Scalar light fields

Scalar tailored light fields spatially structured in amplitude and phase are well established in modern optics. They offer a wide range of applications in e.g. optical communication technology, quantum optics, material machining or optical micromanipulation. For these, the community is constantly searching for neoteric light fields enhancing and extending the current range of applications. Moreover, customized light plays an essential role regarding the investigation of Singular Optics, as it can reveal differerent singularities.

In order to tailor light, we use holographic techniques: We are able to deliver both amplitude and phase information by phase-only spatial light modulators (SLM) [Woerdemann2013, Alpmann2015, Otte2015, Alpmann2016] facilitating highly dynamic, spatially resolved modulation. Moreover, controlling all degrees of freedom of light simultaneously, i.e. amplitude, phase, and polarization, is enabled by different multiplexing techniques [Otte2015, Alpmann2016].

Beside the investigation of higher order standard Gaussian beams, namely Hermite-, Laguerre-, and Ince-Gaussian beams, and their applications [Woerdemann2013], we analyse e.g. elegant Gaussian modes [Alpmann2015], non-diffracting [Rose2012] and self-similar beams, showing specific propagation behavior (see Figure below). We realized novel kinds of these beams and show their practicability in e.g. optical micromanipulation of Zeolite L nanocontainers [Alpmann2015]. Consequently, we focus on the development of neoteric light fields for specific applications and their diversity searching into the fundamentals of optics.

Examples of different classes of scalar light fields with spatially varying amplitude (foreground) and phase (background) distribution, which show characteristic propagation behavior as being non-diffracting, self-similar or -imaging


  • [Woerdemann2013] Woerdemann M, Alpmann C, Esseling M and Denz C 2013 “Advanced optical trapping by complex beam shaping” Laser & Photonics Reviews 7(6) 839-854
  • [Alpmann2015] Alpmann C, Schöler C and Denz C 2015 “Elegant Gaussian beams for enhanced optical manipulation” Applied Physics Letters 106(24) 241102
  • [Otte2015] Otte E, Schlickriede C, Alpmann C and Denz C 2015 “Complex light fields enter a new dimension: holographic modulation of polarization in addition to amplitude and phase” Proceedings of SPIE vol. 9379, 937908
  • [Alpmann2016] Alpmann C, Schlickriede C, Otte E and Denz C 2016 “Dynamic modulation of Poincaré beams” submitted
  • [Rose2012] Rose P, Boguslawski M, and Denz C 2012 “Nonlinear lattice structures based on families of complex nondiffracting beams” New J. Phys. 14 033018