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Spatiotemporal torquing of light

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posted on 2023-07-08, 04:04 authored by S. W. Hancock, S. Zahedpour, A. Goffin, H. M. Milchberg
We demonstrate the controlled spatiotemporal transfer of transverse orbital angular momentum (OAM) to electromagnetic waves: the spatiotemporal torquing of light. This is a radically different situation than OAM transfer to longitudinal, spatially-defined OAM light by stationary or slowly varying refractive index structures such as phase plates or air turbulence. We show that transverse OAM can be imparted to a short light pulse only for (1) sufficiently fast transient phase perturbations overlapped with the pulse in spacetime, or (2) energy removal from a pulse that already has transverse OAM. Our OAM theory for spatiotemporal optical vortex (STOV) pulses [Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 193901 (2021)] correctly quantifies the light-matter interaction of this experiment, and provides a torque-based explanation for the first measurement of STOVs [Phys. Rev. X 6, 031037 (2016)].

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