The hidden phase of Fock states; quantum non-local effects

  • F. Laloë
Laser Cooling and Quantum Gas


We revisit the question of how a definite phase between Bose-Einstein condensates can spontaneously appear under the effect of measurements. We first consider a system that is the juxtaposition of two subsystems in Fock states with high populations, and assume that successive individual position measurements are performed. Initially, the relative phase is totally undefined, and no interference effect takes place in the first position measurement. But, while successive measurements are accumulated, the relative phase becomes better and better defined, and a clear interference pattern emerges. It turns out that all observed results can be interpreted in terms of a pre-existing, but totally unknown, relative phase, which remains exactly constant during the experiment. We then generalize the results to more condensates. We also consider other initial quantum states than pure Fock states, and distinguish between intrinsic phase of a quantum state and phase induced by measurements. Finally, we examine the case of multiple condensates of spin states. We discuss a curious quantum effect, where the measurement of the spin angular momentum of a small number of particles can induce a big angular momentum in a much larger assembly of particles, even at an arbitrary distance. This spin observable can be macroscopic, analogous to the pointer of a measurement apparatus, which illustrates the non-locality of standard quantum mechanics with particular clarity. The effect can be described as the teleportation at arbitrary distances of the continuous classical result of a local experiment. The EPR argument, transposed to this case, takes a particularly convincing form since it does not involve incompatible measurements and deals only with macroscopic variables.


Angular Momentum Relative Phase Macroscopic Variable Standard Quantum Mechanic Spin Angular Momentum 
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© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Kasler BrosselParisFrance

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