Pulse propagation in nonlinear waveguides is most frequently modeled by resorting to the generalized nonlinear Schrödinger equation (GNLSE). In recent times, exciting new materials with peculiar nonlinear properties, such as negative nonlinear coefficients and a zero-nonlinearity wavelength, have been demonstrated. Unfortunately, the GNLSE may lead to unphysical results in these cases since, in general, it does not preserve the number of photons and, in the presence of a negative nonlinearity, predicts a blue shift due to Raman scattering. In this paper, we put forth a modified GNLSE that can be used to model the propagation in media with an arbitrary, even negative, nonlinear coefficient. This novel photon-conserving GNLSE (pcGNLSE) ensures preservation of the photon number and can be solved by the same tried and trusted numerical algorithms used for the standard GNLSE. Finally, we compare results for soliton dynamics in fibers with different nonlinear coefficients obtained with the pcGNLSE and the GNLSE.
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