Fractal light from lasers

Sroor, H., Naidoo, D., Miller, S. W., Nelson, J., Courtial, J. and Forbes, A. (2019) Fractal light from lasers. Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, 99(1), 013848. (doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.99.013848)

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Abstract

Fractals, complex shapes with structure at multiple scales, have long been observed in Nature: as symmetric fractals in plants and sea shells, and as statistical fractals in clouds, mountains and coastlines. With their highly polished spherical mirrors, laser resonators are almost the precise opposite of Nature, and so it came as a surprise when, in 1998, transverse intensity cross-sections of the eigenmodes of unstable canonical resonators were predicted to be fractals [Karman et al., Nature 402, 138 (1999)]. Experimental verification has so far remained elusive. Here we observe a variety of fractal shapes in transverse intensity cross-sections through the lowest-loss eigenmodes of unstable canonical laser resonators, thereby demonstrating the controlled generation of fractal light inside a laser cavity. We also advance the existing theory of fractal laser modes, first by predicting 3D self-similar fractal structure around the centre of the magnified self-conjugate plane, second by showing, quantitatively, that intensity cross-sections are most self-similar in the magnified self-conjugate plane. Our work offers a significant advance in the understanding of a fundamental symmetry of Nature as found in lasers.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Courtial, Dr Johannes and Nelson, Mr John
Authors: Sroor, H., Naidoo, D., Miller, S. W., Nelson, J., Courtial, J., and Forbes, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Publisher:American Physical Society
ISSN:1050-2947
ISSN (Online):1094-1622
Published Online:25 January 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 American Physical Society
First Published:First published in Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 99(1): 013848
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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