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Nonlinear Optics and Photonics$
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Guang S. He

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702764

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702764.001.0001

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Self-Focusing, Self-Phase Modulation, and Spectral Self-Broadening

Self-Focusing, Self-Phase Modulation, and Spectral Self-Broadening

(p.105) 6 Self-Focusing, Self-Phase Modulation, and Spectral Self-Broadening
Nonlinear Optics and Photonics

Guang S. He

Oxford University Press

The intense coherent light-induced refractive-index change of a nonlinear medium may lead to several effects on the incident light itself. A laser beam with a non-uniform transverse intensity distribution can induce a transversely non-uniform refractive-index change in the nonlinear medium, which in turn may affect the shape and spatial structure of the laser beam. This leads to self-focusing, self-defocusing, or self-trapping effects. If the incident beam consists of short or ultrashort laser pulses, the pulsed change of light intensity may cause a fast variation of the phase encountered by the pulsed beam. This is the so-called self-phase modulation effect. According to the principle of Fourier transform, a fast phase modulation will cause a broadening of the frequency spectrum. This is the so-called spectral self-broadening effect. Self-focusing is the basic mechanism for spatial solitons, self-phase-modulation is the basic mechanism for temporal solitons, and spectral self-broadening is the basic mechanism for supercontinuum generation.

Keywords:   Self-focusing, self-phase modulation, spectral self-broadening, supercontinuum generation, induced refractive-index change, laser pulse, self-trapping effect, spatial soliton, temporal soliton

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