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Temporal Lau effect: a multiwavelength self-imaging phenomenon

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Abstract

We provide experimental evidence of the temporal analog of the spatial Lau phenomenon. This effect can be interpreted as an incoherent superposition of multiple temporal self-images. Using an array of continuous-wave lasers modulated by a single external electro-optic modulator driven by a repetitive pattern, and dispersing the light in a medium satisfying the integer Talbot self-imaging condition, each monochromatic carrier generates a temporally shifted self-image. We show experimentally that, if the wavelength separation satisfies the temporal Lau condition, the self-images appear superimposed in intensity. The requirements for this incoherent regime are analyzed. This work paves the way to achieve multiwavelength pulse trains with the ability to control the time interleaving between pulses, with potential applications for pulse shaping and high-speed sampling.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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