Physics

Wave-Particle Detection

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Science  27 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5492, pp. 673
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5492.673b

Photons, tiny units of light, can behave as particles or as waves. As their behavior is dependent on how they are detected, measurements have revealed either one state or the other but never both. Foster et al. now present a technique that draws the particle and wave aspects of photons together. In their system, a photon interacts with an atom in a quantum cavity to create an excited state. This excited state partially decays, emitting a photon that is subsequently detected to measure the particle behavior. This then acts as a trigger for the measurement of the decay of the residue left behind in the cavity. This residue, a true likeness of the original excited state in terms of phase, but smaller, can then reveal the wave properties of the emitted photon. — ISO

Phys.Rev.Lett. 85, 3149 (2000).

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