Abstract

It is shown that, in photorefractive crystals with a dominating local nonlinear response, small temporal fluctuations of the space-charge field can induce strong noisy (stochastic) backscattering. For sufficiently large interaction lengths a small nonlocal component of the photorefractive response can suppress the fluctuation of the scattered-light intensity and can result in nearly complete and regular nonlinear reflection. Stochastic stimulated backscattering is detected and investigated in LiNbO3:Fe crystals. The scattering manifests itself in the optical configuration, where noiseless spatial amplification of backward waves is impossible. The main characteristics of the observed backscattering are in good qualitative agreement with the calculated ones.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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