Twisted light, or optical vortices, can transfer angular momentum both to internal excitation of a target and to its center-of-mass (CM) motion. We use an example of electric dipole (E1) and electric quadrupole (E2) photoexcitation in a single atom to demonstrate that the internal vs CM transfer of optical angular momentum depends on atom’s location with respect to the optical vortex center and multipolarity of the quantum transition.

© 2019 The Author(s)

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