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Optical vortex symmetry breakdown and decomposition of the orbital angular momentum of light beams

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Abstract

Two forms of the transverse energy circulation within plane-polarized paraxial light beams are specified: one inherent in wave-front singularities (optical vortices) and the other peculiar to astigmatism and asymmetry of beams with a smooth wave front. As quantitative measures of these energy flow components, the concepts of vortex and asymmetry parts of a beam’s orbital angular momentum are introduced and their definitions are proposed on the basis of beam intensity moments. The properties and physical meaning of these concepts are analyzed, and their use for the study of transformations of optical vortices is demonstrated.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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