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We report on the experimental observation of stable double-charge discrete vortex solitons generated in hexagonal photonic lattices created optically in self-focusing nonlinear media and show that single-charge vortex solitons are unstable in analogous conditions. Subsequently, we study, both theoretically and experimentally, the existence and stability of spatial vortex solitons in two-dimensional hexagonal photonic lattices. We demonstrate that the stability of the double-charge vortices is a consequence of the intersite power exchange in the vortex soliton, and we provide a simple stability criterion on the basis of the analysis of the corresponding discrete nonlinear model. We extend our analysis to the case of defocusing nonlinearity and show the inversion of the vortex stability properties resulting in the fact that single-charge vortices become stable while their double-charge counterparts are unstable. 2009 The American Physical Society.
author list (cited authors)
Terhalle, B., Richter, T., Law, K., Gries, D., Rose, P., Alexander, T. J., ... Kivshar, Y. S.