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Interferometric measurement of the deflection of light by light in air
preprintposted on 2024-01-26, 17:00 authored by Adrien E. Kraych, Aurélie Max Mailliet, François Couchot, Xavier Sarazin, Elsa Baynard, Julien Demailly, Moana Pittman, Arache Djannati-Ataï, Sophie Kazamias, Scott Robertson, Marcel Urban
The aim of the DeLLight (Deflection of Light by Light) experiment is to observe for the first time the optical nonlinearity in vacuum, as predicted by Quantum Electrodynamics, by measuring the refraction of a low-intensity focused laser pulse (probe) when crossing the effective vacuum index gradient induced by a high-intensity focused laser pulse (pump). The deflection signal is amplified by using a Sagnac interferometer. Here, we report the first measurement performed with the DeLLight pilot interferometer, of the deflection of light by light in air, with a low-intensity pump. We show that the deflection signal measured by the interferometer is amplified, and is in agreement with the expected signal induced by the optical Kerr effect in air. Moreover, we verify that the signal varies as expected as a function of the pump intensity, the temporal delay between the pump and the probe, and their relative polarisation. These results represent a proof of concept of the DeLLight experimental method based on interferometric amplification.