Abstract

We theoretically show how, using a cylindrical lens, a Gaussian beam with a finite number of parallel zero-intensity lines (edge dislocations) is transformed into a vortex beam that carries orbital angular momentum (OAM) and topological charge (TC). Remarkably, while the original beam is assumed to carry a non-zero OAM and have no TC, the latter is shown to appear during free-space propagation. Considering two parallel center-symmetric zero-intensity lines located as an example, we look into the dynamics of generating two intensity nulls at the double focal length: with increasing distance between the vertical zero-intensity lines, two optical vortices are first generated on the horizontal axis before converging at the origin and then diverging along the vertical axis. Irrespective of the between-line distance, such an optical vortex has ${\rm TC} = - {2}$ at any distance from the optical axis, except for the original plane. With changing distance between the zero-intensity lines, the OAM that the beam carries is changing, taking positive and negative values, or a zero value at a certain between-line distance. We also show that if the number of zero-intensity lines is infinite, a vortex beam with finite OAM and infinite TC is generated.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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