Hologram of a Single Photon

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Radosław Chrapkiewicz, Michał Jachura, Konrad Banaszek, Wojciech Wasilewski

The spatial structure of single photons is becoming an extensively explored resource used for facilitating the free-space quantum key distribution and quantum computation as well as for benchmarking the limits of quantum entanglement generation with orbital angular momentum modes or reduction of the photon free-space propagation speed. Albeit nowadays an accurate tailoring of photon’s spatial structure is routinely performed using methods employed for shaping classical optical beams, the reciprocal problem of retrieving the spatial phase-amplitude structure of an unknown single photon cannot be solved using complimentary classical holography techniques exhibiting excellent interferometric precision. Here we introduce a method to record a hologram of a single photon (HSP) probed by another reference photon, based on essentially different concept of quantum interference between two-photon probability amplitudes. Similarly to classical holograms, HSP encodes full information about photon’s “shape”, i.e. its quantum wavefunction whose local amplitude and phase are retrieved in the demonstrated experiment.