Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wave Function Directly Measured - Science News

Wave Function Directly Measured - Science News: Lundeen and colleagues favor a direct interrogation using a combination of strong measurements, which provide the comfort of certainty but destroy the wave function, and weak measurements, which provide uncertain information but do little damage.

To demonstrate how this works in the laboratory, the team measured the wave function that describes the location of a single particle of light, or photon. The team polarized photons so that the angle of each particle gave a rough idea of its location, leaving just enough uncertainty to not disturb the wave function. Eliminating all photons that were moving in a specific direction — a strong measurement of momentum — allowed the scientists to map out the wave function using the still particles that remained.

“This doesn’t provide any more information than other methods,” says Lundeen. “It just gives it to you in a different way.”

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