Generation of caustics and rogue waves from nonlinear instability

Safari, A., Fickler, R., Padgett, M. J. and Boyd, R. W. (2017) Generation of caustics and rogue waves from nonlinear instability. Physical Review Letters, 119(20), 203901. (doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.203901)

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Abstract

Caustics are phenomena in which nature concentrates the energy of waves and may exhibit rogue-type behavior. Although they are known mostly in optics, caustics are intrinsic to all wave phenomena. As we demonstrate in this Letter, the formation of caustics and consequently rogue events in linear systems requires strong phase fluctuations. We show that nonlinear phase shifts can generate sharp caustics from even small fluctuations. Moreover, in that the wave amplitude increases dramatically in caustics, nonlinearity is usually inevitable. We perform an experiment in an optical system with Kerr nonlinearity, simulate the results based on the nonlinear Schrödinger equation, and achieve perfect agreement. As the same theoretical framework is used to describe other wave systems such as large-scale water waves, our results may also aid the understanding of ocean phenomena.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program and the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). R. F. also acknowledges the support of the Banting postdoctoral fellowship of NSERC.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Padgett, Professor Miles and Boyd, Professor Robert
Authors: Safari, A., Fickler, R., Padgett, M. J., and Boyd, R. W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Physical Review Letters
Publisher:American Physical Society
ISSN:0031-9007
ISSN (Online):1079-7114
Published Online:13 November 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 American Physical Society
First Published:First published in Physical Review Letters 119(20): 203901
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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