Double symmetry breaking of solitons in one-dimensional virtual photonic crystals

Yongyao Li*, Boris A. Malomed, Mingneng Feng, Jianying Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We demonstrate that spatial solitons undergo two consecutive spontaneous symmetry breakings (SSBs), with the increase of the total power, in nonlinear photonic crystals (PhCs) built as arrays of alternating linear and nonlinear stripes, in the case when the maxima of the effective refractive index coincide with the minima of the self-focusing coefficient and vice versa (i.e., the corresponding linear and nonlinear periodic potentials are in competition). This setting may be induced, as a virtual PhC, by means of the electromagnetically induced-transparency (EIT) technique, in a uniform optical medium. It may also be realized as a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) subject to the action of the combined periodic optical potential and periodically modulated Feshbach resonance. The first SSB happens at the center of a linear stripe, pushing a broad low-power soliton into an adjacent nonlinear stripe and gradually suppressing side peaks in the soliton's shape. Then the soliton restores its symmetry, being pinned to the midpoint of the nonlinear stripe. The second SSB occurs at higher powers, pushing the narrow soliton off the center of the nonlinear channel, while the soliton keeps its internal symmetry. The results are obtained by means of numerical and analytical methods. They may be employed to control switching of light beams by means of the varying power.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053832
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 23 May 2011


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