The institute
FEMTO's news

You are here

Chaos and rogue waves in a supercontinuum laser

In collaboration with the Universities of Tampere, Aston and ICB laboratory, FEMTO-ST researchers have made significant headway in the ongoing effort to understand the ultrafast chaotic nature of lasers, elucidating for the first time their noise-like pulse operation.

Results appeared in Nature Communications, Sept. 22, 2021.

Lasers that emit stable ultrafast femtosecond pulses of light are widely used in technology and industry, and have also been central to fundamental Nobel Prize-winning research.  But in addition to such highly stable operation, such lasers can also be configured to produce highly unstable and irregular output, and in this case their study yields new insights into the nature of chaos, the properties of turbulence, and the emergence of giant extreme rogue waves. However, although such laser instabilities have been known for decades, their experimental study is challenging, and their origins are poorly understood.

Research published in Nature Communications has now reported a major advance in our understanding of the chaotic operation of lasers. In particular, a special class of optical fibre laser has been built to operate only in a highly chaotic regime, and this has allowed advanced experimental techniques to be used to comprehensively measure its instability characteristics. The measurements used state of the art real time methods to build a detailed picture of the laser fluctuations on multiple timescales: from random pulses with duration shorter than a picosecond (a trillionth of second) to instabilities evolving over milliseconds in the laboratory. The experiments have been complemented by a new numerical model which reveals the central role played by incoherent supercontinuum generation dynamics, a highly nonlinear process whereby an initial seed with narrow spectrum experiences massive broadening and leads to the generation of new wavelengths. The model agrees quantitatively with experiment over an optical bandwidth as broad as 1000 nm and a three-order of magnitude dynamic range, representing one of the most remarkable tests of nonlinear laser modelling ever reported.

 These findings have also shown that the supercontinuum laser generates extreme rogue wave pulses and turbulent characteristics as a consequence of unstable soliton dynamics in the cavity.  The results have answered the physical question relating to the mechanisms driving the spectral broadening and instability in such lasers, and may point to approaches to generate even broader spectral bandwidths for applications such as incoherent imaging. Possible interdisciplinary applications may include attempting to create a similarly incoherent resonator for other classes of nonlinear wave such as in hydrodynamics.

The research was performed as part of a collaboration between the Institut FEMTO-ST and the ICB Laboratory in France (CNRS and the University of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), as well as international partners from Tampere University (Finland) and Aston University (United Kingdom).

Article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-25861-4

  1. Meng et al. Intracavity incoherent supercontinuum dynamics and rogue waves in a broadband dissipative soliton laser. Nature Communications 12 (2021). DOI : 10.1038/s41467-021-25861-4

Contact : John Dudley

« Typical chaotic pulse emission from the supercontinuum fiber laser"

  • Fei Gao wins the "Sustainable Future Visionary Award"

    Full professor at UTBM and researcher at FEMTO-ST institute, Fei Gao is today one of the world's leading specialists in fuel cells and digital twins.

    Read more
  • FEMTO-ST at MICRONORA trade fair 2022

    From September 27th to 30th, more than 600 direct exhibitors and 15000 professional visitors are expected in Besançon on the international microtechnology exhibition. FEMTO-ST and FEMTO Engineering will be present.

    Read more
  • The fastest pick-and-place robot in the world

    A research team has developed a miniature robot capable of manipulating micrometric objects at unprecedented speeds. This work has been published in the prestigious American journal "Science Robotics"

    Read more
  • Aude Bolopion receives the 2022 “Big-in-Small award”

    This yearly award, from the microrobotics international community in the MARSS conference in Toronto, promotes “the best microrobotician” of the year at the international level.

    Read more
  • FEMTO-ST : 2 full professors appointed to the IUF in its class 2022

    Ausrine MARGUERON-BARTASYTE and Daniel HISSEL are among the 164  national laureates appointed to the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF) by the Minister of Higher Education and Research

    Read more
  • Tribute to our colleague Philippe LUTZ

    Our scientific community of Burgundy-Franche-Comté has just suddenly lost Philippe LUTZ, full professor at the University of Franche-Comté and a leading figure in microrobotics and micromechatronics research at the FEMTO-ST laboratory.

    Read more
  • How to create a chemical bond with light?

    The formation of a chemical bond between two molecules often requires an activation process. Light is a stimulus that is particularly interesting

    Read more
  • Best student paper Award for Clément Carlé at the international conférence IFCS-EFTF2022

    This award was obtained in the "Microwave Frequency Standards" category of this major international conference in the field of time-frequency metrology, which took place in Paris from 24 to 28 April 2022.

    Read more
  • Daniel BRUNNER winner of an ERC Consolidator grant 2021

    Daniel BRUNNER is a CNRS researcher at the FEMTO-ST Institute and has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council Cosolidator Grant of 2M € for his INSPIRE project

    Read more
  • Daniel HISSEL awarded as « Fellow » of the IEEE society

    Professor in Electrical Engineering at the University of Franche-Comté and researcher at FEMTO-ST, Daniel Hissel has been awarded as  for his work on hydrogen systems.

    Read more

Pages