We use a Laguerre-Gaussian laser mode within an optical tweezers arrangement to demonstrate the transfer of the orbital angular momentum of a laser mode to a trapped particle. The particle is optically confined in three dimensions and can be made to rotate; thus the apparatus is an optical spanner. We show that the spin angular momentum of ± (Latin small letter h with stroke sign) per photon associated with circularly polarized light can add to, or subtract from, the orbital angular momentum to give a total angular momentum. The observed cancellation of the spin and orbital angular momentum shows that, as predicted, a Laguerre-Gaussian mode with an azimuthal mode index l = 1 has a well-defined orbital angular momentum corresponding to (Latin small letter h with stroke sign) per photon.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics