Abstract

Generation of optical vortices using a new design of adaptive helical mirror (AHM) is reported. The new AHM is a reflective device that can generate an optical vortex of any desired topological charge, both positive and negative, within its breakdown limits. The most fascinating feature of the AHM is that the topological charge of the optical vortex generated with it can be changed in real time by varying the excitation voltage. Generation of optical vortices up to topological charge 4 has been demonstrated. The presence of a vortex in the optical field generated with the AHM is confirmed by producing both fork and spiral fringes in an interferometric setup. Various design improvements to further enhance the performance of the reported AHM are discussed. Some of the important applications of AHM are also listed.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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