We explore the nonlinear response of plasmonic materials driven by ultrashort pulses of electromagnetic radiation with temporal duration of few femtoseconds and high peak intensity. By developing the Fokker-Planck-Landau theory of electron collisions, we solve analytically the collisional integral and derive a novel set of hydrodynamical equations accounting for plasma dynamics at ultrashort time scales. While in the limit of small light intensities we recover the well established Drude model of plasmas, in the high intensity limit we observe nonlinear quenching of collision-induced damping leading to absorption saturation. Our results provide a general background to understand electron dynamics in plasmonic materials with promising photonic applications in the manipulation of plasma waves with reduced absorption at the femtosecond time scale.
Andrea Marini, Alessandro Ciattoni, and Claudio Conti, Collision quenching in the ultrafast dynamics of plasmonic materials in ArXiv:1808.03669
Many theories of quantum gravity, as string theory, loop quantum gravity, and doubly special relativity, predict the existence of a minimal length scale and outline the need to generalize the uncertainty principle. This generalized uncertainty principle relies on modified commutation relations that – if applied to the second quantization – imply an excess energy of the electromagnetic quanta with respect to ℏω. Here we show that this “dark energy of the photon” is amplified during nonlinear optical process. Therefore, if one accepts the minimal length scenario, one must expect to observe specific optical frequencies in optical harmonic generation by intense laser fields. Other processes as four-wave mixing and supercontinuum generation may also contain similar spectral features of quantum-gravity. Nonlinear optics may hence be helpful to falsify some of the most investigated approaches to the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity.
C. Conti in arXiv:1805.11716
We present a complete and consistent quantum theory of generalised X waves with orbital angular momentum in dispersive media. We show that the resulting quantised light pulses are affected by neither dispersion nor diffraction and are therefore resilient against external perturbations. The nonlinear interaction of quantised X waves in quadratic and Kerr nonlinear media is also presented and studied in detail.
M. Ornigotti, C. Conti, and A. Szameit, Journal of Optics 20 (2018) 065201
The intriguing connection between black holes’evaporation and physics of solitons is opening novel roads to finding observable phenomena. It is known from the inverse scattering transform that velocity is a fundamental parameter in solitons theory. Taking this into account, the study of Hawking radiation by a moving soliton gets a growing relevance. However, a theoretical context for the description of this phenomenon is still lacking. Here, we adopt a soliton geometrization technique to study the quantum emission of a moving soliton in a one-dimensional model. Representing a black hole by the one soliton solution of the Sine-Gordon equation, we consider Hawking emission spectra of a quantized massless scalarfield on the soliton-induced metric. We study the relation between the soliton velocity and the black hole temperature. Our results address a new scenario in the detection of new physics in the quantum gravity panorama.
L. Villari, G. Marcucci, M.C. Braidotti and C. Conti, J. Phys. Comm. 2 (2018) 005016
Modified uncertainty principle and non-commutative variables may phenomenologically account for quantum gravity effects, independently of the considered theory of quantum gravity. We show that quantum fluids enable experimental analogs and direct tests of the modified uncertainty principle expected to be valid at the Planck scale. We consider a quantum clock realized by a long-lasting quantum fluid wave-packet orbiting in a trapping potential. We investigate the hydrodynamics of the Schr\”odinger equation encompassing kinetic terms due to Planck-scale effects. We study the resulting generalized mechanics and validate the predictions by quantum simulations. Wave-packet orbiting generates a continuous amplification of the quantum gravity effects. The non-commutative variables in the phase-space produce a precession and an acceleration of the orbital motion. The precession of the orbit is strongly resembling the famous orbital precession of the perihelion of Mercury used by Einstein to validate the corrections of general relativity to Newton’s theory. In our case, the corrections are due to the modified uncertainty principle. The results can be employed to emulate quantum gravity in the laboratory, or to realize human-scale experiments to determine bounds for the most studied quantum-gravity models and probe Planckian physics.
Giulia Marcucci and Claudio Conti, arXiv:1805.03600