Superposition principle and composite solutions to coupled nonlinear Schrödinger equations

Laila Al Sakkaf, Usama Al Khawaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We show that the superposition principle applies to coupled nonlinear Schrödinger equations with cubic nonlinearity where exact solutions may be obtained as a linear combination of other exact solutions. This is possible due to the cancelation of cross terms in the nonlinear coupling. First, we show that a composite solution, which is a linear combination of the two components of a seed solution, is another solution to the same coupled nonlinear Schrödinger equation. Then, we show that a linear combination of two composite solutions is also a solution to the same equation. With emphasis on the case of Manakov system of two-coupled nonlinear Schrödinger equations, the superposition is shown to be equivalent to a rotation operator in a two-dimensional function space with components of the seed solution being its coordinates. Repeated application of the rotation operator, starting with a specific seed solution, generates a series of composite solutions, which may be represented by a generalized solution that defines a family of composite solutions. Applying the rotation operator to almost all known exact seed solutions of the Manakov system, we obtain for each seed solution the corresponding family of composite solutions. Composite solutions turn out, in general, to possess interesting features that do not exist in the seed solution. Using symmetry reductions, we show that the method applies also to systems of N-coupled nonlinear Schrödinger equations. Specific examples for the three-coupled nonlinear Schrödinger equation are given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10168-10189
Number of pages22
JournalMathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Nov 30 2020


  • Manakov system
  • N-coupled nonlinear Schrödinger equations
  • exact solutions
  • superposition principle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering


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