Space-time wave packets, long distance, dispersion, angular dispersion


First demonstrated by Isaac Newton in his prism experiment, angular dispersion (AD) is a prevalent effect in optics where each wavelength in a pulsed field propagates at a different angle. Angular dispersion occurs after a collimated pulse traverses a diffractive or dispersive device and, as a result, helps modify the group velocity of a pulse in free space and introduces group-velocity dispersion into the freely propagating wave packet. These are essential ingredients in group-velocity matching and dispersion cancellation in various optical settings. With 300 years of development, it was only recently that a new class of angular dispersion materialized as non-differentiable AD. This non-differentiable AD has also been studied under the moniker space-time wave packets (STWP) and has shown to be propagation-invariant and possess arbitrary group velocity. In this dissertation, I will study (1) the underpinning theory of how non-differentiable AD allows for an optical field to break the pre-conceived notions of group velocity, group velocity dispersion (GVD), and pulse front tilt for on-axis propagation through analytical and experimental demonstrations. From these developments, I will (2) apply these concepts of non-differentiable AD to dispersive materials. I will validate these analytical predictions through experiments showing that propagation-invariant wave packets can also be supported in normal and anomalous media. Moreover, I will prove, through the use of non-differentiable AD, that the dispersive properties of a material can be overwritten to produce arbitrary group velocity and GVD characteristics. With this new information on propagation-invariant fields in dispersive materials, I will (3) exhibit new classes of optical fields that were previously theorized but never synthesized in dispersive materials, such as the X- to O- transition in anomalous GVD materials, which will be connected to the de-Broglie-Mackinnon wave packet and particle wave packets. To address the propagation invariance of non-differentiable AD, I will (4) demonstrate the STWP propagation throughout a kilometer in a turbulent environment and develop a new Rayleigh length for the STWP. Finally, I will (5) establish the consequences of discretization on the non-differentiable AD and produce a new form of the Talbot effect in which the temporal and spatial degrees of freedom are interlocked along with independent spatial and temporal Talbot effects in free space.

Completion Date




Committee Chair

Abouraddy, Ayman


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program

Optics and Photonics








Release Date

December 2024

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Restricted to the UCF community until December 2024; it will then be open access.