SelfInduced Transparency (SIT) is a marvellous manifestation of coherent nonlinear interaction between radiation and matter. The essence of the phenomenon can be described as follows: when the pulse power exceeds some critical value, a high intensity ultrashort optical pulse propagating through media whose decoherence lifetimes greatly exceed the pulse duration, travels at a reduced speed and unchanged shape with anomalously low energy loss. The physical explanation of the SIT effect is based on the representation of the absorber by an ensemble of twolevel atoms, whose time evolution is governed by stimulated processes only due to the condition of much shorter pulse duration compared to the characteristic relaxation times of the medium. In the ideal SIT picture the atoms are driven to the excited state by absorbing ultrashort pulse energy and by reradiating this energy to the field they return to the ground state. Thus the optical energy is carried through the medium not by the electromagnetic field but by a polariton wave. The polariton is a quasiparticle which combines both light excitation and the matter response via absorption and emission thereby inducing medium polarisation. In other words, polariton is a real photon in a medium together with the polarisation cloud accompanying the propagation of electromagnetic field in the medium. The pulse travels with anomalously low energy loss and unchanged shape due to the reemission of the absorbed radiation in phase with the driving strong resonant optical field. The solitary pulse propagation is accompanied by temporal oscillations of the carrier density in the material known as optical Rabi oscillations. We investigate the optical nonlinearities in planar waveguides in the highintensity excitation regime when the electric field itself rather than the electric field envelope drives the lightmatter interaction. For linearly polarised monochromatic onephoton optical excitation, the active medium is modelled by an ensemble of saturable absorbers with degenerate threelevel discrete energylevel structure. Thus the time evolution of the quantum system in the external (not necessarily small) perturbation is described by an eightdimensional real pseudospin vector. The resulting Maxwellpseudospin equations are solved in the time domain using the FiniteDifference TimeDomain (FDTD) method on a specially constructed modified 2D Yeegrid. Using the model we have numerically demonstrated formation of 2DSIT solitons in planar nonlinear optical waveguides. We have generalised the Pulse Area Theorem which establishes a general criterion for soliton (lossless) regime of propagation to more than one spatial dimension and three levels. Numerical evidence of multidimensional SITsolitons localised both in space and time is given (Fig.1). In Fig. 2 a crosssection of the ultrashort pulse from Fig. 1 is shown along with the population inversion, driven through a full Rabi flop by the highintensity pulse and the medium polarisations. The leading edge of the pulse excites the 3level system and the trailing edge deexcites it bringing the population back to the ground state).
Fig.
3(a) demonstrates the pulse dispersion and energy loss during the propagation
when the pulse intensity does not correspond to a 2parea and Fig. 3(b) shows the stable 2ppulse representing a stable soliton solution,
according to the Pulse Area Theorem. (a) (b)
Fig 4 and Fig.5 (a,b) show the time
evolution of the TM_{1} guided mode SITsoliton and the corresponding
timeevolution of the population inversion in a degenerate threelevel system. The
nearly lossless ultrashort pulse propagation and the preservation of the pulse
shape in the SIT regime is extremely attractive for a wide range of
applications, such as optical storage and processing of information, optical
communication and pulse generation and compression techniques.
Due to the resonant coherent interaction with the absorbers the optical pulse group velocity decreases with respect to the free space one and the pulse slows down, demonstrated in (Fig. 7) by a TEM planepolarised pulse and the driven population inversion (click on the plots below to see animation) .

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