Abstract

We show that the depolarization caused when light is focused with a high-numerical-perture lens is accompanied by a space-variant geometrical phase. This phase results in the formation of modes with helicities and phase singularities that differ from those of the original beam. We show that this effect can be explained as a transverse shift of the rays, which is reminiscent of the recently discovered optical Hall–Magnus effect. Our results show that the asymmetric focal spot associated with the focus of linearly polarized light can be explained through geometrical effects.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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