The angular momentum carried by light can be characterized as "spin" angular momentum associated with circular polarization, and "orbital" angular momentum associated with the spatial distribution of the wave.1 In 1995, He et al.2 reported transfer of "orbital" angular momentum from a linearly polarized Laguerre-Gaussian mode laser beam to absorbing particles. Absorbing micronsized CuO particles were trapped in a focused "donut" beam, and observed to rotate when viewed through an optical microscope. The direction of the particle rotation was found to be determined by the direction of the helicity of the beam.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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