Quantum optics is one of the liveliest fields in physics at present. While it has been a dominant research field for at least two decades, with much graduate activity, in the past few years it has started to impact the undergraduate curriculum. This book developed from courses we have taught to final year undergraduates and beginning graduate students at Imperial College London and City University of New York. There are plenty of good research monographs in this field, but we felt that there was a genuine need for a straightforward account for senior undergraduates and beginning postgraduates, which stresses basic concepts. This is a field which attracts the brightest students at present, in part because of the extraordinary progress in the field (e.g. the implementation of teleportation, quantum cryptography, Schr¨odinger cat states, Bell violations of local realism and the like). We hope that this book provides an accessible introduction to this exciting subject.
Our aim was to write an elementary book on the essentials of quantum optics directed to an audience of upper-level undergraduates, assumed to have suffered through a course in quantum mechanics, and for first- or second-year graduate students interested in eventually pursuing research in this area. The material we introduce is not simple, and will be a challenge for undergraduates and beginning graduate students, but we have tried to use the most straightforward approaches. Nevertheless, there are parts of the text that the reader will find more challenging than others. The problems at the end of each chapter similarly have a range of difficulty. The presentation is almost entirely concerned with the quantized electromagnetic field and its effects on atoms, and hownonclassical light behaves. One aim of this book is to connect quantum optics with the newly developing subject of quantum information processing.