Recently many ideas have been proposed for the use of a longitudinal field for particle acceleration, fluorescent imaging, second-harmonic generation and Raman spectroscopy. A few methods to enhance the longitudinal field component have been suggested, but all have insufficient optical efficiency and non-uniform axial field strength. Here we report a new method that permits the combination of very unusual properties of light in the focal region, permitting the creation of a ‘pure’ longitudinal light beam with subdiffraction beam size (0.43λ). This beam is non-diffracting; that is, it propagates without divergence over a long distance (of about 4λ) in free space. This is achieved by focusing a radially polarized Bessel–Gaussian beam with a combination of a binary-phase optical element and a high-numerical-aperture lens. This binary optics works as a special polarization filter enhancing the longitudinal component.
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The author would like to thank T.D. Visser, S.F. Pereira, J.J.M. Braat and H.P. Urbach for their helpful discussion on radial polarized beam and F. Gan for his helpful discussions on binary optics. The authors would like to acknowledge the LTL project founded by Data Storage Institute.
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Wang, H., Shi, L., Lukyanchuk, B. et al. Creation of a needle of longitudinally polarized light in vacuum using binary optics. Nature Photon 2, 501–505 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2008.127
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