Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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This paper was published in Optics Express 13, 6202-6211 (2005) and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.


We present experimental results on the transverse modulation instability of an elliptical beam propagating in a bulk nonlinear Kerr medium, and the formation and self-organization of spatial solitons. We have observed the emergence of order, self organization and a transition to an unstable state. Order emerges through the formation of spatial solitons in a periodic array. If the initial period of the array is unstable the solitons will tend to self-organize into a larger (more stable) period. Finally the system transitions to a disordered state where most of the solitons disappear and the beam profile becomes unstable to small changes in the input energy.

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