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Radio beam vorticity and orbital angular momentum

  • Thidé, Bo
  • Tamburini, Fabrizio
  • Mari, Elettra
  • Romanato, Filippo
  • Barbieri, Cesare
Publication Date
Jan 31, 2011
Submission Date
Jan 31, 2011
arXiv ID: 1101.6015
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It has been known for a century that electromagnetic fields can transport not only energy and linear momentum but also angular momentum. However, it was not until twenty years ago, with the discovery in laser optics of experimental techniques for the generation, detection and manipulation of photons in well-defined, pure orbital angular momentum (OAM) states, that twisted light and its pertinent optical vorticity and phase singularities began to come into widespread use in science and technology. We have now shown experimentally how OAM and vorticity can be readily imparted onto radio beams. Our results extend those of earlier experiments on angular momentum and vorticity in radio in that we used a single antenna and reflector to directly generate twisted radio beams and verified that their topological properties agree with theoretical predictions. This opens the possibility to work with photon OAM at frequencies low enough to allow the use of antennas and digital signal processing, thus enabling software controlled experimentation also with first-order quantities, and not only second (and higher) order quantities as in optics-type experiments. Since the OAM state space is infinite, our findings provide new tools for achieving high efficiency in radio communications and radar technology.

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