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"

  • Best poster award for work on nanoparticle synthesis using microreactor at Indian Conference

    The poster entitled “Gold nanoparticle synthesis at room temperature using microreactor” won the first prize of best poster at the International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology which took place in Gurgaon, India from December 17th to 21st 2007.

    Read more
  • Fu-Li Hsiao receives a Best Student Paper Award at IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium 2007

    Fu-Li Hsiao, a PhD candidate shared with the National Central university of Taipei, Taiwan, has received one of the Best Student Paper Awards at IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium 2007, held in New York from October 17-31, 2007. The title of his contribution was "Experimental Study of Complete Band Gaps and Waveguiding inside Phononic Crystal Slabs".

    Read more
  • International Symposium on Flow Visualization and Image Processing

    The International Symposium on Flow Visualization and Image Processing is coming back to France! It will take place in Nice from 1st to 4th July, 2008.

    Read more
  • Oliver Wright speaking on "Tracking surface phonons on phononic crystals", September 13, 2007

    Tracking surface phonons on phononic crystals

    Read more
  • Abdelkrim Khelif is the recipient of a CNRS 2007 bronze medal

    Abdelkrim Khelif was awarded one of the 2007 bronze medals of the CNRS. According to the official wording, "The bronze medal acknowledges the first years of research of a talented young scientist. This award is an incentive from the CNRS to pursue well engaged and already productive researches."

    Read more
  • Best Poster Award at ElecMOl’06

    A joint report of collaborative work with researchers of the Laboratoire de Physique Moléculaire was awarded a Best Poster Award during the ElecMOl’06 meeting (December 2006, Minatec, Grenoble, FRANCE). The topic of the communication was about "self-assembly & supramolecular architecture".

    Read more

Pages