Nondiffracting accelerating wave packets of Maxwell's equations

Ido Kaminer*, Rivka Bekenstein, Jonathan Nemirovsky, Mordechai Segev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

358 Scopus citations


We present the nondiffracting spatially accelerating solutions of the Maxwell equations. Such beams accelerate in a circular trajectory, thus generalizing the concept of Airy beams to the full domain of the wave equation. For both TE and TM polarizations, the beams exhibit shape-preserving bending which can have subwavelength features, and the Poynting vector of the main lobe displays a turn of more than 90°. We show that these accelerating beams are self-healing, analyze their properties, and find the new class of accelerating breathers: self-bending beams of periodically oscillating shapes. Finally, we emphasize that in their scalar form, these beams are the exact solutions for nondispersive accelerating wave packets of the most common wave equation describing time-harmonic waves. As such, this work has profound implications to many linear wave systems in nature, ranging from acoustic and elastic waves to surface waves in fluids and membranes.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number163901
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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