Whereas nodal points having zero amplitude are well-known wave phenomena, destructive interference across a continuous area is rare. In fact, these strange states seem to defy nature’s “abhorrence of nothingness.” Philosophizing aside, we report general schemes for constructing a nodal area in a spatially coherent beam of light by use of a lossless phase mask. Theoretical, numerical, and experimental results are presented. Nodal areas are important for high contrast imaging, laser surfacing, radiation shielding, and other structured light applications. Moreover, these results transcend optics and open the possibility of achieving nodal area wave functions in quantum, acoustic, and other coherent wave systems.
- Optical vortices
- Phase-only filters
- Liquid crystals
- Fourier optics and signal processing
- Astronomical optics