Instability and chaos in physical systems are random natural phenomena that are generally highly sensitive to fluctuations in initial conditions, however small they may be. To understand these complex and omnipresent phenomena in nature, we recently conducted experiments involving the propagation of light waves, and leading to the formation of ultrafast pulses on a picosecond timescale (a millionth of a millionth of a second). The study of such phenomena in optics offers the advantage of taking place on very short timescales, thus making it possible to measure a representative sample of events and to reliably characterize its statistical properties. The key originality in our work was the use of a time lens to enable the first measurement in real time of continuous wave modulation instability. The results have been published in Nature Communications in December 2016.
Real-time measurements of spontaneous breathers and rogue wave events in optical fibre modulation instability.
M. Narhi, B. Wetzel, C. Billet, S.Toenger, T. Sylvestre, J.-M. Merolla, R. Morandotti, F. Dias, G. Genty, J. M. Dudley.
Nature Communications, 19 december 2016. DOI :10.1038/NCOMMS13675