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Ever wonder what could be common between your fingerprints, patterns on zebras, polarization patterns in cosmic microwave background, grain structure of lipid vesicles, self-organized active matter and many such natural phenomena and what’s causing them?  These Natures’ “fingerprint,” patterns of line singularities describes the flow and geometry, mathematically revealing the topology and representing indefinite quantities.  Through our work, using beams of light we encode these line singularities through their polarization properties – the direction, magnitude and phase of the electric and magnetic fields’ oscillations, which could be linear, circular, or elliptical.  Classified as lemon, star, and monstar in π-symmetric fields, each type represents a level of asymmetry and handedness of lines twirling or converging in the singularity.  The beams of light we produce have field vectors describing ellipses that vary from point to point in its cross-section, with the ellipse axes forming the line patterns. While pursuing this encoding process, we were able to create beams of light that contain any desired pattern of lines, symmetric or asymmetric, including monstars, the type of singularity pattern that, up to now, has been elusive. By maintaining control over the parameters of the light beam, this new type of optical fingerprint can lead to innovative ways to encode and recognize information.

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