Experiments reveal three-body physics when three soliton waves collide


Solitons are waves that behave like particles.
They remain localized, maintain their shape during propagation, bounce off each other, off obstacles, attract-repel, spiral, exchange energy, fuse together, and even decay into different solitons. In highly nonlinear and unstable conditions, solitons can also form spontaneously, in which case they are thought to be the precursors to optical turbulence, replica symmetry breaking, and the still not well understood rogue or freak waves.
One key feature of mechanics is that the behavior of three or more interacting bodies is unpredictable and chaotic. Do also three colliding solitons manifest an analogous transition to chaos?
A team from the Physics Department of Sapienza University and the Applied Physics Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has experimentally demonstrated that, as for corpuscular bodies, three colliding optical solitons lead to an irregular evolution that can best be described as soliton chaos. This finding, published in Physical Review Letters, further extends the analogy between soliton waves and particles and sheds light on the role of multiple collisions in complexity-driven optical behavior.

Evidence of Chaotic Dynamics in Three-Soliton Collisions- Feifei Xin, Fabrizio Di Mei, Ludovica Falsi, Davide Pierangeli, Claudio Conti, Aharon J. Agranat, and Eugenio DelRe
Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 133901 (2021) - https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.127.133901

Feifei Xin
Dipartimento di Fisica, Sapienza Università di Roma
T (+39) 0649913501

Eugenio DelRe
Dipartimento di Fisica, Sapienza Università di Roma
T (+39) 0649913501


L' Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma