Modulation instability is a fundamental process of nonlinear physics, leading to the unstable breakup of a constant amplitude solution of a particular physical system. There has been particular interest in studying modulation instability in the cubic nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLSE) which models a wide range of nonlinear systems including superfluids, fiber optics, plasmas and Bose-Einstein condensates. Modulation instability in the NLSE is also a significant current area of study in the context of understanding the emergence of high amplitude or high intensity events that satisfy "rogue wave" statistical criteria. Here, exploiting recent advances in real time ultrafast optical metrology via an optical time lens system, we perform real-time measurements in an NLSE optical fibre system of the unstable breakup of a continuous wave field, simultaneously characterising emergent modulation instability breathers, and their associated statistics. Our results allow quantitative comparison between experiment, modelling, and theory, and we show very good agreement in both extracted intensity profiles and associated statistics.
John M. Dudley, Mikko Närhi, Benjamin Wetzel, Cyril Billet, Jean-Marc Merolla, Shanti Toenger, Thibaut Sylvestre, Roberto Morandotti, Goëry Genty, and Frédéric Dias, "Real time measurements of spontaneous breathers generated by modulation instability in optical fibre (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10089, Real-time Measurements, Rogue Phenomena, and Single-Shot Applications II, 1008906 (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 30, 2017; Published: 21 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2250046.5387835758001.
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