Femtosecond spatial pulse shaping at the focal plane

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Spatial shaping of ultrashort laser beams at the focal plane is theoretically analyzed. The description of the pulse is performed by its expansion in terms of Laguerre-Gaussian orthonormal modes. This procedure gives both a comprehensive interpretation of the propagation dynamics and the required signal to encode onto a spatial light modulator for spatial shaping, without using iterative algorithms. As an example, pulses with top-hat and annular spatial profiles are designed and their dynamics analyzed. The interference of top-hat pulses is also investigated finding potential applications in high precision pump-probe experiments (without using delay lines) and for the creation of subwavelength ablation patterns. In addition, a novel class of ultrashort pulses possessing non-stationary orbital angular momentum is also proposed. These exotic pulses provide additional degrees of freedom that open up new perspectives in fields such as laser-matter interaction and micro-machining.
© 2013 Optical Society of America. We thank José A. Rodrigo and Tatiana Alieva for valuable advice and Paqui, Óscar and Juana for invaluable support. The financial support from the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competividad under projects TEC 2011-23629, CTQ2008-02578/BQU, CTQ2012-37404-C02-01 and Consolider SAUUL CSD2007-00013 and from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil, under project 477260/2010-1, are acknowledged. P.V. acknowledges a PQ fellowship of CNPq. The publication of this work was supported by Servicio Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial (SENAI) - DR/Bahia, Brazil.
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