The Nonlinear Interaction of Counter-Propagating Light: Symmetry Breaking, Chaos, and Instability - online seminar

Michael Woodley, National Physical Laboratory and Heriot-Watt University

In this presentation, I will describe the key results of my doctoral thesis, ‘On the Nonlinear Interaction of Counter-Propagating Light’. This comprises work on the spontaneous symmetry breaking of light in ring resonators, mediated by the Kerr nonlinearity. These optical states can give rise to fascinating dynamics: critical phenomena, bifurcations, chaos, attractor merging, and spontaneous order in the form of periodic switching behaviour.  I will present laboratory, numerical, and analytical results concerning this system, which is captured by a simple model of coupled ordinary differential equations. I will emphasise the broad relevance and application of these results – both for non-reciprocal, all-optical devices, such as rotation sensors, and for more speculative regimes of interactions, not currently observable in the lab.



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