Fluid flow vorticity measurement using laser beams with orbital angular momentum

Opt Express. 2016 May 30;24(11):11762-7. doi: 10.1364/OE.24.011762.


Vorticity is one of the most important dynamic flow variables and is fundamental to the basic flow physics of many areas of fluid dynamics, including aerodynamics, turbulent flows and chaotic motion. We report on the direct measurements of fluid flow vorticity using a beam with orbital angular momentum that takes advantage of the rotational Doppler shift from microparticles intersecting the beam focus. Experiments are carried out on fluid flows with well-characterized vorticity and the experimental results are found to be in excellent agreement with the expected values. This method allows for localized real-time determination of vorticity in a fluid flow with three-dimensional resolution.