Optical and Quantum Electronics

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

The angular momentum of light: optical spanners and the rotational frequency shift

  • M. J. Padgett
  • L. Allen


An introduction is given to the concepts of the spin and orbital angular momentum of light beams. Both spin and orbital angular momentum can be transferred from a light beam to particles held within optical tweezers, so forming an optical spanner. Each also give rise to a frequency shift when the light beam is rotated. This arises because quarter or half-wave plates and π/2 or π mode converters play equivalent roles for spin and orbital angular momentum respectively.


Angular Momentum Communication Network Frequency Shift Light Beam Rotational Frequency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Padgett
    • 1
  • L. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.The School of Physics and AstronomyThe University of St AndrewsFifeUK

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