Optical angular momentum in atomic transitions: a paradox

Barnett, S. M. , Speirits, F. C. and Babiker, M. (2022) Optical angular momentum in atomic transitions: a paradox. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, 55(23), 234008. (doi: 10.1088/1751-8121/ac6bd1)

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Stated simply the paradox is as follows: it is clear that the orbital angular momentum of a light beam in its direction of propagation is an intrinsic quantity, and therefore has the same value everywhere in the beam. How then can a Gaussian beam, with precisely zero orbital angular momentum, drive a (single-photon) quadrupole transition which requires the transfer of angular momentum 2\hbar to an absorbing atom?

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:SMB thanks the Royal Society for the award of a Research Professorship (RP150122).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barnett, Professor Stephen and Speirits, Dr Fiona
Authors: Barnett, S. M., Speirits, F. C., and Babiker, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN (Online):1751-8121
Published Online:29 April 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical 55(23): 234008
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
173378Astronomy and physics, theoretical physics and application physics / Quantum Theory. Royal Society Research Professorship.Stephen BarnettThe Royal Society (ROYSOC)RP150122P&S - Physics & Astronomy