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Essential Quantum Optics by Ulf Leonhardt

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Chapter 5

Simple optical instruments

5.1   Beam splitter

Compared with other fundamental experiments in physics, optical tests of quantum mechanics are often distinguished by their simplicity. Most quantum optical experiments do not require a whole industry – an optical table of equipment and a few people are often sufficient. Good ideas, good research problems are more important. “Research is to see what everybody has seen and to think what nobody has thought” (Jammer, 1989). A simple optical beam splitter, for instance, is already a nice device to demonstrate the quantum nature of light. Quite a number of puzzling quantum effects have been seen by splitting or recombining photons at a small cube of glass. Additionally, the beam splitter serves ...

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