Soutenance de thèse de Cristina Rimoldi

08/12/2017 Sophia-Antipolis

Extreme events in extended nonlinear optical cavities

Extreme events are phenomena, often considered as catastrophic, that occur in the tail of a distribution usually deviating from an expected, exponential decay. In optics, these events were first studied in the context of fibers, where they have been extensively analyzed, as optical rogue waves, in light of the well known analogy between optics and hydrodynamics, through the nonlinear Schroedinger equation.
With the development and the broadening of the field, extreme events have been also studied in dissipative optical systems with or without spatial degrees of freedom.
In this Thesis we focused on the study of extreme events in three different active and dissipative optical systems, each presenting one or two spatial degrees of freedom, either in the transverse plane, perpendicular to the direction of propagation of light, or in the propagation direction. Localized structures of different nature represent an important possible solution in each one of the systems here studied, hence their interaction and the role played in the formation of extreme events have been also investigated into details.
In the first system,  a monolithic broad-area semiconductor laser (VCSEL) with an intracavity saturable absorber, we report on the occurrence of extreme events in the 2D transverse plane of the electric field intensity. In particular we highlight the connection between these objects and cavity solitons, both stationary and oscillatory, also present in the system.
In the second system, a highly multimode laser with optical injection spatially extended along the propagation direction,  we analyze the interaction and merging of phase solitons, localized structures propagating along the cavity carrying a 2pi phase rotation. Extreme events have been investigated in two configurations: a first one where they emerge from the collision of phase solitons with other transient structures carrying a negative chiral charge, and a second one where high-peak events emerge from an unstable roll regime where phase solitons are not a stable solution. In both these systems we investigate the role of chirality in the extreme event formation. 
In the third system, a broad-area semiconductor laser (VCSEL) with  optical injection, we study into details the interaction of cavity solitons in the transverse plane, described as two particles subjected to an interaction potential exponentially decreasing with the distance between the two objects: a possible analogy with hydrophobic materials is here suggested. Some preliminary results showing spatiotemporal extreme events in this system are also given.

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