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Temporal optical solitons have been the subject of intense research due to their intriguing physics and applications in ultrafast optics and supercontinuum generation. Conventional bright optical solitons result from the interaction of anomalous group-velocity dispersion and self-phase modulation. Here we experimentally demonstrate a class of bright soliton arising purely from the interaction of negative fourth-order dispersion and self-phase modulation, which can occur even for normal group-velocity dispersion. We provide experimental and numerical evidence of shape-preserving propagation and flat temporal phase for the fundamental pure-quartic soliton and periodically modulated propagation for the higher-order pure-quartic solitons. We derive the approximate shape of the fundamental pure-quartic soliton and discover that is surprisingly Gaussian, exhibiting excellent agreement with our experimental observations. Our discovery, enabled by precise dispersion engineering, could find applications in communications, frequency combs and ultrafast lasers.
Blanco-Redondo , A , de Sterke , C M , Sipe , J E , Krauss , T F , Eggleton , B J & Husko , C 2016 , ' Pure-quartic solitons ' , Nature Communications , vol. 7 , 10427 . https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10427
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