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Enlightening Arago–Poisson spot using structured light

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Abstract

We show that structured light can amplify the intensity of an Arago–Poisson bright spot, the cornerstone proof of the wave nature of light, by several orders of magnitude. Specifically, we use a thin annular beam produced by either an axicon–lens combination or two axicons to illuminate an opaque circular obstacle. Experimental results confirm the numerical calculations. By judiciously choosing our scheme’s parameters, the bright spot intensity can be higher than that of the original beam, meaning that structured light facilitates “focusing” of light behind an obstacle. This amplification, in addition to didactic elucidation of this classical effect, can find use in optical alignment/metrology, lithography, aberration measurements, as well as in basic science studies of the Arago–Poisson spot in matter waves.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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Data underlying the results presented in this paper are not publicly available at this time but may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.

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