3 years ago

On Small Beams with Large Topological Charge II: Photons, Electrons and Gravitational Waves.

Anton Zeilinger, Mario Krenn

Beams of light with a large topological charge significantly change their spatial structure when they are focussed strongly. Physically, it can be explained by an emerging electromagnetic field component in the direction of propagation, which is neglected in the simplified scalar wave picture in optics. Here we ask: Is this a specific photonic behavior, or can similar phenomena also be predicted for other species of particles? We show that the exact same phenomenon also exists for relativistic electrons as well as for focused gravitational waves, but for different physical reasons. For electrons, which are described by the Dirac equation, the additional intensity arises from a Spin-Orbit coupling in the relativistic regime. In gravitational waves described with linearized general relativity, the curvature of space-time between the transverse and propagation direction leads to the additional intensity contribution. Thus, this universal phenomenon exists for both massive and massless elementary particles with Spin 1/2, 1 and 2. It would be very interesting whether other types of particles such as composite systems (neutrons or C$_{60}$) or neutrinos show a similar behaviour and how this phenomenon can be explained in a unified physical way.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.07825

DOI: arXiv:1801.07825v1

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