Abstract

We carried out Z-scan measurements on lyotropic liquid crystals and on lyotropic liquid crystals doped with ferrofluid. In these experiments, the sample is translated through the focal region of a focused Gaussian laser beam. The dependence of the far-field intensity on sample position due to intensity-dependent optical nonlinearities has been analyzed on the basis of the thermal-lens model of Gordon et al. and the Gaussian decomposition analysis of Sheik-Bahae et al. The thermal-lens model is nonlocal in space and time, whereas the Gaussian decomposition is predicated on a strictly local response. We compare the goodness of fit of the predictions of these models to experimental data, and we discuss limitations of these models in describing Z-scan experiments on systems with nonlocal response.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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