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A chiral arrangement of molecular nanoemitters is shown to support delocalised exciton states whose spontaneous decay can generate optical vortex radiation. In contrast to techniques in which phase modification is imposed upon conventional optical beams, this exciton method enables radiation with a helical wave-front to be produced directly. To achieve this end, a number of important polarisation and symmetry-based criteria need to be satisfied. It emerges that the phase structure of the optical field produced by degenerate excitons in a propeller-shaped array can exhibit precisely the sought character of an optical vortex – one with unit topological charge. Practical considerations for the further development of this technique are discussed, and potential new applications are identified.
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