Understanding turbulent flows arising from random dispersive waves that interact strongly through nonlinearities is a challenging issue in physics. Here we report the observation of a novel characteristic transition: Strengthening the nonlocal character of the nonlinear response, drives the system from a fully turbulent regime featuring a sea of coherent small-scale dispersive shock-waves (‘shocklets’) towards the unexpected emergence of a giant collective incoherent shock wave. The front of such global incoherent shock carries most of the stochastic fluctuations and is responsible for a peculiar folding of the local spectrum. Nonlinear optics experiments performed in a solution of graphene nano-flakes clearly highlight this remarkable transition. Our observations shed new light on the role of long-range interactions in strongly nonlinear wave systems operating far from thermodynamic equilibrium, which reveals analogies with, e.g., gravitational systems, and establishes a new scenario that can be common to many turbulent flows in photonic quantum fluids, hydrodynamics and Bose-Einstein condensates.
Xu, G., Vocke, D. E. F., Faccio, D. F. A., Garnier, J., Roger, T., Trillo, S., & Picozzi, A. (2015). From coherent shocklets to giant collective incoherent shock waves in nonlocal turbulent flows. Nature Communications, 6, . https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9131