Abstract

A controllable manipulation of the energy distribution of caustic beams possessing rectangular symmetry is presented. The beams are designed from the spectral phase by adding a linear and/or quadratic perturbation having forced symmetry. This approach breaks the overall caustic structure into branches, allowing a fully controllable displacement of each branch. The caustic breaking leads to peculiar propagation configurations for rectangular beams. Among them, we highlight the abruptly autofocusing beam, which until now was exclusively associated to caustic beams with circular symmetry. Thereby, the abruptly autofocusing effect can be yielded for one-dimensional light sheets, contrary to what happens for circularly symmetric beams. The theoretical predictions are supported by experiments. Besides, the focus width of such rectangular beams can be reduced beyond the standard diffraction limit.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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