Fluid dynamics of Light
Speaker: Jason Fleischer, Department of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University
Series: MAE Departmental Seminars
Location: Friend Center Auditorium 101
Date/Time: Friday, September 21, 2012, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Fluid dynamics inspired the original wave theories of light, while optical language naturally describes the refraction and diffraction of fluids. These parallels are exploited often in theory but rarely in experiment. Here, the mapping is completed rigorously. Using laser light in a nonlinear crystal, we experimentally observe ideal fluid behavior, including dispersive shock waves, hydrodynamic instabilities, and wave turbulence. These dispersive waves appear whenever viscosity is negligible, e.g. in undular bores, superfluids, and plasmas, but they are far easier to demonstrate in optics. Initial conditions can be created simply and dynamics can be imaged directly, enabling observation of (internal) transport behavior that is difficult, if not impossible, to see in material fluids. Successes and limitations of optical hydrodynamics will be discussed, and potential applications will be given.
Jason Fleischer obtained his B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1993 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1999, both in physics. Following this, he was a Lady Davis Postdoctoral Fellow at the Technion-Israel Institute for Technology. He has been at Princeton since 2004, where he is now an Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering.