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H. Buljan et al- Incoherent white light solitons in logarithmically saturable noninstantaneous nonlinear media

H. Buljan et al- Incoherent white light solitons in logarithmically saturable noninstantaneous nonlinear media

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Incoherent white light solitons in logarithmically saturable noninstantaneous nonlinear media
H. Buljan,
1,2
A. Sˇiber,
3
M. Soljacˇic´,
4
T. Schwartz,
1
M. Segev,
1
and D. N. Christodoulides
5
1
Physics Department, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel
2
 Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, PP 332, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
3
 Institute of Physics, Bijenicˇ ka c. 46, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
4
Physics Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
5
CREOL - University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA
Received 1 May 2003; published 11 September 2003
We analytically demonstrate the existence of white light solitons in logarithmically saturable noninstanta-neous nonlinear media. This incoherent soliton has elliptic Gaussian intensity profile, and elliptic Gaussianspatial correlation statistics. The existence curve of the soliton connects the strength of the nonlinearity, thespatial correlation distance as a function of frequency, and the characteristic width of the soliton. For thissoliton to exist, the spatial correlation distance must be smaller for larger temporal frequency constituents of the beam.DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.68.036607 PACS number
s
: 42.65.Tg
I. INTRODUCTION
The propagation of incoherent light in noninstantaneousnonlinear media and the associated nonlinear effects, such asspatially incoherent solitons, have received considerable at-tention in recent years
1–21
. It all started with the experi-ment of Mitchell
et. al.
1
which demonstrated the existenceof optical spatial solitons made of partially spatially incoher-ent light. The spatially incoherent beam was generated bypassing laser light through a rotating diffuser
1
. The resultwas intriguing and called for further research, since untilthen solitons were considered solely as coherent entities. An-other experiment by Mitchell and Segev
2
went one stepfurther and demonstrated solitons made of incoherent‘‘white’’ light by using light emitted from an incandescentlight bulb
2
. The experimental results from Refs.
1
and
2
were followed by a great deal of theoretical efforts aimedat understanding solitons made of incoherent light
3–21
.Importantly, in some cases closed-form analytical solutionsfor partially spatially incoherent quasimonochromatic soli-tons were found. This is the case for the logarithmically satu-rable nonlinearity, where closed-form solutions were firstfound by using coherent density theory
10
, and subse-quently by modal theory
11
, and mutual coherence functiontheory
12,13
. Analytic solutions for spatially incoherentsolitons were also found in Kerr-like media
14–19
. How-ever, all of these theoretical studies considered only spatiallyincoherent, but temporally coherent
quasimonochromatic
light. Therefore, they are unable to describe both temporallyand spatially incoherent solitons, which were observed ex-perimentally in Ref.
2
.Temporally and spatially incoherent solitons were treatedtheoretically for the first time in a recent study
22
. Thecharacteristic features of these solitons, such as properties of the temporal power spectrum and spatiotemporal coherenceproperties, were analyzed by using numerical methods
22
.In this paper, we present the closed-form solution repre-senting temporally and spatially incoherent solitons. Morespecifically, in logarithmically saturable noninstantaneousnonlinear media, we find an analytic solution representing afamily of such incoherent solitons. These incoherent solitonshave elliptic Gaussian intensity profile, and elliptic Gaussianspatial correlation statistics. The existence curve of such asoliton connects the strength of the self-focusing, the spatialcorrelation distance at a particular frequency, and the char-acteristic width of the soliton. From the existence curve itfollows that this soliton exists only when the spatial correla-tion distance is smaller for higher frequency constituents of the light.
II. THE MUTUAL SPECTRAL DENSITY THEORY
We begin with a brief review of the mutual spectral den-sity approach utilized to describe the evolution of temporallyand spatially incoherent light in noninstantaneous nonlinearmedia
23
. The physical system under consideration is asfollows: The source of light emits spatially and temporallyincoherent cw
not pulsed
light. The temporal power spec-trum of the light is broad, and contained within some interval
 
min
,
 
max
. For example, the light source used in Ref.
2
was an incandescent light bulb, and the width of the temporalpower spectrum was
 
