Abstract

We deduce and study an analytical expression for Fresnel diffraction of a plane wave by a spiral phase plate (SPP) that imparts an arbitrary-order phase singularity on the light field. Estimates for the optical vortex radius that depends on the singularity’s integer order n (also termed topological charge, or order of the dislocation) have been derived. The near-zero vortex intensity is shown to be proportional to ρ2n, where ρ is the radial coordinate. Also, an analytical expression for Fresnel diffraction of the Gaussian beam by a SPP with nth-order singularity is analyzed. The far-field intensity distribution is derived. The radius of maximal intensity is shown to depend on the singularity number. The behavior of the Gaussian beam intensity after a SPP with second-order singularity (n=2) is studied in more detail. The parameters of the light beams generated numerically with the Fresnel transform and via analytical formulas are in good agreement. In addition, the light fields with first- and second-order singularities were generated by a 32-level SPP fabricated on the resist by use of the electron-beam lithography technique.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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