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Accueil > Séminaires > Archive des séminaires d’Utinam > 2014

John Dudley

Extreme events in nature, rogue wave in optics

mercredi 12 février 2014, 14h00

salle de conférences de l’observatoire

John Dudley, Département d’Optique P. M. Duffiieux, FEMTO-ST

médaille d’argent du CNRS 2013

Résumé :

A central challenge in understanding extreme events in physics is to develop rigorous models linking the complex generation dynamics and the associated statistical behaviour. Quantitative studies of extreme phenomena, however, are often hampered in two ways :
(i) the intrinsic scarcity of the events under study and
(ii) the fact that such events often appear in environments where measurements are difficult.

A particular case of interest concerns the infamous oceanic rogue or freak waves that have been associated with many catastrophic maritime disasters. Studying rogue waves under controlled conditions is problematic, and the phenomenon remains a subject of intensive research. On the other hand, there are many qualitative and quantitative links between wave propagation in optics and in hydrodynamics, because a nonlinearly-induced refractive index perturbation to an optical material behaves like a moving fluid and is described mathematically by the same propagation equation as nonlinear waves on deep water. In this context, significant experiments have been reported in optics over the last two years, where advanced measurement techniques have been used to quantify the appearance of extreme localised optical fields that have been termed "optical rogue waves". The analogy between the appearance of localized structures in optics and the rogue waves on the ocean’s surface is both intriguing and attractive, as it opens up possibilities to explore the extreme value dynamics in a convenient benchtop optical environment. The purpose of this talk will be to discuss these results that have been obtained in optics, and to consider both the similarities and the differences with oceanic rogue wave counterparts. The talk will provide suitable introduction to specialist aspects of ocean physics and optics, and will be accessible to non-specialists.