The angular momentum of twisted light in anisotropic media: chiroptical interactions in chiral and achiral materials

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The issue of whether the optical orbital angular momentum of light can play any significant role in chiroptical interactions has seen a resurgence of interest in the past few years. Revising preliminary expectations, it has been shown both theoretically and experimentally that the topological charge can indeed play a decisive role in some chiroptical interactions, with the rates of these optical phenomena proving sensitive to the sign of the vortex charge. Using quantum electro- dynamics, it is now revealed how the inclusion of molecular electric-quadrupole transition moments in both chiral and achiral anisotropic media produces such an effect. Specifically, for single-photon absorption it transpires that both the orbital and spin angular momentum must be engaged through a circularly polarized vortex beam. The chiroptical effect is identified as a manifestation spin-orbit interaction in light.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE
PublisherSPIE Press
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018

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