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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 12;109(24):9314-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201271109. Epub 2012 May 24.

Wave-particle dualism and complementarity unraveled by a different mode.

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  • 1Photonik, Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Potsdam, D14476 Potsdam, Germany.

Abstract

The precise knowledge of one of two complementary experimental outcomes prevents us from obtaining complete information about the other one. This formulation of Niels Bohr's principle of complementarity when applied to the paradigm of wave-particle dualism--that is, to Young's double-slit experiment--implies that the information about the slit through which a quantum particle has passed erases interference. In the present paper we report a double-slit experiment using two photons created by spontaneous parametric down-conversion where we observe interference in the signal photon despite the fact that we have located it in one of the slits due to its entanglement with the idler photon. This surprising aspect of complementarity comes to light by our special choice of the TEM(01) pump mode. According to quantum field theory the signal photon is then in a coherent superposition of two distinct wave vectors giving rise to interference fringes analogous to two mechanical slits.

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