Nondiffracting or Bessel beams find applications in diverse fields like optical tweezers/spanners, microscopy, super-resolution
and optical coherence tomography. An axicon, energywise, is the most efficient method for generating a
diffraction-free beam. Yet one of the impediments to wide use of these optical elements is the cost related to the way
they are manufactured. Recently we proposed a novel optical element - Fresnel axicon (Opt. Lett. 31, 1890, 2006) -
which enables to overcome this problem while providing advantages such as compactness and very low bulk absorption.
Prototypes of the Fresnel axicon were manufactured. In the present work we report the first experimental results
characterising the optical properties of this novel device, which bridges the gap between diffractive axicons and their