Nonlinear diffraction from a virtual beam.
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We observe experimentally a novel type of nonlinear diffraction in the process of two-wave mixing on a nonlinear quadratic grating. We demonstrate that when the nonlinear grating is illuminated simultaneously by two noncollinear beams, a second-harmonic diffraction pattern is generated by a virtual beam propagating along the bisector of the two pump beams. The observed diffraction phenomena is a purely nonlinear effect that has no analogue in linear diffraction.