Assisted Macroscopic Quantumness

25 Dec 2019  ·  Shahandeh Farid, Ringbauer Martin, Proietti Massimiliano, Costa Fabio, Lund Austin P., Graffitti Francesco, Barrow Peter, Pickston Alexander, Kundys Dmytro, Ralph Timothy C., Fedrizzi Alessandro ·

It is commonly expected that quantum theory is universal, in that it describes the world at all scales. Yet, quantum effects at the macroscopic scale continue to elude our experimental observation... This fact is commonly attributed to decoherence processes affecting systems of sufficiently large number of constituent subsystems leading to an effective macro-scale beyond which a quantum description of the whole system becomes superfluous. Here, we show both theoretically and experimentally that the existence of such a scale is unjustifiable from an information-theoretic perspective. We introduce a variant of the Wigner's friend experiment in which a multiparticle quantum system is observed by the friend. The friend undergoes rapid decoherence through her interactions with the environment. In the usual version of this thought experiment, decoherence removes the need for Wigner to treat her as a quantum system. However, for our variant we prove theoretically and observe experimentally that there exist partitions of the subsystems in which the friend is entangled with one of the particles in assistance with the other particle, as observed by Wigner. Importantly, we show that the friend is indispensable for the entanglement to be observed. Hence Wigner is compelled to treat the friend as part of a larger quantum system. By analyzing our scenario in the context of a quantum key distribution protocol, we show that a semi-classical description of the experiment is suboptimal for security analysis, highlighting the significance of the quantum description of the friend. read more

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Quantum Physics