Interference of light from independent sources

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Pegg, David T
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G. Sprouse

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2006
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Abstract

We extend and generalize previous work on the interference of light from independent cavities that began with the suggestion of Pfleegor and Mandel [Phys. Rev. 159, 1084 (1967)] that their observed interference of laser beams should not be associated too closely with particular states of the beams but more with the detection process itself. In particular we examine how the detection of interference induces a non-random phase difference between internal cavity states with initial random phases for a much broader range of such states than has previously been considered. We find that a subsequent interference measurement should give results consistent with the induced phase difference. The inclusion of more cavities in the interference measurements enables the construction in principle of a laboratory in the sense used by Aharonov and Susskind, made up cavities that can serve as frames of phase reference. We also show reasonably simply how intrinsic phase coherence of a beam of light leaking from a single cavity arises for any internal cavity state, even a photon number state. Although the work presented here may some implications for the current controversy over whether or not a typical laboratory laser produces a coherent state, it is not the purpose of this paper to enter this controversy; rather it is to examine the interesting quantum physics that arises for cavities with more general internal states.

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Physical Review A

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74

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© 2006 American Physical Society. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.

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Mathematical sciences

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Chemical sciences

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