Quantum light exhibits pattern formation and non-equilibrium fluctuations. Non-equilibrium phase transitions and pattern formation are paradigms of complexity theory, and have been vigorously studied for several decades, mostly in condensed matter and fluid systems. They lead to such diverse phenomena as stripes in superconductors, convection rolls, and patches of vegetation growth in arid climates. Nonlinear optics is a fertile ground for observing spatially extended complexity, but for this goal the optical system must support many spatial modes. In this J. Opt. Soc. Am. B article, Dechoum et al. argue that the conditions for multimode operation have been achieved recently in optical parametric oscillators (OPOs), and proceed to study theoretically the consequence. They show that OPOs exhibit novel types of critical phenomena and pattern formation that do not readily arise in condensed matter or fluid systems, and that the critical fluctuations are weakly non-Gaussian. Unlike previously studied pattern forming systems, the fluctuations here are quantum rather than thermal, which means that they generate nonclassical light that the authors plan to study in a future work. This thought-provoking work is an important step in the emerging field of complex light.
You must log in
to add comments.