Water dam breaking (or dam failure) triggered by the nature disasters such as earthquakes or heavy rainfall can cause huge damage in terms of human lives and properties. Not only for realizing its formation process to evaluate the potential consequences, but also because of the intrinsic rich mathematical and numerical interest, this classical problem has attracted a lot of attention [1-3]. However, clear and accurate experimental investigations are still lacking. In this communication, based on our previous observation of dispersive shock waves (DSW) [4], we revisited the classical dam-breaking problem in nonlinear fiber optics. We studied the propagation of a short optical pulse with an intensity-jump in a dispersion compensating fiber (DCF) that mimics water height jump in hydrodynamics. A sketch of the experimental setup is shown in Fig.1 (a). We used an electro-optical modulator to generate a step like pulse of 1 ns duration with a background level equals to 15% of the powerful part of the pulse (Fig. 1 (c)). It is then amplified in an erbium doped fiber amplifier to reach 0.6 W peak power and launched inside a DCF whose parameters are listed in Fig. 1’s caption. Linear losses of the fiber are almost totally compensated by launching a counter-propagating Raman pump at 1480 nm. The intensity profile at the output of this lossless DCF has been recorded by using an optical sampling oscilloscope, as shown in Fig.1 (e). We clearly see that the optical dam decays into a pair of oppositely propagating DSW (on the left) and rarefaction wave (RW, on the right), separated by a short plateau between them.

© 2017 IEEE

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