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Spatial cage solitons -- taming light bullets

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posted on 2023-01-11, 23:02 authored by Chao Mei, Ihar Babushkin, Tamas Nagy, Günter Steinmeyer
Multimode nonlinear optics offers to overcome a long-standing limitation of fiber optics, tightly phase locking several spatial modes and enabling the coherent transport of a wavepacket through a multimode fiber. A similar problem is encountered in the temporal compression of multi-mJ pulses to few-cycle duration in hollow gas-filled fibers. Scaling the fiber length to up to six meters, hollow fibers have recently reached 1 TW of peak power. Despite the remarkable utility of the hollow fiber compressor and its widespread application, however, no analytical model exists to enable insight into the scaling behavior of maximum compressibility and peak power. Here we extend a recently introduced formalism for describing mode-locking to the spatially analogue scenario of locking spatial fiber modes together. Our formalism unveils the coexistence of two soliton branches for anomalous modal dispersion and indicates the formation of stable spatio-temporal light bullets that would be unstable in free space, similar to the temporal cage solitons in mode-locking theory. Our model enables deeper understanding of the physical processes behind the formation of such light bullets and predict the existence of multimode solitons in a much wider range of fiber types than previously considered possible.

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