On the six components of optical angular momentum

Barnett, Stephen M. (2011) On the six components of optical angular momentum. Journal of Optics, 13 (6). -. 064010. ISSN 0972-8821

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    Abstract

    In special relativity the angular momentum is a rank-two antisymmetric tensor with six independent components. Three of these are the familiar generators of spatial rotation, which for light have been studied at length. The remaining three, which are responsible for the Lorentz boosts, have largely been neglected. We introduce the latter and compare their properties with those of the more familiar generators of rotations. The seemingly natural separation of the generators of Lorentz boosts into spin and orbital parts fails, however, as the spin part is identically zero.