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Optical vortex knots - one photon at a time.

Tempone-Wiltshire SJ, Johnstone SP, Helmerson K - Sci Rep (2016)

Bottom Line: The particle-wave duality of light should also apply to complex three dimensional optical fields formed by multi-path interference, however, this has not been demonstrated.Here we observe particle-wave duality of a three dimensional field by generating a trefoil optical vortex knot - one photon at a time.This result demonstrates a fundamental physical principle, that particle-wave duality implies interference in both space (between spatially distinct modes) and time (through the complex evolution of the superposition of modes), and has implications for topologically entangled single photon states, orbital angular momentum multiplexing and topological quantum computing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Feynman described the double slit experiment as "a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics". The double-slit experiment, performed one photon at a time, dramatically demonstrates the particle-wave duality of quantum objects by generating a fringe pattern corresponding to the interference of light (a wave phenomenon) from two slits, even when there is only one photon (a particle) at a time passing through the apparatus. The particle-wave duality of light should also apply to complex three dimensional optical fields formed by multi-path interference, however, this has not been demonstrated. Here we observe particle-wave duality of a three dimensional field by generating a trefoil optical vortex knot - one photon at a time. This result demonstrates a fundamental physical principle, that particle-wave duality implies interference in both space (between spatially distinct modes) and time (through the complex evolution of the superposition of modes), and has implications for topologically entangled single photon states, orbital angular momentum multiplexing and topological quantum computing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Measuring the optical fields knotted topology.Different transverse planes of the optical field along the beam propagation direction (indicated by the black arrow) are imaged onto the camera by moving the position of the final imaging lens before the camera (see optical set up in left of Fig. 2). The length scales in both the propagation direction and transverse plane are shown. (a) Vortices within each plane (indicated by red dots) are located by the characteristic forked structure they create in each interferogram, due to the 2π phase winding about each vortex. (b) The vortices located in 25 separate planes are then ‘stitched’ together to form the three dimensional trefoil knot nodal structure.
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f1: Measuring the optical fields knotted topology.Different transverse planes of the optical field along the beam propagation direction (indicated by the black arrow) are imaged onto the camera by moving the position of the final imaging lens before the camera (see optical set up in left of Fig. 2). The length scales in both the propagation direction and transverse plane are shown. (a) Vortices within each plane (indicated by red dots) are located by the characteristic forked structure they create in each interferogram, due to the 2π phase winding about each vortex. (b) The vortices located in 25 separate planes are then ‘stitched’ together to form the three dimensional trefoil knot nodal structure.

Mentions: An optical vortex knot is a vortex line in an optical field that follows the multiply-connected topology of a knot. As such, it is an inherently three-dimensional optical field that exhibits both complex, but measurable, phase and intensity profiles. Optical vortex knots can be constructed in the paraxial approximation by a superposition of Laguerre-Gaussian (LG) beams15. Isolated optical vortex knots, including the trefoil (Fig. 1b), cinquefoil and a Hopf link were demonstrated in the laboratory15 by generating the appropriate superposition of LG modes using a spatial light modulator (SLM).


Optical vortex knots - one photon at a time.

Tempone-Wiltshire SJ, Johnstone SP, Helmerson K - Sci Rep (2016)

Measuring the optical fields knotted topology.Different transverse planes of the optical field along the beam propagation direction (indicated by the black arrow) are imaged onto the camera by moving the position of the final imaging lens before the camera (see optical set up in left of Fig. 2). The length scales in both the propagation direction and transverse plane are shown. (a) Vortices within each plane (indicated by red dots) are located by the characteristic forked structure they create in each interferogram, due to the 2π phase winding about each vortex. (b) The vortices located in 25 separate planes are then ‘stitched’ together to form the three dimensional trefoil knot nodal structure.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4834479&req=5

f1: Measuring the optical fields knotted topology.Different transverse planes of the optical field along the beam propagation direction (indicated by the black arrow) are imaged onto the camera by moving the position of the final imaging lens before the camera (see optical set up in left of Fig. 2). The length scales in both the propagation direction and transverse plane are shown. (a) Vortices within each plane (indicated by red dots) are located by the characteristic forked structure they create in each interferogram, due to the 2π phase winding about each vortex. (b) The vortices located in 25 separate planes are then ‘stitched’ together to form the three dimensional trefoil knot nodal structure.
Mentions: An optical vortex knot is a vortex line in an optical field that follows the multiply-connected topology of a knot. As such, it is an inherently three-dimensional optical field that exhibits both complex, but measurable, phase and intensity profiles. Optical vortex knots can be constructed in the paraxial approximation by a superposition of Laguerre-Gaussian (LG) beams15. Isolated optical vortex knots, including the trefoil (Fig. 1b), cinquefoil and a Hopf link were demonstrated in the laboratory15 by generating the appropriate superposition of LG modes using a spatial light modulator (SLM).

Bottom Line: The particle-wave duality of light should also apply to complex three dimensional optical fields formed by multi-path interference, however, this has not been demonstrated.Here we observe particle-wave duality of a three dimensional field by generating a trefoil optical vortex knot - one photon at a time.This result demonstrates a fundamental physical principle, that particle-wave duality implies interference in both space (between spatially distinct modes) and time (through the complex evolution of the superposition of modes), and has implications for topologically entangled single photon states, orbital angular momentum multiplexing and topological quantum computing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Feynman described the double slit experiment as "a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics". The double-slit experiment, performed one photon at a time, dramatically demonstrates the particle-wave duality of quantum objects by generating a fringe pattern corresponding to the interference of light (a wave phenomenon) from two slits, even when there is only one photon (a particle) at a time passing through the apparatus. The particle-wave duality of light should also apply to complex three dimensional optical fields formed by multi-path interference, however, this has not been demonstrated. Here we observe particle-wave duality of a three dimensional field by generating a trefoil optical vortex knot - one photon at a time. This result demonstrates a fundamental physical principle, that particle-wave duality implies interference in both space (between spatially distinct modes) and time (through the complex evolution of the superposition of modes), and has implications for topologically entangled single photon states, orbital angular momentum multiplexing and topological quantum computing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus