Photorefractive self-focusing of Airy beams : nonlinear interactions and all-optical waveguiding

Abstract : In this thesis we study the propagation and the self-focusing of Airy beams in a photorefractive crystal. The Airy beam is a so-called accelerating beam which propagates in free space along a curved trajectory and with a shape-preserving and self-healing nature. The self-focusing of conventional beams, such as Gaussian beams, has been studied in nonlinear media in particular for all-optical routing solutions. By propagating optical beams in such photosensitive media, one can induce waveguides with the shape of the optical beams’ trajectories. The unique shape and trajectory of the Airy beam however suggest innovative waveguide possibilities. In this manuscript we theoretically and experimentally study the self-focusing mechanisms of the Airy beam. In particular during the transient self-focusing effect, we enlighten peculiar spatiotemporal dynamics suggesting an analogy with the gravitational interactions between a mass and a wave propagating in a curved spacetime. In a second step we add an Airy beam propagating in the opposite direction to analyze their cross-coupling interactions. The guiding structures induced by one or two counterpropagating Airy beams are then tested and show peculiar guiding possibilities that are not achievable using two conventional beams: optical beams can be guided along curved trajectories and eventually split into multiple beams. Furthermore the limits of the waveguiding strength are studied by increasing the self-focusing nonlinearity of the system. The resulting spatiotemporal dynamics present a peculiar behavior and evolution with possible applications in static and dynamical all-optical routing as well as optical computing such as random number generation. Finally with this thesis we demonstrate that the Airy beam offers promising alternatives in general physics and more specifically in photonics for all-optical routing
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Noémi Wiersma. Photorefractive self-focusing of Airy beams : nonlinear interactions and all-optical waveguiding. Optics [physics.optics]. Université de Lorraine, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016LORR0351⟩. ⟨tel-01869953⟩

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