Self-similar structure of caustics and shock formation

Self-similar structure of caustics and shock formation

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Jens Eggers , University of Bristol
Fine Hall 322

Caustics are places where the light intensity diverges, and where the wave front has a singularity. We use a self-similar description to derive the detailed spatial structure of a cusp singularity, from where caustic lines originate. We use this insight to study shock formation in the dKP equation, as well as shocks in classical compressible Euler dynamics. The spatial structure of these shocks is that of a caustic, and is described by the same similarity equation.