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Is my understanding of EM field quantization correct?

  1. Mar 14, 2013 #1
    Essentially how I understand it is, (this is for the quantization of an EM field in vaccum)
    -Fields become operators, a specific E operator will contain the number and multiple of rising and lowering operators needed to raise a vaccum state into the desired quantum state
    -The electromagnetic field is a superposition of monochromatic states, corresponding to a superposition of monochromatic waves in the classical theory

    However my question is, where do the uncertainties and probabilities come in? If I have a photon state in two frequencies, does that mean the field has a fifty-fifty chance of being in either frequency? I think this must be wrong because if it were true, then all fields would be monochromatic when measured.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    If you measure photon frequencies with arbitrary precision, you will always get a single value for each measured photon. Real radiation is always a superposition within some frequency range, and a measurement will give some single value. Note that this depends a bit on your favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics.
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