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Saturation of the all-optical Kerr effect in solids

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Abstract

We discuss the influence of the higher-order Kerr effect (HOKE) in wide bandgap solids at extreme intensities below the onset of optically induced damage. Using different theoretical models, we employ multiphoton absorption rates to compute the nonlinear refractive index by a Kramers–Kronig transform. Within this theoretical framework we provide an estimate for the appearance of significant deviations from the standard optical Kerr effect predicting a linear index change with intensity. We discuss the role of the observed saturation behavior in practically relevant situations, including Kerr lens mode-locking and supercontinuum generation in photonic crystal fibers. Furthermore, we present experimental data from a multiwave mixing experiment in BaF2, which can be explained by the appearance of the HOKE.

©2012 Optical Society of America

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