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17 February 2021

Taking Maxwell's equations for a spin

Following in the footsteps of James Clerk Maxwell, a team of researchers across King’s Department of Physics and Shenzhen University have developed a set of equations for spin and momentum of the electromagnetic field.

A 'spin effect' distortion overlayed on Maxwell's equations

Using newly developed equations, the team has now demonstrated the unconventional spin properties of the electromagnetic waves carrying orbital angular momentum, which are important for optical communications, quantum technologies, high-resolution imaging and many other fields.

Commenting on this development, Professor Anatoly Zayats, Head of King’s Photonics & Nanotechnology Group, said:

Using this approach, it is very easy to see new, unexpected phenomena in the electromagnetic spin behaviour. For example, we predicted and experimentally observed dynamic behaviour of the transverse spin of guided waves arising due to spin-orbit coupling, which has completely different behaviour from the static transverse spin of evanescent plane waves.

Professor Anatoly Zayats

Find out more about this research from the London Centre for Nanotechnology.

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Anatoly Zayats

Professor of Physics