Realising superoscillations: A review of mathematical tools and their application

Rogers, Katrine S. and Rogers, Edward T. F. (2020). Realising superoscillations: A review of mathematical tools and their application. Journal of Physics: Photonics, 2(4), article no. 042004.



Superoscillations are making a growing impact on an ever-increasing number of real-world applications, as early theoretical analysis has evolved into wide experimental realisation. This is particularly true in optics: the first application area to have extensively embraced superoscillations, with much recent growth. This review provides a tool for anyone planning to expand the boundaries in an application where superoscillations have already been used, or to apply superoscillations to a new application. By reviewing the mathematical methods for constructing superoscillations, including their considerations and capabilities, we lay out the options for anyone wanting to construct a device that uses superoscillations. Superoscillations have inherent trade-offs: as the size of spot reduces, its relative intensity decreases as high-energy sidebands appear. Different methods provide solutions for optimising different aspects of these trade-offs, to suit different purposes. Despite numerous technological ways of realising superoscillations, the mathematical methods can be categorised into three approaches: direct design of superoscillatory functions, design of pupil filters and design of superoscillatory lenses. This categorisation, based on mathematical methods, is used to highlight the transferability of methods between applications. It also highlights areas for future theoretical development to enable the scientific and technological boundaries to be pushed even further in real-world applications.

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