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]

Initially proposed as thought experiments, interaction-free measurements have been experimentally demonstrated in various configurations.[5][6][7]

Interaction-free measurements have also been proposed as a way to reduce sample damage in electron microscopy.[8][9]

Counterfactual quantum communication[edit]

In 2012 the idea of counterfactual quantum communication has been proposed and demonstrated.[10] Its first achievement was reported in 2017. According to contemporary conceptions of counterfactual quantum communication, information can thereby be exchanged without any physical particle / matter / energy being transferred between the parties, without quantum teleportation and without the information being the absence of a signal.[11] In 2020 research suggested that this is based on some form of relation between the properties of modular angular momentum with massless current of modular angular momentum current crossing the "transmission channel" with their interpretation's explanation not being based on "spooky action at a distance" but properties of a particle being able to "travel locally through regions from which the particle itself is excluded".[12][13][14]

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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Liu Y, et al. (2012) "Experimental demonstration of counterfactual quantum communication". Phys Rev Lett 109:030501
  11. ^ "Scientists Achieve Direct Counterfactual Quantum Communication For The First Time". Futurism. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Elementary particles part ways with their properties". Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  13. ^ McRae, Mike. "In a Mind-Bending New Paper, Physicists Give Schrodinger's Cat a Cheshire Grin". ScienceAlert. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  14. ^ Aharonov, Yakir; Rohrlich, Daniel (21 December 2020). "What Is Nonlocal in Counterfactual Quantum Communication?". Physical Review Letters. 125 (26): 260401. arXiv:2011.11667. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.260401. PMID 33449741. S2CID 145994494. Retrieved 16 January 2021. CC-BY icon.svg Available on arXiv under CC BY 4.0.


  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. Andrew G. White, Jay R. Mitchell, Olaf Nairz, and Paul G. Kwiat, "'Interaction-free imaging," Physical Review A 58, (1998) 605.
  8. Paul G. Kwiat, Harald Weinfurter (de), Thomas Herzog, Anton Zeilinger, and Mark A. Kasevich, "Interaction-free measurement," Physical Review Letters 74, (1995) 4763.
  9. Paul G. Kwiat, The Tao of Quantum Interrogation, (2001).
  10. Sean M. Carroll, Quantum Interrogation, (2006).

External links[edit]

  • Paige, A. J.; Kwon, Hyukjoon; Simsek, Selwyn; Self, Chris N.; Gray, Johnnie; Kim, M. S. (2020-04-30). "Quantum Delocalised-Interactions". arXiv:2004.14658 [quant-ph].