Under certain conditions, ultrashort pulse dynamics in a linear dispersive medium with absorption result in the appearance of optical precursors that dominate the pulse evolution for large propagation distances as the peak amplitude in the initial pulse spectrum decays exponentially. The effects of a nonlinear medium response on this precursor formation is considered using the split-step Fourier method. Comparison of the nonlinear pulse evolution when the full dispersion is used to that when a quadratic Taylor series approximation of the wave number is used shows that the group velocity approximation misses the precursor fields entirely.
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