Short-distance propagation of nonlinear optical pulses

Mathieu Isoard
LPTMS, UMR 8626, CNRS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, 91405 Orsay, France
We theoretically describe the quasi one-dimensional transverse spreading of a light pulse propagating in a defocusing nonlinear optical material in the presence of a uniform background light intensity. For short propagation distances the pulse can be described within a nondispersive approximation by means of Riemann's approach. We are also able to calculate the wave-breaking time, at which nonlinear nondispersive spreading leads to a gradient catastrophe. The theoretical results are in excellent agreement with numerical simulations. Experimental and theoretical studies have demonstrated the occurence of wave breaking even in absence of background. Our results exhibit this feature and the corresponding theoretical wave-breaking time agrees very well with simulations.