Coherence, Interference and Visibility

Tabish Qureshi

Abstract


The interference observed for a quanton, traversing more than one path, is believed to characterize its wave nature. Conventionally, the sharpness of interference has been quantified by its visibility or contrast, as defined in optics. Based on this visibility, wave-particle duality relations have been formulated for two-path interference. However, as one generalizes the situation to multi-path interference, it is found that conventional interference visibility is not a good quantifier. A recently introduced measure of quantum coherence has been shown to be a good quantifier of the wave nature. The subject of quantum coherence, in relation to the wave nature of quantons and to interference visibility, is reviewed here. It is argued that coherence can be construed as a more general form of interference visibility, if the visibility is measured in a different manner, and not as contrast.

Quanta 2019; 8: 24–35.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12743/quanta.v8i1.87

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