Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser

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Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser
A delayed choice quantum eraser, first performed by Yoon-Ho Kim, R. Yu, S.P. Kulik, Y.H. Shih and Marlan O. Scully, and reported in early 1999, is an elaboration on the quantum eraser experiment that incorporates concepts considered in Wheeler's delayed choice experiment. The experiment was designed to investigate peculiar consequences of the well-known double slit experiment in quantum mechanics as well as the consequences of quantum entanglement.

The delayed choice quantum eraser experiment investigates a paradox. If a photon manifests itself as though it had come by a single path to the detector, then "common sense" (which Wheeler and others challenge) says it must have entered the double-slit device as a particle. If a photon manifests itself as though it had come by two indistinguishable paths, then it must have entered the double-slit device as a wave. If the experimental apparatus is changed while the photon is in mid‑flight, then the photon should reverse its original "decision" as to whether to be a wave or a particle. Wheeler pointed out that when these assumptions are applied to a device of interstellar dimensions, a last-minute decision made on earth on how to observe a photon could alter a decision made millions or even billions of years ago.

Delayed choice experiments have uniformly confirmed the seeming ability of measurements made on photons in the present to alter events occurring in the past. On the other hand, if a photon in flight is interpreted as being in a so-called "superposition of states," i.e. if it is interpreted as something that has the potentiality to manifest as a particle or wave, but during its time in flight is neither, then there is no time paradox. Recent experiments have supported the latter view.

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