Mode sorting is an essential function for optical multiplexing systems that exploit the orthogonality of the orbital angular momentum mode space. The familiar log-polar optical transformation provides a simple yet efficient approach whose resolution is, however, restricted by a considerable overlap between adjacent modes resulting from the limited excursion of the phase along a complete circle around the optical vortex axis. We propose and experimentally verify a new optical transformation that maps spirals (instead of concentric circles) to parallel lines. As the phase excursion along a spiral in the wave front of an optical vortex is theoretically unlimited, this new optical transformation can separate orbital angular momentum modes with superior resolution while maintaining unity efficiency.
|Journal||Physical Review Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 11 May 2018|