Abstract

The propagation of laser light a few wavelengths inside a saturable absorber is theoretically studied. Computed steady-state solutions of the Maxwell–Bloch equations that describe the unidimensional propagation of a plane monochromatic wave, without introducing the slowly varying envelope approximation, show how saturation effects can influence this propagation. This can even lead to the appearance of a self-reflected wave inside the absorber because of the refractive-index changes that are induced by nonlinear coupling. One finds a close relation between the failure of the slowly varying envelope approximation and the presence of the self-reflected wave.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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