We present a new method for analyzing the propagation of short optical pulses through a
dispersive medium. The idea is to decompose the pulse Fourier spectrum into an infinite set of
elementary wave groups, each propagating with its own group velocity. Such a method may be
generalized to the case of nonlinear self-phase-modulation and points out the asymmetry observed in
the white-light continua generated in the femtosecond regime.
© 1993 Optical Society of America
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