The following Master’s thesis is concerned with several aspects of the wave-particle duality of light. It is loosely divided in three parts. In the first part we consider historical, theoretical and experimental aspects of the duality problem. We explain how the notion of duality has developed through the last 400 years. We discuss theoretical underpinnings of the duality emodied by Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory, quantization of electromagnetic modes, Fock’s states and coherent states. We critically review several experiments which serve to demonstrate the corpuscular or undulatory behaviour of light and matter; in particular we present how the photoelectric effect and the Compton effect can be explained using the undulatory model, and we critically review Grangier, Roger and Aspect correlation experiment.
In the second part we describe two illustrative experiments on the duality of light conducted at Quantum Optics Laboratory at University of Oslo. The results of the experiment allow us to discuss how coincidence measurements can be used to exhibit the corpuscular behaviour of light, and how Mach-Zender interferometry performed at very low intensity can be used to exhibit the undulatory behaviour atthe (assumed) single-photon level. In addition, in the second part we review elements of theories closely associated with the experiment and the experimental setup: optical coherence, photocount and photonstatistics, beam splitter models and Gaussian beams. A proposition for extending the semiclassical model is given, and shortcomings of the present beam splitter models are discussed.
In the third part of the thesis we consider first Afshar’s experiment and some of the critical response that it has been met with. Then we discuss how the wave-particle duality is to be understood in thestandard interpretation of quantum mechanics, and how it could possibly be explained using either an alternative model for light or an alternative interpretation of quantum mechanics, and what difficulties such explanations present.