Structured Light: Ideas and Concepts

Oleg V. Angelsky, Aleksandr Y. Bekshaev, Steen G. Hanson*, Claudia Yu Zenkova, Igor I. Mokhun, Zheng Jun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

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The paper briefly presents some essential concepts and features of light fields with strong spatial inhomogeneity of amplitude, phase, polarization, and other parameters. It contains a characterization of optical vortices, speckle fields, polarization singularities. A special attention is paid to the field dynamical characteristics (energy, momentum, angular momentum, and their derivatives), which are considered not only as mechanical attributes of the field but also as its meaningful and application-oriented descriptive parameters. Peculiar features of the light dynamical characteristics in inhomogeneous and dispersive media are discussed. The dynamical properties of paraxial beams and evanescent waves (including surface plasmon–polaritons) are analyzed in more detail; in particular, a general treatment of the extraordinary spin and momentum, orthogonal to the main propagation direction, is outlined. Applications of structured light fields for optical manipulation, metrology, probing, and data processing are described.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2020


  • Dynamical characteristics
  • Evanescent fields
  • Optical data processing
  • Optical manipulation
  • Optical vortex
  • Paraxial beams
  • Polarization singularity
  • Singular optics

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