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Seminar 9/27: Born Rule(s)

Dr. Urbasi Sinha
University of Waterloo, Ontario

Abstract: As one of the postulates of quantum mechanics, Born's rule tells us how to get probabilities for experimental outcomes from the complex wave function of the system. Its quadratic nature entails that interference occurs in pairs of paths.  An experiment was done in our laboratory that sets out to test the correctness of Born's rule by testing for the presence or absence of genuine three-path interference. This is done using single photons and a triple slit aperture.

Although the Born rule has been indirectly verified to high accuracy in other experiments, the consequences of a detection of even a small three-way interference in the quantum mechanical null prediction are tremendous. If a non-zero result were to be obtained, it would mean that quantum mechanics is only approximate, in the same way that the double slit experiment proves that classical physics is only an approximation to the true law of nature. This would give us an important hint on how to generalize quantum mechanics and open a new window to the world. In this talk, I will show results that bound the possible violation of Born?s rule and multi-path interference in quantum mechanics and will point out ways to obtain a tighter experimental bound.

1.U.Sinha, C.Couteau, T.Jennewein, R.Laflamme and G.Weihs, Science 329 418-421, 2010.

Location: Bowen Hall Auditorium

Date/Time: 09/27/10 at 12:30 pm - 09/27/10 at 1:30 pm

Light lunch in Bowen Atrium at 12:00 noon

Category: Seminar

Department: QES