Vol. 25, No. 9 (2008) 3280

Solitary Wave Evolution of Optical Planar Vortices in Self-Defocusing Photorefractive Media ∗
GAN Xue-Tao( ), ZHANG Peng( ), LIU Sheng( ZHAO Jian-Lin( )∗∗ ), XIAO Fa-Jun( ),

Institute of Optical Information Science and Technology, Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Optical Information Technology, School of Science, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710072

(Received 24 February 2008)
Solitary wave evolution of optical planar vortices in isotropic self-defocusing photorefractive media is investigated in detail. We demonstrate that the formation of a planar vortex soliton intensively depends on the diameter and maximum intensity of the input vortex beam. The exact solutions of planar vortex solitons are obtained due to the Petviashvili iteration method. It is found that, with the increasing soliton maximum intensity, the soliton core will be gradually diminished to a minimum value.

PACS: 42. 65. Tg, 42. 65. Hw In optics, a phase singularity with a rotational flow around it will form an optical vortex.[1] During the past decades, optical vortices have attracted growing research interest due to their fascinating rotational angular momentum,[2] and potential applications in date storages[3] and particle manipulations.[4] The evolution of an optical vortex beam in nonlinear media exhibits many intriguing phenomena, e.g., self-localization,[5−9] charge flipping[10] and vortex transmutation,[11] as a result of the interplay between its angular momentum and nonlinearity. A great deal of research on the evolution of optical ring vortices nested in Gaussian beams has been executed. It is shown that ring vortices can evolve into an ellipse in self-defocusing media[8,12] or into a number of filaments in self-focusing media due to the intrinsic azimuthal instabilities of the optical vortices.[8,13,14] Recently, Briedis et al.[5] and Rotschild et al.[6] have numerically and experimentally demonstrated that nonlocality can suppress the azimuthal instabilities leading to stable bright ring vortex solitons in self-focusing materials. However, an optical planar vortex, which has a phase singularity and a dark hole nested in an infinite plane-wave background, presents an analogy for the vortices in other physical branches, e.g., fluid, atmosphere, and astronomy. In self-defocusing materials, the diffraction of two-dimensional (2D) dark core can be compensated by the nonlinearity experienced by the background light to form vortex solitons. In 1996, Mamaev et al. studied the dynamic evolutions of planar vortex beam in anisotropic selfdefocusing photorefractive crystals, and claimed that planar vortex solitons can not be supported due to the presence of anisotropy.[12] However, numerous theoretical and experimental investigations demonstrated
∗ Supported

that, under proper optical intensity, external field, and beam diameter, photorefractive crystals can be primarily isotropic.[7,8,15,16] In 1997, Chen et al experimentally observed planar vortex solitons with circular symmetry in an open circuit photovoltaic LiNbO3 crystal and a biased SBN crystal.[7,8] One year later, they demonstrated experimentally that an incoherent planar vortex beam can be also self-trapped by selfdefocusing nonlinearity.[9] Since the nonlinearity can be controlled conveniently,[17] the photorefractive media provide an ideal environment for demonstrating many properties of 1D[18,19] and 2D[7,8,20] dark solitons. So far, to the best of our knowledge, how the parameters of the initial planar vortex beam influence the solitary wave evolution in self-defocusing photorefractive media has not been well understood. In addition, the exact planar vortex soliton solutions have not been reported yet. In this Letter, we present the influences of the diameter and intensity of the input planar vortex beams on their solitary wave evolutions. Seek the exact solutions of planar vortex solitons by employing Petviashvili iteration method. A planar optical vortex beam characterized by a phase singularity and a dark intensity core nested in the centre of an infinite background can be expressed by √ B(r) = Iin [1 − exp(−r2 /σ 2 )] exp(imθ), (1) where r = (x2 + y 2 )1/2 and θ is the azimuth angle, m is a signed integer called the topological charge, Iin is the maximum intensity, and the inner dark core diameter at full width at half maximum (FWHM) depends on σ. Here, we only consider the case with m = 1, i.e., unit charge vortices. Figure 1 illustrates the intensity

by the Youth for Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) Teachers Scientific and Technological Innovation Foundation, the NPU Foundation for Fundamental Research, and the Doctorate Foundation of NPU (CX200514). ∗∗ Email: c 2008 Chinese Physical Society and IOP Publishing Ltd

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GAN Xue-Tao et al.


and phase structure of a planar vortex with Iin = 0.01, σ 2 = 32, where (a) and (b) represent two- and threedimensional displays of the intensity distribution, respectively, (c) and (d) depict the interferograms with a spherical and a plane wave, respectively, and (e) shows the vortex helical equiphase surface. It is obvious that an intensity ‘hole’ and a phase dislocation of 2π embed in the centre of a uniform beam. Under the isotropic assumption for self-defocusing photorefractive crystals, the space-charge field induced by the extraordinary polarized vortex beam B(x, y, z) can be determined by Esc = E0 (1+I∞ )/(1+ I),[13,21] where the intensity I = |B(x, y, z)|2 and the intensity at transverse infinity I∞ are measured in units of saturation intensity Id , and E0 is the amplitude of external bias field. Hence the vortex propagation dynamics can be governed by[21,22] (∂ ) i 1 + I∞ − ∇2 B(x, y, z) = −i B(x, y, z), (2) ⊥ ∂z 2 1+I
2 2 where ∇2 = ∂x + ∂y . The dimensionless coordi⊥ nates (x, y, z) are related to the physical coordinates (x , y , z ) by the expressions (x, y) = (kα)1/2 (x , y ) and z = αz , where α = 0.5kn2 γ33 |E0 |. Here k is e

the wave number of light in the crystal, ne is the extraordinarily polarized index of refraction, γ33 is the effective element of the electro-optic tensor. The minus sign on the right hand side of Eq. (2) corresponds to the self-defocusing nonlinearity for E0 < 0.

