Anharmonic propagation of two-dimensional beams carrying orbital angular momentum in a harmonic potential.
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We analytically and numerically investigate an anharmonic propagation of two-dimensional beams in a harmonic potential. We pick noncentrosymmetric beams of common interest that carry orbital angular momentum. The examples studied include superposed Bessel-Gauss (BG), Laguerre-Gauss (LG), and circular Airy (CA) beams. For the BG beams, periodic inversion, phase transition, and rotation with periodic angular velocity are demonstrated during propagation. For the LG and CA beams, periodic inversion and variable rotation are still there but not the phase transition. On the whole, the "center of mass" and the orbital angular momentum of a beam exhibit harmonic motion, but the motion of the beam intensity distribution in detail is subject to external and internal torques and forces, causing it to be anharmonic. Our results are applicable to other superpositions of finite circularly asymmetric beams.