The Production and Manipulation of Hybrid Spin-Orbit Modes of Light Under Hong-Ou-Mandel Interference Conditions

Maggie Lankford


We report the experimental production of modes of light in which the polarization (spin) and spatial (orbital) degrees of freedom are nonseparable. In addition, the spatial polarization distribution of these modes can be controllably tuned by varying the input polarization state. To achieve this, we input separable spin-orbit modes into an asymmetric Mach-Zehnder interferometer with an extra mirror in one arm. We probed the spatially varying polarization modes by combining a polarization and Stokes-based analysis with CCD imaging. In addition, we predict that two indistinguishable photons entering this device in separable spin-orbit modes can exhibit Hong-Ou-Mandel interference in conjunction with conversion to non separable modes. We further measure an additional family of tunable non separable modes with spatial polarization distributions, independent of Hong-Ou-Mandel conditions, that can be produced using this interferometer.