Optical helicity of interfering waves

Cameron, R.P., Barnett, S.M. and Yao, A.M. (2014) Optical helicity of interfering waves. Journal of Modern Optics, 61(1), pp. 25-31. (doi:10.1080/09500340.2013.829874)

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Abstract

Helicity is a property of light which is familiar from particle physics but less well-known in optics. In this paper we recall the explicit form taken by the helicity of light within classical electromagnetic theory and reflect upon some of its remarkable characteristics. The helicity of light is related to, but is distinct from, the spin of light. To emphasise this fact, we draw a simple analogy between the helicity of light and electric charge and between the spin of light and electric current. We illustrate this and other observations by examining various superpositions of plane waves explicitly.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barnett, Professor Stephen and Yao, Dr Alison
Authors: Cameron, R.P., Barnett, S.M., and Yao, A.M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Journal of Modern Optics
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:0950-0340
ISSN (Online):1362-3044
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Modern Optics 61(1):25-31
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
549871Challenges in Orbital Angular MomentumMiles PadgettEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/I012451/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY