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Reexamination of group velocities of structured light pulses

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posted on 2023-11-30, 05:23 authored by Peeter Saari
Recently, a series of theoretical and experimental papers on free-space propagation of pulsed Laguerre-Gaussian and Bessel beams was published, which reached contradictory and controversial results about group velocities of such pulses. Depending on themeasurement scheme, the group velocity can be defined differently.We analyze how different versions of group velocity are related to the measurable travel time (time of flight) of the pulse between input (source) and output (detecting) planes. The analysis is tested on a theoretical model---the Bessel-Gauss pulse whose propagation path exhibits both subluminal and superluminal regions. Our main conclusion from resolving the contradictions in the literature is that different versions of group velocity are appropriate, depending on whether or not the beam is hollow and how the pulse is recorded in the output plane---integrally or with spatial resolution.

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