Phase Space Description

  • Miguel Orszag
Part of the Advanced Texts in Physics book series (ADTP)


In general, a full description of the state of the electromagnetic field is given by the density operator. However, there are various ways in which the field can be described by complex functions of α. These methods are of considerable practical interest, since one is dealing with functions rather than operators. The most common representations in phase space are the Glauber distribution, and the Q and Wignerrepresentations. The Wigner distribution is the one that resembles more closely the classical probability. On the other hand, the P-distribution originates from representing the density operator as an ensemble of coherent states and the Q-representation is a description of the density matrix via its diagonal elements, again, in a coherent state basis.


Density Matrix Coherent State Density Operator Wigner Function Wigner Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [7.1]
    M.O. Hillery, R.F. O’Connell, M.O. Scully, E.P. Wigner, Phys. Rep. 106, 121 (1984).Google Scholar
  2. [7.2]
    E.P. Wigner, Phys. Rev. 40, 749 (1932).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. R. Loudon, The Quantum Theory of Light ( Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1983 ).Google Scholar
  4. W.H. Louisell, Quantum Statistical Properties of Radiation ( John Wiley, New York, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  5. D.F. Walls, G.J. Milburn, Quantum Optics (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 1994 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Orszag
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de FísicaPontifica Universidad Catòlica de Chile22 SantiagoChile

Personalised recommendations