Imagine a shaft of yellow sunlight beaming through a window. Quantum physics tells us that beam is made of zillions of tiny packets of light, called photons, streaming through the air. But what does an individual photon “look” like? Does it have a shape? Are these questions even meaningful?
Now, Polish physicists have created the first ever hologram of a single light particle. The feat, achieved by observing the interference of two intersecting light beams, is an important insight into the fundamental quantum nature of light.
The result could also be important for technologies that require an understanding of the shape of single photons – such as quantum communication and quantum computers.
”We performed a relatively simple experiment to measure and view something incredibly difficult to observe: the shape of wavefronts of a single photon," says Radoslaw Chrapkiewicz, a physicist at the University of Warsaw and lead author of the new paper, published in Nature Photonics.
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