Photonic transport through complex nonlinear systems: using noise to transmit a signal


Noise, dissipation, and nonlinearity, are often a nuisance in technological devices. Paradoxically, Nature harnesses these features as a resource to efficiently transfer energy and information in seemingly adverse conditions. Stochastic resonance (SR), wherein a finite amount of noise enhances the transmission of a signal through a nonlinear system, is a remarkable manifestation of this paradigm. Recently, SRs in complex systems wherein many components interact have attracted great theoretical interest. The combination of collective nonlinear dynamics and noise is expected to enable unique energy transfer pathways in complex systems. However, due to the high degree of control required over the system’s parameters, experimental studies evidencing the conditions under which SRs can be utilized in complex systems have so-far remained elusive.

I aim to discover mechanisms for enhancing energy and information transport across complex photonic systems with noise. I propose experiments with coupled resonators where photons can hop between resonators and effectively interact with other photons via optical nonlinearities. Therein, non-equilibrium dynamics arise from the balance between driving and dissipation. Taking advantage of recently developed techniques to optically and dynamically control the resonance frequencies and mutual coupling between the resonators, I will investigate the emergence of SRs as function of the system’s parameters. One of the goals is to demonstrate unidirectional SRs in the transport of photons along a chain of nonlinear resonators. Therein, noise will guide photons one-way only due to the interplay of nonlinearity and spatial symmetry breaking. This type of unidirectional noise-assisted transport will enable a new class of non-reciprocal optical technologies where functionality is derived from noise rather than affected by it.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. S.R.K. Rodriguez

Affiliated with

Université Paris-Saclay

Team members

Dr. S. Rodriguez


01/11/2017 to 31/08/2020