Experiments on Spontaneous Modulation Instability in Hydrodynamics

Amin Chabchoub, Goëry Genty, John M. Dudley, Bertrand Kibler, Takuji Waseda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Modulation instability describes the exponential amplification of a weak perturbation on top of a plane wave background and it has been extensively studied in the context of weakly nonlinear evolution equations such as the nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLSE). It has been further suggested as a possible generation mechanism of rogue waves in the oceans. Here, we report on an experimental laboratory study in which the modulation instability dynamics have been seeded by random noise, added to a Stokes wave. Similarly to experiments recently performed in Optics, we show that the development of such spontaneous modulation instability in a water wave tank leads to the emergence of highly localized structures that can be interpreted as analytical NLSE breathers. Numerical simulations show very good qualitative agreement with the laboratory experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 27th International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference, 25-30 June, San Francisco, California, USA
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-880653-97-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017
Conference number: 27

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference
Publisher International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers
ISSN (Electronic)1098-6189


ConferenceInternational Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference
Abbreviated titleISOPE
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Spontaneous modulation instability
  • spontaneous breathers
  • rogue waves


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