Abstract

We propose a strikingly simple method to form approximately unipolar half-cycle optical pulses via reflection of a single-cycle optical pulse from a thin flat metallic or dielectric layer. Unipolar pulses in reflection arise due to specifics of one-dimensional pulse propagation. Namely, we show that the field emitted by the layer is proportional to the velocity of the oscillating charges in the medium, instead of their acceleration. Besides, the oscillation velocity of the charges can be forced to keep a constant sign throughout the pulse duration. That is, reflection of ultrashort pulses from broad-area layers with nanometer-scale thickness can be very different from the common reflection in the case of longer pulses and thicker layers. This suggests a possibility of unusual transformations of few-cycle light pulses in completely linear optical systems.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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Supplementary Material (1)

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» Visualization 1: MP4 (366 KB)      Visualization of a single-cycle pulse passing through a thin metallic layer; the thickness is h = 5 nm.

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