Abstract

A nonlinear optical vortex coronagraph (n-OVC) based on sum-frequency generation (SFG) in a periodically poled lithium niobate (PPLN) crystal is presented. We demonstrate an n-OVC by mixing the image of an on-axis point source ($ {\lambda _s} = 1.6\;{\unicode{x00B5}{\rm m}} $) inside the PPLN crystal with a pump beam (${\lambda _p} = 1064\;{\rm nm}$) imprinted with a helical phase profile from a vector vortex mask (topological charge ${l} = 2$). Due to quasi-phase matching and orbital angular momentum conservation, a coronagraphic image is produced at the SFG wavelength (${\lambda _{\rm up}}\sim 630\;{\rm nm}$). We validate that the n-OVC is tunable to signal wavelength but only requires a vortex mask operating at the pump wavelength. The acceptance bandwidth of the SFG process provides the n-OVC a degree of achromaticity even with a monochromatic vortex mask. The n-OVC exhibits an inner working angle of $ \sim {\lambda _s}/{D}$ and an experimental contrast of ${{10}^{ - 4}}$ at $3{\lambda _s}/{D}$.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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