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

  • GuiLu LongEmail author
  • Wei Qin
  • Zhe Yang
  • Jun-Lin Li
Open Access


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.


wave function realistic interpretation Mach-Zehnder interferometer wave-particle duality 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Low-Dimensional Quantum Physics and Department of PhysicsTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Innovative Center of Quantum MatterBeijingChina
  3. 3.Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and TechnologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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