Observing Dirac's classical phase space analog to the quantum state

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.070405
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TypeArticle
Journal titlePhysical Review Letters
ISSN0031-9007
Volume112
Issue7
Article number70405
AbstractIn 1945, Dirac attempted to develop a "formal probability" distribution to describe quantum operators in terms of two noncommuting variables, such as position x and momentum p [Rev. Mod. Phys. 17, 195 (1945)]. The resulting quasiprobability distribution is a complete representation of the quantum state and can be observed directly in experiments. We measure Dirac's distribution for the quantum state of the transverse degree of freedom of a photon by weakly measuring transverse x so as to not randomize the subsequent p measurement. Furthermore, we show that the distribution has the classical-like feature that it transforms (e.g., propagates) according to Bayes' law. © 2014 American Physical Society.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); Measurement Science and Standards (MSS-SME)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272227
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Record identifiera3630459-5f21-42e7-9202-c164bdd11e49
Record created2014-07-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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