We analyze dark pulse Kerr frequency combs in optical resonators with normal group-velocity dispersion using the Lugiato−Lefever model. We show that in the time domain the combs correspond to interlocked switching waves between the upper and lower homogeneous states, and explain how this fact accounts for many of their experimentally observed properties. Modulational instability does not play any role in their existence. We provide a detailed map indicating for which parameters stable dark pulse Kerr combs can be found, and how they are destabilized for increasing values of frequency detuning.
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