The interaction of waves with inhomogeneous media leads to the natural focusing of light, the channelling of waves into stable caustics. We have extended natural focusing to x rays, observing caustics in topographs of ferroelectric lithium niobate. Voltage across domains of reversed polarity induces perturbations to the local crystal planes, producing dramatic variations in the images. Ray tracing shows a "catastrophic" discontinuity, causing bright focal lines. Analysis reveals details of boundary strains and local ferroelectric properties. Controlled focusing could be extended to designed domain patterns to probe microstructural properties, and also to a type of voltage-controlled ferroelectric optics for x rays.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)