UMD physicists discover 'smoke rings' made of laser light

University of Maryland physicists have discovered that self-focused laser pulses generate violent swirls of optical energy that resemble smoke rings. In these light structures, known as 'spatiotemporal optical vortices,' light energy flows through the inside of the ring and loops back around the outside. The vortices travel with the laser pulse and control energy flow around it. The new optical structures are described in the Sept. 9, 2016, issue of the journal Physical Review X.

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