Chaos in Microlasers

Würzburg physicists have created a microlaser with unique properties. They have also succeeded in making the laser behave chaotically. In future, it may be possible to use this for a new, secure form of data transmission.

Triggering chaotic behavior in the microcosm: this is what Stephan Reitzenstein and his team from the Institute of Physics at the University of Würzburg have achieved in collaboration with their Israeli colleague Ido Kanter, as reported on in the latest issue of the journal “Nature Communications”. Using a tiny laser, the researchers continually sent a fraction of the emitted light back into the laser, throwing the light emission process “out of kilter”. The microlaser then started emitting light particles (photons) in a chaotic pulse sequence.

“This chaos is extremely interesting from a fundamental physics point of view,” explains Reitzenstein. But the targeted feedback also offers application possibilities, he adds. “It might be used in the future for optical amplifiers and switches. In addition, the negative feedback of two microlasers over a long distance is likely to provide synchronization of the chaotic pulse sequence, enabling the realization of a new, secure form of data transmission.”

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