Quantum nature of a nonlinear beam splitter
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Department of Physics, Leninskie Gory 1 build. 2, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
This is a review of a very interesting (in the authors' view) phenomenon, the operation of the light beam splitter. The beam splitter is a flat interface between two transparent dielectrics, at least one of which exhibits Kerr nonlinearity, i.e., its refractive index depends on the transmitted radiation intensity. Interestingly, quantum and classical theories make directly opposite predictions about the phase fluctuation of the output radiation of this device. In classical theory, the phases remain unchanged; in quantum theory, the phases fluctuate in accord with the amplitude-phase uncertainty relation. The origin of this difference is established at the fundamental level. A further remarkable point about this quantum paradox is that not only the source beam is split in two but one can also create conditions where the two split parts are respectively dominated by amplitude noise and phase noise, thus allowing the selection of photon fluctuations. Results of original studies are summarized and further developed.