Volume 117, Number 6, March 2017
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics|
|Published online||10 May 2017|
Diffraction as a reason for slowing down light pulses in vacuum
1 A.M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences - Moscow, Russia
2 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology - Dolgoprudny, Moscow Region, Russia
3 National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute) - Moscow, Russia
Received: 8 February 2017
Accepted: 19 April 2017
The mean velocity of a finite-size short light pulse in a far zone is defined as the vectorial sum of velocities of all rays forming the pulse. Because of diffraction, the mean pulse velocity defined in this way is always somewhat smaller than the speed of light. The conditions are found when this slowing-down effect is sufficiently pronounced to be experimentally measurable. Under these conditions the original Gaussian shape of a pulse is found to be strongly modified with significant lengthening of the rear wing of the field envelope. Schemes for measuring these effects are suggested and discussed.
PACS: 42.15.Dp – Wave fronts and ray tracing / 03.50.De – Classical electromagnetism, Maxwell equations / 24.10.Ht – Optical and diffraction models
© EPLA, 2017
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