Letter | Published:

Airy–Bessel wave packets as versatile linear light bullets

Nature Photonics volume 4, pages 103106 (2010) | Download Citation

Abstract

The generation of spatiotemporal optical wave packets that are impervious to both dispersion and diffraction has been a fascinating challenge1. Despite intense research activity, such localized waves, referred to as light bullets, have remained elusive. In nonlinear propagation, three-dimensional light bullets tend to disintegrate as a result of inherent instabilities2,3. Three-dimensional wave packets that propagate linearly have been reported4,5,6,7,8,9, but their utility is severely limited by the need to tailor the wave packet precisely to material properties. To overcome these limitations, we explore a new approach based on the one-dimensional Airy wave packet10. Here, we report the first observation of a class of versatile three-dimensional linear light bullets, which combine Bessel beams in the transverse plane with temporal Airy pulses. Their evolution does not depend critically on the material in which they propagate, and the consequent versatility will facilitate their study and applications ranging from bioimaging11 to plasma physics12.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    & Fundamentals of Photonics 2nd edn (Wiley, 2007).

  2. 2.

    , , & Spatiotemporal solitons. J. Opt. B 7, R53–R72 (2005).

  3. 3.

    Collapse of optical pulses. Opt. Lett. 15, 1282–1284 (1990).

  4. 4.

    , & Localized Waves (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

  5. 5.

    , & Demonstration of the Bessel-X pulse propagation with strong lateral and longitudinal localization in a dispersive medium. Opt. Lett. 22, 310–312 (1997).

  6. 6.

    & Nondiffracting X-waves. Exact solutions to free space scalar wave equation and their finite aperture realizations. IEEE Trans. Ultrason. Ferroelec. Freq. Cont. 39, 19–31 (1992).

  7. 7.

    et al. Spontaneously generated X-shaped light bullets. Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 093904 (2003).

  8. 8.

    & Localized and stationary light wave modes in dispersive media. Phys. Rev. E 69, 066606 (2004).

  9. 9.

    Localized subluminal envelope pulses in dispersive media. Opt. Lett. 29, 147–149 (2004).

  10. 10.

    , , & Observation of accelerating Airy beams. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 213901 (2007).

  11. 11.

    et al. Enhanced operation of femtosecond lasers and applications in cell transfection. J. Biophoton. 1, 183–199 (2008).

  12. 12.

    The Physics of Laser Plasma Interactions (Westview Press, 2003).

  13. 13.

    & Blow-up in nonlinear Schrödinger equations. Phys. Scr. 33, 481–497 (1986).

  14. 14.

    , & Generation of optical spatiotemporal solitons. Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 4631–4634 (1999).

  15. 15.

    , & Diffraction-free beams. Phys. Rev. Lett. 58, 1499–1501 (1987).

  16. 16.

    , & Bessel-Gauss beams. Opt. Commun. 64, 491–495 (1987).

  17. 17.

    et al. Simultaneous micromanipulation in multiple planes using a self-reconstructing light beam. Nature 419, 145–147 (2002).

  18. 18.

    , & Resonant self-trapping and absorption of intense Bessel beams. Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 3085–3088 (2000).

  19. 19.

    , & Microstructuring transparent materials by use of non-diffracting ultrashort pulse beams generated by diffractive optics. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 20, 2562–2568 (2003).

  20. 20.

    et al. Generation of diffraction-free beams for applications in optical microlithography. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 15, 287–292 (1997).

  21. 21.

    et al. Optical projection tomography as a tool for 3D microscopy and gene expression studies. Science 296, 541–545 (2002).

  22. 22.

    & Nonspreading wave packets. Am. J. Phys. 47, 264–267 (1979).

  23. 23.

    & A note on accelerating finite energy Airy beam. Opt. Lett. 32, 2447–2449 (2007).

  24. 24.

    & Accelerating finite energy Airy beams. Opt. Lett. 32, 979–981 (2007).

  25. 25.

    , & Alternative formulation for invariant optical fields: Mathieu beams. Opt. Lett. 25, 1493–1495 (2000).

  26. 26.

    et al. Curved plasma channel generation using ultraintense Airy beams. Science 324, 229–232 (2009).

  27. 27.

    , , & Self-healing properties of optical Airy beams. Opt. Express 16, 12880–12891 (2008).

  28. 28.

    , & Optically mediated particle clearing using Airy wavepackets. Nature Photon. 2, 675–678 (2008).

  29. 29.

    & Efficient generation of nearly diffraction-free beams using an axicon. Opt. Eng. 31, 2640–2643 (1992).

  30. 30.

    et al. High localization, focal depth and contrast by means of nonlinear Bessel beams. Opt. Express 13, 6160–6167 (2005).

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank A. Bartnik and K. Kieu for their help. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (PHY-0653482).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Applied Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

    • Andy Chong
    • , William H. Renninger
    •  & Frank W. Wise
  2. College of Optics/CREOL, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA

    • Demetrios N. Christodoulides

Authors

  1. Search for Andy Chong in:

  2. Search for William H. Renninger in:

  3. Search for Demetrios N. Christodoulides in:

  4. Search for Frank W. Wise in:

Contributions

A.C. performed the experiments and analysed the data. W.H.R. performed a theoretical study with some numerical simulations. D.N.C. proposed the original concept and analytic models. F.W.W. supervised the project. The manuscript was prepared by A.C., D.N.C. and F.W.W.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andy Chong.

Supplementary information

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2009.264

Further reading