Vortex laser beam

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A vortex laser beam is a laser beam in which the light is helical rather than linear.[clarification needed][1]

In paraxial beams, the angular momentum may be divided (in more recent literature) between the traditionally taught circular polarization (sometimes called the "spin angular momentum") and the orbital angular momentum (OAM); where, these two terms correspond to the generic circular polarization quantifiable in all paraxial beams, and to a specific, helical, spatial distribution, respectively. The generation of helically generated beams, possessing the so-called orbital angular momentum, in various laser apparatus has been come to be referred to as the generation of "vortex" beams. While there has been no "vortex" laser cavity that is widely recognized as such in the literature, there have been light amplifying, annular, optical cavities proposed and published in both the peer-reviewed literature and published patents, over roughly the past two decades, that are recognized as generating the corresponding donut-shaped, rotational intensity profiles having specific rotational frequencies (i.e., the requirements of a helically propagating beam).[2][3]


  1. ^ Naidoo, Darryl; et al. (2016). "Controlled generation of higher-order Poincaré sphere beams from a laser". Nature Photonics. doi:10.1038/nphoton.2016.37. 
  2. ^ Allen, L.; Beijersbergen, M. W.; Spreeuw, R. J. C.; Woerdman, J. P. (1992). "Orbital angular momentum of light and the transformation of Laguerre-Gaussian laser modes". Phys. Rev. A. 45: 8185–8189. 
  3. ^ Harris, M.; Hill, C. A.; Tapster, P. R.; Vaughan, J. M. (1994). "Laser modes with helical wave fronts". Phys. Rev. A. 49: 3119.