7 March 2014 Extreme nonlinear optical processes with beams carrying orbital angular momentum
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Abstract
Light beams carrying an isolated point singularity with a screw-type phase distribution are called an optical vortex (OV). The fact that in free space the Poynting vector of the beam gives the momentum flow leads to an orbital angular momentum (OAM) of the photons in such a singular beam, independent on the spin angular momentun1. There are many applications of optical OAM shown in literature that would benefit from the availability of optical vortex beams in all spectral regions. For example it was shown that transitions forbidden by selection rules in dipole approximation appear allowed when using photons with the additional degree of freedom of optical OAM2. However, the common techniques of producing new light frequencies by nonlinear optical processes seem problematic in conserving the optical vortex when the nonlinearity becomes large. We show that with the extremely nonlinear process of High Harmonic Generation (HHG) it is possible to transfer OVs from the near-infrared to the extreme ultraviolet (XUV)3 at wavelengths down to ~30 nm. The observed XUV light was examined spatially and spectrally. The spatial profile showed the expected singular behavior, a dark region in the center. A comparison of the far-field fringe pattern caused by a thin wire with corresponding simulations suggests that the XUV vortex beam carries a unit topological charge. A screw-like phase evolution around the profile was also verified by employing a Hartmann type measurement. The generated spectrum revealed that in all Harmonic orders an OV was present. The profile, however, looked the same in all orders, indicating identical topological charge, which runs counterintuitive to the assumption that the phase of exp(–ilφ) is multiplied by the harmonic order in a frequency up-conversion experiment.
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C. Kern, M. Zürch, P. Hansinger, A. Dreischuh, Ch. Spielmann, "Extreme nonlinear optical processes with beams carrying orbital angular momentum", Proc. SPIE 8984, Ultrafast Phenomena and Nanophotonics XVIII, 89841A (7 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2037632; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2037632
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