Abstract

Airy beams possess a number of properties that ensure their multifunction and high relevance in many applications. This fact stimulates scientists to search for new modifications and generalizations of classical Airy beams. Several generalizations of the Airy functions are known, on the basis of both the modification of the differential equation and the variations in the integral representation. In this paper we propose and investigate a new type of Airy beams—fractional Airy beams (FrAiB). They are based on the generalization of the integral representation and are close to the Olver functions, but we are considering a wider range of the power-law dependence of the argument, including non-integer (fractional) values of the power. A theoretical and numerical analysis of the FrAiBs, as well as their symmetrized variants, was performed. The properties of FrAiBs, such as being non-diffracting and autofocusing, were numerically investigated by means of the fractional Fourier transform, describing the beam transformations by paraxial optical systems. We believe that new beams can be useful for laser manipulation techniques and lensless laser patterning.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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