Effective dispersion in the focusing nonlinear Schrödinger equation

Katelyn Plaisier Leisman, Douglas Zhou, J. W. Banks, Gregor Kovačič, David Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For waves described by the focusing nonlinear Schrödinger equation (FNLS), we present an effective dispersion relation (EDR) that arises dynamically from the interplay between the linear dispersion and the nonlinearity. The form of this EDR is parabolic for a robust family of "generic" FNLS waves and equals the linear dispersion relation less twice the total wave action of the wave in question multiplied by the square of the nonlinearity parameter. We derive an approximate form of this EDR explicitly in the limit of small nonlinearity and confirm it using the wave-number-frequency spectral (WFS) analysis, a Fourier-transform based method used for determining dispersion relations of observed waves. We also show that it extends to the FNLS the universal EDR formula for the defocusing Majda-McLaughlin-Tabak (MMT) model of weak turbulence. In addition, unexpectedly, even for some spatially periodic versions of multisolitonlike waves, the EDR is still a downward shifted linear-dispersion parabola, but the shift does not have a clear relation to the total wave action. Using WFS analysis and heuristic derivations, we present examples of parabolic and nonparabolic EDRs for FNLS waves and also waves for which no EDR exists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022215
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Effective dispersion in the focusing nonlinear Schrödinger equation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this