Spin and angular momenta of light are important degrees of freedom in nanophotonics which control light propagation, optical forces and information encoding. Typically, optical angular momentum is generated using q-plates or spatial light modulators. Here, we show that graphene-supported plasmonic nanostructures with broken rotational symmetry provide a surprising spin to orbital angular momentum conversion, which can be continuously controlled by changing the electrochemical potential of graphene. Upon resonant illumination by a circularly polarized plane wave, a polygonal array of indium-tin-oxide nanoparticles on a graphene sheet generates scattered field carrying electrically-tunable orbital angular momentum. This unique photonic spin-orbit coupling occurs due to the strong coupling of graphene plasmon polaritons and localised surface plasmons of the nanoparticles and leads to the controlled directional excitation of graphene plasmons. The tuneable spin-orbit conversion pave the way to high-rate information encoding in optical communications, electric steering functionalities in optical tweezers, and nanorouting of higher-dimensional entangled photon states.
Machine-learning by rogue waves, dispersive shocks, and solitons
We study artificial neural networks with nonlinear waves as a computing reservoir. We discuss universality and the conditions to learn a dataset in terms of output channels and nonlinearity. A feed-forward three-layer model, with an encoding input layer, a wave layer, and a decoding readout, behaves as a conventional neural network in approximating mathematical functions, real-world datasets, and universal Boolean gates. The rank of the transmission matrix has a fundamental role in assessing the learning abilities of the wave. For a given set of training points, a threshold nonlinearity for universal interpolation exists. When considering the nonlinear Schroedinger equation, the use of highly nonlinear regimes implies that solitons, rogue, and shock waves do have a leading role in training and computing. Our results may enable the realization of novel machine learning devices by using diverse physical systems, as nonlinear optics, hydrodynamics, polaritonics, and Bose-Einstein condensates. The application of these concepts to photonics opens the way to a large class of accelerators and new computational paradigms. In complex wave systems, as multimodal fibers, integrated optical circuits, random, topological devices, and metasurfaces, nonlinear waves can be employed to perform computation and solve complex combinatorial optimization.
Topological control of extreme waves
From optics to hydrodynamics, shock and rogue waves are widespread. Although they appear as distinct phenomena, transitions between extreme waves are allowed. However, these have never been experimentally observed because control strategies are still missing. We introduce the new concept of topological control based on the one-to-one correspondence between the number of wave packet oscillating phases and the genus of toroidal surfaces associated with the nonlinear Schrödinger equation solutions through Riemann theta functions. We demonstrate the concept experimentally by reporting observations of supervised transitions between waves with different genera. Considering the box problem in a focusing photorefractive medium, we tailor the time-dependent nonlinearity and dispersion to explore each region in the state diagram of the nonlinear wave propagation. Our result is the first realization of topological control of nonlinear waves. This new technique casts light on shock and rogue waves generation and can be extended to other nonlinear phenomena.
Dispersive shock waves are fascinating phenomena occurring when nonlinearity overwhelms linear effects, such as dispersion and diffraction. Many features of shock waves are still under investigation, as the interplay with noninstantaneity in temporal pulses transmission and nonlocality in spatial beams propagation. Despite the rich and vast literature on nonlinear waves in optical Kerr media, spatial dispersive shock waves in nonlocal materials deserve further attention for their unconventional properties. Indeed, they have been investigated in colloidal matter, chemical physics and biophotonics, for sensing and control of extreme phenomena. Here we review the last developed theoretical models and recent optical experiments on spatial dispersive shock waves in nonlocal media. Moreover, we discuss observations in novel versatile materials relevant for soft matter and biology.