Schedule May 04, 2007
Optical Solitons as Quantum Objects
Yves Pomeau, Ecole Normale Sup, Paris

The intensity of bright solitons propagating in  linearly coupled identical fibers can be distributed either in a stable  symmetric state if the coupling is strong enough or in a stable asymmetric state if the coupling is small enough. In the first case, if the initial state is  not the equilibrium state, the intensity may switch periodically from fiber to fiber, while in  the second case the a-symmetrical state remains forever, with most of its energy in  either fiber. Classically the latter situation makes a state of propagation with two exactly reciprocal realizations. In the quantum case, such a situation does not exist as an eigenstate because of the possibility of quantum tunneling between the two fibers. Such a tunneling is a purely quantum phenomenon without counterpart in the classical  theory seeing the solitons as objects made of classical polarization and electromagnetic fields. When estimating the rate of tunneling one realizes that quantum  effects may be often relevant in the dynamics of optical solitons,  because the order of magnitude of the action is not much greater  than Planck's constant.

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