Scientists measure the shape of a photon

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Researchers were able to first measure the complex “shape” of a photon, the so-called “particles” of light individual.

The achievement was the participation of  a professor at Federal University of Pernambuco.


Pure information

Strictly speaking, a photon is a particle and a wave not exactly – it is an excitation of an electromagnetic field.

That is, a photon is essentially “information.”

As such, the measurement of its form promises to help create new ways to encrypt information .

Researchers have developed a technique for refining the measurements of a series of individual photons that are identical states, but arbitrary.

This expands the possibilities of using the complicated ‘internal states of light “to transmit data.

Format of a photon

A light pulse has a wide range of possible formats, since its shape is defined by the amplitudes and phases of its frequency components.

Thus, it is possible to encode information in the format of the photon and transmit it from one place to another.

And freedom is so large that a single photon can not just represent any letter of the alphabet, and even contain a combination of quantum mechanics, a superposition of several letters.

The experiment has been conducted to do with the reading of this photon, when it reaches its destination, which is required to remove it the information it carries.

Mixing Lights

The technique involves mixing the photon to be measured with a laser pulse, allowing the photon pulse and mutually interfere, reinforcing or canceling each other, depending on its shape – the more similar the higher is the probability of detecting the precise shape the photon.

The team optimized by repeating the method to mix several times with identical photon, and redesigning the laser pulse periodically based on previous measurements.

Finally, they demonstrated that the technique allows the recovery of information encoded in intentionally complex states of an individual photon.

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