This illustration demonstrates the difference between spin angular momentum of light and its orbital angular momentum. I am trying to create similar illustrations but don't know what software they are generated in. Any input is appreciated.
The list of potential software that can do this is very, very long. Plotting a curve (or atleast these curves), even in 3D, is a very easy task, unless the formula is somehow exceedingly difficult. You have entire categories of applications that would make making these kinds of images easy.
- Mathematics applications:
- Plotting packages
- Python, with matplotlib for example
- 3D applications
- DCC apps like Maya, 3DSMax, Cinema 3D, Modo
- 3d CAD apps like Creo, Solidworks, etc.
I made quick tally that my computer had about 20 pieces of software that could draw that image in less than 15 minutes of work.
So use something you have handy and know how to use.
If these images are the part of some kind of science article it is possible that they were created via TikZ/PGF engine which is widely spread when using Latex. TikZ/PGF is a really powerful tool for creating vector (fully scalable) graphics simply by "writing" what should be visualized.
Example of what can be done using TikZ: