Abstract

We develop an approximate analytical theory for the reflection of a finite-width square-wave light beam at a nonlinear interface and make use of the results to assess the effect of the finiteness of the incident beam on the bistability of the signal reflected from a triple boundary interface under conditions for excitation of a waveguide mode. The nonlinearity of the interface is assumed to result from a substrate medium that has a Kerr-type quadratic dependence on the local electric-field amplitude. Our results indicate that the finiteness of the width of the incident beam substantially reduces the magnitude of the reflectance jump at the bistable switching point in comparison with that predicted by an exact plane-wave theory. Nevertheless, we conclude that a bistable reflectivity should still exist for the geometry that we consider at the switching intensity predicted by the plane-wave theory.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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