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Optics Express


Space-time wave packets are a class of pulsed optical beams that are di raction-free and dispersion-free in free space by virtue of introducing a tight correlation between the spatial and temporal degrees of freedom of the field. Such wave packets have been recently synthesized in a novel configuration that makes use of a spatial light modulator to realize the required spatio-temporal correlations. This arrangement combines pulse-modulation and beam-shaping to assign one spatial frequency to each wavelength according to a prescribed correlation function. Relying on a spatial light modulator results in several limitations by virtue of their pixelation, small area, and low energy-handling capability. Here we demonstrate the synthesis of space-time wave packets with one spatial dimension kept uniform – that is, light sheets – using transparent transmissive phase plates produced by a gray-scale lithography process. We confirm the di raction-free behavior of wave packets having a bandwidth of 0.25 nm (filtered from a typical femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser) and 30 nm (a multi-terawatt femtosecond laser). This work paves the way for developing versatile high-energy light bullets for applications in nonlinear optics and laser machining.

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