Quantum corkscrews from twisting electron waves

March 3, 2008 | Source: Nanowerk News

Researchers from the RIKEN Frontier Research System have shown that vortices similar to those of “twisted light” can be produced in beams of electrons.

Optical vortices can be made by passing a laser beam through a fork-shaped computer-generated hologram. Electron-beam vortices could be produced in a similar fashion, using a thin crystal plate with a dislocation.

Such vortices could power nanomotors and nano-engines, or could be used in telecommunications by storing information in the optical vorticity, or the intensity of twisting. The vorticity is robust against perturbations, so this potential future technology could reduce the loss of information during optical communications.