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Wave function formalism in quantum optics and generalized Huygens-Fresnel principle for N-photon states: derivation and applications
Author(s): E. Brainis; Ph. Emplit
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Paper Abstract

Few-photon systems are best described by their wave function rather than by the usual quantum field formalism. In this work, we develop a photon wave function (PWF) formalism suitable for analyzing a wide variety of quantum optical problems related to propagation, diffraction and imaging with quantum states of light. We establish a generalized Huygens-Fresnel (GH-F) principle that describes the propagation of any paraxial N-photon state. This tool is very helpful for predicting photo-detection correlations in space and time due to an initial N-particle entanglement, even in complex situation. The effect of lenses, beam splitters, filters ... on the photon paths can be easily taken into account. We apply the PWF formalism and the GH-F principle to three specific problems in quantum optics. First, we revisit the Hong-Ou-Mandel two-photon interference effect and analyze the effect of photon shape mismatch in space, time and polarization using the PWF formalism. Second, we show how to use the GH-F principle to analyze "ghost" imaging and diffraction experiments with entangled photon pairs such as those realized by Strekalov et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 3600 (1995)] and Pittman et al. [Phys. Rev. A 52, R3429 (1995)] in the nineties. Finally, we use the GH-F principle to analyze the resolution enhancement in a recent quantum imaging proposal based on N incoherent single-photon sources [Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 133603 (2007) and Phys. Rev. A 80, 013820 (2009)].

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 June 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7727, Quantum Optics, 77270D (4 June 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.854265
Show Author Affiliations
E. Brainis, Univ. Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)
Ph. Emplit, Univ. Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7727:
Quantum Optics
Victor N. Zadkov; Thomas Durt, Editor(s)

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