Part of the book: Laser Pulse Phenomena and Applications
The physical interaction processes behind the emergence of dark and bright fringes registered by the detectors at the output of optical interferometers is explained. This knowledge should be helpful to interferometrists to make better physical interpretations of their data. The belief in mysterious “interference of single indivisible photon” will disappear once we recognize that the spatial or temporal energy re-distributions are generated by the physical transformation experienced by the detecting molecules drawing energy from all the light beams. The molecules could be photodetectors at the interferometer output, or the beam combining dielectric boundary. The superposition principle (SP), represented by the linear mathematical sum of two or more wave amplitudes, does not represent an observable phenomenon. The superposition effect (SE), represented by the non-linear square modulus of the joint dipolar stimulation of the detectors by all the superposed waves, is observable. We present two laboratory experiments to clarify these points. Both classical beam combiners and quantum detectors are capable of generating superposition fringes of intensity variations. The logic of “quantumness” of light is narrowly relevant only when a quantum detector deciphers the fringes; it is not valid for classical beam combiners. We will also discuss “entanglement” based on these experiments.
Part of the book: Interferometry