Laguerre-Gaussian Modes: Post #1

Now that I’ve been on campus a week, I have a clearer idea of my project. My research advisor, Professor Novikova, and I modified the research proposal to reflect an exciting development in the lab. It turns out that the Quantum Optics Lab at William and Mary has embarked on a collaboration with its counterpart at Louisiana State University. LSU is currently applying machine learning techniques to optics. Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence. It involves algorithms that make decisions by learning patterns from data rather than by relying on specific instructions. Our collaborators at LSU are using machine learning to teach their computers to recognize and analyze laser modes. Right now, they need experimental data to test their algorithm’s accuracy. I get to collect this data. If successful, this algorithm will have applications in quantum computing and quantum information, especially with regards to data storage.

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Separation of Gaussian and Laguerre-Gaussian Laser Modes

For my research project, I will answer the question “Can we design an optical element that physically separates the different modes of Gaussian and Laguerre-Gaussian beams? My project deals with lasers, which are highly focused beams of monochromatic electromagnetic radiation, usually in the form of light. Lasers emit radiation in a few different “modes.” These “modes” correspond to the beam spot’s overall shape and appearance. To analyze the behavior of light, we can shine lasers through optical elements, such as lenses and irises. Different optical elements allow us to manipulate the light differently, perhaps by diffracting it, refracting it, or modifying its properties.

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