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Dissipative Solitons and Similaritons: New Nonlinear Waves Enable High-Performance Fiber Lasers

Dr. Frank Wise, Department of Applied Physics, Cornell University

Thursday, April 4, 2013
3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sloan Auditorium

The femtosecond lasers that underlie ultrafast science and technology are based on solitons — pulses that balance anomalous dispersion and nonlinearity.  Solitons offer attractive features, but their energy is limited, and this limitation is particularly challenging in fiber lasers. Recently, a new class of pulses that form with normal dispersion has been identified.  These are referred to as dissipative solitons. Short-pulse fiber lasers based on them generate pulses with 30 times the energy of prior fiber lasers, and much-higher energies may be possible.  Dissipative-soliton lasers thus compete with, and can even exceed, the performance of solid-state lasers. Theoretical and experimental results on dissipative-soliton lasers will be presented. 
Dissipative processes can also be used to stabilize self-similar evolution of parabolic pulses (similaritons) in a laser. In contrast to dissipative solitons, similaritons exhibit strong temporal and spectral breathing as they traverse the laser.  Similaritons are nonlinear attractors in gain fiber, and ways to exploit this property will be discussed. 
Dissipative-soliton and similariton lasers offer high performance with simple designs, and so should have significant impact on ultrafast science in the future. 

Frank Wise received a BS in Engineering Physics from Princeton University, an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and a PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell University.  Before PhD studies at Cornell, he worked on silicon integrated circuits at Bell Laboratories.  Since receiving the PhD in 1989, he has been on the faculty in Applied Physics at Cornell. From 2007 to 2011 he served as Director of the School of Applied and Engineering Physics.