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Published July 6, 1994 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Photorefractive self-focusing and defocusing as an optical limiter


Focusing and defocusing of laser light has been observed for many years. Kerr type materials exhibit this effect but only for high intensities. We show experimental evidence that photorefractive materials can also produce dramatic focusing and defocusing. Whereas Kerr materials produce this effect for high intensities, photorefractive materials produce these effects independent of intensity indicating that this effect would be ideal for an optical limiter. We compare the characteristics of Kerr and photorefractive materials, discuss the physical models for both materials and present experimental evidence for photorefractive defocusing. Self-focusing and defocusing was observed for any incident polarization although the effect was more pronounced using extraordinary polarized light. In addition, self-focusing or defocusing could be observed depending on the direction of the applied electric field. When the applied field was in the same direction as the crystal spontaneous polarization, focusing was observed. When the applied field was opposite the material spontaneous polarization, the incident laser light was dramatically defocused.

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© 1994 The International Society for Optical Engineering. SPIE.

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August 20, 2023