The nodal line singularities (optical vortices) of classical scalar optics are smoothed in quantum optics, because of spontaneous emission into unoccupied modes. The radius of the 'quantum core' surrounding each classical singularity is proportional to ??. A trapped excited atom, steered into a nodal line of the classical field, is a possible detector for the effect. Analogous phenomena are anticipated for other waves, for example sound, where the silence at a nodal line is disturbed by pressure fluctuations of the fluid molecules
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