Brief written documentation of Luigi Lugiato's work#


The work of Luigi Lugiato in the field of Optics started in the mid seventies. He contributed to the developments, and not seldom to the birth, of several topics in the broad fields of Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Optics. His research work has been theoretical, but it stimulated a large number of experiments in several laboratories in the world. It is also characterized by combining the classical and the quantum aspects of optical systems.

His work has mainly a basic research connotation but it is constantly aimed to well definite applicative impacts

Luigi Lugiato's major achievements can be outlined as it follows.#


Optical bistability
  • With a paper in Optics Communications in 76 coauthored with Bonifacio [1], he started the construction of a theory of optical bistability, for which he developed both the semiclassical the quantum aspects, focussing especially on its dynamical and statistical features [2], [3], [4]. This theory impacted rather broadly the communities of Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Optics. In particular, he predicted the phenomenon of critical slowing down [4] which was subsequently observed in several laboratories and, later on, the phenomenon of transient bimodality [9] which was then observed by Lange and Mlynek.
  • His work on optical bistability had an impact also on the field of Cavity QED, which has played a pivotal role in the framework of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, especially through the experimental investigations of Kimble.

Optical instabilities
  • The studies on optical bistability developed naturally in investigations in the field of optical instabilities [3], [7]. At that time, the topic of Chaos and related issues was a focus of attention in the scientific community and his group contributed to making optics a leading field in the vast interdisciplinary area of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems and Pattern Formation. In Optics, the nonlinearity arises from the fundamental interaction between light and matter.
  • He predicted the multimode and the singlemode instabilities of optical bistability, which were observed much later by Macke and by Kimble respectively; the results of these experiments were published in joint experimental-theoretical papers to which his group contributed [13], [14]. The same is true for the so-called phase instability of the multi-longitudinal-mode laser, experimentally observed by Tredicce [10].

Quantum effects in light

Another area which started around the late seventies was that of nonclassical states of the radiation field and squeezing. Lugiato introduced the linearization technique of quantum fluctuations, which was generally adopted in the studied of squeezing in nonlinear optical systems.

In 1980 he predicted the phenomenon of antibunching in optical bistability [5], in 1982 squeezing in optical bistability [6] and in 1983 squeezing in second harmonic generation (in the second harmonic itself) [8].

The experimental observations of photon antibunching and of squeezing in optical bistability were attained much later by Kimble in distinct experiments; squeezing in second harmonic generation was observed in a number of laboratories and especially by Mlynek and Schiller and, in the second harmonic itself, by Fabre.

Optical Pattern Formation and Cavity Solitons

The model which was then designated the Lugiato-Lefever model (1987, [11]) provided the prototype for optical pattern formation. Here spontaneous pattern formation was studied in “wave systems”, in which the phase plays a crucial role. This represented an intermediate step with respect to the transition of the concept of pattern formation to the realm of Quantum Physics in the framework of Bose Einstein Condensation (by other Authors) and also in Optics (see the following section Quantum aspects of optical patterns and Quantum Imaging)

In this framework, he predicted the phenomenon of cooperative frequency locking in lasers (1988, [12]), later observed by Tredicce [15], and described the appearance of optical vortices in lasers in joint papers with the experimental group of Weiss (1991, [16]).

Around half the nineties, these researches focussed on the topics of cavity solitons. He described techniques to control them [19] and predicted the possibility of generating them in semiconductor microcavities (1997, [21]). This prediction was experimentally confirmed by Tredicce in a joint experimental-theoretical paper in Nature [23]. These phenomena have attracted noteworthy attention because of the possibility of controlling the positions as well as the motion of cavity solitons. Such properties confer them flexibility and plasticity and make them ideal carriers of information. Applicative perspectives in the direction of optical information processing have been opened e.g. in [29]

Quantum aspects of optical patterns and Quantum Imaging
  • His researches in the nineties focussed naturally also on the quantum aspects of optical patterns and on the spatial aspects of squeezing [17].
  • In particular, he elaborated the concepts of quantum images [18], of spatial entanglement [20] and of quantum entangled images [22]. These results contributed to the birth of the new field of quantum imaging which exploits the quantum nature of light to develop novel techniques for imaging and parallel information processing. He participated in the first experimental observation of spatial entanglement [24], a result which opened the perspective of detecting faint objects with a sensitivity beyond the standard quantum limit. A recent article in Nature Photonics by Genovese and his group ( see also the associated News&Views) reports on the first experimental realization of this concept, which was theoretically formulated by his group [28].
  • Also, he contributed substantial progress to the topic of the so-called ghost imaging, which offers great potentialities with respect to standard imaging, for example the possibility of imaging objects located in optically harsh (difficult to be reached) or noisy environments. First, he extended the ghost imaging technique, realized by quantum entangled beams, to the high-gain regime of parametric down-conversion, showing that all the imaging and wave-particle duality aspects, which has been demonstrated in the microscopic case, persist in the macroscopic realm [25]. Second, he predicted theoretically [26] and demonstrated experimentally [27] that ghost imaging can be realized even by using classically correlated beams obtained by dividing a thermal-like beam with the help of a beam splitter. This result paves the way to the realization of practical applications of the ghost imaging concept under conditions in which standard imaging techniques are very likely to fail [30] .


