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A Guided Tour of Light Beams

From lasers to optical knots
David S Simon


From science-fiction death rays to supermarket scanners, lasers have become deeply embedded in our daily lives and our culture. But in recent decades the standard laser beam has evolved into an array of more specialized light beams with a variety of strange and counter-intuitive properties. Some of them have the ability to reconstruct themselves after disruption by an obstacle, while others can bend in complicated shapes or rotate like a corkscrew. These unusual optical effects open new and exciting possibilities for science and technology. For example, they make possible microscopic tractor beams that pull objects toward the source of the light, and they allow the trapping and manipulation of individual molecules to construct specially tailored nanostructures for engineering or medical use. It has even been found that beams of light can produce lines of darkness that can be tied in knots. This book is an introductory survey of these specialized light beams and their scientific applications, at a level suitable for undergraduates with a basic knowledge of optics and quantum mechanics. It provides a unified treatment of the subject, collecting together in textbook form, for the first time, many topics currently found only in the original research literature.

About Editors

David Simon received doctoral degrees in theoretical physics (Johns Hopkins) and engineering (Boston University). Originally trained in mathematical physics and quantum field theory, he now works primarily in quantum optics and related areas. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stonehill College (Easton, MA) and visiting researcher at Boston University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: Preface / Acknowledgements / Author biography / Ch1. Introduction: From death rays to smartphones / Ch2. Optical propagation / Ch3. Gaussian beams and lasers / Ch4. Orbital angular momentum and Laguerre-Gauss beams / Ch5. Bessel beams, self-healing, and diffraction-free propagation / Ch6. Airy beams and self-acceleration / Ch7. Further variations / Ch8. Entangled beams / Ch9. Optical knots and links / Ch10. Conclusion / Appendix


Paperback ISBN: 9780750328425

Ebook ISBN: 9781681744384

DOI: 10.1088/978-1-6817-4437-7

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers


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