A new kind of optical self-defocusing is described that in steady state is independent of optical beam power and is strongly asymmetric. The physical mechanism responsible is the photorefractive effect. We present a theory that explains the observed dependence of this self-defocusing on polarization, angle of incidence, beam size, and crystal orientation. Experimental results, using a single-domain crystal of BaTiO<sub>3</sub>, are presented that show excellent quantitative agreement with the theory. Possible device applications are discussed, including an optical diode and a low-power bistable device with permanent memory.
© 1982 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article