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Proceedings Paper

Quantum physics and the beam splitter mystery
Author(s): François Hénault
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Paper Abstract

Optical lossless beam splitters are frequently encountered in fundamental physics experiments regarding the nature of light, including “which-way” determination or the EPR paradox and their measurement apparatus. Although they look as common optical components at first glance, their behaviour remains somewhat mysterious since they apparently exhibit stand-alone particle-like features, and then wave-like characteristics when inserted into a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. In this communication are examined and discussed some basic properties of these beamssplitters, both from a classical optics and quantum physics point of view. Herein the most evident convergences and contradictions are highlighted, and the results of a few emblematic experiments demonstrating photon existence are discussed. Alternative empirical models are also proposed in order to shed light on some remaining issues.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 September 2015
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 9570, The Nature of Light: What are Photons? VI, 95700Q (10 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2186291
Show Author Affiliations
François Hénault, Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble, Université Joseph Fourier (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9570:
The Nature of Light: What are Photons? VI
Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri; Al F. Kracklauer; Hans De Raedt, Editor(s)

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