Optical analogues of the Newton-Schrödinger equation and boson star evolution

Thomas Roger, Calum Maitland - Warne, Kali Wilson, Niclas Westerberg, David Emanuel Frank Vocke, Ewan M. Wright, Daniele Franco Angelo Faccio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Many gravitational phenomena that lie at the core of our understanding of the Universe have not yet been directly observed. An example in this sense is the boson star that has been proposed as an alternative to some compact objects currently interpreted as being black holes. In the weak field limit, these stars are governed by the Newton-Schrodinger equation. Here we present an optical system that, under appropriate conditions, identically reproduces such equation in two dimensions. A rotating boson star is experimentally and numerically modelled by an optical beam propagating through a medium with a positive thermal nonlinearity and is shown to oscillate in time while also stable up to relatively high densities. For higher densities, instabilities lead to an apparent breakup of the star, yet coherence across the whole structure is maintained. These results show that optical analogues can be used to shed new light on inaccessible gravitational objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13492
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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