We show a simplified method of generating extended regions of destructive interference with near arbitrary shapes using the generalized phase contrast (GPC) method. For Gaussian input beams, GPC typically results in a 3×3× intensified user-defined input mask shape against a dark background. In this work, we investigate conditions wherein GPC’s synthetic reference wave destructively interferes with what is typically the foreground pattern. Using alternate conditions for the input phase mask, the locations of light and darkness are interchanged with respect to typical GPC output mappings. We show experimentally how “dark GPC” allows the dark regions to be easily reshaped using a binary-only phase mask encoded on a spatial light modulator. Similar to standard GPC, the method does not require complex calculations or the fabrication of complex gray-level phase elements. The simplified approach and flexibility in the output shapes make dark GPC attractive for applications such as optical trapping of low-index particles or superresolution microscopy like stimulated emission depletion
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- Laser beam shaping
- Binary-only phase filters
- Spatial light modulators