Modulational-induced optical pattern formation in a passive optical-feedback system

J. V. Moloney, H. Adachihara, R. Indik, C. Lizarraga, R. Northcutt, D. W. Mc Laughlin, A. C. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Two-dimensional metastable patterns can appear randomly across a broad laser beam profile in a passive optical ring cavity. The instability responsible for pattern formation is primarily modulational in nature, leading to a competitive interaction between strongly saturated solitary-wave ringlike and filamentary spatial structures. The complexity of pattern formation depends sensitively on saturated filament density, which can be conveniently controlled in an optical-feedback arrangement. Our preliminary computational results suggest that the instability domain can be partitioned into two general categories: (1) rapid modulational growth to a single stationary filament or a long-lived metastable pattern involving five filaments growing directly from a shelflike ridge about the central filament or (2) a significantly slower formation of localized filaments forming primarily from a slow modulational growth on fully developed saturated solitary-wave rings. One-dimensional computations with a retarded material response indicate that the general trend of unstable formation should be relatively insensitive to finite retardation effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1044
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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