Momentum transfer in a standing optical vortex

Vladlen G. Shvedov, Anton S. Desyatnikov, Yana Izdebskaya, Andrei V. Rode, Wieslaw Z. Krolikowski, Yuri S. Kivshar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Singular optical beams have been studied for many years after the pioneering work where the wave function of the laser radiation is presented as a steady-state solution of the wave equation for a harmonic oscillator. A major step in understanding the nature of singular beams has been made by introducing the concept of the angular momentum of light and analyzing local energy transfer in a vortex beam. It is now well accepted that the orbital angular momentum of light is an intrinsic feature of the optical vortex. However, the orbital angular momentum was always analyzed for travelling modes and the important issue of the orbital angular momentum associated with standing waves still remains open. The main motivation of our work is to reveal the structure of the orbital angular momentum in a standing wave formed by the counter-propagating optical vortices and study its suitability for an optical trapping and guiding. In this work we show that a superposition of two (or more) vortex beams generates a field structure which has a form of a standing wave in both the radial and longitudinal directions, but it is rotating simultaneously along the tangential direction. We demonstrate that then field of this optical vortex structure could be used as an optical trap and simultaneously transfer the angular momentum of the electromagnetic wave to an object inside the area of vortex localisation. We believe this study provides a basis for developing a novel concept of three-dimensional optical traps where vortices could be created in a local volume by a direct transfer of the angular orbital momentum of the electromagnetic wave to trapped objects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation V
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 10 2008Aug 13 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation V
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Momentum transfer
  • Optical trap
  • Optical vortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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