We review the properties of optical spatial dissipative solitons (SDS). These are stable, self‐localized optical excitations sitting on a uniform, or quasi‐uniform, background in a dissipative environment like a nonlinear optical cavity. Indeed, in optics they are often termed “cavity solitons.” We discuss their dynamics and interactions in both ideal and imperfect systems, making comparison with experiments. SDS in lasers offer important advantages for applications. We review candidate schemes and the tremendous recent progress in semiconductor‐based cavity soliton lasers. We examine SDS in periodic structures, and we show how SDS can be quantitatively related to the locking of fronts. We conclude with an assessment of potential applications of SDS in photonics, arguing that best use of their particular features is made by exploiting their mobility, for example in all‐optical delay lines.
- spatial dissipative solitons
- photonic devices