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Toward the optical “magic carpet”: reducing the divergence of a light sheet below the diffraction limit

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Abstract

In 3D, diffraction-free or Bessel beams are well known and have found applications in diverse fields. An analog in 2D, or pseudonondiffracting (PND) beams, is a nontrivial problem, and existing methods suffer from deficiencies. For example, Airy beams are not highly localized, some PND beams have significant side lobes, and a cosine beam has to be truncated by a very narrow aperture thus discarding most of the energy. We show, both theoretically and experimentally, that it is possible to generate a quasi-nondiffracting 2D light beam in a simple and efficient fashion. This is achieved by placing a mask consisting of a pair of double slits on a cylindrical lens. The applications include light sheet microscopy/optical sectioning and particle manipulation.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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