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November 3 2012

Measurements retroactively force photons to be both wave and particle


One of the stranger features of the quantum world is that lightóeven individual photonsócan behave as a wave or a particle, depending on how you measure it. But, according to papers released by Science today, the quantum weirdness doesn't end there. Researchers have now found a way to put a photon in a quantum superposition where it is both a wave and a particle at the same time. Worse still, one setup allows them to determine the photon's nature as a wave or particle after it has gone through an apparatus where it must act as one or the other.

Got that? Didn't think so, so let's go through it in more detail.

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