It is pointed out that it is impossible to distinguish between photons and classical wave packets by measurement of photoelectric counting statistics for any state of a light beam for which a classical description exists. Therefore, an experiment with a thermal light source recently proposed by Karp as a test for the existence of photons can yield no information on this question, even if it should be able to distinguish between two different statistical models of a light beam. The quantum nature of the optical field can, however, be inferred from other photoelectric measurements, some of which are briefly discussed.
© 1977 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
OSA Recommended Articles
J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69(9) 1309-1311 (1979)
J. Opt. Soc. Am. 66(12) 1421-1423 (1976)
J. Opt. Soc. Am. 65(4) 421-424 (1975)