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Researchers at the University of Maryland have shown that photons in a vacuum can have orbital angular momentum (OAM) vectors that point sideways, at 90° to the direction of propagation. The discovery relies on a spatiotemporal optical vortex (STOV), the pulses of which are already known to hold potential in nonlinear optics applications.
There are two types of rotational momentum in physics: spin and orbital. Both are described by the quantity known as angular momentum (AM). AM is a conserved quantity; it can be broken up and redistributed among particles such as atoms and photons, but the total AM must remain the same.
AM is also a vector, which is a quantity that has a direction, and this direction is perpendicular to the…READ MORE