Self-focusing in Nonlinear Optical Media

Self-focusing and self-trapping in nonlinear optical media were discovered soon after the invention of the laser in the early 1960s. These phenomena explain the appearance of hot spots and associated optical damage in media irradiated by high power laser pulses. The high intensities achievable with the laser made it possible to observe these and other nonlinear effects that depend upon the change of the refractive index of the medium in response to the local electric field intensity.

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