Andrey A. Sukhorukov, Zhiyong Xu, Yuri S. Kivshar

We reveal a generic connection between the effect of time-reversals and nonlinear wave dynamics in systems with parity-time (PT) symmetry, considering a symmetric optical coupler with balanced gain and loss where these effects can be readily observed experimentally. We show that for intensities below a threshold level, the amplitudes oscillate between the waveguides, and the effects of gain and loss are exactly compensated after each period due to {periodic time-reversals}. For intensities above a threshold level, nonlinearity suppresses periodic time-reversals leading to the symmetry breaking and a sharp beam switching to the waveguide with gain. Another nontrivial consequence of linear PT-symmetry is that the threshold intensity remains the same when the input intensities at waveguides with loss and gain are exchanged.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.5428

Optics (physics.optics)