C. Conti, and R. Boyd. Phys. Rev. A89 ():
033834(March 2014)Editors' Suggestion.
A transparent material exhibits ultrafast optical nonlinearity and is subject to optical pressure if irradiated by a laser beam. However, the effect of nonlinearity on optical pressure is often overlooked, even if a nonlinear optical pressure may be potentially employed in many applications, such as optical manipulation, biophysics, cavity optomechanics, quantum optics, and optical tractors, and is relevant in fundamental problems such as the Abraham-Minkoswky dilemma or the Casimir effect. Here, we show that an ultrafast nonlinear polarization gives indeed a contribution to the optical pressure that also is negative in certain spectral ranges; the theoretical analysis is confirmed by first-principles simulations. An order-of-magnitude estimate shows that the effect can be observable by measuring the deflection of a membrane made by graphene.