Abstract

We investigate the propagation and healing of Airy beams in two dimensions that are obtainable under practical experimental conditions. We introduce an intensity similarity factor to quantitatively describe how an Airy beam retains its original shape. Based on such a figure of merit, we define a shape-retaining distance to quantify how far an Airy beam can keep the shape of its main lobe upon propagation and a healing distance to quantify how soon an initially partially blocked Airy beam can restore its main lobe profile. We perform an analysis on how these two distances scale with experimental parameters. We further use an interference picture to interpret the healing phenomenon of an Airy beam. Our work can serve as a guideline for quantitative performance analysis for applications of Airy beams and can be extended to other special beams in a straightforward fashion.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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