Light’s capacity to carry angular momentum is integral to our knowledge of physics and ability to probe matter. In addition to spin, photons can occupy free-space orbital angular momentum eigenstates1,2. Visible light orbital angular momentum is used in quantum information experiments, super-resolution microscopy, optical tweezers and angular momentum transfer to atoms in optical lattices3,4. Soft X-ray orbital angular momentum applications, slowed by the lack of suitable optics and the rarity of coherent X-ray sources, could enable the direct alteration of atomic states through orbital angular momentum exchange, and methods to study the electronic properties of quantum materials. We have made soft X-ray diffractive optics that generate single Laguerre–Gauss modes, observed carrying up to 30ħ angular momentum per photon, or their superpositions. We also present Hermite–Gauss diffractive optics and a soft X-ray orbital angular momentum analyser. These tools could enable both the manipulation and finer characterization of topologically complex electronic matter, such as magnetic skyrmions.
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The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from J.C.T.L. (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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This research used resources of the Advanced Light Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility (DE-AC02-05CH11231). Work at the following locations was supported by the DOE Office of Science: University of Oregon (Basic Energy Sciences, DE-SC0010466) and Advanced Light Source (Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, DE-AC02-05-CH11231, NEMM program MSMAG).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Lee, J.C.T., Alexander, S.J., Kevan, S.D. et al. Laguerre–Gauss and Hermite–Gauss soft X-ray states generated using diffractive optics. Nature Photon 13, 205–209 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-018-0328-8
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