The amplitude and phase of all light fields are subject to fluctuations. Much of this irregularity arises from random and uncontrolled changes that occur in any light source and lead to random changes in the light wave's frequency and amplitude. Most of these factors can in principle be eliminated by a careful design of the light source. Even if all of these defects in the source are removed, however, light fields are still subject to fluctuations arising from the laws of quantum mechanics. Even in a highly stabilized laser, the resulting coherent electromagnetic field has an uncertainty in the phase and magnitude of its amplitude. All conventional sources of light fields have at least this noise level, which, in a fully quantum description, arises from vacuum fluctuations. At one time it was believed that this vacuum or coherent‐state noise could not be eliminated.
An experiment with squeezed light has demonstrated a new type of nonclassical effect: Correlated two‐photon absorption can produce a two‐photon excited population with a linear intensity dependence.