Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is single photon monochromatic or not?

  1. Jan 11, 2016 #1
    Must single photon be monochromatic or not must?What is coherence state?(in general and in optics),Does a quantum of field have ''single'' frequence(''monochromatic'') or multi-frequence?I know that because quantum mechanics particle ''lies'' in wave packet,so it has multi-frequence due to Heizenberg relation.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2016 #2

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    A single photon need not be monochromatic in the same way as an electron need not have a fixed energy. A coherent state is a superposition of states with different numbers of photons so that the uncertainty of electric and magnetic fields is minimal. There are no corresponding states for an electron, as there exists a super selection rule for the electron number (but not for photon number).
     
  4. Jan 11, 2016 #3
    What is super selection rule for electrons?
     
  5. Jan 11, 2016 #4

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    There can't be superpositions between states containing different number of electrons. This is easiest to see for states differing by one electron. As the electron is a fermion, any matrix element ##\left n| V | n+1\right must vanish, as it gets multiplied by -1 upon a rotation by 360 degrees (i.e. the identity) as the electron is a fermion.
     
  6. Jan 12, 2016 #5
    Why is coherence state when the number of photons tend to infinite?
     
  7. Jan 12, 2016 #6

    atyy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    There are many types of single photons. Some types are "monochromatic" and other types are not.
     
  8. Jan 12, 2016 #7

    blue_leaf77

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The uncertainty relation in the case of electron wavepacket is between position and momentum. Localized electron wavefunction in free space is supposed to be realized by introducing uncertainty in momentum, I guess it is this momentum spread which you referred to as "multi-frequency".
    I think your English skill obscures your intention about what you actually wanted to say. The state of a quantum system is something one can control, for the states of photon, it can be number state, coherent state, squeezed state, etc. It's not like when the (expectation value of) number of photons increases, the state of light becomes more and more coherent. You can have number states with arbitrarily larrge number of photons, yet the electric field corresponding to such state is not coherent at all.
    However, for the special case of coherent state, the observed electric field does exhibit certain dependency between the coherency, which may be defined as the uncertainty in phase at a given time, and the expected number of photons ##\langle \hat{n} \rangle##. For sufficiently large value of ##\langle \hat{n} \rangle##, the uncertainty in the phase of the electric field turns out to have the form ##\Delta \phi = 1/(2\sqrt{\langle \hat{n} \rangle})##. Therefore, if the number of photons is very large, the electric field becomes more and more coherent (i.e. it gets closer to being a classical field oscillation), in the sense that its phase becomes more definite.
     
  9. Jan 28, 2016 #8
    I do not understand the average electromagnetic field of single photon is zero if we consider photon corresponding to electromagnetic field packet.Is it correct that the average value of electric field is<number photons/operator of the field/number of photons>?
     
  10. Jan 28, 2016 #9

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yes, correct, and the operator if the field is non-diagonal in particle number, hence it's expectation value vanishes.
     
  11. Jan 28, 2016 #10

    blue_leaf77

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Yes, that's the right expression. Now express the field operator in terms of the lowering and raising operators (similar to those in harmonic oscillator) and also remember that ##|\textrm{number of photons}\rangle## behaves exactly like the eigenstates of harmonic oscillator.
     
  12. Jan 29, 2016 #11
    So there are two types of oscilation phase: one is classical phase of field that has raise and lower operator as amplitude of Fourier component of field; the other is oscilation phase of quantum of field(phase of wave function of the particle?).
    Another question is if we interpret quantum of field as a packet of field why we know quantum of field is a point size particle or we have an axiom about the dual: particle- wave or particle-field.
    Is there a uncertainty relation between position and momentum for zero mass particle?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Is single photon monochromatic or not?
Loading...