The elementary quantum theory of quasi-classical states for mechanical harmonic oscillators is applied to the radiation oscillators describing light, and thus used to define quasi-classical states of light. These states are called “coherent”, because the expectation value of any normally ordered product of creation and annihilation operators factorizes for them. A theoretical discussion of possible sources for coherent states is followed by experimental evidence for their existence. The mathematical properties of coherent states, e.g., nonorthogonality and overcompleteness, are explained in order to use them to represent states and operators. These representations provide a suitable replacement for the classical phase space description of light, which is forbidden by the uncertainty principle. The quantum phase space approach leads to the definition of the Wigner distribution, the Q-function, the P-function, and Gaussian mixed states.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.