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Journal Article

Surface angular momentum of light beams


Ornigotti,  Marco
Optics Theory Group, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;


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

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Ornigotti, M., & Aiello, A. (2014). Surface angular momentum of light beams. OPTICS EXPRESS, 22(6), 6586-6596. doi:10.1364/OE.22.006586.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-6623-5
Traditionally, the angular momentum of light is calculated for "bullet-like" electromagnetic wave packets, although in actual optical experiments "pencil-like" beams of light are more commonly used. The fact that a wave packet is bounded transversely and longitudinally while a beam has, in principle, an infinite extent along the direction of propagation, renders incomplete the textbook calculation of the spin/orbital separation of the angular momentum of a light beam. In this work we demonstrate that a novel, extra surface part must be added in order to preserve the gauge invariance of the optical angular momentum per unit length. The impact of this extra term is quantified by means of two examples: a Laguerre-Gaussian and a Bessel beam, both circularly polarized. (C) 2014 Optical Society of America