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"Things Popper: His challenge to Quantum Mechanics, A Proposed Realization and a New Form of Quantum Eraser"

Dr. John Reintjes
Sotera Defense Solutions


We discuss Popper's challenge to Copenhagen quantum mechanics involving the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the causative role of observer knowledge [1]. We describe various experimental realizations that failed to provide the test of quantum mechanics that he proposed [2,3]. We also describe a configuration based on ghost imaging using entangled signal-idler photon pairs generated in spontaneous parametric downconversion [3] that does provide the test of quantum mechanics proposed by Popper. In our configuration a point detector is placed at the focus of a collector lens that is located behind a slit in the path of the idler photons. The correlated signal photons form an image of the slit in the ghost image plane, and the downstream distribution is a diffraction pattern with a width that varies in inverse proportion to the width of the idler slit. Thus, in our configuration the spread of the signal photons varies in inverse proportion to their confined width even though they do not physically interact with a slit, in agreement with the quantum mechanical predictions described by Popper. We examine the implications of this behavior with respect to the role of observer knowledge and further explore the interpretation of this configuration in terms of a new form of quantum eraser [4].

[1]. Popper K. R. "Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery" Vol. 3: Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield, 1982
[2]. W. M. Shields, Quanta 1, 1, (2012), Link: A Historical Survey of Sir Karl Popper's Contribution to Quantum Mechanics
[3]. J. Reintjes and Mark Bashkansky, J. Mod. Optics DOI: 10.1080/09500340.2015.1063723
[4]. B-G. Englert, M. O. Scully, and H. Walther, Am. J. Physics 67, 325 (1999); DOI: 10.1119/1.19257

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
IQSE 578, 12:30 Noon
Mitchell Physics Building

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

(Pizza, salad, and soda to be served at 12:00 noon)

Host: Dr. Marlan Scully