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Optoelectronics & Communications

Alain Aspect IYL Presentation: Single and Entangled Photons: At the Heart of the Quantum Revolutions

A thematic presentation from the International Year of Light opening ceremony in Paris.

23 February 2015, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/3.201502.14

Alain Aspect explains how an experiment on light he first carried out in 1982 led to two extraordinary conclusions. First, it showed that certain properties of photons are generated at random by the act of measuring them. The implication is that the universe is random at heart - not every effect has a cause. The second is that you can affect the properties of a distant photon in ways that defy all conventional notions of space and time.

Aspect is a professor at the Institut d'Optique Graduate School (Augustin Fresnel chair) and at Ecole Polytechnique, in Palaiseau, France, and an emeritus Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) distinguished researcher at Institut d'Optique.

Aspect is known for his fundamental tests on the foundations of quantum mechanics and the development new methods for cooling atoms with lasers. He is currently working on quantum simulators with ultra-cold atoms.