Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2010

Department

Physics

Language

English

Publication Title

American Journal of Physics

Abstract

We describe a series of experiments used in a sophomore-level quantum physics course that are designed to provide students with a hands-on introduction to quantum mechanics. By measuring correlations, we demonstrate that a helium-neon laser produces results consistent with a classical model of light. We then demonstrate that a light source derived from a spontaneous parametric down-conversion process produces results that can only be described using a quantum theory of light, thus providing a (nearly) single-photon source. These single photons are then sent into a Mach–Zehnder interferometer, and interference fringes are observed whenever the path of the photons cannot be determined. These experiments are investigated theoretically using straightforward quantum-mechanical calculations.

Comments

This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit AAPT's (American Association of Physics Teachers) Website.

© 2010 American Association of Physics Teachers


DOI

10.1119/1.3354986

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