Observing the quantum Cheshire cat effect with noninvasive weak measurement

Kim, YosepIm, Dong-GilKim, Yong-SuHan, Sang-WookMoon, SungKim, Yoon-HoCho, Young-Wook
Issue Date
The University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia) | Nature Publishing Group
npj Quantum Information, v.7, no.1
One of the common conceptions of nature, typically derived from the experiences with classical systems, is that attributes of the matter coexist with the substance. In the quantum regime, however, the quantum particle itself and its physical property may be in spatial separation, known as the quantum Cheshire cat effect. While there have been several reports to date on the observation of the quantum Cheshire cat effect, all such experiments are based on first-order interferometry and destructive projection measurement, thus allowing simple interpretation due to measurement-induced disturbance and also subject to trivial interpretation based on classical waves. In this work, we report an experimental observation of the quantum Cheshire cat effect with noninvasive weak quantum measurement as originally proposed. The use of the weak-measurement probe has allowed us to identify the location of the single photon and that of the disembodied polarization state in a quantum interferometer. The weak-measurement probe based on two-photon interference makes our observation unable to be explained by classical physics. We furthermore elucidate the quantum Cheshire cat effect as quantum interference of the transition amplitudes for the photon and the polarization state which are directly obtained from the measurement outcomes or the weak values. Our work not only reveals the true quantum nature of Cheshire cat effect but also sheds light on a comprehensive understanding for the counter-intuitive quantum phenomena.
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