Photosensitivity is a material property that is relevant to many phenomena and applications, from photosynthesis and photography to optical data storage and ultrafast laser writing. It was commonly thought that, in a homogeneous medium, photosensitivity and the corresponding light-induced material modifications do not change on reversing the direction of light propagation. Here we demonstrate that when the direction of the femtosecond laser beam is reversed from the +z to -z direction, the structures written in LiNbO3 crystal when translating the beam along the +y and -y directions are mirrored. In a non-centrosymmetric medium, modification of the material can therefore differ for light propagating in opposite directions. This is the first evidence of a new optical phenomenon of non-reciprocal photosensitivity. We interpret this effect in terms of light pressure and associated heat flow, resulting in a temperature gradient in homogeneous media without inversion symmetry under uniform intense irradiation
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