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Experimental observation of the spontaneous breaking of the time-reversal symmetry in a synchronously pumped passive Kerr resonator

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Abstract

We experimentally observe a spontaneous temporal symmetry breaking instability in a coherently driven passive optical Kerr resonator. Using a time-symmetric configuration, we report output pulses with strongly asymmetric temporal and spectral intensity profiles, with up to 71% of the energy on the same side of the pump center frequency. The instability occurs above a certain pump power threshold but remarkably vanishes above a second threshold, in excellent agreement with theory. We also observe a generalized bistability in which an asymmetric output state coexists with a symmetric one in the same pumping conditions.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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