Abstract

It is well known that uniform illumination of a lens leads to a focal field with a pattern of dark Airy rings in the focal plane, whereas this is not the case for Gaussian illumination. We show theoretically and experimentally that in the transition between the two cases the Airy rings, being phase singularities, reorganize themselves by means of a creation–annihilation process leading to new dark rings outside the focal plane.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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