Abstract

We have characterized the transverse spatial dependence of the real and the imaginary parts of the complex nonlinear refractive index of a semiconductor-doped glass filter that exhibits absorptive bistability. Using the Z-scan technique combined with an interferometric measurement of the integrated optical thickness, we are able to fit the observed experimental data, assuming a quadratically varying transverse temperature profile in the sample. The transverse variations in the nonlinear refractive index do not scale directly with the size of the incident beam but exhibit marked asymmetries that depend on whether the incident beam is converging or diverging.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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