Abstract

The polarization and orbital angular momentum properties of light are of great importance in optical science and technology in the fields of high-precision optical measurements and high-capacity and high-speed optical communications. Here we show a method for the construction of a simple and robust scheme to rotate a light beam such as a fan, which is based on a combination of these two properties and using the thermal-dispersion and electro-optical effect of birefringent crystals. Using a computer-based digital image-processing technique, we determine the temperature and thermal-dispersion difference of the crystal with high resolution. We also use the rotation phenomenon to realize thermo-optic and electro-optic switches. The basic operating principles for measurement and switching processes are presented in detail. The methods developed here will have wide practical applicability in various fields, including remote sensing, materials science, and optical communication networks.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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