Quantum Optics: Taming the Quantum

Quantum Optics is highly recommended. It is targeted at the graduate level; comprehensive in its advanced treatment of the theory’s mathematical and physical foundations, and in its description of the key experiments and devices; clearly written and well illustrated. A suggested prerequisite is a rigorous introductory course on quantum optics.


The book provides tools to critically examine the fundamental laws of the physical universe; the pedagogical approach is from the simple to the complex. After a concise introduction to light–matter interaction based on the semiclassical description, the remaining chapters focus on topics related to quantized fields interacting with matter.

The author presents physical approximations (and their limitations) for the mathematization of a wide variety of physical cases, spanning orders of magnitude in space, time, energy, mass, particles and charge, from microscopic to macroscopic systems. In particular, the exemplary, detailed treatments of entanglement, measurements, laser cooling and optical lattices, gravity, and dark matter and energy are notable. Problem sets and references augment the reader’s understanding.

The intense excitement of quantum optics in multiple fields of science and engineering is evident in the 2020 assessment, Manipulating Quantum Systems: An Assessment of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics in the United States (The National Academies Press, doi: 10.17226/25613).

Review by Barry R. Masters, Fellow of AAAS, Optica, and SPIE.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or its publisher, Optica (formerly OSA).



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