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Transverse angular momentum of photons

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons200999

Aiello,  Andrea
Optical Quantum Information Theory, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons201126

Marquardt,  Christoph
Quantum Information Processing, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons201115

Leuchs,  Gerd
Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Aiello, A., Marquardt, C., & Leuchs, G. (2010). Transverse angular momentum of photons. PHYSICAL REVIEW A, 81(5): 053838. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.81.053838.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-6B09-C
Abstract
We develop the quantum theory of transverse angular momentum of light beams. The theory applies to paraxial and quasiparaxial photon beams in vacuum and reproduces the known results for classical beams when applied to coherent states of the field. Both the Poynting vector, alias the linear momentum, and the angular-momentum quantum operators of a light beam are calculated including contributions from first-order transverse derivatives. This permits a correct description of the energy flow in the beam and the natural emergence of both the spin and the angular momentum of the photons. We show that for collimated beams of light, orbital angular-momentum operators do not satisfy the standard commutation rules. Finally, we discuss the application of our theory to some concrete cases.