Time-resolved two-photon quantum interference
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The interference of two independent single-photon pulses impinging on a beam splitter is analysed in a generalised time-resolved manner. Different aspects of the phenomenon are elaborated using different representations of the single-photon wave packets, like the decomposition into single-frequency field modes or spatio-temporal modes matching the photonic wave packets. Both representations lead to equivalent results, and a photon-by-photon analysis reveals that the quantum-mechanical two-photon interference can be interpreted as a classical one-photon interference once a first photon is detected. A novel time-dependent quantum-beat effect is predicted if the interfering photons have different frequencies. The calculation also reveals that full two-photon fringe visibility can be achieved under almost any circumstances by applying a temporal filter to the signal.
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