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We outline an easily reproduced experiment that allows the student to investigate the intensity and phase structure of transverse laser modes. In addition to discussing the usual Hermite-Gaussian laser modes we detail how Laguerre-Gaussian laser modes can be obtained by the direct conversion of the Hermite-Gaussian output. A Mach-Zehnder interferometer allows the phase structure of the Laguerre-Gaussian modes to be compared with the phase structure of a plane wave with the same frequency. The resulting interference patterns clearly illustrate the azimuthal phase dependence of the Laguerre-Gaussian modes, which is the origin of the orbital angular momentum associated with each of them.
|Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:||Padgett, Professor Miles|
|Authors:||Padgett, M., Arlt, J., Simpson, N., and Allen, L.|
|College/School:||College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy|
|Journal Name:||American Journal of Physics|
|Journal Abbr.:||Am. J. Phys.|