Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Padmanabhan K. Aravind, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Germano S. Iannacchione, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Grover A. Swartzlander, Jr., Advisor




"Optical vortices are singularities in phase fronts of optical beams. They are characterized by a dark core in the center and by a helical wave front. Owing to azimuthal components of wave vectors, an optical vortex carries orbital angular momentum. Previously, optical vortices were studied only in coherent beams with a well-defined phase. The object of this dissertation is to explore vortices in partially coherent systems where statistics are required to quantify the phase. We consider parametric scattering of a vortex beam and a vortex placed on partially coherent beam. Optical coherence theory provides the mathematical apparatus in the form of the mutual coherence function describing the correlation properties of two points in a beam. Experimentally, the wave-front folding interferometer allows analysis of the cross-correlation function, which may be used to study partial coherence effects even when traditional interferometric techniques fail. We developed the theory of composite optical vortices, which can occur when two coherent beams are superimposed. We then reported the first experimental observation of vortices in a cross-correlation function (which we call spatial correlation vortices). We found numerically and experimentally how the varying transverse coherence length and position of a vortex in a beam may affect the position and existence of spatial correlation vortices. The results presented in this thesis offer a better understanding of the concept of phase in partially coherent light. The spatial correlation vortex presents a new tool to manipulate coherence properties of an optical beam."


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name




Project Type


Date Accepted





vortex, coherence, Vortex-motion, Coherence (Optics), Optical vortices