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Photos of the Day: A Twist on Entanglement

Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:29am
University of Vienna

Quantum physics is usually considered to be the theory of extremely lightweight objects, such as atoms or photons, or of exceptionally small units, namely very small quantum numbers. One of the most fascinating phenomena of quantum physics is that of entanglement. Entangled quanta of light behave as if able to influence each other – even as they are spatially separated. The question of whether or not entanglement is limited to tiny objects or very small quantum numbers came up already in the early days of quantum physics. Now, the Vienna group has taken the first step for testing quantum mechanical entanglement with rotating photons.

Credit: Image courtesy of Robert Fickler; Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna

Long-exposure photo of laser light in "donut modes" (light beams with no intensity in the middle). Such modes can carry arbitrarily high orbital angular momentum, and as a consequence, they can be used to rotate small objects. Modes with different orbital angular momenta were created by diffraction at a spatial light modulator. This image relates to a paper that appeared in the Nov. 2, 2012, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by Robert Fickler at the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues was titled, "Quantum Entanglement of High Angular Momenta."

Credit: Image courtesy of Robert Fickler; Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna

False-color image of a laser beam exhibiting a superposition of 10 right-handed and 10 left-handed quanta of orbital angular momenta, making 10+10=20 bright spots on the inner ring. Photons in such modes rotate simultaneously clockwise and anti-clockwise. This image relates to a paper that appeared in the Nov. 2, 2012, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by Robert Fickler at the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues was titled, "Quantum Entanglement of High Angular Momenta."

Credit: Image courtesy of Robert Fickler; Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna

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