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# Conservation of a Half-Integer Angular Momentum in Nonlinear Optics with a Polarization M\"obius Strip

preprint

posted on 2023-01-12, 16:10 authored by Martin Luttmann, Mekha Vimal, Matthieu Guer, Jean-François Hergott, Antonio Z. Khoury, Carlos Hernández-García, Emilio Pisanty, Thierry RuchonSymmetries and conservation laws of energy, linear momentum and angular momentum play a central role in physics, in particular in nonlinear optics. Recently, light fields with non trivial topology, such as polarization M\"obius strips or torus-knot beams, have been unveiled. They cannot be associated to well-defined values of orbital and spin angular momenta (OAM and SAM), but are invariant under coordinated rotations, i.e. rotational symmetries that are generated by the generalized angular momentum (GAM) operator, a mixture of the OAM and SAM operators. The discovery of the GAM, which at variance with integer-valued OAM and SAM, can have arbitrary value, and raises the question of its conservation in nonlinear optical processes. By driving high harmonic generation with a polarization M\"obius strip and implementing novel OAM characterization methods in the XUV range, we experimentally observe the conservation of the GAM, each harmonic carrying a precise half-integer GAM charge equal to that of the fundamental field multiplied by the harmonic order. The GAM is thus revealed as the appropriate quantum number to describe nonlinear processes driven by light fields containing topological polarization singularities.