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Quantum Optics – Beam splitter in quantum optics

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Published on Nov 6, 2017

One photon interference: Wave-Particle duality


In this lesson, you will address the fascinating question of a single photon interfering with itself, by calculating the interference pattern for a single photon launched into a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. In order to do it you will first learn how to treat a beam-splitter in quantum optics, a very important tool that you need to know. You will also learn that when you want to describe an optical instrument in quantum optics, it is very useful to master its classical optics description. This lesson is an opportunity to think about the mysterious concept of wave-particle duality, and about the power of the quantum formalism, which can deal consistently with two behaviours apparently contradictory .


Learning Objectives
• Employ quantum optics formalism to calculate interference
• Memorize the quantum optics formalism for a beam splitter
• Discover how the quantum optics formalism deals consistently with the mysterious wave-particle duality


About this course: This course gives you access to basic tools and concepts to understand research articles and books on modern quantum optics. You will learn about quantization of light, formalism to describe quantum states of light without any classical analogue, and observables allowing one to demonstrate typical quantum properties of these states. These tools will be applied to the emblematic case of a one-photon wave packet, which behaves both as a particle and a wave. Wave-particle duality is a great quantum mystery in the words of Richard Feynman. You will be able to fully appreciate real experiments demonstrating wave-particle duality for a single photon, and applications to quantum technologies based on single photon sources, which are now commercially available. The tools presented in this course will be widely used in our second quantum optics course, which will present more advanced topics such as entanglement, interaction of quantized light with matter, squeezed light, etc... So if you have a good knowledge in basic quantum mechanics and classical electromagnetism, but always wanted to know: • how to go from classical electromagnetism to quantized radiation, • how the concept of photon emerges, • how a unified formalism is able to describe apparently contradictory behaviors observed in quantum optics labs, • how creative physicists and engineers have invented totally new technologies based on quantum properties of light, then this course is for you.

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