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  1. We demonstrate entangled-state swapping, within the Hermite–Gaussian (HG) basis of first-order modes, directly from the process of spontaneous parametric downconversion within a nonlinear crystal. The method works by explicitly tailoring the spatial structure of the pump photon such that it resembles the product of the desired entangled spatial modes exiting the crystal. Importantly, the result is an entangled state of balanced HG modes, which may be beneficial in applications that depend on symmetric accumulations of geometric phase through optics or in applications of quantum sensing and imaging with azimuthal sensitivity. Furthermore, the methods are readily adaptable to other spatial mode bases.

     
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  2. We show that annihilation dynamics between oppositely charged optical vortex pairs can be manipulated by the initial size of the vortex cores, consistent with hydrodynamics. When sufficiently close together, vortices with strongly overlapped cores annihilate more quickly than vortices with smaller cores that must wait for diffraction to cause meaningful core overlap. Numerical simulations and experimental measurements for vortices with hyperbolic tangent cores of various initial sizes show that hydrodynamics governs their motion, and reveal distinct phases of vortex recombination; decreasing the core size of an annihilating pair can prevent the annihilation event.

     
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  3. We show that a two-dimensional hydrodynamics model provides a physical explanation for the splitting of higher-charge optical vortices under elliptical deformations. The model is applicable to laser light and quantum fluids alike. The study delineates vortex breakups from vortex unions under different forms of asymmetry in the beam, and it is also applied to explain the motion of intact higher-charge vortices.

     
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