Simplest Quantum Devices: Polarizers and Beam Splitters Chapter uri icon


  • Maxwell showed that light consists of electric and magnetic fields that oscillate in directions perpendicular to the direction of propagation. Associated with this picture of light as an electromagnetic wave is an important propertythe polarization of light. The polarization of light is related to the direction of oscillation of the electric field in an electromagnetic wave. In this chapter, the basic principles of quantum mechanics are discussed by studying the polarization property of a single photon. First the properties of a polarizer are presented and Malus law for polarized light is derived. Next it is shown that the basic features of quantum mechanics can be understood via an analysis of a single photon passing through a polarizer. This simple system allows an introduction of Diracs ket and bra notations for a quantum state. Finally the transformation properties of the quantum beam splitter and the polarization beam splitters are discussed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zubairy, M. S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Zubairy, M Suhail

Book Title

  • Quantum Mechanics for Beginners

publication date

  • May 2020