Research ArticleQuantum Mechanics

A twofold quantum delayed-choice experiment in a superconducting circuit

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Science Advances  05 May 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 5, e1603159
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603159

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Abstract

Wave-particle complementarity lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. To illustrate this mysterious feature, Wheeler proposed the delayed-choice experiment, where a quantum system manifests the wave- or particle-like attribute, depending on the experimental arrangement, which is made after the system has entered the interferometer. In recent quantum delayed-choice experiments, these two complementary behaviors were simultaneously observed with a quantum interferometer in a superposition of being closed and open. We suggest and implement a conceptually different quantum delayed-choice experiment by introducing a which-path detector (WPD) that can simultaneously record and neglect the system’s path information, but where the interferometer itself is classical. Our experiment is realized with a superconducting circuit, where a cavity acts as the WPD for an interfering qubit. Using this setup, we implement the first twofold delayed-choice experiment, which demonstrates that the system’s behavior depends not only on the measuring device’s configuration that can be chosen even after the system has been detected but also on whether we a posteriori erase or mark the which-path information, the latter of which cannot be revealed by previous quantum delayed-choice experiments. Our results represent the first demonstration of both counterintuitive features with the same experimental setup, significantly extending the concept of quantum delayed-choice experiment.

Keywords
  • two-fold quantum delayed-choice experiment
  • quantum delayed-choice experiment
  • wave-particle duality
  • Wheeler’s delayed-choice experiment
  • quantum eraser
  • which path detector
  • superconducting qubit
  • circuit quantum electrodynamics
  • quantum entanglement
  • quantum coherence

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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