Abstract

The study of the wave phenomena of physical optics and of quantum mechanics must take into account the fact that experimental instruments operate linearly on the field quantities, while all measured values depend only on their mean squares. The latter circumstance necessitates a statistical approach to these theories. Certain questions must be re-examined in the light of this fact. We analyze the most important of these, namely that of the limitations causality (the directedness of time in physical phenomena) imposes on the nature of the transformations an optical instrument can perform on the light admitted to it.

© 1953 Optical Society of America

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