Optical vortex knots - one photon at a time.
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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.
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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 |
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Mentions: We generate our optical field employing methods similar to those of refs 15 and 16, using a complex valued, phase only hologram17 displayed upon a SLM. A reference Gaussian beam is also generated from the SLM and made to interfere with the knotted optical vortex field. The vortices leave a characteristic forked structure in the resulting interferogram, as shown in Fig. 1a, which facilitates identifying their locations. A schematic of the optical set up is shown on the left in Fig. 2, with the inset showing the hologram used to generate the knotted vortex structure and the reference Gaussian beam. A number of different transverse planes of the knotted optical field (Fig. 1) are imaged onto the camera by translating a final imaging lens (which also provides magnification of the field) in the direction of propagation. The vortices within each image plane are located and then ‘stitched’ together to visualise the three dimensional trefoil knot vortex structure (Fig. 1b). |
View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed
Affiliation: School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.
No MeSH data available.