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19 November 2012 The efficient sorting of light's orbital angular momentum for optical communications
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Abstract
The desire to increase the amount of information that can be encoded onto a single photon has driven research into many areas of optics. One such area is optical orbital angular momentum (OAM) [1]. These beams have helical phasefronts and carry an orbital angular momentum of mbar per photon, where the integer m is unbounded, giving a large state space in which to encode information. We recently developed a telescope system comprising two bespoke refractive optical elements to transform OAM states into transverse momentum states [2]. This is achieved by mapping the azimuthal position of the input plane to the lateral position in the output [3]. A mapping of this type transforms a set of concentric rings at the input plane into a set of parallel lines in the output plane. A lens can then separate the resulting transverse momentum states into specified lateral positions, allowing for the efficient measurement of multiple OAM states simultaneously. Separating OAM states in this way presents an opportunity for this larger alphabet to improve the data capacity of a free space link and has potential application in both the classical and quantum regimes. We will present our latest design, increasing the bandwidth of measurable states to over 50 OAM modes. In such a system we study the crosstalk introduced by a thin phase turbulence, showing that turbulence similarly degrades the purity of all the modes within this range.
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Martin P. J. Lavery, David Roberston, Mehul Malik, Brandon Robenburg, Johannes Courtial, Robert W. Boyd, and Miles J. Padgett "The efficient sorting of light's orbital angular momentum for optical communications", Proc. SPIE 8542, Electro-Optical Remote Sensing, Photonic Technologies, and Applications VI, 85421R (19 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.979934; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.979934
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