Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering (Holcomb Dept. of)

Committee Member

Dr. Eric Johnson, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Daniel Noneaker

Committee Member

Dr. Harlan Russell


Upon its discovery in 1992, the Orbital Angular Momentum of light, or OAM, catalyzed the development of an entire field of photonics research aimed at exploring the capabilities of this newfound phenomenon. Since then, scientists have put OAM to work in fields as diverse as imaging, particle manipulation, encryption, and communications. Although the focus of much work in this latter field in the area of free space optical communications, before this research OAM had never before been tested as a communication mechanism underwater. In this work, the use of OAM for optical communications is first motivated from a physical and mathematical standpoint. Next, the viability of underwater wireless OAM is demonstrated experimentally across a wide range of underwater environments. Lastly, the concept of underwater OAM communications is expanded upon by experimentally incorporating additional optical degrees of freedom to create a collective communication channel capable of transferring data at rates of tens of gigabits per second.