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Oscillatory trajectory of an optical beam propagating in free space

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Abstract

We describe the experimental observation of nonrectilinear trajectories of a nearly Gaussian light beam propagating in free space, after reflecting from a glass–air interface near critical incidence. The angular-dependent reflection coefficients modulate the incident beam’s angular spectrum, shifting the reflected beam from the rectilinear path predicted by geometrical optics. The beam trajectory shows strong dependence on the angle of incidence, changing from rectilinear to oscillatory within 0.07°. Our experimental results are in good agreement with theoretical predictions for the trajectories followed by the intensity peak of the reflected beam.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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