Irreversible quantum mechanics and shock waves in highly nonlinear materials

Dispersive shock waves in thermal optical media belong to the third-order nonlinear phenomena, whose intrinsic irreversibility is described by time asymmetric quantum mechanics. Recent studies demonstrated that nonlocal wave breaking evolves in an exponentially decaying dynamics ruled by the reversed harmonic oscillator, namely, the simplest irreversible quantum system in the rigged Hilbert spaces. The generalization of this theory to more complex scenarios is still an open question. In this work, we use a thermal third-order medium with an unprecedented giant Kerr coefficient, the M-Cresol/Nylon mixed solution, to access an extremely-nonlinear highly-nonlocal regime and realize anisotropic shock waves. We prove that a superposition of the Gamow vectors in an ad hoc rigged Hilbert space describes the nonlinear beam propagation beyond the shock point. Specifically, the resulting rigged Hilbert space is a tensorial product between the reversed and the standard harmonic oscillators spaces. The anisotropy turns out from the interaction of trapping and antitrapping potentials in perpendicular directions. Our work opens the way to a complete description of novel intriguing shock phenomena, and those mediated by extreme nonlinearities.

Giulia Marcucci, Phillip Cala, Weining Man, Davide Pierangeli, Claudio Conti, Zhigang Chen in ArXiv:1909.04506

See also

Glauber oscillator

The math of irreversibility