Objective: optical localized states in the propagation dimension

The objective of the project is to observe and control light localization along the direction of propagation in an active semiconductor ring cavity. The present project is therefore at the interface between two domains: mode-locking in semiconductor lasers and temporal cavity solitons. If successful, it will bring the plasticity of spatially localized structures to the realm of mode-locked lasers. Doing so, it will provide a versatile source of light pulses which will be the complete temporal analogues of transverse cavity solitons. These pulses will be bistable bits, controllable independently one of the other and whose temporal separation can be arbitrary.

The project will therefore build an experimental apparatus able to offer all-optical functionalities, such as an optical buffer able to store for an arbitrarily long duration a stream of light pulses and restore it periodically. Due to the cavity soliton nature of light pulses circulating in the device, the buffer will include pulse reshaping functionality and will be capable of wavelength conversion.

Furthermore, the project will also bring the temporal component to systems which are known to be able to host spatially localized structures, which may provide the key to the longstanding question of the existence of three dimensional light bullets.

The point of view which will be adopted, exploratory and transversal, will enable us to approach the phenomena under study both from a fundamental and applicative point of view. Indeed, we will analyze the formation of temporal cavity solitons (which are optical information units), but we will also dedicate particular attention to statistical aspects of the dynamics, with emphasis on the appearance and control of extreme events.