Abstract

The Laguerre–Gaussian (LG) beam expansion is described as a numerical and physical model of paraxial ultrashort pulse diffraction in the time domain. An overview of the dynamics of higher-order ultrashort planar LG modes is given through numerical simulations, and the finite width of these beams is shown to induce a dispersive-like axial broadening of the fields, which creates related variations in the on-axis amplitude of such pulses. The propagation of a pulsed plane wave scattered at an aperture is then illustrated as a finite weighted sum of individual planar LG pulses, which allows for intuitive illustration of the convergence of this expansion technique. By applying such an expansion to diffraction at a hard aperture, the planar pulsed LG beams are described as the paraxial analogs of the Bessel boundary waves typically observed in such situations, with both exhibiting superluminal group velocities along the optical axis. Numerical results of pulse diffraction at an aperture highlight the suitability of the LG expansion method for efficient and practical simulation of ultrashort fields in the paraxial regime.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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