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Vortex Beam Generation by Spin-Orbit Interaction with Bloch Surface Waves

: Stella, U.; Grosjean, T.; Leo, N. de; Boarino, L.; Munzert, P.; Lakowicz, J.R.; Descrovi, E.


ACS photonics 7 (2020), Nr.3, S.774-783
ISSN: 2330-4022
Fraunhofer IOF ()
azimuthally polarized beam; Bloch surface waves; chiral nanostructures; spiral diffraction gratings; vortex beam

Axis-symmetric grooves milled in metallic slabs have been demonstrated to promote the transfer of Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) from far- to near-field and vice versa, thanks to spin-orbit coupling effects involving Surface Plasmons (SP). However, the high absorption losses and the polarization constraints, which are intrinsic in plasmonic structures, limit their effectiveness for applications in the visible spectrum, particularly if emitters located in close proximity to the metallic surface are concerned. Here, an alternative mechanism for vortex beam generation is presented, wherein a free-space radiation possessing OAM is obtained by diffraction of Bloch Surface Waves (BSWs) on a dielectric multilayer. A circularly polarized laser beam is tightly focused on the multilayer surface by means of an immersion optics, such that TE-polarized BSWs are launched radially from the focused spot. While propagating on the multilayer surface, BSWs exhibit a spiral-like wavefront due to the Spin-Orbit Interaction (SOI). A spiral grating surrounding the illumination area provides for the BSW diffraction out-of-plane and imparts an additional azimuthal geometric phase distribution defined by the topological charge of the spiral structure. At infinity, the constructive interference results into free-space beams with defined combinations of polarization and OAM satisfying the conservation of the Total Angular Momentum, based on the incident polarization handedness and the spiral grating topological charge. As an extension of this concept, chiral diffractive structures for BSWs can be used in combination with surface cavities hosting light sources therein.