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We present a weak measurement protocol that permits a sensitive estimation of angular rotations based on the concept of weak-value amplification. The shift in the state of a pointer, in both angular position and the conjugate orbital angular momentum bases, is used to estimate angular rotations. This is done by an amplification of both the real and imaginary parts of the weak-value of a polarization operator that has been coupled to the pointer, which is a spatial mode, via a spin-orbit coupling. Our experiment demonstrates the first realization of weak-value amplification in the azimuthal degree of freedom. We have achieved effective amplification factors as large as 100, providing a sensitivity that is on par with more complicated methods that employ quantum states of light or extremely large values of orbital angular momentum. © 2014 American Physical Society.

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Physical Review Letters