3-D Spiraling Self-Trapped Light Beams in Photochemical Systems
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A pair of visible laser beams self-trap and spiral about each other as they propagate through polymer gels undergoing two different photochemical reactions. When launched into gels that undergo photopolymerization of methacrylate substituents or photo-oxidation of iodide anion, two non-coplanar (skewed) Gaussian beams collide and spiral about each other as they advance through the evolving medium. In the absence of chemical reactions, the linearly polarized beams broaden naturally and propagate along their original, straight-pathed trajectories. By contrast, refractive index gradients generated by the photochemical reactions elicit self-trapping and introduce an attractive interaction between the self-trapped beams. The self-trapped beams spiral about each other when this mutual attraction perfectly counterbalances their original tendency to diverge away from each other. These findings show that the photochemically mediated interactions of incident optical fields within the gel medium impart a helical trajectory and angular velocity to the self-trapped beam pair.
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