University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Cold Atoms > Observing the superposition of a single particle and the vacuum

Observing the superposition of a single particle and the vacuum

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Vincent Boyer.

An important part of quantum mechanics is the existence of superselection rules for certain quantities. These are invoked to explain why we do not observe certain superpositions such as states with different charge or mass. The need for these superselection rules, however, was challenged by Aharonov and Susskind in the 1960s when they proposed a thought experiment to observe coherent superpositions of different charge states. Their work showed that it is important that there is an appropriate reference frame in order to observe the coherence. For some quantities, reference frames are readily available but, even if they are not, this does not rule out the possibility of observing superpositions in principle. I will show how this idea could be implemented in an interferometry scheme that demonstrates the superposition of states with different numbers of particles – a clear violation of standard superselection rules.

This talk is part of the Cold Atoms series.

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