Review abstract

Nature Physics 3, 305 - 310 (2007)

Subject Categories: Optical physics | Electronics, photonics and device physics | Quantum physics

Twisted photons

Gabriel Molina-Terriza1,2, Juan P. Torres1,3 & Lluis Torner1,3

The orbital angular momentum of light represents a fundamentally new optical degree of freedom. Unlike linear momentum, or spin angular momentum, which is associated with the polarization of light, orbital angular momentum arises as a subtler and more complex consequence of the spatial distribution of the intensity and phase of an optical field — even down to the single photon limit. Consequently, researchers have only begun to appreciate its implications for our understanding of the many ways in which light and matter can interact, or its practical potential for quantum information applications. This article reviews some of the landmark advances in the study and use of the orbital angular momentum of photons, and in particular its potential for realizing high-dimensional quantum spaces.

  1. ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Mediterranean Technology Park, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain
  2. ICREA- Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, 08010, Barcelona, Spain
  3. Department of Signal Theory and Communications, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, 08034 Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence to: Juan P. Torres1,3 e-mail:


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