Ultrafast spinning twisted ribbons of confined electric fields

Thomas Bauer, Svetlana N. Khonina, Ilya Golub, Gerd Leuchs, Peter Banzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Topological properties of light attract tremendous attention in the optics communities and beyond. For instance, light beams gain robustness against certain deformations when carrying topological features, enabling intriguing applications. We report on the observation of a topological structure contained in an optical beam, i.e., a twisted ribbon formed by the electric field vector per se, in stark contrast to recently reported studies dealing with topological structures based on the distribution of the time averaged polarization ellipse. Moreover, our ribbons are spinning in time at a frequency given by the optical frequency divided by the total angular momentum of the incoming beam. The number of full twists of the ribbon is equal to the orbital angular momentum of the longitudinal component of the employed light beam upon tight focusing, which is a direct consequence of spin-to-orbit coupling. We study this angular-momentum-transfer-assisted generation of the twisted ribbon structures theoretically and experimentally for tightly focused circularly polarized beams of different vorticity, paving the way to tailored topologically robust excitations of novel coherent light-matter states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1231
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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