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Wave-particle duality of broadband light

Lookup NU author(s): Rebecca Rostron, Alan Homer, Dr Gareth Roberts


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We describe and analyse a simple experiment based on interference of thermally distributed broadband photons which demonstrates quantitatively the gradual trade-off between knowledge of the trajectory of a quantum particle and its wave-like character as expressed via the inequality V2 + K 2 ≤ 1. The experiment relies upon colour-selective detection of light passing through each slit of a Young's double-slit arrangement: path information K is deduced from the overlapping bandwidths of the interfering light and the classical first-order degree of coherence, and wave information V is obtained from the fringe visibility. A classical Fourier analysis of the experiment is given which reproduces the observed interferograms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rostron RJ, Homer A, Roberts G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Modern Optics

Year: 2006

Volume: 53

Issue: 11

Pages: 1647-1661

ISSN (print): 0950-0340

ISSN (electronic): 1362-3044

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/09500340600581983


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