## Abstract

The theory of nonlinear diffraction of intensive light beams propagating through photorefractive media is developed. Diffraction occurs on a reflecting wire embedded in the nonlinear medium at a relatively small angle with respect to the direction of the beam propagation. It is shown that this process is analogous to the generation of waves by a flow of a superfluid past an obstacle. The "equation of state" of such a superfluid is determined by the nonlinear properties of the medium. On the basis of this hydrodynamic analogy, the notion of the "Mach number" is introduced where the transverse component of the wave vector plays the role of the fluid velocity. It is found that the Mach cone separates two regions of the diffraction pattern: inside the Mach cone oblique dark solitons are generated and outside the Mach cone the region of "optical ship waves" (the wave pattern formed by a two-dimensional packet of linear waves) is situated. Analytical theory of the "optical ship waves" is developed and two-dimensional dark soliton solutions of the generalized two-dimensional nonlinear Schrödinger equation describing the light beam propagation are found. Stability of dark solitons with respect to their decay into vortices is studied and it is shown that they are stable for large enough values of the Mach number.

Original language | English |
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Article number | 013829 |

Journal | Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics |

Volume | 78 |

Issue number | 1 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - 21 Jul 2008 |

Externally published | Yes |