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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

I

. The time-averaged intensity

I

is intemporal steady state:

I

/

t

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

t

).By assuming linear polarization of the light, the instanta-neous electric ﬁeld is described by a complex amplitude

E

˜

(

x

,

y

,

z

,

t

), and the spatiotemporal coherence properties of

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the light are described by the mutual coherence function

25

,

R

1

,

R

2

;

E

˜

*

R

2

,

t

2

E

˜

R

1

,

t

1

12

0

d

R

1

,

R

2

e

i

,

1

where

t

1

t

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

,

t

1

) and (

R

1

,

t

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

k

(1)

(2)

B

ik

n

0

n

„

I

r

1

,

z

…

n

„

I

r

2

,

z

…

B

r

1

,

r

2

,

z

,

2

where

I

(

r

,

z

)

1/2

0

d

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

k

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

)/

t

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

ik

2

r

x

x

2

r

y

y

B

ik

n

0

n

I

r

2,

z

n

I

r

2,

z

B

r

,

,

z

;

4

the spatial vector

r

(

r

x

i

r

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

t

)

10–13,27

. The coefﬁcient

0 speciﬁes the strength of the nonlinearity, while

I

t

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

r

x

,

x

,

r

y

,

y

A

exp

r

x

2

2

R

x

2

x

2

2

Q

x

2

r

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

t

), it follows that quantities

Q

x

and

Q

y

must obey

BULJAN

et al.

PHYSICAL REVIEW E

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, 036607

2003

036607-2

Q

x

Q

y

1

k

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

:

r

x

,

x

,

r

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 ‘‘see’’ the 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

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