Freakotonics

Slightly noisy signals can turn into rare large spikes in an optical fiber’s output, in much the same way as unpredictable weather conditions occasionally create monstrous, isolated oceanic waves, researchers have found.

The new technique for creating such “rogue waves” in the lab might help physicists understand them as a general phenomenon, in the hope of predicting the risks for vessels at sea.

A rogue wave will appear “at a random location, at a random time,” says Bahram Jalali, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who developed an interest in rogue waves while spending time on his 36-foot sailboat.

(Read the rest of my article on the Science News web site (password required))

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