Space-time wave packets localized in all dimensions

Yessenov, M., Free, J., Chen, Z. , Johnson, E. G., Lavery, M. P. J. , Alonso, M. A. and Abouraddy, A. F. (2022) Space-time wave packets localized in all dimensions. Nature Communications, 13, 4573. (doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32240-0) (PMID:35931684) (PMCID:PMC9356057)

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Optical wave packets that are localized in space and time, but nevertheless overcome diffraction and travel rigidly in free space, are a long sought-after field structure with applications ranging from microscopy and remote sensing, to nonlinear and quantum optics. However, synthesizing such wave packets requires introducing non-differentiable angular dispersion with high spectral precision in two transverse dimensions, a capability that has eluded optics to date. Here, we describe an experimental strategy capable of sculpting the spatio-temporal spectrum of a generic pulsed beam by introducing arbitrary radial chirp via two-dimensional conformal coordinate transformations of the spectrally resolved field. This procedure yields propagation-invariant ‘space-time’ wave packets localized in all dimensions, with tunable group velocity in the range from 0.7c to 1.8c in free space, and endowed with prescribed orbital angular momentum. By providing unprecedented flexibility in sculpting the three-dimensional structure of pulsed optical fields, our experimental strategy promises to be a versatile platform for the emerging enterprise of space-time optics.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:M.Y. and A.F.A. were supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) under contracts N00014-17-1-2458, N00014-19-1-2192, and N00014-20-1-2789. J.F. and E.G.J. were supported by ONR contract N00014-20-1-2558. M.A.A. was funded by the Excellence Initiative of Aix Marseille University – A*MIDEX, a French ‘Investissements d’Avenir’ programme.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lavery, Professor Martin and Chen, Dr Zhaozhong
Authors: Yessenov, M., Free, J., Chen, Z., Johnson, E. G., Lavery, M. P. J., Alonso, M. A., and Abouraddy, A. F.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2022
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 13: 4573
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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