Fortunato Tito Arecchi

Deterministic chaos in optics

1978: Theoretical introduction of a mechanism of laser turbulence[62], consisting in a cavity including a lasing medium and a second harmonic crystal. A pair of laser photons are converted to a second harmonic photon and this photon is reconverted into a pair of laser photons of different frequencies, thus inducing a type of chaos observed later (in 1986).
1982: First experimental evidence of deterministic chaos in a laser[92], starting a research line the main results of which are:

  1. 1982-87: characterization of low dimensional laser chaos by different means, that is, loss modulation, injection of an external field, two counter propagating fields in a ring cavity, and feedback[112,122,135].
  2. 1982: first evidence of generalized multistability, that is, the coexistence of many attractors[92].
  3. 1984: classification of lasers in classes A,B,C depending on the time scales of their dynamical variables[112]. This classification has now become of general use.
  4. 1987: evidence of the mechanism of competing instabilities[143] leading to homoclinic chaos (Shil'nikov chaos) characterized by the statistics of the return times to a given reference point in phase space[160]. Characterizing chaos by times rather than by geometry is conceptually similar to what done in transient statistics and it is an essential tool whenever chaos does not induce appreciable geometric irregularities, as in most heteroclinic connections; synchronization of homoclinic chaos appears as a universal avenue for biological clocks and biological communication[334].
  5. 1993: adaptive recognition of chaos and its control[223].


[Cooperative effects in quantum optics]  [Photon statistics and laser fluctuations]  [Pattern formation in extended media]  [Complex phenomena and cognitive processes]