Self-bound droplets of light with orbital angular momentum

Niclas Westerberg, Kali E. Wilson, Callum W. Duncan, Daniele Faccio, Ewan M. Wright, Patrik Öhberg, Manuel Valiente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Systems with competing attractive and repulsive interactions have a tendency to condense into droplets. This is the case for water in a sink, liquid helium, and dipolar atomic gases. Here we consider a photon fluid which is formed in the transverse plane of a monochromatic laser beam propagating in an attractive (focusing) nonlocal nonlinear medium. In this setting we demonstrate the formation of the optical analog of matter-wave droplets and study their properties. The system we consider admits droplets that carry orbital angular momentum. We find bound states possessing liquidlike properties, such as bulk pressure and compressibility. Interestingly, these droplets of light, as opposed to optical vortices, form due to the competition between long-range s-wave (monopole) and d-wave (quadrupole) interactions as well as diffraction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053835
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2018


  • angular momentum of light
  • nonlinear optics
  • nonlinear dynamics
  • matter-wave droplets


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