Introduction to continuous photocounting effects on the quantized optical field
Abstract In this manuscript, we explore the effects of continuous measurements upon the quantized electromagnetic field through a series of simple examples. For this purpose, we consider the Srinivas-Davies model to describe the optical field dynamics probed continuously by a photodetector. Through the application of this continuous photodetection model to some specific situations, it is possible to cover some basic concepts of quantum mechanics such as the principle of superposition, the collapse of the wave function, the probabilistic character of the possible outcomes associated with projective measurements, as well as some advanced topics such as the description of open quantum systems, irreversible processes in quantum mechanics, decoherence and dissipation associated with non-unitary evolution of quantum systems. Besides, we also consider the important concept of entanglement between two electromagnetic fields and how it is affected by the photodetection process. This work aims to provide complementary material for undergraduate and graduate students interested in the effects of measuring devices acting on quantum systems.