Pressure, Surface Tension, and Dripping of Self-Trapped Laser Beams


We show that a laser beam which propagates through an optical medium with Kerr (focusing) and higher order (defocusing) nonlinearities displays pressure and surface-tension properties yielding capillarity and dripping effects totally analogous to usual liquid droplets. The system is reinterpreted in terms of a thermodynamic grand potential, allowing for the computation of the pressure and surface tension beyond the usual hydrodynamical approach based on Madelung transformation and the analogy with the Euler equation. We then show both analytically and numerically that the stationary soliton states of such a light system satisfy the Young-Laplace equation and that the dynamical evolution through a capillary is described by the same law that governs the growth of droplets in an ordinary liquid system

Physical Review Letters 103, 023903 (2009)
David Novoa
David Novoa
Ikerbasque Research Fellow & Visiting Professor