The transmittance of saturable nonlinear media under plane-wave excitation is analyzed for a Fabry–Perot geometry. The medium response is studied in terms of both a squared-field amplitude modulus and a time-averaged Poynting vector modulus. It was observed that both cases provide similar transmittance for the parameter range considered. For the nonlinearity proportional to the time-averaged Poynting vector modulus, a simple analytical expression for transmittance is derived as an Airy-type pattern. This allows us to perform a global analysis on the optical properties in terms of the nonlinear parameters and medium thickness. Several types of behavior were found at different parameter regions. Bistability happens only for excitation intensities around the saturation value. Finally, some possible implications of our results for bistable solitons are proposed.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
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