Breaking the Quantum Double-Slit Experiment to Peer Deep Within Atomic Nuclei

  • Aug. 2, 2023, 4:00 pm US/Central
  • Daniel James Brandenburg, Ohio State University
  • Victor E Scarpine
  • Video

ameThe quantum double-slit experiment is a powerful demonstration of the wave-particle duality of electrons, photons, and other quantum objects. When a single electron is shot through a double-slit, its wave-like nature leads to an interference pattern caused by the ‘particle’ traveling through both slits at once. However, quantum mechanics tells us that interference takes place only for indistinguishable cases – if you try looking at one slit or the other to see where it went then the interference pattern disappears and a classical particle-like behavior appears.

A recent experiment realized a unique analogue to the double-slit experiment using high energy collisions between atomic nuclei. In this experiment, polarized photons were used to ‘image’ the colliding high-energy nuclei. However, it revealed something unexpected – an interference pattern between clearly distinguishable particles – seemingly contradicting a long-accepted tenet of quantum mechanics. In this talk, I will elucidate this newfound quantum phenomenon and the unique form of entanglement needed to make it possible.