Optical vortices generically arise when optical beams are combined. Recently, we reported how several laser beams containing optical vortices could be combined to form optical vortex loops, links and knots embedded in a light beam (Leach et al 2004 Nature 432 165). Here, we describe in detail the experiments in which vortex loops form these structures. The experimental construction follows a theoretical model originally proposed by Berry and Dennis, and the beams are synthesized using a programmable spatial light modulator and imaged using a CCD camera
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.