Alain Aspect's Experiment Explained: Beginner's Guide

  • Thread starter tim1608
  • Start date
  • Tags
    Experiment
In summary, Alain Aspect's experiment on entangled photons and polarisation shows that the orientation of the polarisation of the photons is not predetermined and is only decided upon passing through the filters. Bell's Theorem and other related experiments support this conclusion and rule out the possibility of predetermined polarisations. This also leads to the understanding that the settings chosen for observing polarisations are a factor in the outcome probabilities, and that some interpretations of quantum mechanics support the idea of predetermined polarisations but require non-local communication between observers. Additionally, there are experiments that show entangled photons can have no contact with each other and still exhibit the same results, further disproving the idea of predetermined polarisations.
  • #1
63
0
Hi

I have just watched a fascinating documentary on YouTube called "Atomic Physics and Reality" which describes an experiment conducted by Alain Aspect regarding two entangled photons traveling in opposite directions towards polarised filters oriented at different angles.

I would be very grateful if someone could help me with something regarding Alain Aspect's experiment. I don't understand how the experiment can tell that the orientation of the polarisation of the photons is only decided upon passing through the filters and not upon emission from the source. Would it not be the case that either way would produce the same results because the orientation of the two entangled photons would be the same as each other in both situations? What am I missing here?

To be honest, even though I understand a little bit about polarisation works, I don't think I understand enough to know how it effects Alain Aspect's experiment. I would therefore be very grateful if someone could give me a ground-up, beginner's explanation of how Alain Aspect's experiment works and how the timing of orientation decision effects the results.

Thank you very much.

Kind regards

Tim
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #3
Just in case you had not read it, here is one of the key Aspect experiments:

http://www.drchinese.com/David/EPR_Bell_Aspect.htm
See 3.

And here is another experiment, also very influential, which may help.

http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9810080

What you are really asking (I think) is why experiments of this type rule out predetermined polarizations for the measured photons. There are a number of reasons that this is so, I will make a few comments which may help:

a. Bell's Theorem points the way for the realization that the settings chosen for observing polarizations are a factor in the outcome probabilities. These settings can be chosen by computer after the entangled photons are created and are on their way to the polarizers. That leads you to the conclusion that they cannot be predetermined since the time ordering is wrong.

b. But you will need to understand a little about Bell to see that. It is important to realize that not all angle settings show the Bell issue. For example, if both polarizers are set at the same angle, you get results that are consistent with your idea about predetermined polarizations. So those angles are *not* the ones used in a Bell Inequality.

c. There are interpretations of Quantum Mechanics which support the idea of predetermined polarizations. However, such interpretations are non-local and there is "communication" between observers' polarizer settings to account for the results. Bohmian Mechanics is the usual one cited for this perspective.

d. And if that isn't enough to convince you: there are experiments in which photons are entangled that have NO contact with each other at any time. In fact, they may have never even co-existed. In fact, they can even be entangled AFTER they are detected. None of these scenarios would be consistent with the idea of predetermined polarizations or some kind of "common cause". I can provide references for this when you are ready.
 
  • Like
Likes vanhees71

What is Alain Aspect's experiment?

Alain Aspect's experiment is a famous experiment in quantum mechanics that was conducted in the 1980s. It aimed to prove the existence of non-locality, a phenomenon in which particles can influence each other instantaneously regardless of distance.

How was the experiment conducted?

The experiment involved firing a pair of entangled photons in opposite directions and measuring their polarization states. The results showed that the photons were always in opposite polarization states, even when they were separated by great distances.

What did the experiment prove?

The experiment proved the existence of non-locality, which is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics. It also provided strong evidence for the validity of the theory of entanglement, in which particles can be connected in a way that their properties are correlated regardless of distance.

What are the implications of this experiment?

The implications of this experiment are far-reaching and have greatly influenced our understanding of quantum mechanics. It has opened up new possibilities for quantum communication and computing, and has also raised philosophical questions about the nature of reality and the role of observation in quantum systems.

How can beginners understand this complex experiment?

For beginners, it is important to have a basic understanding of quantum mechanics and its principles. It may also be helpful to read simplified explanations or watch educational videos about the experiment. It is also recommended to discuss the experiment with experts or attend lectures on the topic to gain a deeper understanding.

Suggested for: Alain Aspect's Experiment Explained: Beginner's Guide

Replies
40
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
49
Views
2K
Replies
17
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
902
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
6
Views
1K
Replies
10
Views
1K
Replies
15
Views
435
Back
Top