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Adiabatic self-focusing in media with spatially variable nonlinearity

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Abstract

An optical medium whose nonlinearity can be spatially adjusted is considered to study beam reshaping. The concept is applied to perform adiabatic self-focusing of broad beams. Experimental results are obtained in a photorefractive lithium niobate crystal where the self-focusing nonlinearity is controlled over propagation by a temperature gradient. As a demonstration, gradual self-focusing is shown to transform an incoming beam into an output circular spot 10 times smaller over a 2cm long crystal submitted to a 30°C temperature gradient. Once formed, the adiabatic self-focused beam has inscribed a funnel waveguide in the crystal.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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