Abstract

The breakup of high-order spatial solitons propagating in an AlGaAs slab waveguide is studied. We experimentally observe the breakup of such beams into multiple fragments and identify the mechanism of this breakup as the combined effect of two- and three-photon absorption. We show that the multiple breakup persists even when the value of two-photon absorption is reduced by an order of magnitude owing to the high value of three-photon absorption of AlGaAs at the half-bandgap. The experimental results extend known mechanisms of soliton breakup induced by two-photon absorption and agree well with numerical beam-propagation simulations.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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