Weiwei Liu, Yao Lu, Lei Gong, Xiuxiang Chu, Guosheng Xue, Yuxuan Ren, Mincheng Zhong, Ziqiang Wang, Jinhua Zhou and Yinmei Li
A symmetric Airy beam (SAB) autofocuses during free space propagation. Such autofocusing SAB is useful in optical manipulation and biomedical imaging. However, its inherently limited autofocusing property may degrade the performance of the SAB in those applications. To enhance the autofocus, a symmetric apodization mask was proposed to regulate the SAB. In combination with the even cubic phase that shapes the SAB, this even exponential function mask with an adjustable parameter regulates the contribution of different frequency spectral components to the SAB. The propagation properties of this new amplitude modulated SAB (AMSAB) were investigated both theoretically and experimentally. Simulation shows that the energy distribution and autofocusing property of an AMSAB can be adjusted by the exponential amplitude modulation. Especially, the beam energy will be more concentrated in the central lobe once the even cubic phase is modulated by the mask with a higher proportion of high-frequency spectral components. Consequently, the autofocusing property and axial gradient force of AMSABs are efficiently enhanced. The experimental generation and characterization for AMSABs were implemented by modulating the collimated beam with a phase-only spatial light modulator. The experimental results well supported the theoretical predictions. With the ability to enhance the autofocus, the proposed exponential apodization modulation will make SAB more powerful in various applications, including optical trapping, fluorescence imaging and particle acceleration.