Quantum Lunch Location:
T-Division Conference Room, TA-3,
Building 123, Room 121
Quantum Institute: Visitor Schedule
The Quantum Lunch is regularly held on Thursdays in the Theoretical Division Conference Room, TA-3, Building 123, Room 121.
For more information, contact Diego Dalvit.
October 25, 2007
Thursday, 11 AM to 12:30 PM
T-DO Conference Room, TA-3-123-121
Towards Optical Hydrodynamics
It is well-known, but underappreciated, that the basic equations of nonlinear optics can be mapped to equations from condensed matter physics. For example, the nonlinear Schrödinger description of paraxial beam propagation is identical to the Gross-Pitaevskii treatment of coherent matter waves, e.g., for Bose-Einstein Condensates. In turn, these equations can be mapped to Euler-like fluid dynamics using the Madelung transformation. Here, we exploit these relations experimentally to develop an optical hydrodynamics. Using coherent laser light in a nonlinear crystal, we directly observe dispersive, superfluid-like shock waves, in both one and two dimensions, and demonstrate that shock collisions involve a nontrivial exchange of energy. Using spatially-incoherent light, we demonstrate all-optical plasma dynamics, including Landau damping, bump-on-tail instabilities, and weak and strong regimes of speckle turbulence. Theory is developed and shown to match very well with experiment. The results establish optical systems as an analog simulator for fluid behavior and hold potential for the design of new photonic devices.