The LANER: optical networks as complex lasers

Giovanni Giacomelli
Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi -CNR, via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto, Firenze (Italy)
We present the main features of a recently introduced system capable of laser action: the complex active optical network, or lasing network (LANER). The system is experimentally realized with optical fibers linked each other with couplers and with one or more coherently amplifying sections. A linear theoretical description shows how the LANER can be considered as a generalization of the laser with the physical network acting as a complicated cavity, and can be represented by directed graphs disclosing the analogies with the problem of quantum chaos on graphs. Experiments in simple configurations are reported, with evidence of lasing action and its characterization. Examples of spectra of the detected emitted intensity are obtained in different cases, in a phenomenological agreement with the numerical findings of the theory.