max
 
min
 / 
 
0
0.3, where
 
0
(
 
max
 
min
)/2. Although the temporal power spectrumis finite, due to the fact that it is broad, we refer to such lightas white light
24
. Furthermore, in the spirit of Ref.
2
wecall the solitons made of such light white light solitons. Thebeam formed from temporally and spatially incoherent lightenters the noninstantaneous nonlinear medium. Due to thenoninstantaneous response of the medium, the induced non-linear index of refraction is unable to follow fast phase fluc-tuations of incoherent light, but responds only to the time-averaged intensity
. The time-averaged intensity
is intemporal steady state:
 
 I 
 / 
 
0; the time average is takenover the response time of material. The dynamical equa-tion
s
that are used describe the evolution of time-averagedquantities
i.e., statistically averaged quantities
along thepropagation axis
z
not in time
).By assuming linear polarization of the light, the instanta-neous electric field is described by a complex amplitude
 E 
˜ 
(
 x
,
 y
,
 z
,
), and the spatiotemporal coherence properties of 
PHYSICAL REVIEW E
68
, 036607
2003
1063-651X/2003/68
3
 /036607
6
 /$20.00 ©2003 The American Physical Society
68
036607-1
 
the light are described by the mutual coherence function
25
,
R
1
,
R
2
;
 
 E 
˜ 
*
R
2
,
2
 E 
˜ 
R
1
,
1
12
 
0
 
 
R
1
,
R
2
e
i
 
 
,
1
where
 
1
2
, and
 
(
R
1
,
R
2
) denotes the mutual spec-tral density
25
. Brackets
denote the time averageover the response time of the material. In photorefractives,the response time can be as long as 0.1 s. The mutual coher-ence function describes the correlation statistics between theelectric field values at two points (
R
1
,
1
) and (
R
1
,
2
) thatare separated in space and time
25
. We are interested in thecorrelation statistics of the field between points upon thetransverse cross section of the beam. Transverse cross sec-tion is perpendicular to the propagation
z
axis; let
r
1
and
r
2
denote the coordinates in this plane, i.e.,
R
1,2
r
1,2
 z
k
,where
k
denotes the unit vector of the
z
axis. The correlationstatistics in this plane is described by the mutual spectraldensity
B
 
(
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
)
 
(
r
1
 z
k
,
r
2
 z
k
). Under theparaxial approximation, the evolution of 
B
 
is governed byan integrodifferential equation
23
 
 B
 
 
 z
i
2
 
(1)
(2)
 B
 
i
 
n
0
 
n
 I 
r
1
,
 z
 
n
 I 
r
2
,
 z
 B
 
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
,
2
where
(
r
,
 z
)
1/2
 
0
 
 B
 
(
r
,
r
,
 z
) denotes the time-averaged intensity; the response of the material is
n
2
(
 I 
)
n
02
2
n
0
 
n
(
 I 
), where
n
0
and
 
n
(
 I 
) denote the linear andnonlinear contributions, respectively, to the refractive index;and
 
 
n
0
c
.In deriving Eq.
2
we have assumed that the medium isdispersionless, i.e., the linear part of the refractive index
n
0
is independent of frequency. Since the term
 
n
(
 I 
) thatcouples all frequencies is independent of time
 
 
n
(
 I 
)/ 
 
0, and since Eq.
2
is in the frequency domain, dispersioncan be included by substituting
n
0
n
0
(
 
). In this paper, weneglect the effect of dispersion to allow for analytical calcu-lations. Since the light is cw and the induced index of refrac-tion
 
n
(
 I 
) is independent of time, if 
n
0
(
 
) does not varysignificantly over the frequency span
 
min
,
 
max
, disper-sion effects are negligible.The mutual spectral density
B
 
(
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
) contains infor-mation on both intensity and spatial coherence properties of light at frequency
 
. The information on coherence proper-ties only is extracted by normalizing
B
 
(
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
)
25
,
 
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
 B
 
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
 B
 
r
1
,
r
1
,
 z
 B
 
r
2
,
r
2
,
 z
.
3
The quantity
 
(
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
) is referred to as the complex co-herence factor at frequency
 
