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Appl. Sci. 2013, 3(1), 139-152; doi:10.3390/app3010139
Article

Adaptive Generation and Diagnostics of Linear Few-Cycle Light Bullets

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Received: 5 December 2012 / Revised: 19 January 2013 / Accepted: 4 February 2013 / Published: 8 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultraintense Ultrashort Pulse Lasers)
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Abstract

Recently we introduced the class of highly localized wavepackets (HLWs) as a generalization of optical Bessel-like needle beams. Here we report on the progress in this field. In contrast to pulsed Bessel beams and Airy beams, ultrashort-pulsed HLWs propagate with high stability in both spatial and temporal domain, are nearly paraxial (supercollimated), have fringe-less spatial profiles and thus represent the best possible approximation to linear “light bullets”. Like Bessel beams and Airy beams, HLWs show self-reconstructing behavior. Adaptive HLWs can be shaped by ultraflat three-dimensional phase profiles (generalized axicons) which are programmed via calibrated grayscale maps of liquid-crystal-on-silicon spatial light modulators (LCoS-SLMs). Light bullets of even higher complexity can either be freely formed from quasi-continuous phase maps or discretely composed from addressable arrays of identical nondiffracting beams. The characterization of few-cycle light bullets requires spatially resolved measuring techniques. In our experiments, wavefront, pulse and phase were detected with a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor, 2D-autocorrelation and spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction (SPIDER). The combination of the unique propagation properties of light bullets with the flexibility of adaptive optics opens new prospects for applications of structured light like optical tweezers, microscopy, data transfer and storage, laser fusion, plasmon control or nonlinear spectroscopy.
Keywords: linear light bullets; ultrashort wavepackets; femtosecond pulses; localized wavepackets; generalized axicons; generalized needle beams; time-wavefront sensor; spatio-temporal autocorrelation; spatial light modulators linear light bullets; ultrashort wavepackets; femtosecond pulses; localized wavepackets; generalized axicons; generalized needle beams; time-wavefront sensor; spatio-temporal autocorrelation; spatial light modulators
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Bock, M.; Grunwald, R. Adaptive Generation and Diagnostics of Linear Few-Cycle Light Bullets. Appl. Sci. 2013, 3, 139-152.

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