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Quantum interference in electron collision

Quantum interference in electron collision The indistinguishability of identical quantum particles can lead to quantum interferences that profoundly affect their scattering 1,2 . If two particles collide and scatter, the process that results in the detection of the first particle in one direction and the second particle in another direction interferes quantum mechanically with the physically indistinguishable process where the roles of the particles are reversed. For bosons such as photons, a constructive interference between probability amplitudes can enhance the probability, relative to classical expectations, that both are detected in the same direction — this is known as ‘bunching’. But for fermions such as electrons, a destructive interference should suppress this probability (‘anti-bunching’); this interference is the origin of the Pauli exclusion principle, which states that two electrons can never occupy the same state. Although two-particle interferences have been shown for colliding photons 3,4 , no similar demonstration for electrons exists 2,5,6 . Here we report the realization of this destructive quantum interference in the collision of electrons at a beam splitter. In our experiments, the quantum interference responsible for the Pauli exclusion principle is manifest as the suppression in electron current noise after collision. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nature Springer Journals

Quantum interference in electron collision

Nature , Volume 391 (6664) – Jan 15, 1998

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References (17)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 by Macmillan Magazines Ltd.
Subject
Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, multidisciplinary
ISSN
0028-0836
eISSN
1476-4687
DOI
10.1038/34611
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The indistinguishability of identical quantum particles can lead to quantum interferences that profoundly affect their scattering 1,2 . If two particles collide and scatter, the process that results in the detection of the first particle in one direction and the second particle in another direction interferes quantum mechanically with the physically indistinguishable process where the roles of the particles are reversed. For bosons such as photons, a constructive interference between probability amplitudes can enhance the probability, relative to classical expectations, that both are detected in the same direction — this is known as ‘bunching’. But for fermions such as electrons, a destructive interference should suppress this probability (‘anti-bunching’); this interference is the origin of the Pauli exclusion principle, which states that two electrons can never occupy the same state. Although two-particle interferences have been shown for colliding photons 3,4 , no similar demonstration for electrons exists 2,5,6 . Here we report the realization of this destructive quantum interference in the collision of electrons at a beam splitter. In our experiments, the quantum interference responsible for the Pauli exclusion principle is manifest as the suppression in electron current noise after collision.

Journal

NatureSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 15, 1998

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