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Optical polarization skyrmionic fields in free space

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posted on 2023-01-11, 21:52 authored by Rodrigo Gutiérrez-Cuevas, Emilio Pisanty
We construct optical beams in free space with robust skyrmionic structures in their polarization fields, both in the electric spin vector for near-circular fields and in the polarization direction for near-linear fields, and for both Bloch (spiral) and N\'eel (hedgehog) textures. These structures are made possible by the spin-orbit coupling of tightly-focused nonparaxial optics as applied to higher-order Full-Poincar\'e beams, as well as by standing-wave configurations comprising forwards- and backwards-propagating waves. Our constructions show near-uniform circular and linear polarizations, providing a high degree of topological protection in the absence of nonlinear interactions.

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