New research uses optical solitons in lasers to explore naturally-occurring supramolecules


a Sketch of the speculative set-up; the inset reveals a scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the photonic crystal fiber microstructure. The supramolecular soliton series propagating in this fiber laser cavity drives an acoustic resonance in the PCF core, producing an optomechanical lattice. Each system of the optomechanical lattice can accommodate several solitons. EDF erbium-doped fiber, WDM wavelength-division multiplexer, LD laser diode, OC output coupler, FPC fiber polarization controller, TA tunable attenuator, ISO isolator. b Within each system of the optomechanical lattice, a long-range optomechanical force of tourist attraction develops in between the solitons. c A completing force of repulsion appears due to dispersive wave perturbations. The inset reveals a normal soliton spectrum with 2 Kelly sidebands of unequal strengths. d Competition in between these 2 long-range forces forms a temporal capacity, trapping the 2nd soliton. e Stable multi-soliton systems can form through the cascaded accumulation of trapping capacities. f The timing jitter of a private soliton in a supramolecule is comparable to the thermal movement of a single particle caught in a harmonic capacity. Credit: Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13746-6

Curtis Menyuk, teacher of computer system science and electrical engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), has actually teamed up with a group directed by Philip Russell at the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPI) in Erlangen, Germany, to gain insight into naturally-occurring molecular systems utilizing optical solitons in lasers. Optical solitons are packages of light that are bound together and move at a consistent speed without altering shape. This work, released in Nature Communications, was started while Menyuk was a Humboldt Senior Research Fellow in the Russell Division at MPI.


Solitons are common in nature, and a tsunami wave is an example of a naturally-occuring soliton. Optical solitons in lasers have various applications and are utilized to step frequencies with extraordinary precision. In specific, they have actually been utilized to step time, boost GPS technology, and spot far-off worlds.

Optical solitons can be securely bound to each other in lasers to make soliton particles that are comparable to natural particles, which include covalently-bound atoms. Menyuk and his MPI associates have actually shown experimentally that this idea can be extended to develop optical supramolecules.

Optical supramolecules are big, complicated varieties of weakly bound optical particles that are comparable to naturally-occurring supramolecules, which are weakly bound by non-covalent bonds. Naturally-occurring supramolecules are utilized to chemically shop and control details that biological systems require to function. These supramolecules are understood to play a basic function in biochemistry, especially in “host-guest” chemistry, which explains 2 or more particles that are held together structurally by forces besides covalent bonds.

The work of Menyuk and his partners combined these 2 hairs of relatively unassociated idea: optical solitons and supramolecules. The research group revealed that it is possible to shop and control details that is encoded in the setup of solitons that comprise an optical supramolecule.

“Bringing together ideas from two apparently unrelated areas of science is one of the most powerful tools that engineers have for making progress,” Menyuk states.

Optical analogs to other physical and naturally-occurring systems have actually played an essential function in boosting our understanding of these systems, and this understanding can lead to new applications. By simulating the procedures that biological systems utilize in a massive laser system that can be controlled and comprehended with relative ease, Menyuk and his associates hope to acquire a much better understanding of those systems and unlock to new biomimetic applications.


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More details:
W. He et al, Formation of optical supramolecular structures in a fiber laser by customizing long-range soliton interactions, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13746-6

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