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Quantum Optics by Girish S. Agarwal

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6

Polarization and orbital angular momentum of quantum fields

Electromagnetic fields have several important characteristics which we can control externally. This is important in studying matter, particularly when electromagnetic probes are used. We can change, for example, both the intensity and frequency of the field. Another important property is its polarization, which is usually exploited to study the Zeeman states of atomic and molecular systems. Simple optical devices exist which change the polarization of light. The polarization is intimately related to the spin angular momentum in quantum mechanics. Clearly, light beams also have orbital angular momentum. In this chapter we discuss both the polarization and orbital angular momentum ...

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