OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 16, Iss. 5 — Mar. 3, 2008
  • pp: 2915–2921

Local circular polarization observed in surface vortices of optical near-fields

Y. Ohdaira, T. Inoue, H. Hori, and K. Kitahara  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 5, pp. 2915-2921 (2008)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (568 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We demonstrate local circular polarization in surface vortices of an optical near-field generated by superposing two cross-propagating evanescent waves with transverse electric fields on a planar dielectric surface. The circularly rotating local electric fields are converted into circularly polarized propagating light waves in free space via a near-field interaction with a sub-wavelength size local probe. The results show that optical near-fields generated under the influence of a material environment with local rotational symmetry carry angular pseudo-momentum with respect to the symmetry axis. The local circular polarization is of fundamental significance in spin-related and magneto-optical phenomena in nanophotonics.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
(240.3695) Optics at surfaces : Linear and nonlinear light scattering from surfaces
(240.6648) Optics at surfaces : Surface dynamics

ToC Category:
Physical Optics

Original Manuscript: December 13, 2007
Revised Manuscript: January 27, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: January 30, 2008
Published: February 15, 2008

Y. Ohdaira, T. Inoue, H. Hori, and K. Kitahara, "Local circular polarization observed in surface vortices of optical near-fields," Opt. Express 16, 2915-2921 (2008)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. R. A. Beth, "Direct Detection of the Angular Momentum of Light," Phys. Rev. 48, 471 (1935). [CrossRef]
  2. R. A. Beth, "Mechanical Detection and Measurement of the Angular Momentum of Light," Phys. Rev. 50, 115-125 (1936). [CrossRef]
  3. K. Cho, H. Hori, and K. Kitahara, in Nano-Optics, S. Kawata, M. Ohtsu, M. Irie, eds., (Springer, Berlin, 2002), Chap. 1.
  4. H. Hori, in Optical and Electronic Process of Nano-Matters, M. Ohtsu, eds., (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 2001), Sec. 1.9.2.
  5. M. Kristensen and J. P. Woerdman, "Is photon angular momentum conserved in dielectric medium?," Phys. Rev. Lett. 72, 2171-2174 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. H. He, M. E. Friese, N. R. Heckenberg, and H. Rubinstein-Dunlop, "Direct observation of transfer of angular momentum to absorptive particle from a laser beam with a phase singularity," Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 826-829 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. R. Peierls, More Surprises in Theoretical Physics (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1991), Secs. 2.4 and 2.6.
  8. D. F. Nelson, "Momentum, pseudomomentum, and wave momentum: Toward resolving the Minkowski-Abraham controversy," Phys. Rev. A 44, 3985-3996 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. T. Matsudo, H. Hori, T. Inoue, H. Iwata, Y. Inoue, and T. Sakurai, "Direct detection of evanescent electromagnetic waves at a planar dielectric surface by laser atomic spectroscopy," Phys. Rev. A 55, 2406-2412 (1997). [CrossRef]
  10. T. Matsudo, Y. Takahara, H. Hori, and T. Sakurai, "Pseudomomentum transfer from evanescent waves to atoms measured by saturated absorption spectroscopy," Opt. Comm. 145, 64-68 (1998). [CrossRef]
  11. M. Ohtsu and H. Hori, Near-Field Nano-Optics (Academic/Plenum, New York, 1999). [CrossRef]
  12. E. Wolf and M. Nieto-Vesperinas, "Analyticity of the angular spectrum amplitude of scattered fields and some of its consequences," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 2, 886-889 (1985). [CrossRef]
  13. T. Inoue and H. Hori, "Representations and Transforms of Vector Field as basis of Near-Field Optics," Opt. Rev. 3, 458-462 (1996). [CrossRef]
  14. T. Inoue and H. Hori, "Theoretical Treatment of Electric and Magnetic Multipole Radiation Near a Planar Dielectric Surface Based on Angular Spectrum Representation of Vector Field," Opt. Rev. 5, 295-302 (1998). [CrossRef]
  15. T. Inoue and H. Hori, "Quantization of evanescent electromagnetic waves based on detector modes," Phys. Rev. A 63, 063805 (2001). [CrossRef]
  16. Y. Ohdaira, K. Kijima, K. Terasawa, M. Kawai, H. Hori, and K. Kitahara, "State-selective optical near-field resonant ionization spectroscopy of atoms near a dielectric surface," J. Microscopy 202, 255-260 (2001). [CrossRef]
  17. H. Hori, K. Kitahara, and M. Ohtsu, "Comment on the possibility of longitudinal electromagnetic wave on the surface of dielectrics," Abstracts of the 1st Asia Pacific Workshop on Near-Field Optics, Seoul, 49 (1996).
  18. S. F. Alvarado and P. Renaud, "Observation of spin-polarized-electron tunneling from a ferromagnet into GaAs," Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 1387-1390 (1992). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1. Fig. 2. Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited