Observation of the Spin Hall Effect of Light via Weak Measurements

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Science  08 Feb 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5864, pp. 787-790
DOI: 10.1126/science.1152697

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We have detected a spin-dependent displacement perpendicular to the refractive index gradient for photons passing through an air-glass interface. The effect is the photonic version of the spin Hall effect in electronic systems, indicating the universality of the effect for particles of different nature. Treating the effect as a weak measurement of the spin projection of the photons, we used a preselection and postselection technique on the spin state to enhance the original displacement by nearly four orders of magnitude, attaining sensitivity to displacements of ∼1 angstrom. The spin Hall effect can be used for manipulating photonic angular momentum states, and the measurement technique holds promise for precision metrology.

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