Transfer of orbital angular momentum of light to plasmonic excitations in metamaterials

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Science Advances  12 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 24, eaay1977
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay1977


The emergence of the vortex beam with orbital angular momentum (OAM) has provided intriguing possibilities to induce optical transitions beyond the framework of the electric dipole interaction. The uniqueness stems from the OAM transfer from light to material, as demonstrated in electronic transitions in atomic systems. In this study, we report on the OAM transfer to electrons in solid-state systems, which has been elusive to date. Using metamaterials (periodically textured metallic disks), we show that multipolar modes of the surface electromagnetic excitations (so-called spoof localized surface plasmons) are selectively induced by the terahertz vortex beam. Our results reveal selection rules governed by the conservation of the total angular momentum, which is confirmed by numerical simulations. The efficient transfer of light’s OAM to elementary excitations in solid-state systems at room temperature opens up new possibilities of OAM manipulation.

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