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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 20, Iss. 11 — May. 21, 2012
  • pp: 11753–11766

Spin-orbit interactions of a Gaussian light propagating in biaxial crystals

Xiancong Lu and Lixiang Chen  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 20, Issue 11, pp. 11753-11766 (2012)

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Based on the plane-wave angular spectrum representation, we derive a formal expression for any light fields propagating in biaxial crystals, and particularly, present an effective numerical method to investigate the propagation behavior for a Gaussian light beam. Unlike uniaxial crystals, we observe the intriguing formation, repulsion and disappearance of vortex pairs, as the refractive indices deviate slightly and gradually from the uniaxial limit. In the Minkowski angular momentum picture, we also investigate the orbital angular momentum dynamics for both left- and right-handed circularly polarized components. Of further interest is the revelation of nonconservation of the angular momentum within the light field during the spin-orbit interactions, and the optical torque per photon that the light exerts on the biaxial crystal is quantified. We interpret these interesting phenomena by the weakly broken rotational invariance of biaxial crystals. The self-consistency of our theory is confirmed by the balance equation describing the conservation law of total angular momentum of filed and crystal in the Minkowski picture.

© 2012 OSA

OCIS Codes
(260.1180) Physical optics : Crystal optics
(260.1960) Physical optics : Diffraction theory
(050.4865) Diffraction and gratings : Optical vortices

ToC Category:
Physical Optics

Original Manuscript: February 21, 2012
Revised Manuscript: April 23, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: April 23, 2012
Published: May 9, 2012

Xiancong Lu and Lixiang Chen, "Spin-orbit interactions of a Gaussian light propagating in biaxial crystals," Opt. Express 20, 11753-11766 (2012)

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