Matter-wave diffraction approaching limits predicted by Feynman path integrals for multipath interference

A. Ronny Barnea, Ori Cheshnovsky, Uzi Even

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Interference experiments have been paramount in our understanding of quantum mechanics and are frequently the basis of testing the superposition principle in the framework of quantum theory. In recent years, several studies have challenged the nature of wave-function interference from the perspective of Born's rule - namely, the manifestation of so-called high-order interference terms in a superposition generated by diffraction of the wave functions. Here we present an experimental test of multipath interference in the diffraction of metastable helium atoms, with large-number counting statistics, comparable to photon-based experiments. We use a variation of the original triple-slit experiment and accurate single-event counting techniques to provide a new experimental bound of 2.9×10-5 on the statistical deviation from the commonly approximated null third-order interference term in Born's rule for matter waves. Our value is on the order of the maximal contribution predicted for multipath trajectories by Feynman path integrals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number023601
JournalPhysical Review A
Volume97
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

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