Abstract

A right-handed helical nonorthogonal coordinate system is used to determine helical localized wave solutions of the homogeneous scalar wave equation. Introducing the characteristic variables in the helical system, i.e., u=ζ-ct and v=ζ+ct, where ζ is the coordinate along the helical axis, we can use the bidirectional traveling plane wave representation and obtain sets of elementary bidirectional helical solutions to the wave equation. Not only are these sets bidirectional, i.e., based on a product of plane waves, but they may also be broken up into right-handed and left-handed solutions. The elementary helical solutions may in turn be used to create general superpositions, both Fourier and bidirectional, from which new solutions to the wave equation may be synthesized. These new solutions, based on the helical bidirectional superposition, are members of the class of localized waves. Examples of these new solutions are a helical fundamental Gaussian focus wave mode, a helical Bessel–Gauss pulse, and a helical acoustic directed energy pulse train. Some of these solutions have the interesting feature that their shape and localization properties depend not only on the wave number governing propagation along the longitudinal axis but also on the normalized helical pitch.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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