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Teaching a laser beam to go straight

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In classical physics a beam of light propagates in a perfectly straight line and this means that we can measure small displacements with unlimited accuracy. However, this is not correct for real laser beams when we take the quantum properties of light into account. Spatial measurements will be limited by quantum noise, similar to the limitations for optical communication and sensing. Here we derive the spatial quantum noise limit and show how to measure it. Next we demonstrate that we can use specially prepared light with quantum correlations, so-called squeezed light, to improve spatial measurements to below this quantum limit. In this way we prepare a beam which goes in a straighter line than the output of any conventional laser.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum-Atom Optics, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia 2: Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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