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Emerging Connections: Quantum and Classical Optics

6-8 November 2016
Washington, DC
Hosted By:

  • Joseph H. Eberly, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, USA
  • Elisabeth Giacobino, CNRS, Laboratori Kastler Brossel, France
  • Gerd Leuchs, University of Erlangen and Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany
  • Nick Vamivakas, Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, USA

Topic Description
Quantum optics and classical optics have coexisted for nearly a century as two distinct, but consistent descriptions of light in their respective domains.  Recently, a number of detailed examinations of the structure of classical light beams have revealed that effects widely thought to be solely quantum in origin also have a place in classical optics. These new quantum-classical connections are informing classical optics in meaningful ways specifically by expanding our understanding of optical coherence. Simultaneously, relationships discovered with classical light beams now also serve as a vehicle to illuminate concepts that no longer solely belong to the quantum realm. Interference, polarization, coherence, complementarity and entanglement are a partial list of elementary notions that now appear to belong to both quantum and classical optics. It is our goal to bring emerging quantum-classical links into wider view and to indicate directions in which forthcoming and future work will promote discussion and lead to a more unified understanding of optics.  
Incubator Goals
The goals of these meeting are two-fold. First, we hope articulate what features of optics (if any!) are classical and which are quantum. In trying to do this we will discuss concepts, such as entanglement, polarization and complementarity, and understand what roles they have to play in optics.  Second, as the scientific content of the meeting sits at the intersection of the domains of classical coherence theory, vector and structured light beams, and quantum optics it will hopefully serve as a bridge by connecting research communities that are somewhat distinct.  The meeting will be deemed a success if we make these somewhat disparate communities aware of emerging quantum-classical connections and if future directions of investigation are identified.
Scope and Featured Topics
The meeting will specifically explore what delineates classical and quantum optics.  Many investigations attempt to identify a classical and quantum boundary.  We will discuss whether such delineation is possible and if perhaps the meaning associated with various concepts and notions provides a more suitable approach to finding similarities and differences.  A sample of specific questions to be addressed are:

  1. What is the meaning and value of entanglement in classical and quantum optics?
  2. What are appropriate measures to quantify coherence?
  3. Can coherence be shared between different optical beam degrees of freedom?
  4. Are new resources available in classical optics by making connections to quantum optics?
  5. How closely can classical methods come to quantum-like information processing efficacy?

This program is partially supported by:


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