We study the properties of bright and vortex solitons in thermal media with nonuniform thermal conductivity and homogeneous refractive index, whereby the local modulation of the thermal conductivity strongly affects the entire refractive index distribution. While regions where the thermal conductivity is increased effectively expel light, self-trapping may occur in the regions with reduced thermal conductivity, even if such regions are located close to the material boundary. As a result, strongly asymmetric self-trapped beams may form inside a ring with reduced thermal conductivity and perform persistent rotary motion. Also, such rings are shown to support stable vortex solitons, which may feature strongly noncanonical shapes.
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