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Journal Article

The duality principle in the presence of postselection


Leuchs,  Gerd
Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Leach, J., Bolduc, E., Miatto, F. M., Piche, K., Leuchs, G., & Boyd, R. W. (2016). The duality principle in the presence of postselection. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6: 19944. doi:10.1038/srep19944.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-6317-8
The duality principle, a cornerstone of quantum mechanics, limits the coexistence of wave and particle behaviours of quantum systems. This limitation takes a quantitative form when applied to the visibility V of interference fringes and predictability P of paths within a two-alternative system, which are bound by the inequality V-2 + P-2 <= 1. However, if such a system is coupled to its environment, it becomes possible to obtain conditional measures of visibility and predictability, i.e. measures that are conditioned on the state of the environment. We show that in this case, the predictability and visibility values can lead to an apparent violation of the duality principle. We experimentally realize this apparent violation in a controlled manner by enforcing a fair-sampling-like loophole via postselection. This work highlights some of the subtleties that one can encounter while interpreting familiar quantities such as which-alternative information and visibility. While we concentrated on an extreme example, it is of utmost importance to realise that such subtleties might also be present in cases where the results are not obviously violating an algebraic bound, making them harder (but not any less crucial) to detect.