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Section: Application Domains

Laser physics

Laser physics considers the propagation over long space (or time) scales of high frequency waves. Typically, one has to deal with the propagation of a wave having a wavelength of the order of 10 -6 m, over distances of the order 10 -2 m to 10 4 m. In these situations, the propagation produces both a short-scale oscillation and exhibits a long term trend (drift, dispersion, nonlinear interaction with the medium, or so), which contains the physically important feature. For this reason, one needs to develop ways of filtering the irrelevant high-oscillations, and to build up models and/or numerical schemes that do give information on the long-term behavior. In other terms, one needs to develop high-frequency models and/or high-frequency schemes.

This task has been partially performed in the context of a contract with Alcatel, in that we developed a new numerical scheme to discretize directly the high-frequency model derived from physical laws.

Generally speaking, the demand in developing such models or schemes in the context of laser physics, or laser/matter interaction, is large. It involves both modeling and numerics (description of oscillations, structure preserving algorithms to capture the long-time behaviour, etc).

In a very similar spirit, but at a different level of modelling, one would like to understand the very coupling between a laser propagating in, say, a fiber, and the atoms that build up the fiber itself.

The standard, quantum, model in this direction is called the Bloch model: it is a Schrödinger like equation that describes the evolution of the atoms, when coupled to the laser field. Here the laser field induces a potential that acts directly on the atom, and the link bewteeen this potential and the laser itself is given by the so-called dipolar matrix, a matrix made up of physical coefficients that describe the polarization of the atom under the applied field.

The scientific objective here is twofold. First, one wishes to obtain tractable asymptotic models that average out the high oscillations of the atomic system and of the laser field. A typical phenomenon here is the resonance between the field and the energy levels of the atomic system. Second, one wishes to obtain good numerical schemes in order to solve the Bloch equation, beyond the oscillatory phenomena entailed by this model.