The first higher order Laguerre-Gaussian (LG01) beam is characterised by a donut-shaped intensity profile and has a phase front that advances with a helical trajectory described by exp(±iφ-ikz), where φ is the azimuthal angle and z is the axial position. As a consequence, the LG01 beam has an orbital angular momentum of ±ħ for each photon. These unique properties of LG01 beams have attracted growing interest due to a wealth of promising applications in areas such as optical manipulation of particles, trapping and guiding of atoms and laser processing of materials. A number of different techniques for generating LG01 beams have been devised over the years. The most popular techniques exploit external beam-shaping arrangements. However, these techniques are generally not suitable for high power operation due to power handling limitations.

© 2013 IEEE

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