Mexican researcher makes dazzling contributions in optics

The doctor’s work Sabino Chávez Cerda, researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (IF YOU), and his colleagues at the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa, has been considered one of the most important optics works of the year and as a milestone that will open many doors in the study of physics today.

Article “Demostrating Arago-Fresnel laws with Beseel beams from vectorial axicons“, published in October by the Journal of the Optical Society of America has been one of the most downloaded in recent weeks and has now been selected for the Spotlight on Optics de la Optical Society of America (OSA). It is no coincidence, because according to the IF YOU, it is the demonstration of a phenomenon known, but for many years forgotten, which will change the way physics will be explained in the future.

It is about the interference of beams with orthogonal polarization, studied by Augustin Fresnel and Francois Arago in the nineteenth century, but in this case the interference was studied using Bessel beams. This physical phenomenon is related to bonding, or entangled states, and to teleportation in quantum mechanics.

To try to explain the phenomenon, Dr. Chávez Cerda shares:

Light is known to be a wave, and light has several characteristics, one of which is polarization. For example, let’s imagine a group of girls jumping a rope, at each end there is a girl and one of them shakes the rope from top to bottom forming a vertical wave that goes to the girl at the other end and if it is done horizontally the wave is horizontal. Light behaves in a similar way: it is a wave that can have those same orientations which we call polarization, in this example the light has vertical and horizontal polarization, and in general it can have any inclination, as happens with a jump rope. By making two or more light waves (beams) with the same polarization impinge, a phenomenon that we know as interference is generated, which allows us to see bright and dark fringes ”.

Normally, when studying interference, the state of polarization of light is not taken into account because each beam is considered to have the same polarization. What the researcher did was show that these beams are, in fact, an interference phenomenon, that is, they are the sum of two waves, only in this case the waves travel along cones and are called conic waves.

Currently, the interference phenomenon is part of what is known as structured fields. However, nobody had bothered to investigate what happens when there are Bessel beams with two different polarizations, one vertical and one horizontal: “What I argued is that if we generate half of a Bessel beam with vertical polarization and the other half horizontally the Bessel beam would be destroyed. So I proposed the experiment to my colleagues in South Africa to demonstrate a seemingly trivial phenomenon. But since structured fields have become a trend in the last ten years, we are trying to understand why and how they are formed. This simple experiment will bring many consequences in the understanding of the Physics of structured beams and Bessel beams ”.

Structured fields have become a trend in the last ten years, we are trying to understand why and how they are formed, so it is expected that in the future this work will generate a new trend, “says Chávez Cerda.

His research on the subject earned him OSA Fellow recognition for his contributions and leadership in this field and also the European Optics Prize, which he obtained together with colleagues from INAOE and St. Andrews University in Scotland.

The summary in “Spotlight on Optics”And the scientific article can be consulted at

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