Superradiance and Subradiance due to Quantum Interference of Entangled Free Electrons

Aviv Karnieli*, Nicholas Rivera, Ady Arie, Ido Kaminer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When multiple quantum emitters radiate, their emission rate may be enhanced or suppressed due to collective interference in a process known as super- or subradiance. Such processes are well known to occur also in light emission from free electrons, known as coherent cathodoluminescence. Unlike atomic systems, free electrons have an unbounded energy spectrum, and, thus, all their emission mechanisms rely on electron recoil, in addition to the classical properties of the dielectric medium. To date, all experimental and theoretical studies of super- and subradiance from free electrons assumed only classical correlations between particles. However, dependence on quantum correlations, such as entanglement between free electrons, has not been studied. Recent advances in coherent shaping of free-electron wave functions motivate the investigation of such quantum regimes of super- and subradiance. In this Letter, we show how a pair of coincident path-entangled electrons can demonstrate either super- or subradiant light emission, depending on the two-particle wave function. By choosing different free-electron Bell states, the spectrum and emission pattern of the light can be reshaped, in a manner that cannot be accounted for by a classical mixed state. We show these results for light emission in any optical medium and discuss their generalization to many-body quantum states. Our findings suggest that light emission can be sensitive to the explicit quantum state of the emitting matter wave and possibly serve as a nondestructive measurement scheme for measuring the quantum state of many-body systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number060403
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - 6 Aug 2021


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