Wavicles of light

At the heart of quantum mechanics is the duality of light - at once both wave and particle. Now, researchers at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have for the first time captured this duality in an image. Ultraviolet light hitting a metal surface leads to the emission of electrons, the well-exploited photoelectric effect described by Einstein. Now, EPFL's Fabrizio Carbone has inverted this effect using electrons to image light. The researchers fired a stream of electrons close to a metal nanowire bathed in laser light and were able to image the standing wave of light while at the same time detecting the photons through the quantum interaction of the electrons with individual photons. “Being able to image and control quantum phenomena at the nanometer scale like this opens up a new route towards quantum computing," Carbone adds.