Measuring topological charge using Stokes parameters
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An alternative method to experimentally measure the topological charge of a vortex beam is presented. The method is based on the number of polarization singularities arising in the superposition of two off-axis Laguerre-Gauss beams having orthogonal polarizations. The experimental setup consists of a modified Mach-Zehnder interferometer which provides control over the polarization structure by allowing us to introduce lateral displacements as well as relative phase variations between the two arms of the interferometer. A comparison between theoretical and experimental results is done with very good agreement. This method offers an alternative for measuring orbital angular momentum content in a beam without the need of interfering with a reference plane wave. The dynamics of polarization singularities are also studied experimentally. © 2013 SPIE.