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Calorimetry of photon gases in nonlinear multimode optical fibers

M. FerraroF. ManginiF. O. WuM. ZitelliD. N. ChristodoulidesS. Wabnitz
Dec 2022
摘要
Because of their massless nature, photons do not interact in linear opticalmedia. However, light beam propagation in nonlinear media permits to break thisparadigm, and makes it possible to observe photon-photon interactions. Based onthis principle, a beam of light propagating in a nonlinear multimode opticalsystem can be described as a gas of interacting particles. As a consequence,the spatio-temporal evolution of this photon gas is expressed in terms ofmacroscopic thermodynamic variables, e.g., temperature and chemical potential.Moreover, the gas evolution is subject to experiencing typical thermodynamicphenomena, such as thermalization. The meaning of thermodynamic variablesassociated with the photon gas must not be confused with their classicalcounterparts, e.g., the gas temperature cannot be measured by means of standardthermometers. Although the thermodynamic parameters of a multimode photon gasresult from a rigorous mathematical derivation, their physical meaning is stillunclear. In this work, we report on optical calorimetric measurements, whichexploit nonlinear beam propagation in multimode optical fibers. Our resultsshow that, indeed, heat only flows from a hot to a cold photon gas subsystem.This provides an unequivocal demonstration that nonlinear multimode wavepropagation phenomena are governed by the second law of thermodynamics. Inaddition to be fundamental, our findings provide a new approach tolight-by-light activated management of laser beams.
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