An analysis of superradiant scattering of light by ultracold atoms is presented in which the pump and scattered light consist of hollow counterrotating Laguerre-Gaussian beams possessing orbital angular momentum. It is shown that the interaction between the Laguerre-Gaussian beams and the atoms can give rise to a superradiant instability in which orbital angular momentum is transferred to the atoms and the probe field is amplified. In the case where the atoms constitute a dilute Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) that is trapped in a one-dimensional ring geometry, the transfer of orbital angular momentum to the BEC during the instability means that the BEC spontaneously develops rotation in the ring.
- orbital angular momentum
- cold atoms