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Imaging inspired characterization of single photons carrying orbital angular momentum

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posted on 2023-01-12, 14:28 authored by Vimlesh Kumar, Varun Sharma, Sandeep Singh, S. Chaitanya Kumar, Andrew Forbes, M. Ebrahim-Zadeh, G. K. Samanta
We report on an imaging-inspired measurement of orbital angular momentum (OAM) using only a simple tilted lens and an Intensified Charged Coupled Device (ICCD) camera, allowing us to monitor the propagation of OAM structured photons over distance, crucial for free-space quantum communication networks. We demonstrate measurement of OAM orders as high as 14 in a heralded single-photon source (HSPS) and show, for the first time, the imaged self-interference of photons carrying OAM in a modified Mach-Zehnder Interferometer (MZI). The described methods reveal both the charge and order of a photons OAM, and provide a proof of concept for the interference of a single OAM photon with itself. Using these tools, we are able to study the propagation characteristics of OAM photons over distance, important for estimating transport in free-space quantum links. By translating these classical tools into the quantum domain, we offer a robust and direct approach for the complete characterization of a twisted single-photon source, an important building block of a quantum network.

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