Ladder operators are introduced in SU(2) parameter space to analyze the space-variant Pancharatnam–Berry (PB) phase. The spin and orbital angular momentum transfers to a wave passing through the PB phase optical elements are understood in terms of the PB phase. Space-variant PB phase structures are identified in polarization grating and cholesteric liquid crystal, providing an explanation for the beam propagation direction alteration. A simultaneous occurrence of the wavefront shaping and the beam propagation direction alteration is demonstrated experimentally.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 26, 2007
Revised Manuscript: January 6, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: January 28, 2008
Published: March 18, 2008
Hyunhee Choi, J. H. Woo, and J. W. Wu, "Ladder operators formalism for optical angular momentum transfer and space-variant Pancharatnam-Berry phase," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 25, 491-494 (2008)