Observation of Kuznetsov-Ma soliton dynamics in optical fibre

The NLSE admits only few elementary analytic solutions, but one in particular describing a localized soliton on a finite background is of intense current interest in the context of understanding the physics of extreme waves. However, although the first solution of this type was the Kuznetzov-Ma (KM) soliton derived in 1977, there have in fact been no quantitative experiments confirming its validity. We report here novel experiments in optical fibre that confirm the KM soliton theory, completing an important series of experiments that have now observed a complete family of soliton on background solutions to the NLSE. Our results also show that KM dynamics appear more universally than for the specific conditions originally considered, and can be interpreted as an analytic description of Fermi-Pasta-Ulam recurrence in NLSE propagation.

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