Abstract

The appearance of rare but extremely powerful optical waves in a nonlinear fiber supercontinuum (SC) provided a surprising laboratory analogy of rogue waves [1]. The concept arises from a mysterious phenomenon of oceanic surfaces and appeared to be a ubiquitous phenomenon in nonlinear wave propagation. While there is a set of unified defining criteria for rogue waves across various physical systems, explanations for the appearance of giant waves often rely on nonlinear mechanisms peculiar to the individual case, e.g., the Raman effect in optics. Here we argue that nonlinear wave interaction between solitons and the low-level background radiation in the SC generation process leads to giant pulses with all signatures of rogue waves. The underlying generation mechanism refers to a reflection process between pulses that originates from the wave blocking effect in fluid dynamics and requires only generic preconditions. In optics it has been demonstrated first in the “optical push broom effect” in a fiber Bragg grating [2] and is also at the heart of the so-called optical event horizon [3,4].

© 2013 IEEE

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