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The focus of light-linear polarization breaks the rotational symmetry of the focal spot

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Dorn, R., Quabis, S., & Leuchs, G. (2003). The focus of light-linear polarization breaks the rotational symmetry of the focal spot. JOURNAL OF MODERN OPTICS, 50(12), 1917-1926. doi:10.1080/0950034031000095812.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-BB26-2
Abstract
We experimentally demonstrate for the first time that a linearly polarized beam is focused to an asymmetric spot when using a high-numerical aperture focusing system. This asymmetry was predicted by Richards and Wolf in 1959 and can only be measured when a polarization-insensitive sensor is placed in the focal region. We used a specially modified photodiode in a knife-edge-type set-up to obtain highly resolved images of the total electric energy density distribution at the focus. The results are in good agreement with the predictions of a vectorial focusing theory.