Orbital angular momentum vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers

Huanlu Li, David Phillips, Xuyang Wang, Daniel Ho, Lifeng Chen, Xiao-Qi Zhou, Jiangbo Zhu, Siyuan Yu, Xinlun Cai

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

114 Citations (Scopus)


Harnessing the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of light is an appealing approach to developing photonic technologies for future applications in optical communications and high-dimensional quantum key distribution (QKD) systems. An outstanding challenge to the widespread uptake of the OAM resource is its efficient generation. In this work we design a new device that can directly emit an OAM-carrying light beam from a low-cost semiconductor laser. By fabricating micro-scale spiral phase plates within the aperture of a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), the linearly polarized Gaussian beam emitted by the VCSEL is converted into a beam carrying specific OAM modes and their superposition states, with high efficiency and high beam quality. This new approach to OAM generation may be particularly useful in the field of OAM-based optical and quantum communications, especially for short-reach data interconnects and QKD.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberOPTICA.2.000547
Pages (from-to)547-552
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2015


  • Optical vortices
  • Vertical cavity surface emitting lasers
  • Integrated optics devices;
  • Laser beam shaping


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