Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Controlling the polarization and vortex charge of attosecond high-harmonic beams via simultaneous spin-orbit momentum conservation



Kevin Dorney, Laura Rego, Nathan J. Brooks, Julio San Roman, Chen-Ting Liao, Jennifer Ellis, Dmitriy Zusin, Christian Gentry, Quynh Nguyen, Justin Shaw, Antonio Picon, Luis Plaja, Henry C. Kapteyn, Margaret M. Murnane, Carlos Hernandez-Garcia


Optical interactions are governed by both spin and angular momentum conservation laws, which serve as a tool for controlling light-matter interactions or elucidating electron dynamics and structure of complex systems. Here, we uncover a form of simultaneous spin and orbital angular momentum conservation and show, theoretically and experimentally, that this phenomenon allows for unprecedented control over the divergence and polarization of extreme-ultraviolet vortex beams. High harmonics with spin and orbital angular momenta are produced, opening a novel regime of angular momentum conservation that allows for manipulation of the polarization of attosecond pulses-from linear to circular-and for the generation of circularly polarized vortices with tailored orbital angular momentum, including harmonic vortices with the same topological charge as the driving laser beam. Our work paves the way to ultrafast studies of chiral systems using high-harmonic beams with designer spin and orbital angular momentum.
Nature Photonics


High harmonic generation, vortex light, orbital momentum, ultra-fast, manipulation, attosecond, polarized vortices, chiral systems, high-harmonic beams


Dorney, K. , Rego, L. , Brooks, N. , San Roman, J. , Liao, C. , Ellis, J. , Zusin, D. , Gentry, C. , Nguyen, Q. , Shaw, J. , Picon, A. , Plaja, L. , Kapteyn, H. , Murnane, M. and Hernandez-Garcia, C. (2018), Controlling the polarization and vortex charge of attosecond high-harmonic beams via simultaneous spin–orbit momentum conservation, Nature Photonics, [online],, (Accessed May 27, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 9, 2018, Updated October 12, 2021