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I Meaning of "c number equations"?

  1. Nov 22, 2016 #1
    I keep reading authors refer to "c number equations" in different texts on quantum optics. Perhaps I am missing something very obvious, but what exactly does this mean? Does it mean complex-valued equations? Does it have to do with the speed of light? Does c describe the number of equations being evaluated?

    Here are a couple examples:

    1st paragraph of page 190

    Section 6.2 in this text

    I've just seen the term used in different contexts yet never had its meaning clarified. Maybe it's so blatantly obvious that it does not require explanation. But nevertheless, I am looking for one.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2016 #2
    The term "c-number" refers to so-called 'classical' or 'commuting' numbers i.e. they are just ordinary numbers and not operators (there was a time when operators were referred to as "q-numbers" - the "q" ostensibly meaning "quantum").
  4. Nov 23, 2016 #3
    Interesting! Thank you for the help.
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