Abstract

“Flatland” is the title of a 120-year-old science fiction story. It describes the life of creatures living in a two-dimensional (2D) Flatland. A superior creature living in the three-dimensional (3D) spaceland, as we do, can easily inspect, for example, the inside of a Flatland house, as well as the content of a flat man’s stomach without leaving any trace. Furthermore, the 3D person has supernatural powers that enable him to change the laws of physics in Flatland. We present here the concept of a 2D Flatland optics with one transversal coordinate x and one longitudinal coordinate z. The other transversal coordinate y allows total inspection of Flatland optics, and the freedom to change the wavelength, without using something like nonlinear optics or a Doppler shift. Monochromatic 3D light can be converted reversibly into polychromatic 2D light. A large variety of 2D systems and 2D effects will be presented here and in follow-up contributions. An epilogue faces the question, how “real” is Flatland optics?

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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