Efficient orbital angular momentum transfer between plasmons and free electrons

Wei Cai, Ori Reinhardt, Ido Kaminer, F. Javier García De Abajo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Free electrons can efficiently absorb or emit plasmons excited in a thin conductor, giving rise to multiple energy peaks in the transmitted electron spectra separated by multiples of the plasmon energy. When the plasmons are chiral, this can also give rise to transfer of orbital angular momentum (OAM). Here, we show that large amounts of OAM can be efficiently transferred between chiral plasmons supported by a thin film and free electrons traversing it. Under realistic conditions, our predictive simulations reveal efficient absorption of a number 1 of chiral plasmons of vorticity m1, resulting in an OAM transfer m. Our work supports the use of chiral plasmons sustained by externally illuminated thin films as a way of generating high-vorticity electrons, resulting in a remarkably large fraction of kinetic energy associated with motion along the azimuthal direction, perpendicular to the incident beam.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045424
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number4
StatePublished - 24 Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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