Novel vortex laser

Reference number 9033

Sectors: Technology equipment

Industries: Equipment & Components

Proposed use

The invention can be used to create new bespoke vortex lasers and could retrofit existing lasers (e.g. solid-state, fibre) to provide vortex output. Higher-order vortices and mode superposition can be generated if the laser operates itself on an internal mode that is vortex: useful for optical trapping, levitation and manipulation of micro- and macro-particles.

Vortex beams can enhance the efficiency of laser manufacturing processes, provide advantages in free-space communications being more robust to atmospheric turbulence and offer improved data encryption.

Problem addressed

Relatively little progress has been made for high power vortex generation and even less for high efficiency, robust and compact systems. The generation of vortex beams is predominantly done by converting a Gaussian beam externally to the laser using mode conversion techniques. The spatial light modulator (SLM) has become a primary technology for generating almost any light pattern one could want, but they have very low power-handling capability and high expense which are major limitations.

Technology overview

The invention is a low-cost, high-power and high efficiency new methodology for vortex creation: an interferometric output coupling methodology that spatially transforms the output of the laser.


  • Vortex laser beam generation at much higher power and pulse energy than most commonly used mode transformation elements (SLMs, Q-plates)
  • Direct generation from a laser with high efficiency
  • Enables the creation of new bespoke vortex lasers
  • Allows existing non-vortex (Gaussian) laser systems to be directly retro-fitted into a vortex laser with little adaptation
  • Handedness of the vorticity can be controlled, selected or switched
  • Output transmission of the laser into the vortex mode can be continuously controlled allowing optimisation of power and efficiency of system
  • Selectivity of the interferometric output coupler can “clean-up” the quality of the internal laser mode during the vortex generation
  • Low-cost vortex output coupler

Intellectual property information

Patent : PCT/GB2019/052729

Links to published papers

Geberbauer, J. W. T., Kerridge-Johns, W. R., & Damzen, M. J. (2020). Q-switched laser with self-mode-filtering interferometric vortex output coupler. OSA Continuum, 3(2), 204-213.

Damzen, M. J., Kerridge-Johns, W. R., & Geberbauer, J. W. T. (2019). Vortex mode transformation interferometry. Journal of Optics, 22(1), 015604.

Kerridge-Johns, W. R., Geberbauer, J. W. T., & Damzen, M. J. (2019). Vortex laser by transforming Gaussian mode with an interferometric output coupler. Optics express, 27(8), 11642-11650.


Professor Michael Damzen

Professor of Experimental Laser Physics
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Physics

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Dr William Kerridge-Johns

Imperial College Research Fellow
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Physics

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Contact us about this technology


Fabian Lim

Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation Senior Executive, Faculty of Natural Sciences

Fabian is Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation Senior Executive for the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Imperial College London

Contact Fabian

[email protected]

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