The impact of quantum mechanics on light sensors in the years to come could see them gain the ability to detect rotation in the beams which hit them.
Scientists at the Vienna University of Technology, working with a team in Belgium, have developed a way to split a beam of light into three.
The central beam produced is straight and non-rotational, while the other two are set spinning in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.
In classical physics, such rotation is irrelevant, according to researcher Professor Peter Schattschneider.
However, in quantum physics the angular momentum of the beams becomes a characteristic of the wavelike current they are treated as in calculations.
Potential applications for such beams - and for light sensors capable of decoding their spin - could include data encryption and uses in quantum computing.
More than 2,000 scientists work on studies at the Vienna University of Technology in eight disciplines including physics, mathematics, chemistry, architecture, informatics, electronics, civil engineering and mechanical engineering.