A population-competition model for analyzing transverse optical patterns including optical control and structural anisotropy

Y. C. Tse, Chris K.P. Chan, M. H. Luk, N. H. Kwong, P. T. Leung, R. Binder, Stefan Schumacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We present a detailed study of a low-dimensional population-competition (PC) model suitable for analysis of the dynamics of certain modulational instability patterns in extended systems. The model is applied to analyze the transverse optical exciton-polariton patterns in semiconductor quantum well microcavities. It is shown that, despite its simplicity, the PC model describes quite well the competitions among various two-spot and hexagonal patterns when four physical parameters, representing density saturation, hexagon stabilization, anisotropy, and switching beam intensity, are varied. The combined effects of the last three parameters are given detailed considerations here. Although the model is developed in the context of semiconductor polariton patterns, its equations have more general applicability, and the results obtained here may benefit the investigation of other pattern-forming systems. The simplicity of the PC model allows us to organize all steady state solutions in a parameter space 'phase diagram'. Each region in the phase diagram is characterized by the number and type of solutions. The main numerical task is to compute inter-region boundary surfaces, where some steady states either appear, disappear, or change their stability status. The singularity types of the boundary points, given by Catastrophe theory, are shown to provide a simple geometric overview of the boundary surfaces. With all stable and unstable steady states and the phase boundaries delimited and characterized, we have attained a comprehensive understanding of the structure of the four-parameter phase diagram. We analyze this rich structure in detail and show that it provides a transparent and organized interpretation of competitions among various patterns built on the hexagonal state space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083054
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 27 2015


  • modulational instabilities
  • pattern competitions
  • semiconductor microcavities
  • steady state phase diagrams
  • switching control and anisotropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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