CE30 - Physique de la matière condensée et de la matière diluée

Space-time observation and manipulation of nonlinear waves using dissipation-free fiber optic loop – StormWave

Submission summary

The ambition of the StormWave project is to develop a novel experimental platform for the observation and manipulation of nonlinear light waves propagating in optical fiber with unprecedented precision and great flexibility. Generaly speaking, mastering the complex spatio-temporal dynamics of optical waves is of prime interest for many respects ranging from applicative to more fundamental considerations. In these domains, fiber optic is an extremely versatile medium that allows thorough investigations of intricate nonlinear processes with direct applications and important implications in a broad range of transverse fields including hydrodynamics and quantum physics.

In this project, we propose to overcome two technical barriers limiting current experimental research on the dynamics of nonlinear waves in optical fibers with potentially impactful outcomes in cross-cutting domains. Building on a recirculating optical fiber loop (ROFL) configuration, we will develop a platform that enables (i) dissipation-free light propagation over very large distances and (ii) active manipulation of optical wavefields during their propagation in fiber. These technical advances will enable a great variety of original and previously impossible experiments which will bring new perspectives on the topic of the taming of nonlinear waves in optics.

Modern optical fibers used in the telecommunications feature incredibly small losses allowing linear propagation of signals over several tens of kilometers. However, even small longitudinal variations of optical power can alter the properties of nonlinear optical waves. In ROFLs, loss compensation techniques have been developed that reduce the effective power decay rate but still, the circulating field experiences substantial variations of its amplitude which affect the dynamics of all processes that occur during propagation. We propose a new strategy of optical loss management that we will implement in a ROFL enabling active compensation to achieve virtually null effective losses with minimum power fluctuations. This will be done by combining distributed and local amplification with an active feedback loop and will be applied to reveal subtle nonlinear phenomena.

A major limitation of experiments based on propagation in fiber optics lies on the technical impossibility for the experimenter to interact with the wavefield as it propagates. In other words, there is no strong way of manipulating the behaviour of the wavefield once it starts propagating in the medium. It is possible to use purpose-designed fibers to address well-targeted questions but this solution is time consuming, costly and offers only limited control since modifications of the fiber properties act globally on the wavefield. The ROFL configuration is interesting in this respect in the sense that it potentially enables periodic access to the propagating field. We will develop a novel system integrated to a ROFL enabling manipulation of the wavefield properties directly during its propagation via coherent phase modulation. This ability to dynamically control nonlinear structures opens a vast range of original experimental studies largely unexplored so far. Within the same setup, precise manipulation of complex wavefields and localized structures will be realised. Interestingly, the system we propose will enable a close analogy to be drawn with the physics of Bose-Einstein condensates with the benefits of a greater flexibility in the design of experiments, reduced cost and powerful detection capabilities.

Project coordination

Francois COPIE (Physique des lasers, atomes et molécules)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


PhLAM Physique des lasers, atomes et molécules

Help of the ANR 136,640 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2021 - 24 Months

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