory and experiment to demonstrate the existence of this new type of soliton and to investigate the potential for applications in information technology and communications.

Source: University of Surrey

Explore further: Heat makes electrons spin in magnetic superconductors

Related Stories

Magnitude 6.7 aftershock hits Nepal, causes panic

31 minutes ago

A powerful aftershock shook Nepal on Sunday, making buildings sway and sending panicked Kathmandu residents running into the streets a day after a massive earthquake left at least 1,900 people dead.

Nepal quake: Nearly 1,400 dead, Everest shaken (Update)

10 hours ago

Tens of thousands of people were spending the night in the open under a chilly and thunderous sky after a powerful earthquake devastated Nepal on Saturday, killing nearly 1,400, collapsing modern houses and ...

Russian hackers read Obama emails, report says

10 hours ago

Emails to and from President Barack Obama were read by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House's unclassified computer system, The New York Times said Saturday.

Supermarkets welcome cold-comfort edge of F1 aerofoils

15 hours ago

UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group, has collaborated with UK-based Aerofoil Energy to develop an aerodynamic device that can reduce ...

Public boarding school—the way to solve educational ills?

19 hours ago

Buffalo's chronically struggling school system is considering an idea gaining momentum in other cities: public boarding schools that put round-the-clock attention on students and away from such daunting problems as poverty, ...

Recommended for you

Direct visualization of magnetoelectric domains

1 hour 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

2 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 ...

ICARUS neutrino experiment to move to Fermilab

Apr 23, 2015

A group of scientists led by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia will transport the world's largest liquid-argon neutrino detector across the Atlantic Ocean from CERN to its new home at the US Department of Energy's ...

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.