Reviews of topical problems

The phase of an oscillator in quantum theory. What is it ’in reality’?

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Physics, Leninskie Gory 1 build. 2, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

An analysis of the current theory of the quantum oscillator phase is presented. Predictions using existing approaches to the phase problem differ not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. The question in the title has not yet been given a generally accepted answer. However, it is logical to argue that all the theoretically predicted properties of the phase are physically meaningful if appropriate measurements are possible. Current phase measurement methods either involve the simultaneous (approximate) measurement of the amplitude and the phase or rely on the simultaneous measurement of quadrature amplitudes.

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Fulltext is also available at DOI: 10.1070/PU2002v045n08ABEH001219
PACS: 03.65.−w, 42.50.−p, 42.50.Dv (all)
DOI: 10.1070/PU2002v045n08ABEH001219
Citation: Vorontsov Yu I "The phase of an oscillator in quantum theory. What is it 'in reality'?" Phys. Usp. 45 847–868 (2002)
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Оригинал: Воронцов Ю И «Фаза осциллятора в квантовой теории. Что это такое „на самом деле“?» УФН 172 907–929 (2002); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.0172.200208c.0907

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