Optical Supercavitation in Soft Matter

, and . Physical Review Letters (August 2010)ArXiv e-prints 1008.2616.


We investigate theoretically, numerically and experimentally nonlinear optical waves in an absorbing out-of-equilibrium colloidal material at the gelification transition. At sufficiently high optical intensity, absorption is frustrated and light propagates into the medium. The process is mediated by the formation of a matter-shock wave due to optically induced thermodiffusion, and largely resembles the mechanism of hydrodynamical supercavitation, as it is accompanied by a dynamic phase-transition region between the beam and the absorbing material.

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