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The term singular optics emerged after the publication of a seminal paper by Nye and Berry in 1974. Nye and Berry noticed a remarkable kinematic analogy among the peculiar/singular regions of structured electromagnetic waves and the structure of real crystals having various defects, including edge and screw dislocations defined by the Burgers vectors. This analogy was of great interest and at the same time was quite predictable, as John Nye came to the field of Optics from Solid State Physics, where he was disciple of W. L. Bragg. The approach of applying solid state physics to optics has turned out to be highly fruitful as applied to the problem of laser (coherent) phase conjugation, as well as to the theory of volume holograms of speckle fields. Additionally, Zel’dovich et al. proposed an excellent interference technique for detection and diagnostics of wavefront screw dislocations by typical bifurcations of interference fringes when an off-axis reference wave is added to the speckle field having ‘one amplitude zero per speckle’ on average. Similar results were obtained and illustrated a little later by the authors of this book. Since the mid-1990s, the term ‘singular optics’ has been propagated by Soskin, and since the publication of the review chapter, “Singular Optics” in Progress in Optics at the beginning of the third millennium, this term has become generally accepted.
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