Spatial optical solitons in waveguide arrays

Andrey A. Sukhorukov*, Yuri S. Kivshar, Hagai S. Eisenberg, Yaron Silberberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


We overview theoretical and experimental results on spatial optical solitons excited in arrays of nonlinear waveguides. First, we briefly summarize the basic properties of the discrete nonlinear Schrödinger (NLS) equation frequently employed to study spatially localized modes in arrays, the so-called discrete solitons. Then, we introduce an improved analytical model that describes a periodic structure of thin-film nonlinear waveguides embedded into an otherwise linear dielectric medium. Such a model of waveguide arrays goes beyond the discrete NLS equation and allows studying many new features of the nonlinear dynamics in arrays, including the complete bandgap spectrum, modulational instability of extended modes, different types of gap solitons, the mode oscillatory instability, the instability-induced soliton dynamics, etc. Additionally, we summarize the recent experimental results on the generation and steering of spatial solitons and diffraction management in waveguide arrays. We also demonstrate that many effects associated with the dynamics of discrete gap solitons can be observed in a binary waveguide array. Finally, we discuss the important concept of two-dimensional (2-D) networks of nonlinear waveguides, not yet verified experimentally, which provides a roadmap for the future developments of this field. In particular, 2-D networks of nonlinear waveguides may allow a possibility of realizing useful functional operations with discrete solitons such as blocking, routing, and time gating.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)31-50
Number of pages20
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received March 2, 2002; revised August 5, 2002. This work was supported in part by the Australian Research Council and the U.S. Air Force Far East (AROFE) Office. A. A. Sukhorukov and Yu. S. Kivshar are with the Nonlinear Physics Group, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia. H. S. Eisenberg and Y. Silberberg are with the Department of Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel. Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/JQE.2002.806184


  • Bloch oscillations
  • Bloch waves
  • Coupled-mode theory
  • Diffraction management
  • Discrete diffraction
  • Gap solitons
  • Modulational instability
  • Optical waveguide networks
  • Spatial solitons
  • Waveguide arrays


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