Abstract

We propose and simulate the use of the unique intensity gradient of beams carrying orbital angular momentum (OAM) for tracking and localization of an object. We design a three-pixel detector structure to efficiently determine the intensity gradient of an OAM beam. The resultant intensity gradient is then used to calculate the offset direction and distance of the target object from the center of the OAM beam. Our simulation results indicate the following: (i) an OAM-based localization system can have a stronger control signal than the one generated from a Gaussian beam; (ii) an OAM+2 beam may generate a 5× stronger localization feedback signal but operates over half the target capture area as an OAM+1 beam; and (iii) our scheme will generally have two orders of magnitude lower accuracy but 2× larger coverage area as the distance from the beam emitter to the target increases from 200 to 1000 m.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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