A Macroscopic-scale Wave-particle Duality : the Role of a Wave Mediated Path Memory



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PIRSA Number: 
11100119

Abstract

It is usually assumed that the quantum wave-particle duality can have no counterpart in classical physics. We were driven into revisiting this question when we found that a droplet bouncing on a vibrated bath could couple to the surface wave it excites. It thus becomes a self-propelled "walker", a symbiotic object formed by the droplet and its associated wave.
Through several experiments, we addressed one central question. How can a continuous and spatially extended wave have a common dynamics with a localized and discrete droplet? Surprisingly, quantum-like behaviors emerge; both a form of uncertainty and a form of quantization are observed. This is interesting because the probabilistic aspects of quantum mechanics are often said to be intrinsic and to have no possible relation with underlying unresolved dynamical phenomena. In our experiment we find probabilistic behaviors and they do have a relation with chaotic individual trajectories. These quantum like properties are related in our system to the non-locality of a walker that we called its "wave mediated path memory". The relation of this experiment with the pilot wave model proposed for quantum mechanics by de Broglie will be discussed.