Structured light, tailored light, sculpted light, or shaped light is a term used for custom light fields and finds enormous use in literature these days. Some of the history’s most brilliant researchers, from Newton to Maxwell to Einstein, have studied the nature of light over the centuries. We believe that we know everything about light, its generation, detection, and applications; yet, it continues to surprise us even today. Indeed, one discovery about light’s peculiar behavior has offered a new insight into how light works and rendered some intriguing applications. In 1992, physicists mastered a surprising feat—generating light beams that twist like a helical corkscrew. This phenomenon is called twisted light and has led to an altogether new field of optics, known as singular optics. Today, twisted light is being used to build optical tweezers and ultra-powerful microscopes, and it could eventually be used in microscale machinery and for novel spectroscopic analyses. But perhaps the most important use of this structured light is in optical communications, where it moves through optical fibers. This light has the potential to greatly enhance the bandwidth of data networks and, hence, the speed of data transmission.
Part of the book: Fiber Optics