, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 637-645
Date: 13 Feb 2009

Holographic phase conjugation through a sub-wavelength hole

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Abstract

Holographic phase conjugation is analyzed as a method to create a photo-refractive lens with high numerical aperture. For this purpose a sub-wavelength hole is drilled into a metal surface directly on top of an iron-doped lithium niobate crystal. An interference pattern generated by the light coming from this point source and a plane reference wave is recorded. By using the phase-conjugated reference wave for read-out, a light wave being focused onto the former point source is reconstructed. In principle, a focusing system close to the theoretical diffraction limit could be implemented by this method. The performance of this arrangement is mainly determined by properties of the lithium niobate crystal, especially the crystal symmetry. Experimentally, the tight holographic focusing is demonstrated. The focus width of the reconstructed wave is shown to be below 1.2 μm, which is our spatial resolution. The diffraction efficiency obtained, however, is just 3×10−5 compared to 3×10−2 in the plane-wave case. This can be explained by experimental reasons, the inhomogeneous light intensity and limitations originating from the crystal symmetry. We estimate that the diffraction efficiency for phase conjugation through a sub-wavelength hole can be improved by three to four orders of magnitude by addressing the above-mentioned issues.