A laser beam with phase singularities is an interesting object to study in optics and may have important applications in guiding atoms and molecules. We explore the characteristics of a singularity in a nondiffracting Bessel beam experimentally by use of a programmable spatial light modulator with 64-level phase holograms. The diffraction efficiency with 64-level phase holograms is greatly improved in comparison with that obtained with a binary grating. The experiments show that the size and deflection angle of the beam can be controlled in real time. The observations are in agreement with scalar diffraction theory.
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