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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 20, Iss. 20 — Sep. 24, 2012
  • pp: 22961–22975

Instability of higher-order optical vortices analyzed with a multi-pinhole interferometer

F. Ricci, W. Löffler, and M.P. van Exter  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 20, Issue 20, pp. 22961-22975 (2012)

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Higher-order optical vortices are inherently unstable in the sense that they tend to split up in a series of vortices with unity charge. We demonstrate this vortex-splitting phenomenon in beams produced with holograms and spatial light modulators and discuss its generic and practically unavoidable nature. To analyze the splitting phenomena in detail, we use a multi-pinhole interferometer to map the combined amplitude and phase profile of the optical field. This technique, which is based on the analysis of the far-field interference pattern observed behind an opaque screen perforated with multiple pinholes, turns out to be very robust and can among others be used to study very ’dark’ regions of electromagnetic fields. Furthermore, the vortex splitting provides an ultra-sensitive measurement method of unwanted scattering from holograms and other phase-changing optical elements.

© 2012 OSA

OCIS Codes
(050.1970) Diffraction and gratings : Diffractive optics
(050.4865) Diffraction and gratings : Optical vortices
(260.6042) Physical optics : Singular optics

ToC Category:
Physical Optics

Original Manuscript: July 23, 2012
Revised Manuscript: September 14, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: September 16, 2012
Published: September 21, 2012

F. Ricci, W. Löffler, and M.P. van Exter, "Instability of higher-order optical vortices analyzed with a multi-pinhole interferometer," Opt. Express 20, 22961-22975 (2012)

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