Partially coherent Airy beams: A cross-spectral-density approach

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Amer Physical Soc
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Airy beams are known for displaying shape invariance and self-acceleration along the transverse direction while they propagate forwards. Although these properties could be associated with the beam coherence, it has been revealed that they also manifest in the case of partially coherent Airy-type beams. Here, these properties are further investigated by introducing and analyzing a class of partially coherent Airy beams under both infinite and finite energy conditions. The key element within the present approach is the so-called cross-spectral density, which enables a direct connection with the quantum density matrix, making the analysis exportable to the quantum realm to study the dynamics of Airy wave packets acted by both incoherence and decoherence. As it is shown, in the case of infinite energy beams both properties are preserved even under the circumstance of total incoherence provided the underlying structure of the beam remains equal to that of an Airy beam. In the case of finite energy beams, a situation closer to a realistic scenario as experimental beams cannot have an infinite extension, it is shown that a propagation range along which both properties are preserved can be warranted. This is controlled by a critical distance, which depends on the spread range determined by the parameters ruling the extension of random field spatial fluctuations. Such a distance is determined by defining a position-dependent parameter that quantifies the degree of overlapping between the propagated beam and the input one displaced by an amount equivalent to the propagation distance.
©2022 American Physical Society. Financial support from the Spanish Agencia Estatal de Investigación and the European Regional Development Fund (Project PID2019-104268GBC21/AEI/10.13039/501100011033) is acknowledged.