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Exotic looped trajectories of photons in three-slit interference

Magaña-Loaiza, Omar S. and De Leon, Israel and Mirhosseini, Mohammad and Fickler, Robert and Safari, Akbar and Mick, Uwe and McIntyre, Brian and Banzer, Peter and Rodenburg, Brandon and Leuchs, Gerd and Boyd, Robert W. (2016) Exotic looped trajectories of photons in three-slit interference. Nature Communications, 7 . Art. No. 13987. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC5196392. doi:10.1038/ncomms13987.

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The validity of the superposition principle and of Born’s rule are well-accepted tenants of quantum mechanics. Surprisingly, it has been predicted that the intensity pattern formed in a three-slit experiment is seemingly in contradiction with the most conventional form of the superposition principle when exotic looped trajectories are taken into account. However, the probability of observing such paths is typically very small, thus rendering them extremely difficult to measure. Here we confirm the validity of Born’s rule and present the first experimental observation of exotic trajectories as additional paths for the light by directly measuring their contribution to the formation of optical interference fringes. We accomplish this by enhancing the electromagnetic near-fields in the vicinity of the slits through the excitation of surface plasmons. This process increases the probability of occurrence of these exotic trajectories, demonstrating that they are related to the near-field component of the photon’s wavefunction.

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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle Paper
Rodenburg, Brandon0000-0003-2150-0576
Boyd, Robert W.0000-0002-1234-2265
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2016. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit I.D.L., R.W.B. and R.F. gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program. B.R. was supported by a MITRE Innovation Program Grant. R.F. also acknowledges the support of the Banting postdoctoral fellowship of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. U.M. acknowledges the support of DFG under GRK1896. The University of Rochester portion of the work was supported by KBN optics and internal university funds. O.S.M.-L. and R.W.B. thank P. Milonni, N. Bigelow, N. Vamivakas, Q. Lin and A. Liapis for helpful discussions and comments. We thank A. Gumann and T. Kreller for helping in the preparation of the gold coated glass substrates, and E. Karimi for providing the nonlinear crystal. Omar S Magaña-Loaiza & Israel De Leon: These authors contributed equally to this work. Author Contributions : O.S.M.-L. conceived the idea with help from I.D.L. and R.W.B. The experiment was designed by I.D.L., O.S.M.-L. and R.W.B. The numerical analysis was carried out by I.D.L. The theoretical description of our work was developed by B.R. and M.M. The experiment was performed by O.S.M.-L., I.D.L, R.F. and A.S., the samples were fabricated by U.M., B.M., P.B., and G.L. The data was analysed by O.S.M.-L. and I.D.L. with help from B.R. and M.M. The project was supervised by G.L. and R.W.B. All authors contributed to the discussion of the results and to the writing of the manuscript. Data availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Canada Research Chairs ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)GRK1896
University of RochesterUNSPECIFIED
PubMed Central ID:PMC5196392
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190708-151342444
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Official Citation:Magaña-Loaiza, O. S. et al. Exotic looped trajectories of photons in three-slit interference. Nat. Commun. 7, 13987 doi: 10.1038/ncomms13987 (2016).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:96918
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:12 Jul 2019 22:34
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:24

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