We deduce the expressions for the two circularly polarized components of a paraxial beam propagating along the optical axis of a uniaxial crystal. We find that each of them is the sum of two contributions, the first being a free field and the second describing the interaction with the opposite component. Moreover, we expand both components as a superposition of vortices of any order, thus obtaining a complete physical picture of the interaction dynamics. Consequently, we argue that a left-hand circularly polarized incoming beam, endowed with a circular symmetric profile, gives rise, inside the crystal, to a right-hand circularly polarized vortex of order 2. The efficiency of this vortex generation is investigated by means of a power exchange analysis. The Gaussian case is fully discussed, showing the relevant features of the vortex generation.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: June 19, 2002
Revised Manuscript: August 20, 2002
Manuscript Accepted: August 22, 2002
Published: January 1, 2003
Alessandro Ciattoni, Gabriella Cincotti, and Claudio Palma, "Circularly polarized beams and vortex generation in uniaxial media," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 20, 163-171 (2003)