Experimental test of nonlocal causality

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Science Advances  10 Aug 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600162
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600162

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Explaining observations in terms of causes and effects is central to empirical science. However, correlations between entangled quantum particles seem to defy such an explanation. This implies that some of the fundamental assumptions of causal explanations have to give way. We consider a relaxation of one of these assumptions, Bell’s local causality, by allowing outcome dependence: a direct causal influence between the outcomes of measurements of remote parties. We use interventional data from a photonic experiment to bound the strength of this causal influence in a two-party Bell scenario, and observational data from a Bell-type inequality test for the considered models. Our results demonstrate the incompatibility of quantum mechanics with a broad class of nonlocal causal models, which includes Bell-local models as a special case. Recovering a classical causal picture of quantum correlations thus requires an even more radical modification of our classical notion of cause and effect.

  • Quantum foundations
  • causality
  • Bell inequality
  • causal models
  • quantum mechanics
  • local causality
  • local realism
  • nonlocal causality
  • nonlocality

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