For the first time, USTC excludes standard quantum mechanics in the form of real numbers under strict locality conditions

Recently, Pan Jianwei, Lu Chaoyang, Zhang Qiang and other researchers of the University of Science and Technology of China cooperated with researchers from Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology and other units to close the loopholes of locality, measurement independence and entanglement source independence for the first time in the world, and used the entanglement exchange optical quantum network of space-like separation to test the quantum mechanics of the real number form, and verified that the real number cannot completely describe standard quantum mechanics with an experimental accuracy of more than 5.3 standard deviations, and strictly confirmed the necessity of complex numbers in quantum mechanics. Relevant research results were published in the internationally renowned academic journal Physical Review Letters. Because of the broad interest in the work, the American Physical Society wrote a special article in the APS News column.

Whether quantum physics does require the participation of complex numbers has been a long-standing fundamental question. At the beginning of 2022, Pan Jianwei’s team used an experimentally verifiable quantitative criterion similar to Bell’s inequality to complete the first experimental test that excludes the formal description of real numbers for standard quantum mechanics[Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, 040403 (2022)]。 This work uses four qubits on the same superconducting quantum chip, and the distance cannot meet the requirements of space-like separation, so there are problems such as localization, measurement independence, and entanglement source independence.

Figure 1: Schematic diagram

In order to test the objective existence of complex numbers more rigorously, Pan Jianwei’s team used two independent sources in the network to independently generate entangled photon pairs on the basis of space-like space-separated entangled optical quantum networks (Figure 1), which were distributed to three participants in the distance for high-speed random photon measurement operations. During the experiment, participants are not affected by the measurement choices and results of other participants, and independently perform local random operations. The experimental results exceeded the quantum mechanical prediction results in the form of real numbers by 5.3 standard deviations, which rigorously verified the indispensability of complex numbers in quantum mechanics.

The first authors of the paper are Wu Dian, Jiang Yangfan and Gu Xuemei. The research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, Anhui Province, Shandong Province, etc.

Article Links: https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.129.140401

The American Physical Society APS website reports:https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/202211/numbers.cfm

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