Abstract

Silver ion-exchanged glass exhibits nonlinear optical properties upon interacting with intense light beams. The thermal effect due to the nanoparticles’ light-absorption induces radial stress, and consequently, a radial birefringence on the glass surface. The induced birefringence possesses a topological charge of 1 in the transverse plane of the glass, i.e., cylindrical symmetry. Therefore, when the glass is illuminated with a circularly polarized light beam, a portion of the incoming beam flips its polarization handedness, since the plate is birefringent, and gains an orbital angular momentum of ±2 in units of the Planck constant. This is referred to as optical spin-to-orbital angular momentum conversion, and can be understood by means of the Pancharatnam–Berry phase. Here, we design a pump–probe setup to study and observe the dynamics of optical angular momentum coupling in real time. We show that this effect can be permanent or reversible, depending on the power and interaction time of the pump beam. In particular, an intrinsic power-dependent birefringence hysteresis is observed on the sample after interaction with and the relaxation of the irradiated point.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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Supplementary Material (1)

NameDescription
» Visualization 1: MP4 (35813 KB)      A video of the probe’s wavefront alteration is recorded upon interaction of the sample with a 4 W pump beam for a duration of 120 s.

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