A major application of optics is imaging all types of structural, physical, chemical and biological features of matter. Techniques based on most known properties of light have been developed over the years to remotely acquire information about such features. They include the spin angular momentum, encoded in the polarization, but not yet the orbital angular momentum encoded in its spiral spectrum. Here we put forward the potential of such spiral spectra. In particular, we use several canonical examples to show how the orbital angular momentum spectra of a light beam can be used to image a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic properties encoded, e.g., in phase and amplitude gradients, dislocations or delays.
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