25 August 2017 Angle-dependent rotation of calcite in elliptically polarized light
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Abstract
Calcite crystals trapped in an elliptically polarized laser field exhibit intriguing rotational motion. In this paper, we show measurements of the angle-dependent motion, and discuss how the motion of birefringent calcite can be used to develop a reliable and efficient process for determining the polarization ellipticity and orientation of a laser mode. The crystals experience torque in two ways: from the transfer of spin angular momentum (SAM) from the circular polarization component of the light, and from a torque due to the linear polarization component of the light that acts to align the optic axis of the crystal with the polarization axis of the light. These torques alternatingly compete with and amplify each other, creating an oscillating rotational crystal velocity. We model the behavior as a rigid body in an angle-dependent torque. We experimentally demonstrate the dependence of the rotational velocity on the angular orientation of the crystal by placing the crystals in a sample solution in our trapping region, and observing their behavior under different polarization modes. Measurements are made by acquiring information simultaneously from a quadrant photodiode collecting the driving light after it passes through the sample region, and by imaging the crystal motion onto a camera. We finish by illustrating how to use this model to predict the ellipticity of a laser mode from rotational motion of birefringent crystals.
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Catherine M. Herne, Catherine M. Herne, Natalie A. Cartwright, Natalie A. Cartwright, Matthew T. Cattani, Matthew T. Cattani, Lucas A. Tracy, Lucas A. Tracy, } "Angle-dependent rotation of calcite in elliptically polarized light", Proc. SPIE 10347, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XIV, 103472T (25 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2273001; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2273001
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