Interference, Complementarity, Entanglement and All That Jazz

Speaker(s): Mark Beck

Technology has advanced to the point where it is possible for undergraduates to perform experiments exploring fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics–experiments observing behavior such as wave-particle duality, entanglement, and nonlocality. At Whitman College we are developing a series of such undergraduate laboratories, and I will describe some of these. In one we perform an interference experiment with single photons where we clearly show that the individual photons behave both as waves and as particles. This experiment is consistent with Bohr’s principle of complementarity, but challenges some oft held beliefs surrounding it. In another experiment we demonstrate the operation of a quantum eraser,” where the visibility of a measured fringe pattern is strongly influenced by the correlations between two spatially separated beams.”