Researchers design holographic lenses based on plasma

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Illustration of a holographic plasma lens and the laser focus it creates (blue). Credit: Edwards et al.

Holograms are three-dimensional (3D) images produced by interfering rays that reflect objects and photographs. In recent years, it has been introduced in various settings to enhance employee training and create more engaging art.

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University recently used holography to design a new type of lens made from plasma. This lens is Physical review letterMay enable the development of more advanced laser and optical technologies.

“Our research on plasma lenses stems from a greater effort towards plasma optics, which has attempted to design and build optics from plasma, rather than traditional materials such as glass,” he said. One of them, Matthew Edwards, told “Plasma is useful as an optical material because it can withstand much higher light intensity than any solid material. Therefore, plasma optics can be used to build compact ultra-high power lasers.”

The diffractive lens described by Edwards and his colleagues in their dissertation is based on a modified version of the plasma volume grating, a well-known physical tool used to separate the colors of incident light. Therefore, researchers used the knowledge and discoveries gained from previous grid experiments in preparing their designs.

Basically, the new holographic plasma lens uses the phase shift that occurs when light passes through the plasma to create a phase zone plate. This is essentially the type of optical system in which the constructive and destructive interference of light produces a high intensity focus after the lens.

“Plasma is created and modified by interference between a pair of weak pump lasers,” says Edwards. “The advantage of diffractive lenses is that they are elastic against defects in plasma density. This robustness is important because plasma is difficult to control.”

The lens, designed by Edwards and his colleagues, is based on two on-line pump lasers, with different focal points overlapping on a gas jet. Since they are made of plasma, they can withstand very high light intensities. This is 1000 to 1 million times the light intensity allowed for glass lenses and lenses based on other non-ionized solid materials.

In their paper, researchers outline the key design principles of diffractive plasma lenses. In addition, they show the results of simulations of the two plasma mechanisms that underpin their function: spatially changing ionization and sway-driven fluctuations in ion density.

Edwards and his colleagues were one of the first to design lenses based on experimentally achievable plasma properties. So far, the lens has only been theoretically designed and simulated, but it can also be experimentally realized in a laboratory setting.

“The parameters required to experimentally demonstrate the lens are similar to those achieved with the plasma grating,” says Edwards.

Plasma optics have proven to be a very promising tool because they are resistant to damage and can be used to manipulate high intensity light. In the future, lenses made by Edwards and other similar optics can be used to produce high-performance, high-power lasers based on plasma.

“This type of optics has the potential to enable the creation of lasers with much higher peak power than can be built today, opening up a new regime of high-intensity physics to exploration,” Edwards said. Mr. says. “We are currently working on the creation of plasma lenses in the laboratory, where we can experimentally investigate the performance and behavior of this type of optics, and aim to create a comprehensive toolbox of plasma components. We are also developing other types of plasma optics to operate high power lights. ”

Use a pump laser to create a plasma lens that focuses at a very high intensity level

For more information:
MR Edwards et al., Holographic Plasma Lens, Physical review letter (2022). DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.128.065003

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Quote: Researchers are based on plasma (March 17, 2022) obtained from https: // on March 17, 2022. Design holographic lenses

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