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Proceedings Paper

Localisation Of Photon States In Quantum Optics
Author(s): E. R. Pike; Sarben Sarkar
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Paper Abstract

Non-classical light sources are now being developed in more and more laboratories. Their noise reduction properties are potentially important for technology. Examples are squeezed and antibunched light sources. It is tempting to picture in some of these processes single photons flying through space. In non-relativistic quantum mechanics it is easy to discuss the properties of particle localisation in a general context without recourse to a particular experimental configuration. A position operator exists and the localised states are just the eigenstates of this operator. The situation in relativistic quantum mechanics (or field theory) is not as straightforward. The photon is relativistic and it has the addi-tional property of being massless. It has no position operator associated with it. Yet, nevertheless, it is possible to pose the question of finding a generic construction for a wave packet for the photon which is localised as far as possible in some (imaginary) box in space. The difficulty of the construction follows from the fact that in an electromagnetic wave the polarisation is perpendicular to the direction of propagation. Thus we need to construct a vector field which is localised and has this transverse property related to the masslessness of the photon.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 January 1987
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 0813, Optics and the Information Age, (1 January 1987); doi: 10.1117/12.967178
Show Author Affiliations
E. R. Pike, King's College (United Kingdom)
Sarben Sarkar, King's College (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0813:
Optics and the Information Age
Henri H. Arsenault, Editor(s)

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