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Optical Engineering

Using nuclear spins, radio waves, sodium atoms, and laser light to investigate spatiotemporal nonlinear systems
Author(s): Reto Holzner; Josef Simonet; Leci Flepp; Brigitte Roehricht; Patrik Eschle; Stefan Dangel; Ursula Rusch; Hubert Schmid; Ernst Brun
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Paper Abstract

Within the wide field of nonlinear dynamics we investigate temporal and spatial behavior of electromagnetic systems. A strange type of laser, the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) laser, shows truly chaotic behavior and is therefore ideally suited to analyze experimentally and theoretically a variety of temporal nonlinear effects. Of particular interest is the analysis of its strange attractors in terms of unstable periodic orbits. For the extension of our research from the NMR laser (representing a purely temporal system described by the Bloch-Kirchhoff ordinary differential equations) to spatial and spatiotemporal systems, we chose, as a three-dimensional dynamic system, polarized laser beams interacting nonlinearly with sodium atoms. Among other effects, we have observed beam bouncing, beam splitting, and beam switching. This can be well described by partial differential equations for beam propagation derived from the Schrödinger equation and the Maxwell equations. An intuitive explanation is given in terms of intensity and polarization patterns formed by optical-pumping-induced mutual refractive index modifications between polarized resonant laser beams.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 August 1995
PDF: 9 pages
Opt. Eng. 34(8) doi: 10.1117/12.200618
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 34, Issue 8
Show Author Affiliations
Reto Holzner, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)
Josef Simonet, Univ. of Zurich (Switzerland)
Leci Flepp, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)
Brigitte Roehricht, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)
Patrik Eschle, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)
Stefan Dangel, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)
Ursula Rusch, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)
Hubert Schmid, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)
Ernst Brun, Univ. Zurich (Switzerland)

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