Abstract

V-points are polarization singularities in spatially varying linearly polarized optical fields and are characterized by the Poincare–Hopf index η. Each V-point singularity is a superposition of two oppositely signed orbital angular momentum states in two orthogonal spin angular momentum states. Hence, a V-point singularity has zero net angular momentum. V-points with given |η| have the same (amplitude) intensity distribution but have four degenerate polarization distributions. Each of these four degenerate states also produce identical diffraction patterns. Hence to distinguish these degenerate states experimentally, we present in this Letter a method involving a combination of polarization transformation and diffraction. This method also shows the possibility of using polarization singularities in place of phase singularities in optical communication and quantum information processing.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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