Revealing the subfemtosecond dynamics of orbital angular momentum in nanoplasmonic vortices
The ability of light to carry and deliver orbital angular momentum (OAM) in the form of optical vortices has attracted much interest. The physical properties of light with a helical wavefront can be confined onto two-dimensional surfaces with subwavelength dimensions in the form of plasmonic vortices, opening avenues for thus far unknown light-matter interactions. Because of their extreme rotational velocity, the ultrafast dynamics of such vortices remained unexplored. Here we show the detailed spatiotemporal evolution of nanovortices using time-resolved two-photon photoemission electron microscopy. We observe both long- and short-range plasmonic vortices confined to deep subwavelength dimensions on the scale of 100 nanometers with nanometer spatial resolution and subfemtosecond time-step resolution. Finally, by measuring the angular velocity of the vortex, we directly extract the OAM magnitude of light.