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Proceedings Paper

A modified Mach-Zehnder experiment to test the applicability of quantum theory to single-particle experiments
Author(s): K. Michielsen; Th. Lippert; M. Richter; B. Barbara; S. Miyashita; H. De Raedt
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Paper Abstract

We propose a modified single-particle Mach-Zehnder interferometer experiment in which the path length of one arm may change (randomly or systematically) according to the value of an external two-valued variable x, for each passage of a particle through the interferometer. Quantum theory predicts an interference pattern that is independent of the sequence of the values of x. On the other hand, corpuscular models that reproduce the results of quantum optics experiments carried out up to this date show a reduced visibility and a shift of the interference pattern depending on the details of the sequence of the values of x. The key question to be answered in a real laboratory experiment is: Which interference pattern is observed? Despite the general believe that quantum theory might be used to describe all single particle experiments, this is an interesting question to be answered since in the proposed experiment the experimental conditions not only continuously change but they might also have causal effects on the passage of the photons through the interferometer. The proposed experiment can be used to determine to what extent quantum theory provides a description of observed events beyond the usual statistical level.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 September 2011
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8121, The Nature of Light: What are Photons? IV, 812104 (29 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.887643

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8121:
The Nature of Light: What are Photons? IV
Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri; Andrei Yu. Khrennikov; Al F. Kracklauer, Editor(s)

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