SAMOP 2021 – wissenschaftliches Programm
AKjDPG 1.1: Tutorium
Montag, 20. September 2021, 09:00–09:45, H1
The orbital angular momentum of light — •Giacomo Sorelli — Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, ENS-Université PSL, Collège de France, Paris, France
Light carries energy, as well as linear and angular momenta. While the energy and the linear momentum were already understood in the second half of the nineteenth century, the history of the angular momentum of light is more recent. The angular momentum of an electromagnetic wave can be decomposed into two parts: a spin contribution associated with the vectorial nature of the electromagnetic field, and an orbital contribution which is related to the light's spatial intensity and phase profiles. The spin component of light was already studied in the thirties by Beth, who established a connection between angular momentum and circular polarisation. On the contrary, the orbital contribution was not investigated before the 1990s when Allen and coworkers showed that some paraxial light beams carry a well defined orbital angular momentum (OAM). These beams have a very peculiar spatial profile, which is characterised by a central dark area around the beam axis and a spiral phase front. In this talk, I first introduce the angular momentum of the electromagnetic field from a classical electrodynamics' viewpoint and present some paraxial light beams carrying OAM. I then quantise the electromagnetic field and discuss some quantum properties of the angular momentum of photons. Finally, I describe how OAM-carrying photons are produced in the laboratory and discuss some of their applications in quantum information.