A Guided Tour of Light Beams

A Guided Tour of Light Beams

From Lasers to Optical Knots

David S. Simon
ISBN: 9781681744360 | PDF ISBN: 9781681744377
Copyright © 2017 | 103 Pages | Publication Date: December, 2016

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From science fiction death rays to supermarket scanners, lasers have become deeply embedded in our daily lives and our culture. But in recent decades the standard laser beam has evolved into an array of more specialized light beams with a variety of strange and counterintuitive properties. Some of them have the ability to reconstruct themselves after disruption by an obstacle, while others can bend in complicated shapes or rotate like a corkscrew. These unusual optical effects open new and exciting possibilities for science and technology. For example, they make possible microscopic tractor beams that pull objects toward the source of the light, and they allow the trapping and manipulation of individual molecules to construct specially-tailored nanostructures for engineering or medical use. It has even been found that beams of light can produce lines of darkness that can be tied in knots. This book is an introductory survey of these specialized light beams and their scientific applications, at a level suitable for undergraduates with a basic knowledge of optics and quantum mechanics. It provides a unified treatment of the subject, collecting together in textbook form for the first time many topics currently found only in the original research literature.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: From death rays to smartphones

2 Optical propagation
2.1 Electromagnetic fields
2.2 Helmholtz equation and wave optics

3 Gaussian beams and lasers
3.1 Lasers
3.2 Gaussian beams
3.3 Coherent and squeezed states
3.4 Optical tweezers

4 Orbital angular momentum and Laguerre-Gauss beams
4.1 Polarization and angular momentum in optics
4.2 Generation and detection of Laguerre-Gauss beams
4.3 Optical spanners and micropumps
4.4 Harnessing OAM for measurement

5 Bessel beams, self-healing, and diffraction-free propagation
5.1 Bessel beams
5.2 Optical petal structures
5.3 More non-diffracting beams: Mathieu beams
5.4 Optical tractor beams and conveyor belts
5.5 Trojan states
5.6 Localized waves

6 Airy beams and self-acceleration
6.1 Airy beams
6.2 Self-accelerating beams and optical boomerangs
6.3 Applications

7 Further variations
7.1 Separable solutions
7.2 Hermite-Gauss beams
7.3 Ince-Gauss beams
7.4 Parabolic beams
7.5 Elegant beams
7.6 Lorentz beams

8 Entangled beams
8.1 Separability and entanglement
8.2 Creating entanglement
8.3 Applications of entangled beams

9 Optical knots and link
9.1 From knotted vortex atoms to knotted light
9.2 Knotted vortex lines

10 Conclusion

Appendix Mathematical reference

About the Author(s)

David S. Simon, Stonehill College & Boston University
David Simon his doctoral degrees in theoretical physics from Johns Hopkins and engineering from Boston University. He works primarily in quantum optics and related areas. He has been the author or co-author of dozens of papers on topics ranging from the use of supersymmetry in quantum mechanics to the application of quantum entanglement to optical measurement and cryptography. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stonehill College (Easton, MA) and a visiting researcher at Boston University.

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