Abstract

Experimental studies of the optical properties of compressible, viscous, and rapidly rotating gas flows (vortices) are presented. Gas vortices can function as optical elements such as lenses or waveguides. The optical properties are determined from direct interferometric phase measurements and beam propagation analysis. Output beams are analyzed in terms of Zernike polynomials for a range of gas flow parameters, including choked flow. The absolute radial gas density distribution is measured, and a technique for adjusting it is demonstrated.

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