The Laguerre-Gaussian (LG) modes constitute a complete basis set for representing the transverse structure of a paraxial photon field in free space. Earlier workers have shown how to construct a device for sorting a photon according to its azimuthal LG mode index, which describes the orbital angular momentum (OAM) carried by the field. In this paper we propose and demonstrate a mode sorter based on the fractional Fourier transform to efficiently decompose the optical field according to its radial profile. We experimentally characterize the performance of our implementation by separating individual radial modes as well as superposition states. The reported scheme can, in principle, achieve unit efficiency and thus can be suitable for applications that involve quantum states of light. This approach can be readily combined with existing OAM mode sorters to provide a complete characterization of the transverse profile of the optical field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)