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Proceedings Paper

Optical patterns and nonlinear spatial structures
Author(s): William J. Firth
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Paper Abstract

Spontaneous spatial patterns occur in nonlinear systems with spatial coupling, e.g. through diffraction or diffusion. Strong enough nonlinearity can induce spatial symmetry breaking, such that a pattern becomes more stable than the unpatterned state. Instances discussed are in nonlinear optics, but the phenomena have a universal character, and are the basis of spatial differentiation in nature, from crystals to clouds, from giraffe-coats to galaxies. The basic theory and phenomena of pattern formation are reviewed, with examples from experiments and simulations (mainly from optics). Patterns usually consist of repeated units, and such units may exist in isolation as a localized structure. Such structures are akin to spatial solitons, and are potentially useful in image and/or information processing. The nature and properties of such structures are discussed and illustrated.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 June 2002
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4806, Complex Mediums III: Beyond Linear Isotropic Dielectrics, (24 June 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.473005
Show Author Affiliations
William J. Firth, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4806:
Complex Mediums III: Beyond Linear Isotropic Dielectrics
Akhlesh Lakhtakia; Graeme Dewar; Martin W. McCall, Editor(s)

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