Abstract

For both paraxial and nonparaxial light, numerous electromagnetic quantities are expressible in terms of photon annihilation and creation operators. Accordingly, measures of energy, angular momentum, and chirality acquire a consistent interpretation. From the photonic nature of light, it emerges that an infinite hierarchy of spin-type measures depend on a difference in number operators for modes of opposing helicity, with pure circular polarization giving maximal values. Measures of orbital angular momentum are determined by a sum of corresponding number operators. Analysis of the electric and magnetic fields in the reflection of circular polarizations reveals regions of prominent chiral interference.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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