Abstract

In nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, the spontaneous generation of singularities in smooth and finite wave functions is a well understood phenomenon also occurring for free particles. We use the familiar analogy between the two-dimensional Schrödinger equation and the optical paraxial wave equation to define a new class of square-integrable paraxial optical fields that develop a spatial singularity in the focal point of a weakly focusing thin lens. These fields are characterized by a single real parameter whose value determines the nature of the singularity. This novel field enhancement mechanism may stimulate fruitful research for diverse technological and scientific applications.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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