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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs.

Strathprints serves world leading Open Access research by the University of Strathclyde, including research by the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), where research centres such as the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, SeaBioTech and the Centre for Biophotonics are based.

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Orbital angular momentum: origins, behavior and applications

Yao, Alison and Padgett, Miles (2011) Orbital angular momentum: origins, behavior and applications. Advances in Optics and Photonics, 3 (2). pp. 161-204. ISSN 1943-8206

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Abstract

As they travel through space, some light beams rotate. Such light beams have angular momentum. There are two particularly important ways in which a light beam can rotate: if every polarization vector rotates, the light has spin; if the phase structure rotates, the light has orbital angular momentum (OAM), which can be many times greater than the spin. Only in the past 20 years has it been realized that beams carrying OAM, which have an optical vortex along the axis, can be easily made in the laboratory. These light beams are able to spin microscopic objects, give rise to rotational frequency shifts, create new forms of imaging systems, and behave within nonlinear material to give new insights into quantum optics.