Generation of Orbital Angular Momentum Light by Patterning Azopolymer Thin Films

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Orbital angular momentum (OAM) encoding is a promising technique to boost data transmission capacity in optical communications. Most recently, azobenzene films have gained attention as a versatile tool for creating and altering OAM-carrying beams. Unique features of azobenzene films make it possible to control molecular alignment through light-induced isomerization about the azo bond. This feature enables the fabrication of diffractive optical devices such as spiral phase plates and holograms by accurately imprinting a phase profile on the incident light. By forming azobenzene sheets into diffractive optical elements, such as spiral phase plates, one can selectively create OAM-carrying beams. Due to the helical wavefront and phase variation shown by these beams, multiple distinct channels can be encoded within a single optical beam. This can significantly increase the data transmission capacity of optical communication systems with this OAM multiplexing technique. Additionally, holographic optical components made from azobenzene films can be used to build and reconstruct intricate wavefronts. It is possible to create OAM-based holograms by imprinting holographic designs on azobenzene films, which makes it simpler to control and shape optical beams for specific communication requirements. In addition, azobenzene-based materials can then be suitable for integration into optical communication devices because of their reconfigurability, compactness, and infrastructure compatibility, which are the main future perspectives for achieving OAM-based technologies for the next generation, among other factors. In this paper, we see the possible use of azobenzene films in the generation and modification of OAM beams for optical communications through light-induced isomerization. In addition, the potential role of azobenzene films in the development of novel OAM-based devices that paves the way for the realization of high-capacity, OAM-enabled optical communication networks are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1319
Number of pages20
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023


  • azobenzene
  • optical communication
  • orbital angular momentum
  • photoisomerization


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