NONLINEAR OPTICS

The interaction of solitons

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Science  07 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6346, pp. 44
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6346.44-b

As light propagates through a medium such as a lens or window, scattering and dispersion processes usually result in the light diffusing. In a nonlinear medium, however, the dispersion processes can be balanced by nonlinearities to produce localized structures known as solitons, or optical bullets. Krupa et al. find that when pairs of solitons propagate in an optic fiber, they can interact, attracting and repelling each other. Likening the interactions to those of molecules, the authors suggest that the temporal motion of the solitons and the energetics associated with the interactions could be exploited for new optical effects in different classes of laser systems. The enhanced interactions could also possibly be used to increase the capacity of optical communication networks.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 243901 (2017).

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