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Measuring the Transverse Spin Density of Light

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Neugebauer,  Martin
Interference Microscopy and Nanooptics, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Bauer,  Thomas
Interference Microscopy and Nanooptics, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Aiello,  Andrea
Optical Quantum Information Theory, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Banzer,  Peter
Interference Microscopy and Nanooptics, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Neugebauer, M., Bauer, T., Aiello, A., & Banzer, P. (2015). Measuring the Transverse Spin Density of Light. PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 114(6): 063901. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.063901.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-641A-9
Abstract
We generate tightly focused optical vector beams whose electric fields spin around an axis transverse to the beams' propagation direction. We experimentally investigate these fields by exploiting the directional near-field interference of a dipolelike plasmonic field probe placed adjacent to a dielectric interface. This directionality depends on the transverse electric spin density of the excitation field. Near-to far-field conversion mediated by the dielectric interface enables us to detect the directionality of the emitted light in the far field and, therefore, to measure the transverse electric spin density with nanoscopic resolution. Finally, we determine the longitudinal electric component of Belinfante's elusive spin momentum density, a solenoidal field quantity often referred to as "virtual."