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Title: A journey through the dynamical world of coupled laser oscillators
Author: Blackbeard, Nicholas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 4726
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2012
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The focus of this thesis is the dynamical behaviour of linear arrays of laser oscillators with nearest-neighbour coupling. In particular, we study how laser dynamics are influenced by laser-coupling strength, $\kappa$, the natural frequencies of the uncoupled lasers, $\tilde{\Omega}_j$, and the coupling between the magnitude and phase of each lasers electric field, $\alpha$. Equivariant bifurcation analysis, combined with Lyapunov exponent calculations, is used to study different aspects of the laser dynamics. Firstly, codimension-one and -two bifurcations of relative equilibria determine the laser coupling conditions required to achieve stable phase locking. Furthermore, we find that global bifurcations and their associated infinite cascades of local bifurcations are responsible for interesting locking-unlocking transitions. Secondly, for large $\alpha$, vast regions of the parameter space are found to support chaotic dynamics. We explain this phenomenon through simulations of $\alpha$-induced stretching-and-folding of the phase space that is responsible for the creation of horseshoes. A comparison between the results of a simple {\it coupled-laser model} and a more accurate {\it composite-cavity mode model} reveals a good agreement, which further supports the use of the simpler model to study coupling-induced instabilities in laser arrays. Finally, synchronisation properties of the laser array are studied. Laser coupling conditions are derived that guarantee the existence of synchronised solutions where all the lasers emit light with the same frequency and intensity. Analytical stability conditions are obtained for two special cases of such laser synchronisation: (i) where all the lasers oscillate in-phase with each other and (ii) where each laser oscillates in anti-phase with its direct neighbours. Transitions from complete synchronisation (where all the lasers synchronise) to optical turbulence (where no lasers synchronise and each laser is chaotic in time) are studied and explained through symmetry breaking bifurcations. Lastly, the effect of increasing the number of lasers in the array is discussed in relation to persistent optical turbulence.
Supervisor: Wieczorek, Sebastian ; Erzgraber, Hartmut Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: coupled lasers ; shear-induced chaos ; laser synchronisation ; optical turbulence ; in-out and on-off intermittency ; Belyakov bifurcation ; equivariant bifurcation analysis