Abstract

The evolution of non-Gaussian and nonspherical high-power laser beams in cubic nonlinear media is described by means of their mean or gross parameters: width, mean curvature radius, and quality factor. The influence of the beam over its own propagation is contained in a new mean parameter that measures the ability of a beam to build its own waveguide. Beam quality and threshold power for self-focusing are connected. The ABCD and invariance laws for modified complex beam parameter and quality factor allow one to transform in one step the mean beam parameters through a sequence of nonlinear propagations, lenses, mirrors, and nonlinear quadratic graded index.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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