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Solitons as quantum objects
Martine Le Berre (CNRS)

30 juin 2007

In most physical situations solitons in optical fibers behave like classical (non quantum) objects because they are made of a large number of photons. Nevertheless there exist quantum effects without classical counterpart, like the tunneling under a potential barrier.
We investigate one possible realization of such a quantum tunneling with solitons as basic entities. Specifically, we consider a soliton propagating in two linearly coupled fibers that are assumed identical. It has been known for some time that, at small enough coupling, asymetric soliton only can propagate and be stable. The amplitude of such an asymmetric soliton is predominantly in either fiber and remains on the same side forever classically.
This makes, for a given energy, two possible states obtained by permutation of the two fibers. In the quantum version of the same problem, these two solitons merge into a single quantum state sharing a quantum amplitude spread between the two fibers, because of the possibility of (emph/quantum)tunneling from one fiber to the other. Orders of magnitude relevant for a possible physical application are given.

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