On Small Beams with Large Topological Charge

Author(s): M. Krenn, N. Tischler, A. Zeilinger

Journal: New J. Phys.

Volume: 18

Page(s): 033012

Year: 2016

DOI Number: 10.1088/1367-2630/18/3/033012

Link: Link to publication


Light beams can carry a discrete, in principle unbounded amount of angular momentum. Examples of such beams, the Laguerre-Gauss modes, are frequently expressed as solutions of the paraxial wave equation. There, they are eigenstates of the orbital angular momentum (OAM) operator. The paraxial solutions predict that beams with large OAM could be used to resolve arbitrarily small distances - a dubious situation. Here we show how to solve that situation by calculating the properties of beams free from the paraxial approximation. We find the surprising result that indeed one can resolve smaller distances with larger OAM, although with decreased visibility. If the visibility is kept constant (for instance at the Rayleigh criterion, the limit where two points are reasonably distinguishable), larger OAM does not provide an advantage. The drop in visibility is due to a field in the direction of propagation, which is neglected within the paraxial limit.

Note: http://arxiv.org/abs/1511.01135

Zeilinger Group Zeilinger Group