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Title: Self-induced transparency solitons in nanophotonic waveguides
Author: Pusch, Andreas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 4961
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the existence and properties of self-induced transparency (SIT) solitons in nanophotonic waveguides. SIT solitons are shape-preserving solutions of the semi-classical Maxwell-Bloch equations, a system of nonlinearly coupled differential equations. In a first investigation, collisions of counterpropagating simultons (SIT solitons in absorbing three-level systems) are studied numerically in the plane-wave approximation and a polarisation- and group-velocity dependent soliton birth is uncovered. Apart from their fundamental interest, such light-light interaction effects may be of use for optical computing applications if they can be transferred to tightly confined light pulses. Confining light is usually achieved by using dielectric waveguides that exhibit group velocity dispersion leading to chirped pulses, which experience absorption when entering an absorbing medium. If the chirp is strong enough and the pulse intense enough, they can even completely invert an absorber. When investigating chirped pulse propagation through a dense ensemble of two-level system it is found that the chirped pulses dynamically reshape into unchirped pulses experiencing transparency. Furthermore, the conditions on the waveguide geometry to enable SIT are analysed, identifying a nanophotonic slot waveguide with a low-index gap, exhibiting high electric field enhancement and a homogeneous field profile, as the ideal candidate system for guided SIT solitons. This analysis is supported by two-dimensional numerical calculations that show the solitary character is maintained during propagation if the absorber density is high enough to ensure a slow-down of the pulse and to thus counteract the waveguide dispersion. Finally, the soliton birth due to simulton collisions and optical memory schemes proposed for plane-wave SIT are investigated in the two-dimensional slot waveguide and found to also be possible in this geometry.
Supervisor: Hess, Ortwin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral