Physics

Chaos Underlying Order

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Science  18 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5456, pp. 1169
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5456.1169a

Chaotic systems, if examined over a sufficiently long time, can display regular patterns. Although such effects have been predicted for large-aperture lasers, the underlying dynamics evolve rapidly and are hard to observe with conventional detection. Encinas-Sanz et al. have used a recently developed system that allows intensity patterns transverse to the laser beam to be measured on the nanosecond time scale. The time-integrated pattern for a broad-area pulsed CO2 infrared laser with an aperture of 2 centimeters exhibited a pattern with several well-defined “rolls.” However, faster snapshots (taken in 6 nanoseconds) revealed irregular patterns. The time and length scales of the patterns observed can be reproduced faithfully in a numerical model based on the Maxwell-Bloch equations.—PDS

Phys. Rev. Lett.84, 883 (2000).

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