25,26
. The spatial correlationdistance at frequency
 
is determined by the characteristicwidth of 
 
(
r
1
,
r
2
,
 z
)
25
.For the analysis presented henceforth, it is convenient tointroduce new coordinates
r
r
1
r
2
2and
 
r
1
r
2
.Equation
2
in terms of new coordinates reads
 
 B
 
 
 z
i
 
 
2
 
 x
 
 x
 
2
 
 y
 
 y
 B
 
i
 
n
0
 
n
 I 
r
 
2,
 z
 
n
 I 
r
 
2,
 z
 B
 
r
,
 
,
 z
;
4
the spatial vector
r
(
 x
i
 y
 j
)/2 is used to describe thevariations of the time-averaged intensity in space, whereasthe difference vector
 
 
 x
i
 
 y
 j
is used to describe the cor-relation between phases at two different spatial points fromthe transverse cross section of the beam. We utilize Eq.
4
asthe starting point to find white light solitons, such as thoseobserved in Ref.
2
.
III. SOLITONS IN THE LOGARITHMICALLYSATURABLE NONLINEARITY
We consider the following model for the nonlinear refrac-tive index:
 
n
(
 I 
)
 
ln(
 I 
 / 
 I 
)
10–13,27
. The coefficient
 
0 specifies the strength of the nonlinearity, while
is thethreshold intensity. Although this model nonlinearity differsfrom the photorefractive screening nonlinearity
28
in whichwhite light solitons were observed experimentally
2
, it doesprovide a platform upon which we can find analytical solu-tions that yield insight into the realistic physical process. Infact, previous studies of coherent solitons
27
as well as of spatially incoherent quasimonochromatic solitons
10–13
have used this model nonlinearity to gain valuable insight. Inthis spirit, we use the logarithmic nonlinearity that yieldsclosed-form solutions, highlighting important features of in-coherent white light solitons.To seek steady state solutions we require that both theintensity profile and the spatiotemporal coherence propertiesof the beam do not change during propagation, i.e., we re-quire
 
 B
 
 
 z
0. Since quasimonochromatic spatially inco-herent solitons with elliptic Gaussian intensity profiles andcorrelation statistics were previously found in logarithmi-cally saturable
11
and realistic saturable
21
nonlinear me-dia, we seek for stationary wave solutions in the form
 B
 
 x
,
 
 x
,
 y
,
 
 y
 A
 
exp
 x
2
2
 R
 x
2
 
 x
2
2
Q
 x
2
 y
2
2
 R
 y
2
 
 y
2
2
Q
 y
2
.
5
Here
A
 
denotes the spectral density of the light beam; thequantities
R
 x
and
R
 y
denote the characteristic width of thespatial soliton, whereas
Q
 x
and
Q
 y
are closely related to thespatial correlation distance of the incoherent light. When an-zatz
5
is inserted into evolution equation
4
with
 
 B
 
 
 z
0, and
 
n
(
 I 
)
 
ln(
 I 
 / 
 I 
), it follows that quantities
Q
 x
and
Q
 y
must obey
BULJAN
et al.
PHYSICAL REVIEW E
68
, 036607
2003
036607-2
 
Q
 x
Q
 y
1
 
n
0
 
c
 
n
0
 
 
0
 
Q
0
,
6
where
Q
0
c
 
0
1
 / 
n
0
 
and
 
0
denotes the central fre-quency within the power spectrum. Quantities
Q
 x
and
Q
 y
aredetermined by the strength of the nonlinearity
 
, frequency
 
, the linear index of refraction
n
0
, and the speed of light
c
.The spatial coherence properties for each frequency con-stituent of the beam can be found from the complex coher-ence factor
see Eq.
3

