Abstract

We consider the nonlinear dynamics occurring when an optical beam couples to dielectric material polarization in an unbiased photorefractive crystal undergoing a ferroelectric phase transition. The polarization profile produced by the light-induced electric field is evaluated by means of the Landau–Ginzburg approach and is found to manifest new thermodynamical states with their own specific nonlinear optical effects. We show that a temperature TC, lower than the critical one, exists such that (a) if T>TC the optical beam experiences an increasing self-focusing for decreasing temperatures and (b) if T<TC the optical beam allows the existence of thermodynamically metastable states associated with an optical ultra-self-focusing effect.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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