Optical beams are generally unbound in bulk media, and propagate with a velocity approximately amounting to the speed of light in free-space. Guidance and full spatial confinement of light are usually achieved by means of waveguides, mirrors, resonators, and photonic crystals. Here we theoretically demonstrate that nonlinear self-organization can be exploited to freeze optical beams in bulk near-zero-index media, thus enabling three-dimensional self-trapping of still light without the need of optical resonators. Light is stopped to a standstill owing to the divergent wavelength and the vanishing group velocity, effectively rendering, through nonlinearity, a positive-epsilon trapping cavity carved in an otherwise slightly-negative-epsilon medium. By numerically solving Maxwell' s equations, we find a soliton-like family of still azimuthal doughnuts, which we further study through an adiabatic perturbative theory that describes soliton evaporation in lossy media or condensation in actively pumped materials. Our results suggest applications in optical data processing and storage, quantum optical memories, and soliton-based lasers without cavities. Additionally, near-zero-index conditions can also be found in the interplanetary medium and in the atmosphere, where we provide a complementary explanation to the rare phenomenon of ball-lightning.

Self-organization of frozen light in near-zero-index media with cubic nonlinearity

Marini, A.;
2016

Abstract

Optical beams are generally unbound in bulk media, and propagate with a velocity approximately amounting to the speed of light in free-space. Guidance and full spatial confinement of light are usually achieved by means of waveguides, mirrors, resonators, and photonic crystals. Here we theoretically demonstrate that nonlinear self-organization can be exploited to freeze optical beams in bulk near-zero-index media, thus enabling three-dimensional self-trapping of still light without the need of optical resonators. Light is stopped to a standstill owing to the divergent wavelength and the vanishing group velocity, effectively rendering, through nonlinearity, a positive-epsilon trapping cavity carved in an otherwise slightly-negative-epsilon medium. By numerically solving Maxwell' s equations, we find a soliton-like family of still azimuthal doughnuts, which we further study through an adiabatic perturbative theory that describes soliton evaporation in lossy media or condensation in actively pumped materials. Our results suggest applications in optical data processing and storage, quantum optical memories, and soliton-based lasers without cavities. Additionally, near-zero-index conditions can also be found in the interplanetary medium and in the atmosphere, where we provide a complementary explanation to the rare phenomenon of ball-lightning.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/123345
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