[1] “Cooperative effects and bistability for resonance fluorescence”, R. Bonifacio and L. A. Lugiato, Opt. Commun. 19, 172 (1976)
[2] “Photon Statistics and Spectrum of Transmitted Light in Optical Bistability”, R. Bonifacio and L. A. Lugiato, Phys. Rev. Lett. 40, 1023 (1978)
[3] “Instabilities for a Coherently Driven Absorber in a Ring Cavity”, R. Bonifacio and L. A. Lugiato Lett. Nuovo Cimento 21, 510 (1978)
[4] “Optical Bistability and Cooperative Effects in Resonance Fluorescnce” R. Bonifacio and L. A. Lugiato, Phys Rev. A 18, 1129 (1978)
[5] “Antibunching in Absorptive Optical Bistability”, F. Casagrande and L. A. Lugiato, Nuovo Cimento B 55, 173 (1980)
[6] “On the squeezing obtainable in parametric oscillators and bistable absorption”, L. A. Lugiato and G. Strini, Opt. Commun. 41, 67 (1982)
[7] “Self-pulsing and chaos in a mean field model of optical bistability”, L. A. Lugiato, L.M. Narducci, D.K. Bandy e C.A. Pennise, Opt. Commun. 43, 281 (1982)
[8] “Squeezed states in second-harmonic generation”, L. A. Lugiato, G. Strini e F. De Martini, in Opt. Lett. 8, 256 (1983)
[9] “Transient noise induced optical bistability”, G. Broggi and L. A. Lugiato, Phys. Rev. A 29, 2949 (1984)
[10] “Mode-mode competition and unstable behavior in a homogeneously broadened ring laser”, L.M. Narducci, J.R. Tredicce, N.B. Abraham, L. A. Lugiato and D.K. Bandy, Phys. Rev. A 33, 1842 (1986)
[11] “Spatial Dissipative Structures in Passive Optical Systems “, L. A. Lugiato and R. Lefever, Phys. Rev. Lett. 58, 2209 (1987)
[12] “Cooperative frequency locking and stationary spatial structures in Lasers”, L. A. Lugiato, C. Oldano and L.M. Narducci, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 5, 879 (1988)
[13] “The multimode instability of optical bistability”, B. Macke, B. Segard, L. A. Lugiato, F. Prati and M. Brambilla, Phys. Rev. A 39, 703 (1989)
[14] “The singlemode instability of optical bistability”, L. Orozco, A. Rosenberger, H.J. Kimble, L. A. Lugiato, L. Asquini, M. Brambilla and L.M. Narducci, Phys. Rev. A 39, 1235 (1989)
[15] “Spatial and Temporal instabilities in a CO2 laser”, J. R. Tredicce, E.J. Quel, A.M. Ghazzawi, C. Green, M.A. Pernigo and L.M.Narducci, L. A. Lugiato, Phys. Rev. Lett. 62, 1274 (1989)
[16] “Transverse laser patterns.I. Phase singularity crystals”, M. Brambilla, F. Battipede, L. A. Lugiato, V. Penna, F. Prati, C.Tamm e C.O. Weiss, Phys. Rev. A 43, 5090 (1991)
[17] “Spatial Structure of a squeezed vacuum”, L. A. Lugiato and A.Gatti, Phys.Rev. Lett. 70. 3868 (1993)
[18] “Quantum images and critical fluctuations in the optical parametric oscillator below threshold”, A.Gatti and L. A. Lugiato, Phys Rev. A 52,1675(1995)
[19] “Formation and control of localized structures in nonlinear optical systems”, M. Brambilla, L. A. Lugiato and M. Stefani, Chaos 6, 368 (1996)
[20] “Spatial Quantum Signatures in Parametric Down-Conversion”, I. Marzoli, L. A. Lugiato and A. Gatti, Phys. Rev. Lett., 78 (11), 2092 (1997)
[21] “Spatial Solitons Pixel in Semiconductor Devices”, M. Brambilla, L. A. Lugiato,F. Prati, L. Spinelli and W.J. Firth, Physical Review Letters, 79 , 2042 (1997)
[22] “Quantum Entangled Images”, A. Gatti, E. Brambilla, L. A. Lugiato and M.I. Kolobov, Physical Review Letters 83, 1763 (1999)
[23] “Cavity solitons as pixels in semiconductor microcavities”, S. Barland, J. Tredicce, L. A. Lugiato, S. Balle, M. Giudici, T. Maggipinto, L. Spinelli, G. Tissoni, T. Knodl, M. Miller and R. Jäger, Nature, 419, 699 (2002)
[24] “ Detection of sub-shot-noise correlation in high-gain parametric down-conversion”, O. Jedrkiewicz, Y.K. Jiang, E. Brambilla, A. Gatti, M. Bache, L.A. Lugiato and P. Di Trapani, Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 243601 (2004)
[25] “Entangled Imaging and Wave-Particle Duality from the Microscopic to the Macroscopic Realm”, A. Gatti, E. Brambilla, L.A. Lugiato, Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 133603/1 (2003)
[26] “ Ghost imaging with thermal light: Comparing entanglement and classical correlation”, A. Gatti, E. Brambilla, M. Bache and L.A. Lugiato, Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 093602 (2004)
[27] “ High-resolution ghost image and ghost diffraction experiment with thermal light”, F. Ferri, D. Magatti, A. Gatti, M. Bache, E. Brambilla, and L.A.Lugiato, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 183602 (2005)
[28] “High sensitivity imaging with multi-mode twin beams”, E. Brambilla, L. Caspani, O. Jedrkiewicz, L.A.Lugiato and A. Gatti, Phys. Rev. A 77, 053807 ( 2008)
[29] “Microresonator Defects as Sources of Drifting Cavity Solitons”, E. Caboche, F. Pedaci, P.Genevet, S.Barland, M. Giudici, J. Tredicce, G. Tissoni and L.A. Lugiato, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 163901 (2009).
[30] “Differential Ghost Imaging”, F.Ferri, D.Magatti, L.A.Lugiato and A.Gatti, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 253603( 2010).

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