Abstract

Acousto-optic diffraction of light in optically active cubic crystals is analyzed from the viewpoint of conservation of optical angular momentum. It is shown that the availability of angular momentum in the diffracted optical beam can be necessarily inferred from the requirements of angular momentum conservation law. As follows from our analysis, a circularly polarized diffracted wave should bear an orbital angular momentum. The efficiency of the spin-to-orbit momentum conversion is governed by the efficiency of acousto-optic diffraction.

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