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Fibre multi-wave mixing combs reveal the broken symmetry of Fermi–Pasta–Ulam recurrence

Abstract : Optical fibres constitute a unique ground to investigate one of the most prolific and controversial discovery of modern physics, namely the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam (FPU) recurrence , which becomes manifest as the growth and decay cycles of a comb of sideband pairs from a weakly modulated pump, occurring via modulational instability (MI). To date, however, the genuine spontaneous symmetry-breaking nature of the MI recurrence was never observed (in any area of physics) due to intrinsic limitations of the experimental realizations. In this work, we overcome such limitations by implementing a novel experimental technique which allows us to reconstruct the longitudinal evolution in amplitude and phase of frequency modes via heterodyne detection of the backscattered light. As a result, we clearly observe how the control of the input modulation seed results into qualitatively different types of FPU recursive behavior associated with the spontaneously broken symmetry.
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Arnaud Mussot, Corentin Naveau, Matteo Conforti, Alexandre Kudlinski, François Copie, et al.. Fibre multi-wave mixing combs reveal the broken symmetry of Fermi–Pasta–Ulam recurrence. Nature Photonics, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 12 (5), pp.303-308. ⟨10.1038/s41566-018-0136-1⟩. ⟨hal-02385106⟩



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