Theory and Simulations of Nonlinear Optical Processes

Computational methods are at the base of some of the most important discoveries in modern physics and science. Good historical examples are the origin of chemical pattern formation (Turing, 1952), the breaking of the equipartition of energy (Fermi, Pasta and Ulam,Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 15.42.52 1955) and chaotic dynamics (Lorentz, 1963). We apply numerical techniques to solve partial differential equations that accurately describe the spatio-temporal dynamics of nonlinear optics devices such as lasers, saturable absorbers, optical parametric oscillators, cold atomic gases in optical cavities or with feedback mirrors and three level media.

The CNQO group has pioneered the theory and simulation of transverse pattern formation in nonlinear photonics where the coupling of optical nonlinearity and diffraction lead to the breaking of the translational and rotational symmetries and to the formation of spatially periodic structures [1]. When these periodic structures are simultaneously stable with a homogeneous state, the CNQO group predicted the appearance of spatial solitons, where self-focusing is counterbalanced by diffraction. Optical patterns and cavity solitons were later observed in liquid crystal devices, lasers, optical parametric oscillators, second harmonic generators, cold atomic clouds and fibre lasers.

Current Research Topics

[1]  T. Ackemann, W. J. Firth and G.-L. Oppo, Fundamentals and applications of spatial dissipative solitons in photonic devicesAdv. Atom. Mol. Opt. Phys. 57, 323-421 (2009)