Abstract

Thermal nonlinearity can produce oscillatory instability in optical microspheres. We experimentally demonstrate this instability and analyze the conditions needed to observe this regime. The observed behavior is in good agreement with the results of numerical simulation. In pure fused silica with low optical absorption the thermal oscillations are suppressed owing to an interaction of thermal and Kerr nonlinearities. We also describe experimentally observed slow and irreversible thermo-optical processes in microspheres.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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