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The measurable distinction between the spin and orbital angular momenta of electromagnetic radiation. (English) Zbl 0992.78011
Summary: We show how the angular momentum of electromagnetic radiation may be decomposed into spin and orbital parts, of which the spin part is measurable in terms of Stokes parameters, thereby providing an unambiguous, gauge-invariant distinction between the two parts.

MSC:
78A40 Waves and radiation in optics and electromagnetic theory
78A46 Inverse problems (including inverse scattering) in optics and electromagnetic theory
78A45 Diffraction, scattering
81U40 Inverse scattering problems in quantum theory
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