The standard scalar paraxial parabolic (Fock–Leontovich) propagation equation is generalized to include all-order nonparaxial corrections in the significant case of a tensorial refractive-index perturbation on a homogeneous isotropic background. In the resultant equation, each higher-order nonparaxial term (associated with diffraction in homogeneous space and scaling as the ratio between beam waist and diffraction length) possesses a counterpart (associated with the refractive-index perturbation) that allows one to preserve the vectorial nature of the problem (∇∇·E≠0). The tensorial character of the refractive-index variation is shown to play a particularly relevant role whenever the tensor elements δn<sub>xz</sub> and δn<sub>yz</sub> (<i>z</i> is the propagation direction) are not negligible. For this case, an application to elasto-optically induced optical activity and to nonlinear propagation in the presence of the optical Kerr effect is presented.
© 2000 Optical Society of America
Alessandro Ciattoni, Paolo Di Porto, Bruno Crosignani, and Amnon Yariv, "Vectorial nonparaxial propagation equation in the presence of a tensorial refractive-index perturbation," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 17, 809-819 (2000)