Quantum theory of fourth-order interference

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

66 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1607-1619
Journal / PublicationPhysical Review A
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


The quantum theory of fourth-order interference of light is presented in a general format and compared with classical wave theory. The conditions under which nonclassical phenomena occur are discussed. In particular, the interference between the quantum field and classical field may give rise to a nonclassical effect. For some special states of light, the interference pattern does not disappear even though one field is much stronger than the other, for which no classical analog exists. Fourth-order effects in the interference between two independent fields are analyzed in detail. It is pointed out that the fourth-order interference between independent fields will not disappear when the integration time of detection is of the order of the reciprocal bandwidth of the two light fields as long as the spectra of the two fields are symmetric around the same center frequency, and for some correlated fields, the interference does not vanish even if the detection time is much larger than the reciprocal bandwidth of the fields. A new type of fourth-order interference experiment involving a beam splitter is proposed in which local realism of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen form is violated for quantum mechanics. This general argument is then applied to the interference between two photons generated in the parametric down-conversion process. The possibility of violations of Bells inequalities in interference experiments is investigated. © 1988 The American Physical Society.

Bibliographic Note

Publication details (e.g. title, author(s), publication statuses and dates) are captured on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis at the time of record harvesting from the data source. Suggestions for further amendments or supplementary information can be sent to lbscholars@cityu.edu.hk.

Citation Format(s)

Quantum theory of fourth-order interference. / Ou, Z. Y.

In: Physical Review A, Vol. 37, No. 5, 1988, p. 1607-1619.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review