Observation of Photon Droplets and Their Dynamics

Kali E. Wilson, Niclas Westerberg, Manuel Valiente, Callum W. Duncan, Ewan M. Wright, Patrik Öhberg, Daniele Faccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We present experimental evidence of photon droplets in an attractive (focusing) nonlocal nonlinear medium. Photon droplets are self-bound, finite-sized states of light that are robust to size and shape perturbations due to a balance of competing attractive and repulsive forces. It has recently been shown theoretically, via a multipole expansion of the nonlocal nonlinearity, that the self-bound state arises due to competition between the s-wave and d-wave nonlinear terms, together with diffraction. The theoretical photon droplet framework encompasses both a solitonlike stationary ground state and the nonsolitonlike dynamics that ensue when the system is displaced from equilibrium, i.e., driven into an excited state. We present numerics and experiments supporting the existence of these photon droplet states and measurements of the dynamical evolution of the photon droplet orbital angular momentum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133903
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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