Nonlinear Optics, Discrete Optics, Solitons, Instabilities
Discrete optical systems are a subgroup of periodic structures in which the evolution of a continuous electromagnetic field can be described by a discrete model. In this model, the total field is the sum of localized, discrete modes. Weakly coupled arrays of single mode channel waveguides have been known to fall into this class of systems since the late 1960's. Nonlinear discrete optics has received a considerable amount of interest in the last few years, triggered by the experimental realization of discrete solitons in a Kerr nonlinear AlGaAs waveguide array by H. Eisenberg and coworkers in 1998. In this work a detailed experimental investigation of discrete nonlinear wave propagation and the interactions between beams, including discrete solitons, in discrete systems is reported for the case of a strong Kerr nonlinearity. The possibility to completely overcome "discrete" diffraction and create highly localized solitons, in a scalar or vector geometry, as well as the limiting factors in the formation of such nonlinear waves is discussed. The reversal of the sign of diffraction over a range of propagation angles leads to the stability of plane waves in a material with positive nonlinearity. This behavior can not be found in continuous self-focusing materials where plane waves are unstable against perturbations. The stability of plane waves in the anomalous diffraction region, even at highest powers, has been experimentally verified. The interaction of high power beams and discrete solitons in arrays has been studied in detail. Of particular interest is the experimental verification of a theoretically predicted unique, all optical switching scheme, based on the interaction of a so called "blocker" soliton with a second beam. This switching method has been experimentally realized for both the coherent and incoherent case. Limitations of such schemes due to nonlinear losses at the required high powers are shown.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Optics and Photonics
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Meier, Joachim, "Discrete Nonlinear Wave Propagation In Kerr Nonlinear Media" (2004). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 214.