Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Quantum Flip-Floppers: Photon Findings Add to Mystery of Wave-Particle Duality

Scientific American writes Quantum Flip-Floppers: Photon Findings Add to Mystery of Wave-Particle Duality

"Now, two research groups have implemented an even more bizarre version of the delayed choice experiment. In two studies in the November 2 issue of Science, a team based in France and a group in England each reported using a quantum switch to toggle the experimental device. Except in this experiment, the switch was not flipped—thus forcing the photon to act like a wave or like a particle—until the physicists had identified the photon in one of the detectors.

By changing the settings on the device, both teams could not only force the experimental photon to behave as a particle or as a wave, but could explore intermediate states as well. 'We can continuously morph the behavior of the test photon from wavelike to particlelike behavior,' says S├ębastien Tanzilli, a study co-author and a quantum optical physicist with the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris who is based at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. 'Between the two extremes, we have states that come with reduced interference. So we have a superposition of wave and particle.'"

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