In analogy with Bell’s inequality for two-qubit quantum states we propose an inequality criterion for the non-separability of the spin-orbit degrees of freedom of a laser beam. A definition of separable and non-separable spin-orbit modes is used in consonance with the one presented in Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 160401 (2007). As the usual Bell’s inequality can be violated for entangled two-qubit quantum states, we show both theoretically and experimentally that the proposed spin-orbit inequality criterion can be violated for non-separable modes. The inequality is discussed both in the classical and quantum domains.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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