How fast is a twisted photon?.
Recent measurements have highlighted that spatially shaped photons travel slower than c, the speed of monochromatic, plane waves in vacuum. Here we investigate the intrinsic delay introduced by `twisting' a photon, i.e. by introducing orbital angular momentum (OAM). In order to do this we use a Hong-Ou-Mandel interferometer to measure the change in delay of single photons when we introduce OAM on a ring-shaped beam that is imaged through a focusing telescope. Our findings show that when all other parameters are held constant the addition of OAM reduces the delay (accelerates) with respect to the same beam with no OAM. We support our results using a theoretical method to calculate the group velocity and gain an intuitive understanding of the measured OAM acceleration by considering a geometrical ray-tracing approach.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.05582
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