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Quantum Control in Foundational Experiments: What Can We Say?



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PIRSA Number: 
11090124

Abstract

Wheeler's delayed choice (WDC) is one of the "standard experiments in foundations". It aims at the puzzle of a photon simultaneously behaving as wave and particle. Bohr-Einstein debate on wave-particle duality prompted the introduction of Bohr's principle of complementarity, ---`.. the study of complementary phenomena demands mutually exclusive experimental arrangements" . In WDC experiment the mutually exclusive setups correspond to the presence or absence of a second beamsplitter in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI). A choice of the setup determines the observed behaviour. The delay ensures that the behaviour cannot be adapted before the photon enters MZI. Using WDC as an example, we show how replacement of classical selectors by quantum gates streamlines experiments and impacts on foundational questions. We demonstrate measurements of complementary phenomena with a single setup, where observed behaviour of the photon is chosen after it has been already detected. Spacelike separation of the setup components becomes redundant. The complementarity principle has to be reformulated --- instead of complementarity of experimental setups we now have complementarity of measurement results.
Finally we present a quantum-controlled scheme of Bell-type experiments.
To reach any of these conclusions in either classical or quantum setting a (simple) hidden variable model that represents the "reality" of "particle" and "wave" should be analyzed. The model is never fully exorcised but just pushed to have more and more conspiratorial set of assumptions.