RP Photonics

Encyclopedia … combined with a great Buyer's Guide!

VLib
Virtual
Library

Higher-order Solitons

Definition: optical pulses in a nonlinear and dispersive medium which exhibit periodic oscillations of their temporal and spectral shape

German: Solitonen höherer Ordnung

Categories: fiber optics and waveguides, light pulses

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

A fundamental soliton is an optical pulse which can propagate in a dispersive medium (e.g. an optical fiber) with a constant shape of the temporal intensity profile, i.e., without any temporal broadening as is usually caused by dispersion. This can happen when the pulse has a certain shape and an energy which is determined by the parameters of the medium (in particular, by the dispersion and nonlinearity) and the pulse duration.

A higher-order soliton is a soliton pulse the energy of which is higher than that of a fundamental soliton by a factor which is the square of an integer number (i.e. 4, 9, 16, etc.). The temporal shape of such a pulse is not constant, but rather varies periodically during propagation (see Figures 1 and 2). The period of their evolution is the so-called soliton period.

temporal evolution of third-order soliton
Figure 1: Temporal evolution of a third-order soliton.
spectral evolution of third-order soliton
Figure 2: Spectral evolution of a third-order soliton.
third-order soliton
Figure 3: Temporal evolution of a third-order soliton. The color scale shows the optical power. The soliton period is 50.4 m, i.e. the displayed range corresponds to about two soliton periods.
third-order soliton
Figure 4: Spectral evolution of a third-order soliton. The color scale shows the power spectral density.

Higher-order solitons can be used for nonlinear pulse compression: a sech2-shaped pulse with a suitable energy, injected into an optical fiber with anomalous dispersion, can evolve as a higher-order soliton, and after a certain propagation distance the pulse duration can be substantially decreased. High soliton orders allow for strong compression, but also lead to a critical choice of the pump wavelength.

Whereas fundamental solitons are usually fairly stable, higher-order solitons can break up into fundamental solitons under the influence of various effects, such as higher-order dispersion, Raman scattering, or two-photon absorption. Such soliton breakup sometimes plays an essential role in the process of supercontinuum generation in photonic crystal fibers.

Bibliography

[1]V. E. Zakharov and A. B. Shabat, “Exact theory of two-dimensional self-focusing and one-dimensional self-modulation of waves in nonlinear media”, Sov. Phys. JETP 34, 62 (1972)
[2]L. F. Mollenauer, R. H. Stolen, and J. P. Gordon, “Experimental observation of picosecond pulse narrowing and solitons in optical fibers”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 45 (13), 1095 (1980)
[3]W. Hodel and H. P. Weber, “Decay of femtosecond higher-order solitons in an optical fiber induced by Raman self-pumping”, Opt. Lett. 12 (11), 924 (1987)
[4]S. R. Friberg and K. W. DeLong, “Breakup of bound higher-order solitons”, Opt. Lett. 17 (14), 979 (1992)

(Suggest additional literature!)

See also: solitons, soliton period
and other articles in the categories fiber optics and waveguides, light pulses

How do you rate this article?

Click here to send us your feedback!

Your general impression: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent
Technical quality: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent
Usefulness: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent
Readability: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent
Comments:

Found any errors? Suggestions for improvements? Do you know a better web page on this topic?

Spam protection: (enter the value of 5 + 8 in this field!)

If you want a response, you may leave your e-mail address in the comments field, or directly send an e-mail.

If you enter any personal data, this implies that you agree with storing it; we will use it only for the purpose of improving our website and possibly giving you a response; see also our declaration of data privacy.

If you like our website, you may also want to get our newsletters!

If you like this article, share it with your friends and colleagues, e.g. via social media:

arrow