• Advanced Photonics
  • Vol. 4, Issue 3, 030501 (2022)
Andrew Forbes*
Author Affiliations
  • University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
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    DOI: 10.1117/1.AP.4.3.030501 Cite this Article
    Andrew Forbes. New twist to twisted light[J]. Advanced Photonics, 2022, 4(3): 030501 Copy Citation Text show less

    Abstract

    Despite more than a century of photonic advances, there still exist solutions to Maxwell?s equations that remain elusive. Now, Qiwen Zhan and colleagues demonstrate the first toroidal vortex of light, introducing twists and folds in time and space for new forms of 4D structured light.

    Controlling light in all its degrees of freedom is steadily gaining traction, extending our familiar 2D transverse forms of electromagnetic waves to include 3D control (all three components of the electric field), and spatiotemporal control for 4D forms of structured light.1 Despite the advances, there still exist solutions to Maxwell’s equations that have not yet been demonstrated,2 hindered by the need to induce higher-order multipoles (beyond dipoles) and toroidal excitations in matter.3 Reporting in Nature Photonics, Qiwen Zhan and colleagues demonstrate the first optical toroidal vortex.4 They bypass the need for exotic materials and rare electronic transitions by exploiting conformal mapping of a space–time shaped vortex pulse, twisting and folding the optical field to form the familiar toroidal nature. Their approach heralds new spatial and temporal control of structured light, with the potential to impact fields from topology to quantum information.

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    Andrew Forbes. New twist to twisted light[J]. Advanced Photonics, 2022, 4(3): 030501
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