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Orbital angular momentum and topological charge of a multi-vortex Gaussian beam

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Abstract

We report on a theoretical and numerical study of a Gaussian beam modulated by several optical vortices (OV) that carry same-sign unity topological charge (TC) and are unevenly arranged on a circle. The TC of such a multi-vortex beam equals the sum of the TCs of all OVs. If the OVs are located evenly along an arbitrary-radius circle, a simple relationship for the normalized orbital angular momentum (OAM) is derived for such a beam. It is shown that in a multi-vortex beam, OAM normalized to power cannot exceed the number of constituent vortices and decreases with increasing distance from the optical axis to the vortex centers. We show that for the OVs to appear at the infinity of such a combined beam, an infinite-energy Gaussian beam is needed. On the contrary, the total TC is independent of said distance, remaining equal to the number of constituent vortices. We show that if TC is evaluated not along the whole circle encompassing the singularity centers, but along any part of this circle, such a quantity is also invariant and conserves on propagation. Besides, a multi-spiral phase plate is studied for the first time to our knowledge, and we obtained the TC and OAM of multi-vortices generated by this plate. When propagated through a random phase screen (diffuser) the TC is unchanged, while the OAM changes by less than 10% if the random phase delay on the diffuser does not exceed half wavelength. Such multi-vortices can be used for data transmission in the turbulent atmosphere.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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