Abstract

Theoretical, numerical, and experimental research on a novel family of Airy beams in rectangular coordinates having a symmetric transverse pattern of light intensity is presented. The intensity-symmetric Airy beams include both the symmetric Airy beam whose field amplitude is an even function of the transverse coordinates and the antisymmetric Airy beam whose field amplitude is an odd function of such coordinates. The theoretical foundations are based on the relationship of the symmetries of the spectral phase with the cosine and sine Fourier transforms. These beams are analyzed in a propagation range also including the region preceding the Fourier plane. These beams exhibit autofocusing, collapse, self-bending, and reversal propagation. Moreover, the intensity distribution is strongly asymmetric with respect to the Fourier plane. All these peculiar features were not reported for other classes of paraxial beams in a rectangular frame. The experimental generation of intensity-symmetric Airy beams is demonstrated supporting the theoretical predictions. Possible applications in planar waveguide writing and optical trapping are also discussed.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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