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Quasi-intrinsic angular momentum and the measurement of its spectrum

Zambrini, Roberta and Barnett, S.M. (2006) Quasi-intrinsic angular momentum and the measurement of its spectrum. Physical Review Letters, 96 (11). pp. 113901-1. ISSN 0031-9007

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We introduce the concept of quasi-intrinsic angular momentum to denote fields for which the mean value of the angular momentum is unaltered by a lateral shift of the rotation axis but the spectrum changes. This property is exemplified by the orbital angular momentum of a beam of light about its propagation direction. We propose an interferometric experiment to measure efficiently the exact angular momentum spectrum and variance for light beams with any arbitrary spatial distribution.