Abstract

We describe an experiment of atomic spectroscopy devoted to ascertaining whether the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of photons has the same property of interacting with atoms or molecules as occurs for the spin angular momentum (SAM). In our experiment, rubidium vapors are excited by means of laser radiation with different combinations of OAM and SAM, particularly selected to inhibit or enhance the fluorescence according to the selection rules for the electric dipole transitions between the fundamental state and the first excited doublet. Our results clearly show that an electric-dipole-type transition is insensitive to the OAM value, and provide an original validation of a problem long debated in theoretical works.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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