15 Pages

Nonclassical Photon Interference Effects

WithC K Hong, Z Y Ou, L Mandel

This chapter discusses two reported experiments in which the interference between signal and idler photons generated in the process of parametric down-conversion were investigated. Although two-photon interference effects have been treated theoretically before, it analyzes the two experiments in some detail to show how differences between the predictions of classical and quantum theories appear. The chapter compares the predictions of classical and quantum theories with the experimental results obtained. As practically all detectors of light rely on the photoelectric effect, in which a free electron is produced at the expense of a photon, the photon annihilation operator plays a key role in describing the measurement of light in the quantum theory. The time correlation between signal and idler photons produced in the parametric down-conversion process was first measured with a resolving time of about 10 nanoseconds. The interference effect can be made the basis of a measurement of the length of a photon wave packet with femtosecond time resolution.