We demonstrate weak and strong regimes of optical spatial turbulence by considering the nonlinear interaction of three partially coherent spatial beams. The geometry represents a multiple bump-on-tail instability, allowing an interpretation of nonlinear statistical light as a photonic plasma. For weak nonlinearity, we observe instability competition and sequential flattening of the bumps in momentum space, with no observable variations in position-space intensity. For strong nonlinearity, intensity modulations appear and the triple-hump spectrum merges into a single-peaked profile with an algebraic k-2 inertial range. This spectrum, with its associated modulations, is a definitive observation of soliton, or Langmuir, turbulence.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|State||Published - Dec 24 2008|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics