We study the spatiotemporal dynamics of spatially extended nonlinear cavities containing a left-handed material. Such materials, which have a negative index of refraction, have been experimentally demonstrated recently, and allow for novel electromagnetic behavior. We show that the insertion of a left-handed material in an optical resonator allows for controlling the value and the sign of the diffraction coefficient in dispersive Kerr resonators and degenerate optical parametric oscillators. We give an overview of our analytical and numerical studies on the stability and formation of dissipative structures in systems with negative diffraction.

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