Optical shock and blow-up of ultrashort pulses in transparent media

P. Whalen, J. V. Moloney, A. C. Newell, K. Newell, M. Kolesik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Ultrashort pulses can exhibit two distinctive types of singularity: self-focusing collapse and self-steepening shock. We examine various ultrashort pulse propagation models and their relative effectiveness in explaining these phenomena. In particular, the modified Kadomtsev-Petviashvilli equation of type 1 (MKP1) is examined in some detail. We show that MKP1 is not simply a few-cycle pulse model but is valid in a more general broad spectrum setting. Furthermore, we emphasize that the dispersion of the MKP1 model can result in poor estimation of frequency-dependent phenomena, such as harmonic generation, which occur far away from the carrier frequency. Some of this loss of accuracy can be removed by using a more general MKP1 dispersion relation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number033806
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 4 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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