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Photons with a Twist: Coherent Optical Vortices From Relativistic Electron Beams


The purpose of this dissertation is to examine a proof of principle experiment and its background that generates and amplifies coherent light that carries orbital angular momentum (OAM) in a single pass via free-electron laser (FEL) at the fundamental operating frequency using the HGHMG (High Gain High Mode Generation) scheme. The background to this experiment was done uniting two rapidly expanding and distinct fields of study: (a) high-order OAM light modes, which interact in new ways with matter, and (b) FELs, in which a relativistic electron beam emits coherent, ultra bright, frequency-tunable light via Bremsstrahlung radiation. Due to the medium less nature of FELs, the OAM light generated via FEL interaction enables new frontiers of exploration at Angstrom wavelengths and femtosecond time scales. This dissertation will be divided into two parts: theory and background necessary to perform a proof of principle experiment described in Chapters 1 through 3; and physical description of insertion devices and experiment setup, execution and data analysis described in Chapters 4 and 5.

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