Linear Optical Vortices

An optical vortex is a phase singularity nested within the cross-sectional profile of a coherent beam of light. Such vortices occur naturally in the electromagnetic mode structure of certain optical cavities. They may also be created artificially by computer-generated holograms designed to impart to an incident beam of light the desired phase/amplitude characteristics of a vortex. In recent years, the study of vortices has become the focus of several research groups around the world, as potential applications have emerged. Noteworthy examples of such applications are the manipulation of small objects by optical tweezers and the control of atomic/molecular beams via the exchange of angular momentum with optical vortices.

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