We investigate the self-focusing dynamics of super-Gaussian optical beams in a Kerr medium. We find that up to several times the critical power for self-focusing, super-Gaussian beams evolve towards a Townes profile. At higher powers the super-Gaussian beams form rings which break into filaments as a result of noise. Our results are consistent with the observed self-focusing dynamics of femtosecond laser pulses in air  in which filaments are formed along a ring about the axis of the initial beam where the initial beam did not form a ring.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics