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We have used two-photon absorption, self-defocusing, and optically-induced melting in GaAs to limit 1 μm picosecond pulsed radiation. The contribution to the limiting action from each of these mechanisms is discussed and demonstrated. Additionally, we measure a two-photon absorption coefficient of 26 cm/GW, which is in good agreement with the smallest values reported in the literature. A pulse-width study of the nonlinear absorption was conducted to isolate the effects of two-photon-generated free-carrier absorption. Results indicate that, even though the number of free-carriers is sufficient to severely defocus the incident beam, free-carrier absorption does not measurably contribute to the nonlinear absorption.