This course gives you access to basic tools and concepts to understand research articles and books on modern quantum optics. You will learn about quantization of light, formalism to describe quantum states of light without any classical analogue, and observables allowing one to demonstrate typical quantum properties of these states. These tools will be applied to the emblematic case of a one-photon wave packet, which behaves both as a particle and a wave. Wave-particle duality is a great quantum mystery in the words of Richard Feynman. You will be able to fully appreciate real experiments demonstrating wave-particle duality for a single photon, and applications to quantum technologies based on single photon sources, which are now commercially available. The tools presented in this course will be widely used in our second quantum optics course, which will present more advanced topics such as entanglement, interaction of quantized light with matter, squeezed light, etc...
So if you have a good knowledge in basic quantum mechanics and classical electromagnetism, but always wanted to know:
• how to go from classical electromagnetism to quantized radiation,
• how the concept of photon emerges,
• how a unified formalism is able to describe apparently contradictory behaviors observed in quantum optics labs,
• how creative physicists and engineers have invented totally new technologies based on quantum properties of light,
then this course is for you.

From the lesson

Wave-particle duality for a single photon in the real world

You are now ready to develop the description of a real experiment , which was the first one to reveal directly the dual nature -- wave and particle, of a real single photon wave-packet. You will not only be able to describe, with the formalism you have learned, both the particle-like and the wave-like behaviors, but you will also see how to take into account the features of a real experiment, which is never perfect. Last and not least, we will have the opportunity to think about the notions of wave-particle duality and complementarity, which should be not confused, and about thethe statement of Feynman, who named wave-particle duality “a great quantum mystery”. I will try to convince you that when one identifies a mysterious behavior, one should not complain, but rather explore the possibility that something new and interesting can emerge from that mystery.