Optical wave turbulence and wave condensation in a nonlinear optical experiment

Jason Laurie, Umberto Bortolozzo, Sergey Nazarenko, Stefania Residori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


We present theory, numerical simulations and experimental observations of a 1D optical wave system. We show that this system is of a dual cascade type, namely, the energy cascading directly to small scales, and the photons or wave action cascading to large scales. In the optical context the inverse cascade is particularly interesting because it means the condensation of photons. We show that the cascades are induced by a six-wave resonant interaction process described by weak turbulence theory. We show that by starting with weakly nonlinear randomized waves as an initial condition, there exists an inverse cascade of photons towards the lowest wavenumbers. During the cascade nonlinearity becomes strong at low wavenumbers and, due to the focusing nature of the nonlinearity, it leads to modulational instability resulting in the formation of solitons. Further interaction of the solitons among themselves and with incoherent waves leads to the final condensate state dominated by a single strong soliton. In addition, we show the existence of the direct energy cascade numerically and that it agrees with the wave turbulence prediction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLocalized states in physics
Subtitle of host publicationsolitons and patterns
EditorsOrazio Descalzi, Marcel G. Clerc, Stefania Residori, Gaetano Assanto
Place of PublicationBerlin (DE)
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-42272-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-16548-1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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