Fig. 1. Intensity and phase structures of a charge-one optical planar vortex beam: (a) two-dimensional and (b) three-dimensional displays of the intensity profile; interferograms with (c) a spherical wave and (d) a plane wave; (e) helical equiphase surface.

Fig. 2. Linear and nonlinear evolutions of an optical planar vortex beam: (a) input beam; (b)–(e) linear diffracted output beam patterns at z = 200, 400, 600, 800, respectively; (f)–(j) nonlinear output beam patterns at z = 50, 200, 400, 600, 800, respectively; (k) FWHMs versus z.

By substituting Eq. (1) into Eq. (2), the evolution of the planar vortex beams with different parameters can be investigated numerically by employing the split-step BPM.[23] Figure 2 presents the linear and nonlinear evolutions of a planar vortex beam at Iin = 0.01 and σ 2 = 2. Figures 2(a)–2(e) depict the linear diffracted output beam patterns at normalized propagation distances of z = 0, 200, 400, 600, 800, and Figs. 2(f)-2(j) display the nonlinear output at z = 50, 200, 400, 600, 800, respectively. The variations of the FWHMs of the vortex dark cores during linear (dashline) and nonlinear (solid-line) propagations are shown in Fig. 2(k). From Fig. 2, it can be clearly seen that, without nonlinearity, the vortex core broadens gradually due to linear diffraction. While in the presence of self-defocusing nonlinearity, the balance between self-


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Vol. 25

defocusing and linear diffraction will lead to a localized state with an invariable FWHM, representing a planar vortex soliton. Now we study the influences of the parameters of the initial vortex beams on the nonlinear evolution dynamics. First, the nonlinear evolutions of planar vortex beams with identical Iin = 0.01 but different σ are simulated, and the results are shown in Fig. 3(a). It is clear that different σ will lead to different propagation dynamics at the initial stage of evolution. However, all the vortex beams will evolve into an identical localized steady state. Figure 3(b) depicts the evolution dynamics of vortex beams with identical σ 2 = 400 with different maximum intensities. Clearly, the vortex beams with the same σ behave similar nonlinear dynamics, while the finally resulted steady-state depends on the initial maximum beam intensity.

The exact planar vortex soliton solutions of Eq. (2) can be found in the standard form of B(x, y, z) = 1/2 Iin b(x, y) exp(iβz), where β is the propagation constant, and the normalized envelope b(x, y) satisfies the following equation ( ) 1 1 + Iin β − ∇2 b(x, y) = − b(x, y). ⊥ 2 1 + Iin |b|2 (3)

Fig. 3. FWHMs versus z for optical vortex beams at (a) Iin = 0.01, σ 2 = 2, 50, 200, 400, and (b) σ 2 = 400, Iin = 0.01, 0.02, 0.03, respectively.

By solving the eigenproblem of Eq. (3) with the iterative procedure due to Petviashvili,[24] dark planar vortex solitons with different maximum intensities can be obtained numerically. Figure 4(a) depicts the FWHM of the vortex soliton core versus Iin , and Figs. 4(b)–4(e) display the transverse soliton profiles at maximum intensities of 0.1, 0.5, 10, and 100, respectively. It is obvious that the FWHM of the vortex soliton core monotonically decreases with the increase of Iin , similar to the conclusion for one-dimensional dark solitons.[25] When Iin is small, the FWHM diminishes quickly. However, with the increase of Iin , a minimum FWHM will be reached, which can be interpreted by the saturation effect of photorefraction. In order to demonstrate the validities of the dark planar vortex solitons, we use the numerically obtained exact soliton solution as initial condition to simulate its linear and nonlinear propagation dynamics. Figure 5(a) represents the intensity distribution of a vortex soliton solution at Iin = 0.6, and Figs. 5(b) and 5(c) depict its output beam patterns after nonlinear and linear propagation with z = 20, respectively. Figure 5(d) illustrates the cross sections along the diameters of the vortex cores corresponding to Figs. 5(a)–5(c). Figures 5(e) and 5(f) describe the nonlinear and linear evolutions of the vortex soliton with the dark core denoted in white. From the simulated results shown in Fig. 5, we can see that the numerically obtained dark planar vortex solitons indeed can propagate without any change in the selfdefocusing media. While if the nonlinearity is omitted, the soliton solution cannot self-trap itself, representing linear diffraction with bright-rings generation.

Fig. 4. (a) Soliton FWHM versus Iin ; (b)–(e) 2D (top) and 1D (bottom) intensity profiles of the soliton solutions at Iin = 0.1, 0.5, 10, and 100, respectively.

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Finally, the validities of the dark planar vortex solitons are demonstrated by simulating their linear and nonlinear propagation dynamics.

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Fig. 5. (a) Intensity profile of a dark planar vortex soliton at Iin = 0.6; (b) and (c) nonlinear and linear output beam profiles at z = 20; (d) cross sections along the diameters of the vortex cores corresponding to (a)–(c); (e) and (f) nonlinear and linear evolutions of the soliton solution.

In conclusion, solitary wave evolution of optical planar vortices in self-defocusing photorefractive media has been simulated numerically. The results show that an initial planar vortex beam can evolve into selflocalized state, which intensively depends on the initial parameters of the vortex beam. Vortex beams with identical peak intensity but with different core diameters will lead to an identical steady-state via different nonlinear evolutions. While vortex beams with identical core diameter but with different maximum intensities will result in various self-trapped states with different core sizes. The exact dark planar vortex soliton solutions were first obtained numerically. The core sizes of the vortex solitons represent a monotonically decreasing function of the maximum intensities.

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