Orbital rotation without orbital angular momentum: mechanical action of the spin part of the internal energy flow in light beams
The internal energy flow in a light beam can be divided into the “orbital” and “spin” parts, associated with the spatial and polarization degrees of freedom of light. In contrast to the orbital one, experimental observation of the spin flow seems problematic because it is converted into an orbital flow upon tight focusing of the beam, usually applied for energy flow detection by means of the mechanical action upon probe particles. We propose a two-beam interference technique that results in an appreciable level of spin flow in moderately focused beams and detection of the orbital motion of probe particles within a field where the transverse energy circulation is associated exclusively with the spin flow. This result can be treated as the first demonstration of mechanical action of the spin flow of a light field.