Abstract

Beams of light interacting with nonlinear-optical materials naturally form complex transverse profiles. Self-focusing, filamentation, modulational instabilities, spontaneous pattern formation and symmetry breaking, nonlinear waveguiding, and transverse mode excitation are but some of the many phenomena that are observed in lasers, in optical bistability, and in the free interaction of beams. As an introduction to a special issue of the Journal of the Optical Society of America B on transverse effects in nonlinear-optical systems, we provide this overview of history and current work.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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