Thursday, February 16, 2017

Physicists detect exotic looped trajectories of light in three-slit experiment - PHYSICS

Physicists have performed a variation of the famous 200-year-old double-slit experiment that, for the first time, involves "exotic looped trajectories" of photons. These photons travel forward through one slit, then loop around and travel back through another slit, and then sometimes loop around again and travel forward through a third slit.

Interestingly, the contribution of these looped trajectories to the overall interference pattern leads to an apparent deviation from the usual form of the superposition principle. This apparent deviation can be understood as an incorrect application of the superposition principle—once the additional interference between looped and straight trajectories is accounted for, the superposition can be correctly applied.

The team of physicists, led by Omar S. Magaña-Loaiza and Israel De Leon, has published a paper on the new experiment in a recent issue of Nature Communications.


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The red path shows an exotic looped trajectory of light through a three-slit structure, which was observed for the first time in the new study.
Credit: Magaña-Loaiza et al. Nature Communications

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