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Developing mathematical theories of the physical world: Open Access research on fluid dynamics from Strathclyde

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Two-dimensional front dynamics and spatial solitons in a nonlinear optical system

Ackemann, T. and Pesch, M. and Lange, W. and Gomila, D. and Firth, W.J. and Oppo, G.L. (2007) Two-dimensional front dynamics and spatial solitons in a nonlinear optical system. Physical Review Letters, 99. ISSN 0031-9007

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Two-dimensional fronts and coarsening dynamics with a t1/2 power law are analyzed experimentally and theoretically in a nonlinear optical system of a sodium vapor cell with single-mirror feedback. Modifications of the t1/2 power law are observed in the vicinity of a modulational instability leading to the formation of spatial solitons of different sizes. The experimental and numerical observations give direct evidence for the locking of fronts as the mechanism of soliton formation. A phenomenological equation for the dynamics of the domain radius explains the observed behavior.