Abstract

Using the nonlinear-imaging technique with a phase object (NIT-PO), we have studied third-order nonlinearities of various samples. In this work, we develop, for pure nonlinear refractive materials, an approximate method to calculate the nonlinear refractive coefficient analytically. By decomposing the object field passing through the phase object into two top-hat beams of different phases and beam radius, we acquire the approximate phase contrast, from which we extract the nonlinear refractive coefficient. This approximation is valid when the on-axis nonlinear phase shift by the sample is less than π. In addition, this approximation serves to estimate the sensitivity and monotonic interval for nonlinearity measurements more easily and thus helps us to maximize both the sensitivity and monotonic interval of measurements. We test this method with CS2, a well-characterized third-order nonlinear refractive material using 21 ps laser pulses at 532nm. We expect this method can be applied to high-order nonlinear refraction cases.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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