Double-slit experiment at Fermi scale: Coherent photoproduction in heavy-ion collisions

Zha, W. (Department of modern physics, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China) ; Ruan, L. (Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York 11973, USA) ; Tang, Z. (Department of modern physics, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China) ; Xu, Z. (Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York 11973, USA) (Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China) ; Yang, S. (Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York 11973, USA)

19 June 2019

Abstract: The double-slit experiment has become a classic thought experiment for its clarity in expressing the central puzzle of quantum mechanics—wave-particle complementarity. Such wave-particle duality continues to be challenged and investigated in a broad range of entities with electrons, neutrons, helium atoms, C60 fullerenes, Bose-Einstein condensates, and biological molecules. In this Rapid Communication, we present a double-slit scenario at Fermi scale with new entities—coherent photon products in heavy-ion collisions. Virtual photons from the electromagnetic fields of relativistic heavy ions can fluctuate to quark-antiquark pairs, scatter off a target nucleus, and emerge as vector mesons. The two colliding nuclei can take turns to act as targets, forming a double-slit interference pattern. Furthermore, the “which-way” information can be partially solved using sufficiently-high multiplicity heavy-ion collisions so that the reaction plane can be determined, which demonstrates the complementary principle, a key concept of quantum mechanics.


Published in: Physical Review C 99 (2019)
Published by: APS
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.99.061901
License: CC-BY-4.0



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