The analogy between optical beam shifts and quantum weak measurements

Mark R. Dennis, Joerg B. Goette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


We describe how the notion of optical beam shifts (including the spatial and angular Goos-Hanchen shift and Imbert-Federov shift) can be understood as a classical analogue of a quantum measurement of the polarization state of a paraxial beam by its transverse amplitude distribution. Under this scheme, complex quantum weak values are interpreted as spatial and angular shifts of polarized scalar components of the reflected beam. This connection leads us to predict an extra spatial shift for beams with a radially-varying phase dependance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number073013
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages13
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2012


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