Angular momentum of optical vortex arrays

J Courtial, R Zambrini, MR Dennis, M Vasnetsov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Guided by the aim to construct light fields with spin-like orbital angular momentum (OAM), that is light fields with a uniform and intrinsic OAM density, we investigate the OAM of arrays of optical vortices with rectangular symmetry. We find that the OAM per unit cell depends on the choice of unit cell and can even change sign when the unit cell is translated. This is the case even if the OAM in each unit cell is intrinsic, that is independent of the choice of measurement axis. We show that spin-like OAM can be found only if the OAM per unit cell vanishes. Our results are applicable to the z component of the angular momentum of any x- and y-periodic momentum distribution in the xy plane, and can also be applied other periodic light beams, arrays of rotating massive objects and periodic motion of liquids.
Translated title of the contributionAngular momentum of optical vortex arrays
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938 - 949
Number of pages12
JournalOptics Express
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


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