Optical vortex singularities and atomic circulation in evanescent waves

VE Lembessis, DL Andrews, M Babiker, S Al-Awfi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The total internal reflection of an optical beam with a phase singularity can generate evanescent light that displays a rotational character. At a metalized surface, in particular, field components extending into the vacuum region possess vortex properties in addition to surface plasmon features. These surface plasmonic vortices retain the phase singularity of the input light, also mapping its associated orbital angular momentum. In addition to a two-dimensional patterning on the surface, the strongly localized intensity distribution decays with distance perpendicular to the film surface. The detailed characteristics of these surface optical vortex structures depend on the incident beam parameters and the dielectric mismatch of the media. The static interference of the resulting surface vortices, achieved by using beams suitably configured to restrict lateral in-plane motion, can be shown to give rise to optical forces that produce interesting dynamical effects on atoms or small molecules trapped in the vicinity of the surface. As well as trapping within the surface plasmonic fields, model calculations reveal that the corresponding atomic trajectories will typically exhibit a variety of rotational and vibrational effects, significantly depending on the extent and sign of detuning from resonance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
EventComplex Light and Optical Forces V - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 26 Jan 2011 → …


ConferenceComplex Light and Optical Forces V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period26/01/11 → …

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