Equivalence between focused paraxial beams and the quantum harmonic oscillator

O. Steuernagel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
    50 Downloads (Pure)


    The paraxial approximation to the scalar Helmholtz equation is shown to be equivalent to the Schrodinger equation for a quantum harmonic oscillator. This equivalence maps the Gouy-phase of classical wave optics onto the time coordinate of the quantum harmonic oscillator and also helps us understand the qualitative behavior of the field and intensity distributions of focused optical beams in terms of the amplitude and probability distributions of quantum harmonic oscillators and vice versa.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)625-629
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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