Moore Foundation grantees at the California Institute of Technology have discovered a new type of optical soliton wave that travels in the wake of other soliton waves, hitching a ride on and feeding off of the energy of the other wave.
Solitons are localized waves that act like particles: as they travel across space, they hold their shape and form rather than dispersing as other waves do.
In addition to water waves, solitons can occur as light waves. Vahala's team studies light solitons by having them recirculate indefinitely in micrometer-scale circular circuits called optical microcavities. Solitons have applications in the creation of highly accurate optical clocks, and can be used in microwave oscillators that are used for navigation and radar systems, among other things.
Led by Caltech's Kerry Vahala, these researchers are part of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, designed to unite Caltech scientists studying quantum matter, quantum light, quantum nano-mechanics and quantum information science.
Read the full article here.