Collision of propagating vortices embedded within Airy beams

C. Rosales-Guzmán, M. Mazilu, J. Baumgartl, V. Rodríguez-Fajardo, R. Ramos-García, and K. Dholakia

Journal of Optics 15, 044001 (2013)

doi: 10.1088/2040-8978/15/4/044001

We present the engineered collision of two curvilinear propagating optical vortices each embedded in the main lobe of an Airy beam. Two cases are analyzed: the same and opposite unitary topological vortex charge. We observed experimentally that in the first case the main vortices repel each other and remain separated after the collision. In contrast, in the second case an annihilation of the main vortices occurs. Our experimental observations are reinforced by numerical simulations showing that the conservation of topological charge dictates the vortex dynamics.