Abstract

We investigate numerically and experimentally the spatial collapse dynamics and polarization stability of radially and azimuthally polarized vortex beams in pure Kerr medium. These beams are unstable to azimuthal modulation instabilities and break up into distinct collapsing filaments. The polarization of the filaments is primarily linear with weak circular components at the filaments’ boundaries. This unique hybrid linear–circular polarization collapse pattern persists to advanced stages of collapse and appears to be a general feature of beams with spatially variant linear polarization.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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