Newton's cradles in optics: from N-soliton fission to soliton chains

R. Driben, B. A. Malomed, A. V. Yulin, D. V. Skryabin

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A mechanism for creating a Newton's cradle (NC) in nonlinear light wave trains under the action of the third-order dispersion (TOD) is demonstrated. The formation of the NC structure plays an important role in the process of fission of higher-order (N) solitons in optical fibers. After the splitting of the initial N soliton into a nonuniform chain of fundamental quasisolitons, the tallest one travels along the entire chain, through consecutive collisions with other solitons, and then escapes, while the remaining chain of pulses stays as a bound state, due to the radiation-mediated interaction between them. Increasing the initial soliton's order, N, leads to the transmission through, and release of additional solitons with enhanced power, along with the emission of radiation, which may demonstrate a broadband supercontinuum spectrum. The NC dynamical regime remains robust in the presence of extra perturbations, such as the Raman and self-steepening effects, and dispersion terms above the third order. It is demonstrated that essentially the same NC mechanism is induced by the TOD in finite segments of periodic wave trains (in particular, soliton chains). A difference from the mechanical NC is that the TOD-driven pulse passing through the soliton array collects energy and momentum from other solitons. Thus, uniform and nonuniform arrays of nonlinear wave pulses offer an essential extension of the mechanical NC, in which the quasiparticles, unlike mechanical beads, interact inelastically, exchanging energy and generating radiation. Nevertheless, the characteristic phenomenology of NC chains may be clearly identified in these nonlinear-wave settings too.
Original languageEnglish
Article number063808
JournalPhysical Review A: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2013


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