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Phys Rev Lett. 2000 Feb 28;84(9):1849-52.

Nonclassical states: An observable criterion

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  • 1Arbeitsgruppe Quantenoptik, Fachbereich Physik, Universitat Rostock, Universitatsplatz 3, D-18051 Rostock, Germany.


An observable criterion is derived that allows one to distinguish nonclassical states of the harmonic oscillator from those having a classical counterpart. A quantum state is shown to have no classical counterpart if and only if the characteristic functions of the quadrature distributions or the s-parametrized phase-space distributions exhibit a slower decay than for the ground state of the oscillator. This renders it possible to experimentally check the failure of the P function to be a probability measure.

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