Harnessing nonlinear dynamics for applications in high speed information processing
Wishon, Michael Joseph Doumit
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External-cavity lasers (ECLs) are characterized by nonlinear dynamics created when a laser is subjected to optical feedback from a distant reflector. ECLs were studied using comprehensive experiments by simultaneously probing all three dynamic system variables (optical intensity, optical phase, and carrier dynamics) in real-time as the level of light being re-injected into the laser was varied. Specifically, as the level of light increases ECLs transition from constant behavior to deterministic chaos. We characterized the different bifurcation mechanisms which occur during this transition to chaos. We exploited this knowledge to optimize applications (neuromorphic computing, random number generation, microwave oscillation generation, and optical imaging/detection). In practice we observed, faster and more accurate computing, a superior novel entropy source for random number generation, a simple stable X-band tunable microwave oscillator, and a simple compact detector.