We report what is to our knowledge the first clear-cut experimental evidence of the reversibility of modulational instability in dispersive Kerr media. It was possible to perform this experiment with standard telecommunication fiber because we used a specially designed 550-ps square-pulse laser source based on the two-wavelength configuration of a nonlinear optical loop mirror. Our observations demonstrate that reversibility is due to well-balanced and synchronous energy transfer among a significant number of spectral wave components. These results provide what we believe is the first evidence, in the field of nonlinear optics, of the universal Fermi–Pasta–Ulam recurrence phenomenon that has been predicted for a large number of conservative nonlinear systems, including those described by a nonlinear Schrödinger equation that is relevant to the context of the present study.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(060.4370) Fiber optics and optical communications : Nonlinear optics, fibers
(190.3100) Nonlinear optics : Instabilities and chaos
(190.4370) Nonlinear optics : Nonlinear optics, fibers
(190.4380) Nonlinear optics : Nonlinear optics, four-wave mixing
Gaetan Van Simaeys, Philippe Emplit, and Marc Haelterman, "Experimental study of the reversible behavior of modulational instability in optical fibers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 19, 477-486 (2002)