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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dark soliton?

About two weeks ago, United-Academics magazine published the following story about "Dark Solitons" that entitled "Dark Solitons Demonstrated For the First Time":

In physics and math there are wave structures called solitons (notsolutions) that are defined as self-contained packets or pulses.  Two types of solitons that have long been of interest in the world of scientific research are bright and dark solitons.  Until recently, only bright solitons have been successfully demonstrated in a wave tank.  This month a team of researchers at Imperial College London, including mathematician Amin Chabchoub, successfully created an example of a dark soliton in water.  Their actions bring important new information that will impact the world of optics, oceanography, and beyond. 
In the context of the ocean, waves evolve in that familiar manner as they as ebb and flow. Solitons, on the other hand, somehow manage to keep a constant size and shape.  They also travel more slowly than regular waves. In the 60′s and 70′s oceanographers observed bright solitons in the deep sea, later successfully recreating them in a laboratory setting.  Their work revealed that bright solitons are the cause of, among other phenomena, rogue waves that occur at sea. It was then theorized that dark solitons must be capable of the opposite- decreasing the power of a wave. 
Using a 17 meter long wave tank, Dr. Chabchoub and his team simulated wave formations as they passed through dark solitons.  What they found was that, indeed, there was a reduction in the amplitude of the waves.  With this result the team now wants to investigate what happens when bright and dark solitons come together. Their hope is that if they continue down this current path, this information could help coastal regions better deal with large waves caused by extreme weather or earthquakes.  Today’s dark soliton experiments in a laboratory could become tomorrow’s anti-tsunami safety system.

Their source was this article in Physics World with this impressive figure that called "dark dip".

Illustration of a dark soliton

I think the key sentence that may get everyone excited is this one:
Their actions bring important new information that will impact the world of optics, oceanography, and beyond.
I guess oceanographers and ocean wave scientists would be interested. But, but, BUT, I just failed to see there's any real ocean wave connection here that can be translated the theory to the real ocean, especially deep-trough kind of freaque waves in the ocean are not uncommon. Obviously theoreticians do need this ocean implication to justify their far out theoretical mumbo-jumble could have some sort of real world usefulness, but what, where, and how it can be done are still the unanswerable questions every time a new theory came around to make this conjecture and this one this time is certainly no exception.  There is as yet just no conceivable road way to link between theoretical ivory tower and the real ocean -- an unavoidable fact that no theoretical gurus would care to face!!

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