On the dragging of light by a rotating medium

Jörg B. Götte, Stephen M. Barnett, Miles Padgett

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21 Citations (Scopus)
98 Downloads (Pure)


When light is passing through a rotating medium the optical polarization is rotated. Recently, it has been reasoned that this rotation applies also to the transmitted image. We examine these two phenomena by extending an analysis of Player (Player 1976 Proc. R. Soc. A 349, 441-445) to general electromagnetic fields. We find that in this more general case, the wave equation inside the rotating medium has to be amended by a term which is connected to the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of the light. We show that optical spin and OAM account for the rotation of the polarization and the rotation of the transmitted image, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2185-2194
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2085
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2007


  • optics
  • physics
  • polarization
  • electromagnetic fields
  • orbital angular momentum
  • rotating medium

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