All-Optical Stern-Gerlach Effect

Aviv Karnieli, Ady Arie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We introduce a novel formalism in which the paraxial coupled wave equations of the nonlinear optical sum-frequency generation process are shown to be equivalent to the Pauli equation describing the dynamics of a spin-1/2 particle in a spatially varying magnetic field. This interpretation gives rise to a new classical state of paraxial light, described by a mutual beam comprising of two frequencies. As a straightforward application, we propose the existence of an all-optical Stern-Gerlach effect, where an idler beam is deflected by a gradient in the nonlinear coupling, into two mutual beams of the idler and signal waves (equivalent to oppositely oriented spinors), propagating in two discrete directions. The Stern-Gerlach deflection angle and the intensity pattern in the far field are then obtained analytically, in terms of the parameters of the original optical system, laying the grounds for future experimental realizations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053901
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 29 Jan 2018


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