Control of wave-particle duality via atom-field interaction in double-slit schemes

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The dual nature of light and matter represents an important challenge for science. Since the origins of quantum mechanics, several theoretical and experimental works have studied the wave and corpuscular properties of photons, atoms, electrons, etc. The main model that has been considered in the development of them has been the Young's double-slit scheme, by means of which the wave nature of light was demonstrated. However, it also can be used to obtain the particle-like properties of the systems. In case of considering identical slits, this model allows to obtain total fringe visibility on a screen located at a certain distance from the double-slit, and thus, null knowledge about the path followed by the object that crosses the scheme. Therefore, the system shows a wave behavior. In order to obtain information about the path taken by the objects (photons, atoms, electrons, etc), several authors have studied the coupling of external systems to double-slit schemes, which allows to know the path followed by the particle. As a consequence, the implementation of any type of path-detector results in the loss of fringe visibility, according to the principle of complementarity postulated by Bohr. In this research, we have considered the use of double-slit schemes and atom-field interactions to control the balance between fringe visibility and which-path information. We consider field cavities which act as path-detectors and they are represented by different quantum states. Instead of photons, our schemes are crossed by atoms, whose internal levels are correlated to the paths of the schemes. Therefore, based on the peparation of both, field and atom, we can study the balance between distinguishability, visibility and the concurrence present in the system. Our results show that the wave-particle duality can be controlled by atomic and field parameters, depending on the behavior that the experimenter wishes to observe, wave-like or particle-like. Additionally, we present a model in which a classical field can control the quantum atom-field interaction. Therefore, the amplitude of the classical field can also be considered as a controlling parameter of the wave-particle duality. Finally, based on our results, we propose a theoretical model to be implemented in quantum eraser and delayed choice experiments, which nowadays arouses great interest among researchers. Our results suggest that the wave-particle duality can be controlled even at times after the atom is registered on a screen, which allows us to choose the behavior of the system, wave-like or particle-like, at any moment.
Tesis (Doctor en Física)--Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2022