Scattering of Helmholtz spatial optical solitons at material interfaces

McCoy, EA, Christian, JM and Mcdonald, GS ORCID: 2011, Scattering of Helmholtz spatial optical solitons at material interfaces , in: First Annual Student Conference on Complexity Science, 4-7 August 2011, Winchester University, UK.

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The behaviour of light at the interface between different materials essentially defines the entire field of Optics. Indeed, the reflection and refraction properties of plane waves at the boundary between two dissimilar linear dielectrics are analysed in many classic textbooks on electromagnetism. Our research tackles geometries that involve the interplay between diffraction (linear broadening) and self-focusing (nonlinear material response) when the incident light is in the form of a spatial soliton (self-collimated, self-stabilizing optical beam). Such systems are driven and dominated by complex light-medium feedback loops. The pivotal work of Aceves and co-workers some two decades ago investigated spatial solitons impinging on the interface between Kerr-type materials. Whilst these groundbreaking studies were highly instructive, their paraxial approach restricts angles of incidence, reflection and refraction to small values. Our recent proposal of a generalised Snell law, based on analysis of a nonlinear Helmholtz equation, lifts the angular limitation inherent to paraxial theory. This generalisation comprises a single multiplicative factor that allows for both transverse effects and discontinuities in material properties. Here, we will detail our latest research into bright spatial soliton refraction. In particular, our interest lies with arbitrary-angle scattering at the planar boundary between optical materials with universal non-Kerr nonlinearities: single power-law and cubic-quintic. This is the first time that arbitrary-angle refraction phenomena have been considered within these new material contexts. The derivation of our novel Helmholtz-Snell law will be described, and simulations demonstrating excellent agreement with theoretical predictions presented.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Themes: Energy
Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings
Publisher: Institute of Complex Systems Simulation (University of Southampton)
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: GS McDonald
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2011 11:11
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 18:02

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