Emergent geometries and nonlinear-wave dynamics in photon fluids

Francesco Marino, C. Maitland, David Emanuel Frank Vocke, A. Ortolan, Daniele Franco Angelo Faccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Nonlinear waves in defocusing media are investigated in the framework of the hydrodynamic description of light as a photon fluid. The observations are interpreted in terms of an emergent curved spacetime generated by the waves themselves, which fully determines their dynamics. The spacetime geometry emerges naturally as a result of the nonlinear interaction between the waves and the self-induced background flow. In particular, as observed in real fluids, different points of the wave profile propagate at different velocities leading to the self-steepening of the wave front and to the formation of a shock. This phenomenon can be associated to a curvature singularity of the emergent metric. Our analysis offers an alternative insight into the problem of shock formation and provides a demonstration of an analogue gravity model that goes beyond the kinematic level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23282
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2016




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