Abstract

A numerical analysis of the reflection of a two dimensional Gaussian beam from the interface between a linear and a nonlinear medium is presented. The refractive index of the nonlinear medium is a function of the intensity of the radiation field, having a smaller value than the linear refractive index for zero field intensity. The Gaussian beam is incident from the linear medium and suffers total reflection at low intensity. At sufficiently high intensity nonlinear effects are observed. Above a threshold value the incident beam breaks up into a reflected wave and a surface wave. Once the beam is sufficiently strong for a surface wave to form, its interaction with the boundary becomes surprisingly independent of field intensity; but for very strong fields the reflectivity is increased at the expense of the surface wave. A very different behavior is observed when the refractive index is constrained to remain below a certain maximum value. Now the field detaches itself from the surface and penetrates into the nonlinear medium forming one or more distinct beams. The plane wave theory predicts the existence of hysteresis so that two different solutions should exist for the same physical parameters. A second solution was indeed found in one case with constrained refractive index, but its validity is somewhat uncertain at this time.

© 1980 Optical Society of America

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