News of the WeekOptics

New Twist Could Pack Photons With Data

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Science  28 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5577, pp. 2316-2317
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5577.2316b

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Photons have long been known to spin, but it is also possible to give them an additional form of angular momentum, a sort of twist. A team of physicists in the United Kingdom has now devised a way to measure the twisting of single photons. In principle, physicists could use a photon's twist to load huge quantities of data onto a single photon, revolutionizing optical communications and quantum computing.