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Spin and orbital angular momenta (AM) of light are well studied for free-space electromagnetic fields, even nonparaxial. One of the important applications of these concepts is the information transfer using AM modes, often via optical fibers and other guiding systems. However, the self-consistent description of the spin and orbital AM of light in optical media (including dispersive and metallic cases) was provided only recently [Bliokh et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 073901 (2017)]. Here we present the first accurate calculations, both analytical and numerical, of the spin and orbital AM, as well as the helicity and other properties, for the full-vector eigenmodes of cylindrical dielectric and metallic (nanowire) waveguides. We find remarkable fundamental relations, such as the quantization of the canonical total AM of cylindrical guided modes in the general nonparaxial case. This quantization, as well as the noninteger values of the spin and orbital AM, are determined by the generalized geometric and dynamical phases in the mode fields. Moreover, we show that the spin AM of metallic-wire modes is determined, in the geometrical-optics approximation, by the transverse spin of surface plasmon polaritons propagating along helical trajectories on the wire surface. Our work provides a solid platform for future studies and applications of the AM and helicity properties of guided optical and plasmonic waves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1016-1026
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2018


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