Realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics and encounter-delayed-choice experiment

GuiLu Long et al (Tsinghua University)
In this paper, a realistic interpretation (REIN) of the wave function in quantum mechanics is briefly presented. We demonstrate that in the REIN, the wave function of a microscopic object is its real existence rather than a mere mathematical description. Specifically, the quantum object can exist in disjointed regions of space just as the wave function is distributed, travels at a finite speed, and collapses instantly upon a measurement. Furthermore, we analyze the single-photon interference in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) using the REIN. Based on this, we propose and experimentally implement a generalized delayed-choice experiment, called the encounter-delayed-choice experiment, where the second beam splitter is decided whether or not to insert at the encounter of two sub-waves along the arms of the MZI. In such an experiment, the parts of the sub-waves, which do not travel through the beam splitter, show a particle nature, whereas the remaining parts interfere and thus show a wave nature. The predicted phenomenon is clearly demonstrated in the experiment, thus supporting the REIN idea. Full text

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