Controlling rogue waves and soliton gases

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.

Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 5090 (2019)

Optical spatial shock waves in nonlocal nonlinear media, a review paper

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.

Review Paper in Advances in Physics X

PELM Project Kick off, 10 october 2019

The Kick off meeting of the PELM project will be held on October 10th and 11th starting from 11.00 a.m. in room Aula Garda, Polo Scientifico e Tecnologico, Fabio Ferrari (Povo 1) 

We are happy to announce the event that officially marks the start of the PELM project “Photonic Extreme Learning Machine: from neuromorphic computing to universal optical interpolant, strain gauge sensor and cancer morphodynamic monitor”, programmed on 10th and 11th of October, 2019. PELM aims at demonstrating machine learning photonic devices. Within a single neuromorphic computing architecture, different platforms are specialized to given tasks by their specific characteristics.

In the meeting, the involved team of the University of Trento, Sapienza University of Rome, Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, Università Cattolica of Milan and CNR-INO of Neaples, will talk about the project, the objectives and the working methodology to achieve together the desired results. 

For more info please see the agenda 

Multipolar terahertz spectroscopy by graphene plasmons

Terahertz absorption spectroscopy plays a key role in physical, chemical and biological systems as a powerful tool to identify molecular species through their rotational spectrum fingerprint. Owing to the sub-nanometer scale of molecules, radiation-matter coupling is typically dominated by dipolar interaction. Here we show that multipolar rotational spectroscopy of molecules in proximity of localized graphene structures can be accessed through the extraordinary enhancement of their multipolar transitions provided by terahertz plasmons. In particular, specializing our calculations to homonuclear diatomic molecules, we demonstrate that a micron-sized graphene ring with a nano-hole at the core combines a strong near-field enhancement and an inherently pronounced field localization enabling the enhancement of the dipole-forbidden terahertz absorption cross-section of H+2H2+ by 8 orders of magnitude. Our results shed light on the strong potential offered by nano-structured graphene as a robust and electrically tunable platform for multipolar terahertz absorption spectroscopy at the nanoscale.

A. Ciattoni, C. Conti, and A. Marini in Communication Physics