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Interplay of thermalization and strong disorder: Wave turbulence theory, numerical simulations, and experiments in multimode optical fibers

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posted on 2023-01-12, 15:53 authored by Nicolas Berti, Kilian Baudin, Adrien Fusaro, Guy Millot, Antonio Picozzi, Josselin Garnier
We address the problem of thermalization in the presence of a time-dependent disorder in the framework of the nonlinear Schr\"odinger (or Gross-Pitaevskii) equation with a random potential. The thermalization to the Rayleigh-Jeans distribution is driven by the nonlinearity. On the other hand, the structural disorder is responsible for a relaxation toward the homogeneous equilibrium distribution (particle equipartition), which thus inhibits thermalization (energy equipartition). On the basis of the wave turbulence theory, we derive a kinetic equation that accounts for the presence of strong disorder. The theory unveils the interplay of disorder and nonlinearity. It unexpectedly reveals that a non-equilibrium process of condensation and thermalization can take place in the regime where disorder effects dominate over nonlinear effects. We validate the theory by numerical simulations of the nonlinear Schr\"odinger equation and the derived kinetic equation, which are found in quantitative agreement without using adjustable parameters. Experiments realized in multimode optical fibers with an applied external stress evidence the process of thermalization in the presence of strong disorder.



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