Breather molecular complexes in a passively mode-locked fiber laser

Junsong Peng, Zihan Zhao, Sonia Boscolo, Christophe Finot, Srikanth Sugavanam, Dmitry Churkin, Heping Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breathing solitons are nonlinear waves in which the energy concentrates in a localized and oscillatory fashion. Similarly to stationary solitons, breathers in dissipative systems can form stable bound states displaying molecule-like dynamics, which are frequently called breather molecules. So far, the experimental observation of optical breather molecules and the real-time detection of their dynamics are limited to diatomic molecules, that is, bound states of only two breathers. In this work, the observation of different types of breather complexes in a mode-locked fiber laser: multibreather molecules, and molecular complexes originating from the binding of two breather-pair molecules or a breather pair molecule and a single breather is reported. The intermolecular temporal separation of the molecular complexes attains several hundreds of picoseconds, which is more than an order of magnitude larger than that of their stationary soliton counterparts and is a signature of long-range interactions. Numerical simulations of the laser model support the experimental findings. Moreover, nonequilibrium dynamics of breathing solitons are also observed, including breather collisions and annihilation. This work opens the possibility of studying the dynamics of many-body systems in which breathers are the elementary constituents.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2000132
Number of pages8
JournalLaser and Photonics Reviews
Issue number7
Early online date9 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Peng, J., Zhao, Z., Boscolo, S., Finot, C., Sugavanam, S., Churkin, D. V., Zeng, H., Breather Molecular Complexes in a Passively Mode-Locked Fiber Laser. Laser & Photonics Reviews 2021, 2000132, which has been published in final form at  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

Funding: National Key Research and Development Program. Grant Number: 2018YFB0407100
National Natural Science Foundation of China. Grant Numbers: 62022033, 12074122, 11621404, 11727812
Shanghai Education Commission. Grant Number: 2017-01-07-00-05-E00021
Science and Technology Innovation Program of Basic Science Foundation of Shanghai. Grant Number: 18JC1412000
Shanghai Rising-Star Program


  • breathers
  • mode locking
  • ultrafast fiber lasers


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