Light - The Physics of the Photon: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Light - The Physics of the Photon

1st Edition

By Ole Keller

CRC Press

484 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439840436
pub: 2014-06-17
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429094309
pub: 2016-04-19
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From the early wave-particle arguments to the mathematical theory of electromagnetism to Einstein’s work on the quantization of light, different descriptions of what constitutes light have existed for over 300 years. Light – The Physics of the Photon examines the photon phenomenon from several perspectives. It demonstrates the importance of studying the photon as a concept belonging to a global vacuum (matter-free space).

Divided into eight parts, the book begins with exploring aspects of classical optics in a global vacuum on the basis of free-space Maxwell equations. It then describes light rays and geodesics and presents a brief account of the Maxwell theory in general relativity. After discussing the theory of photon wave mechanics, the author gives a field-quantized description of the electromagnetic field, emphasizing single-photon quantum optics in Minkowskian space. He next focuses on photon physics in the rim zone of matter, paying particular attention to photon emission processes. He also takes a closer look at the photon source domain and field propagators, which conveniently describe the photon field propagation in the vicinity of and far from the electronic source domain. The last two parts discuss the photon vacuum and light quanta in Minkowskian space as well as two-photon entanglement, which is associated with the biphoton in space-time.


"Everything you wanted to know about the modern photon by way of mathematical formalisms is available in [this book] … a delightful book for theoretically inclined advanced students and scientists specializing in optical science."

American Journal of Physics, March 2015

"The material is presented in a clear structure and with full mathematical rigour."

Contemporary Physics, 2014

"This important book will help readers accomplish the arduous task of understanding the photon, and provides deeper knowledge of the nature of light."

—Barry R. Masters, Optics & Photonics News, 2014

Table of Contents

Classical Optics in Global Vacuum

Heading for photon physics

Fundamentals of free electromagnetic fields

Optics in the Special Theory of Relativity

Light Rays and Geodesics. Maxwell Theory in General Relativity

The light-particle and wave pictures in classical physics

Eikonal theory and Fermat’s principle

Geodesics in General Relativity

The space-time of General Relativity

Electromagnetic theory in curved space-time

Photon Wave Mechanics

The elusive light particle

Wave mechanics based on transverse vector potential

Longitudinal and scalar photons. Gauge and near-field light quanta

Massive photon field

Photon energy wave function formalism

Single-Photon Quantum Optics in Minkowskian Space

The photon of the quantized electromagnetic field

Polychromatic photons

Single-photon wave packet correlations

Interference phenomena with single-photon states

Free-field operators: Time evolution and commutation relations

Photon Embryo States

Attached photons in rim zones

Evanescent photon fields

Photon tunneling

Near-field photon emission in 3D

Photon Source Domain and Propagators

Super-confined T-photon sources

Transverse current density in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics

Spin-1/2 current density in relativistic quantum mechanics

Massless photon propagators

Photon Vacuum and Quanta in Minkowskian Space

Photons and observers

The inertial class of observers: Photon vacuum and quanta

The non-inertial class of observers: The nebulous particle concept

Photon mass and hidden gauge invariance

Two-Photon Entanglement in Space-Time

The quantal photon gas

Quantum measurements

Two-photon wave mechanics and correlation matrices

Spontaneous one- and two-photon emissions



About the Author

Ole Keller is a professor of physics and nanotechnology at Aalborg University in Denmark.

About the Series

Series in Optics and Optoelectronics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Physics
SCIENCE / Quantum Theory