Relativistic electron vortices

Barnett, S. M. (2017) Relativistic electron vortices. Physical Review Letters, 118(11), 114802. (doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.114802)

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The desire to push recent experiments on electron vortices to higher energies has led to some theoretical difficulties. In particular the simple and very successful picture of phase vortices of vortex charge $\ell$ associated with $\ell\hbar$ units of orbital angular momentum per electron has been challenged by the facts that: (i) the spin and orbital angular momentum are not separately conserved for a Dirac electron, which suggests that the existence of a spin-orbit coupling will complicate matters and (ii) that the velocity of a Dirac electron is not simply the gradient of a phase as it is in the Schr\"{o}dinger theory suggesting that, perhaps, electron vortices might not exist at a fundamental level. We resolve these difficulties by showing that electron vortices do indeed exist in the relativistic theory and show that the charge of such a vortex is simply related to a conserved orbital part of the total angular momentum, closely related to the familiar situation for the orbital angular momentum of a photon.

Item Type:Articles (Letter)
Keywords:Electrons, vortices, Dirac equation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barnett, Professor Stephen
Authors: Barnett, S. M.
Subjects:Q Science > QC Physics
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Research Group:Quantum Theory
Journal Name:Physical Review Letters
Journal Abbr.:Physical. Rev. Lett.
Publisher:American Physical Society
ISSN (Online):1079-7114
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 American Physical Society
First Published:First published in Physical Review Letters 118(11): 114802
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
721291Astronomy and physics, theoretical physics and application physics / Quantum Theory. Royal Society Research Professorship.Stephen BarnettRoyal Society (ROYSOC)RP150122S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY