Classical phase changes in nonlinear processes and their quantum counterparts.
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Quantum-mechanical phase distributions are investigated for some nonlinear optical phenomena which, at a classical level, involve only changes in the phase of the electric field. The phenomena investigated include reflection from a phase-conjugate mirror and propagation through an optical fiber. It is found that, while the peaks of the respective phase distributions exhibit the expected classical behavior, the widths of the phase distributions also undergo substantial changes. The relation between the input and the output phase distributions in the two cases mentioned above is investigated analytically as well as numerically. The results are compared with a phase distribution defined via the Wigner function. 1992 The American Physical Society.