Swashbuckling Through Quantum Optics

I'm teaching my Quantum Optics class again this term, out of a completely different textbook than last time around-- I'm using Mark Fox's Quantum Optics from the Oxford Master Series in AMO Physics, which is more of a regular textbook. I've got six students-- four junior and senior physics majors, one senior chemistry major, and a retired scientist from GE who is interested in catching up on the latest new stuff.

Last time around, I posted my lecture notes as I went through the class, but I've forgotten to do that thus far this term, here in the Freezing Hell of Lab Grading. So here's a big links dump of lecture notes from classes 5-11 (classes 1-4 are a whirlwind review of classical E&M and basic quantum:

  • Lecture 5-6.pdf Einstein rate coeffieicents, Fermi Golden Rule
  • Lecture 7.pdfProving the existence of photons via photon counting statistics
  • Lecture 8.pdf Experimental measurement of photon counting statistics and shot noise in photodiodes
  • Lecture 9.pdfPhoton bunching and anti-bunching, Hanbury Brown and Twiss
  • Lecture 10.pdf Single photon interference, describing light as a harmonic oscillator
  • Lecture 11.pdf Phasor and field quadrature description of light, quantization of light, vacuum fields

These are kind of sketchy-- I'm ad-libbing a bit more than usual-- but they get you the basic idea of the material. I'm enjoying the class thus far, though the 9:15 am meeting time makes mornings a little hectic, what with Emmy and SteelyKid needing to be taken care of.

If you've been wondering what I do in my day job, here's a glimpse...

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I find it hard to get clear insights into two-photon interference. I realize that photons in such cases can be entangled ("biphoton", with odd properties and correlations), but suppose we just produce them separately. Photons from separate sources should be able to interfere, in similar manner to a "split" single photon: from their amplitudes superposing. That presumably gives the probability of hits, with the total "two" in this case. I know a big problem is showing the interference, is to coordinate the emission times. But other than that, can it work and what experiments are best? (And I mean, independent two-photon interference, not the entangled biphoton with its odd traits.) - tx