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Quantum Mechanics by Giorgio Parisi, Mauro Fortunato, Gennaro Auletta

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13

Quantum optics

The behavior of light and its interaction with matter is certainly one of the most interesting phenomena of physics. It has puzzled thinkers and scientists in ancient Greece (Archimedes) and through the Middle Ages, at least since the times of Robert Grosseteste (1168–1235), right up to the theories of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton.1 The classical electromagnetic theory of light (see Tab. 13.1) was beautifully established in the second half of the nineteenth century with the Maxwell equations.2 Quantum optics is nothing other than the quantum theory of light. It finds its roots in Planck’s discovery (1900) that the assumption of energy quantization for a harmonic oscillator allowed us to solve the black-body problem (see ...

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