Dynamic instability of counterpropagating self-trapped beams in photorefractive media
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We present an experimental and numerical investigation of the interaction of bidirectional self-guided beams in photorefractive media. Distinct from copropagating beams, the feedback intrinsic to the counterpropagating geometry renders such configurations unstable beyond a control parameter threshold. The instability is mediated through attractive interaction between the induced waveguides and leads to dynamic states, showing telltale signs of chaotic behaviour. We demonstrate qualitative correspondance between experiment and a saturable Kerr model, investigate the dynamical bifurcation in detail and expand on the consequences of a realistic photorefractive model including nonlocality, anisotropy and self bending.