Magnetic and Electric Transverse Spin Density of Spatially Confined Light

Martin Neugebauer*, Jörg S. Eismann, Thomas Bauer, Peter Banzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


When a beam of light is laterally confined, its field distribution can exhibit points where the local magnetic and electric field vectors spin in a plane containing the propagation direction of the electromagnetic wave. The phenomenon indicates the presence of a nonzero transverse spin density. Here, we experimentally investigate this transverse spin density of both magnetic and electric fields, occurring in highly confined structured fields of light. Our scheme relies on the utilization of a high-refractive-index nanoparticle as a local field probe, exhibiting magnetic and electric dipole resonances in the visible spectral range. Because of the directional emission of dipole moments that spin around an axis parallel to a nearby dielectric interface, such a probe particle is capable of locally sensing the magnetic and electric transverse spin density of a tightly focused beam impinging under normal incidence with respect to said interface. We exploit the achieved experimental results to emphasize the difference between magnetic and electric transverse spin densities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021042
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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