Topic title: Quantum interference of light
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2021. 12:01 PM to 2:01 PM CDT
Quantum physics has risen from an approach to understand the fundamentals of nature to a property to be harnessed by numerous technological applications that extend to our daily life. The discrete spectra of atoms and molecules is perhaps the most visible aspect of quantum physics, yet there are other aspects that are so subtle that have yet to be fully harnessed. Among them is quantum superposition, or the ability of a system to potentially adopt distinct properties simultaneously. Beyond its philosophical implications, such as negating realism, that any object should have well-defined intrinsic properties, superposition is rising to be at the core of the emerging technology of quantum information, which could potentially overcome us in the future with a new form of computing and other technologies. Superposition manifests most visibly via interference, and photons, quantized packets of light, can be used to show it vividly through interference. From photons interfering with themselves to biphotons, or twin photons entangled in peculiar ways, experiments at the single-photon level help us understand the subtle aspects of superposition. They constitute a convenient platform for learning about superposition and for teaching it to a future workforce.