Prof. D. Mihalache - ICO Galileo Galilei Award for 2009
From April 1979 to April 1983 Prof. Dumitru Mihalache was a researcher at the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia, working with Prof. V. K. Fedyanin in the field of nonlinear surface polaritons. In 1986 he spent a month in the group of Prof. M. Bertolotti and Prof. C. Sibilia at Rome University, Italy, working in the field of nonlinear surface and guided electromagnetic waves in planar structures. His seminal contributions in this field, which have become very important due to the recent discovery of discrete surface solitons at the edges of waveguide arrays, were achieved during two decades of extremely harsh economic and social conditions in Romania.
In recognition of his contributions made under comparatively unfavourable circumstances, the award committee granted Prof. Mihalache half of the 2009 Galileo Galilei Award "for his achievements in the field of theoretical nonlinear optics".
Since 1990, Prof. Mihalache has received international recognition for his work and maintained numerous international collaborations. Recently, with Prof. H. Leblond, Angers University, France, he performed theoretical studies of few-optical-cycle solitons beyond the slowly varying envelope approximation. He has published 200 articles in refereed journals in the area of theoretical optics with emphasis on nonlinear surface and guided waves (surface solitons), new types of surface waves and surface plasmon polaritons in layered media containing uniaxial crystals, spatiotemporal effects in nonlinear optical media (spatiotemporal optical solitons), vortex solitons in optics and in Bose-Einstein condensates, and on the adequate description of few-cycle optical solitons beyond the slowly varying envelope approximation.
Prof. Mihalache predicted the existence of stable three-dimensional spatiotemporal solitons supported by two-dimensional photonic lattices; he found that the Hamiltonian-versus-soliton norm diagram exhibits a two-cusp structure and, correspondingly, a swallow-tail shape (a unique "swallow-tail" bifurcation), which is a rare physical phenomenon. This unique feature is a generic one: it has been also found in radially symmetric Bessel lattices, a result suggesting a promising approach to generate stable "light bullets" in optics and stable three-dimensional solitons in attractive Bose-Einstein condensates.
He has been a member of the advisory editorial board for Optics Communications, and is currently on the editorial board for two Romanian publications: Romanian Reports in Physics and Optoelectronics and Advanced Materials-Rapid Communications. In 1985 he received the Constantin Miculescu Prize for Physics from the Romanian Academy, and in 2008 he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Romanian Scientists.