:
 
 x
,
 
 x
,
 y
,
 
 y
i
 x
,
 y
exp
1
Q
02
 
2
 
02
14
 R
i
2
 
i
2
2
exp
 
l
s
,
 x
2
 
 
 x
2
2
 
l
s
,
 y
2
 
 
 y
2
2
,
7
where
l
s
,
 x
(
 
) and
l
s
,
 y
(
 
) denote the spatial correlation dis-tances at frequency
 
in the
x
and
y
directions, respectively.These spatial correlation distances are determined by thecharacteristic widths of the complex coherence factor
 
25
. From Eq.
7
it follows that the characteristic widths of the elliptic beam are connected to the spatial correlation dis-tances
l
s
,
 x
(
 
) and
l
s
,
 y
(
 
) and the strength of the nonlinear-ity through1
l
s
,
i
 
n
0
 
 
c
2
 
2
14
 
 R
i
2
,
i
 x
,
 y
.
8
Equation
8
is the existence curve for the white light soli-tons in the logarithmically saturable nonlinear medium. Inthe limit of temporally coherent
quasimonochromatic
, butspatially incoherent solitons, we recover the solution for suchsolitons in logarithmic media
10–12
. In the limit of spa-tially and temporally coherent beams, we recover the solu-tion for coherent solitons in logarithmically saturable nonlin-ear media
27
.From the existence curve we read that for white lightsolitons to exist, the spatial correlation distance must de-crease for higher frequency constituents of the light. Figure 1illustrates the functional dependence
l
s
,
i
(
 
) as calculatedfrom Eq.
8
for realistic parameter values. This result can beinterpreted as follows. Optical spatial solitons occur whendiffraction is exactly balanced by refraction
nonlinearity
.White light solitons are made up of a continuum of frequen-cies
wavelengths
. Through the nonlinear coupling
 
n
(
 I 
),every frequency constituent ‘seethe same self-inducedwaveguide, that is, the refraction ‘‘force’’ felt by every fre-quency constituent is the same. Consequently, to balance thisrefraction force, all frequencies have the same diffractionangle
 
. If the size of the beam is several times larger thanthe spatial correlation distance, the diffraction angle
 
ismainly governed by the degree of coherence. In that limit,
 
is proportional to the ratio of the wavelength and the spatialcorrelation distance,
 

 / 
l
s
,
i
(
)
20
. From this, we imme-diately obtain
l
s
,
i
(
)

, which is exactly the result from Eq.
8
in the limit
R
i
l
s
,
i
(
 
). Equation
8
is more accuratesince it takes into account diffraction from
i
the finite sizeof the beam envelope and
ii
the spatial incoherence.From Eq.
8
it also follows that the characteristic widthsshould be larger than some threshold value,
 R
i
12
c
 
 
n
0
.
9
Inequality
9
must be satisfied for every frequency
 
withinthe spectrum. Suppose that the frequencies lie within theinterval
 
min
,
 
max
, where
 
min
 
0
(1
) and
 
max
 
0
(1
);
denotes the width of the temporal powerspectrum, i.e., the degree of temporal coherence. Clearly, if 
 R
i
c
2
 
0
1
 
n
0
,
10
then inequality
9
is satisfied for all frequencies. This meansthat for the white light soliton to exist, its size must exceed avalue imposed by the degree of temporal
in
coherence (
),and the strength of the nonlinearity.From Eqs.
5
and
7
we see that the intensity profile andthe spatial correlation statistics of this white light soliton areelliptic Gaussian functions. Figure 2 shows contour of thetotal intensity profile
thick long dashed line
, and contoursof the complex coherence factor at three representative fre-quencies
 
min
2.69
10
15
Hz
dotted line
,
 
0
3.44
10
15
Hz
dashed-dotted line
, and
 
max
4.19
10
15
Hz
solid line
. From the
 
contours we see that higher fre-
FIG. 1. The spatial correlation distance decreases with the in-crease of frequency. The value of 
l
s
,
i
(
 
) is calculated from Eq.
8
with the following parameters:
 
0.0003,
n
0
2.3,
R
i
10
m,
 
0
3.44
10
15
Hz, which corresponds to the wavelength of 547nm in vacuum.INCOHERENT WHITE LIGHT SOLITONS IN . . . PHYSICAL REVIEW E
68
, 036607
2003
036607-3

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