Interaction-free measurement

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In physics, interaction-free measurement is a type of measurement in quantum mechanics that detects the position, presence, or state of an object without an interaction occurring between it and the measuring device. Examples include the Renninger negative-result experiment, the Elitzur–Vaidman bomb-testing problem [1], and certain double-cavity optical systems, such as Hardy's paradox.

In Quantum Computation such measurements are referred to as Counterfactual Quantum Computation[2], an idea introduced by physicists Graeme Mitchinson and Richard Jozsa. Examples include Keith Bowden's Counterfactual Mirror Array[3] describing a digital computer that could be counterfactually interrogated to calculate whether a light beam would fail to pass through a maze.[4] More recently the idea of counterfactual quantum communication has been proposed and demonstrated. [5]

Initially proposed as thought experiments, interaction-free measurements have been experimentally demonstrated in various configurations [6][7][8].

Interaction-free measurements have also been proposed as a way to reduce sample damage in electron microscopy [9][10].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elitzur, Avshalom C.; Vaidman, Lev (1993-07-01). "Quantum mechanical interaction-free measurements". Foundations of Physics. 23 (7): 987–997. arXiv:hep-th/9305002. Bibcode:1993FoPh...23..987E. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/BF00736012. ISSN 0015-9018.
  2. ^ Mitchison, Graeme; Jozsa, Richard (May 8, 2001). "Counterfactual computation". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A. 457 (2009): 1175–1193. arXiv:quant-ph/9907007. Bibcode:2001RSPSA.457.1175M. CiteSeerX doi:10.1098/rspa.2000.0714.
  3. ^ Bowden, Keith G, "Classical Computation can be Counterfactual", in Aspects I, Proc ANPA19, Cambridge 1997 (published May 1999), ISBN 0-9526215-3-3
  4. ^ Bowden, Keith (1997-03-15). "Can Schrodinger's Cat Collapse the Wavefunction?". Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  5. ^ Liu Y, et al. (2012) "Experimental demonstration of counterfactual quantum communication". Phys Rev Lett 109:030501
  6. ^ Kwiat, Paul; Weinfurter, Harald; Herzog, Thomas; Zeilinger, Anton; Kasevich, Mark A. (1995-06-12). "Interaction-Free Measurement". Physical Review Letters. 74 (24): 4763–4766. Bibcode:1995PhRvL..74.4763K. CiteSeerX doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.74.4763. PMID 10058593.
  7. ^ White, Andrew G. (1998). ""Interaction-free" imaging". Physical Review A. 58 (1): 605–613. arXiv:quant-ph/9803060. Bibcode:1998PhRvA..58..605W. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.58.605.
  8. ^ Tsegaye, T.; Goobar, E.; Karlsson, A.; Björk, G.; Loh, M. Y.; Lim, K. H. (1998-05-01). "Efficient interaction-free measurements in a high-finesse interferometer". Physical Review A. 57 (5): 3987–3990. Bibcode:1998PhRvA..57.3987T. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.57.3987.
  9. ^ Putnam, William P. (2009). "Noninvasive electron microscopy with interaction-free quantum measurements". Physical Review A. 80 (4): 040902. Bibcode:2009PhRvA..80d0902P. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.80.040902.
  10. ^ Kruit, P.; Hobbs, R.G.; Kim, C-S.; Yang, Y.; Manfrinato, V.R.; Hammer, J.; Thomas, S.; Weber, P.; Klopfer, B. (May 2016). "Designs for a quantum electron microscope". Ultramicroscopy. 164: 31–45. arXiv:1510.05946. doi:10.1016/j.ultramic.2016.03.004. ISSN 0304-3991. PMID 26998703.


  1. Mauritius Renninger, Messungen ohne Storung des Messobjekts (Observations without disturbing the object), (1960) Zeitschrift für Physik, 158 pp 417-421.
  2. Mauritius Renninger, (1953) Zeitschrift für Physik, 136 p. 251
  3. Louis de Broglie, The Current Interpretation of Wave Mechanics, (1964) Elsevier, Amsterdam. (Provides discussion of the Renninger experiment.)
  4. Robert H. Dicke, Interaction-Free Quantum Measurements, A paradox?, American J. Physics 1981; 49(10): 925-930. (Provides a recent discussion of the Renninger experiment).
  5. John G. Cramer, "The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics", (1986) Reviews of Modern Physics, 58, pp.647-688. (Section 4.1 reviews Renninger's experiment).
  6. Avshalom C. Elitzur and Lev Vaidman, "Quantum mechanical interaction-free measurements". Foundations of Physics 23 (1993), 987-97.
  7. Roger Penrose, (2004). The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe. Jonathan Cape, London, ISBN 0-679-45443-8.
  8. Andrew G. White, Jay R. Mitchell, Olaf Nairz, and Paul G. Kwiat, "'Interaction-free imaging," Physical Review A 58, (1998) 605.
  9. Paul G. Kwiat, Harald Weinfurter (de), Thomas Herzog, Anton Zeilinger, and Mark A. Kasevich, "Interaction-free measurement," Physical Review Letters 74, (1995) 4763.
  10. Paul G. Kwiat, The Tao of Quantum Interrogation, (2001).
  11. Sean M. Carroll, Quantum Interrogation, (2006).
  12. G. S. Paraoanu, "Interaction-Free Measurements with Superconducting Qubits", Physical Review Letters 97, (2006) 180406.