Abstract

We report on an unusual permanent recording of light helicity on optically achiral metals. Following a number of circularly polarized (CP) or elliptically polarized (EP) femtosecond laser pulses, well-defined periodic surface structures are found on metal surfaces. These surface structures show different orientation when formed by left CP/EP compared with right CP/EP light. The formation of these structures is attributed to the interference between the incident light and the excited surface plasmons. To our knowledge, this is the only phenomenon that can permanently record light helicity with an optically inactive material.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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