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George: on 10/4/12 at 5:25am UTC, wrote Hi Neil, Your approach is favorable to me and I have rated your work. The...

Sergey Fedosin: on 10/4/12 at 4:11am UTC, wrote If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings...

Hoang Hai: on 9/19/12 at 14:05pm UTC, wrote Dear Very interesting to see your essay. Perhaps all of us are convinced...

Neil Bates: on 9/10/12 at 16:59pm UTC, wrote Phil, thanks for your reply. I am open-minded but don't think this paradox...

Phil Warnell: on 9/9/12 at 14:02pm UTC, wrote Dear Neil, Thanks for an interesting essay yet I'm not certain if one...

Nancy Reese: on 9/8/12 at 23:23pm UTC, wrote Neil: I have to admit upfront that as much as I enjoyed chemisty, it has...

Benjamin Dribus: on 9/8/12 at 1:17am UTC, wrote Neil, You may already know about this, but if not, it will interest you. ...

Neil Bates: on 9/7/12 at 0:42am UTC, wrote . The basic experiment with fully circular photons was done in 1936 and...


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July 15, 2020

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Can Repeated Interactions Show More About a Photon Than Current Theory Allows? by Neil Bates [refresh]
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Author Neil Bates wrote on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 16:14 GMT
Essay Abstract

We explore whether it is possible in principle to find the "circularity" (amount of circular polarization) of a single photon to a degree not allowed in conventional quantum theory. The thought experiment involves passing the same photon many times through a half-wave plate (with intermediate correction) so the tiny "spin" interaction of the photon is amplified enough to transfer measurable angular momentum to the detector HWP. HWPs invert coefficients for RH and LH states instead of "collapsing" the photon into a circular basis. Because passing one photon many times through a HWP should be like passing many photons once each though the plate, the transferred angular momentum would be revealed on a continuum. Such a measurement would violate the projection postulate (which says that only yes/no answers to probabilistic detection questions can be found for a single particle).

Author Bio

I consider myself a "Renaissance man" because of the variety of my studies and work. That includes consulting at J-Lab using G4Beamline to model muon interactions, teaching at various levels, museum guide, and independently working on physical theory in spare time. My background is too complex to coherently summarize. I am lucky that Internet search for "quantum measurement paradox" usually brings up blog posts of mine in top hits. I've published some articles about the relativistic dynamics of extended bodies, a sadly neglected topic.

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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 04:40 GMT

This seems subtle, and hence interesting. I will hazard a few questions which may be a bit off target, but I hope you will bear with me. I'm a mathematician by training and not very familiar with half-wave plates, so I'll take your word for it that they work as you describe.

1. Looking at your experimental setup, are you saying that the simpler experiment of passing n different photons through the detector has been done and does indeed change the angular momentum of the plate macroscopically?

2. Isn't there a "time factor" involved? It seems that if the angular momentum of the plate is changed macroscopically, it will be rotating, and the preferred axis will change, hence changing the interaction with subsequent photons more or less depending on how quickly they are passed through.

3. It seems that there would be a minimal possible angular momentum transfer, but I suppose the expectation values can change by arbitrarily small amounts?

4. Have you thought about decoherence rather than projection in this context?

5. Have you thought about the sum-over-histories approach in this context? The reason I ask is because the sum-over-histories approach is central to my own thoughts about quantum/theory quantum gravity. Also, since you mention superluminal communication, I will remark that I think causal cycles are not necessarily paradoxical; (see my essay On the Foundational Assumptions of Modern Physics for more details on these points.)

Thanks for the interesting read. Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Author Neil Bates replied on Sep. 7, 2012 @ 00:42 GMT
. The basic experiment with fully circular photons was done in 1936 and similar experiments (such as by Tigran Galstian, both of these in my references) have ben done, and confirm the basic thesis when full angular momentum of one hbar per photon is considered. I must admit, I haven't seen a description of an actual experiment for the case of superposed photons such as elliptical and linear. However, conservation of angular momentum requires the result of my Eq. 1:

Delta Splate = 2n hbar C.

2. The time factor is likely the coherence time of the photon, typ. a matter of microseconds or less. Most photons can pass through a thin transmitter very quickly, and conservation again requires quick transfer to the plate.

3. The AM transfer is again required by conservation laws, and considering that the expectation value of the photon's AM is given by:

expectation of S = hbar (a2 - b2), where a and b are the coefficients in the photon superposition a|R> + b|L>.

More later. Not having a good time with the formatting!

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Member Benjamin F. Dribus replied on Sep. 8, 2012 @ 01:17 GMT

You may already know about this, but if not, it will interest you. The authors claim to have violated the uncertainty principle by means of weak measurements. The most recent version is in Phys Rev. Letters, which I can't access, but this appears to be an earlier arXiv version.


I haven't evaluated it myself. Take care,


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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 12:13 GMT
Dear Neil Bates,

Progressive transformation of an eigen-rotational string segment in a string is in analogy with the circular polarization of an electromagnetic wave and exempts wave particle duality.

With best wishes,


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Nancy Reese wrote on Sep. 8, 2012 @ 23:23 GMT

I have to admit upfront that as much as I enjoyed chemisty, it has been quite a few years since I have taken classes, and I only went as far as Organic Chemistry. Most of what you have written is way over my head, but I do appreciate your talents and expertise.

Good luck to you!


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Phil Warnell wrote on Sep. 9, 2012 @ 14:02 GMT
Dear Neil,

Thanks for an interesting essay yet I'm not certain if one should say we have an actual paradox here, rather this be an example of confusion inherent when one attempts using an outdated interpretation of QM in respect to what's trying to be understood. That is Bohm's pilot wave scenario might have one to better understand what is going on here, without need referencing a lot of ad hoc rules and related exceptions to them.

That is first from such a perspective spin is considered a manifest character of the wave, not one of the particle, which only acts as a pointer at moments of observation. Secondly the wave carries no energy to the particle (or detector), rather only just information or simply marking the landscape if you prefer. That is as Bohm described, like as similar to what a light house's function is to keeping a ship from running aground, or as I like to think of it as how a GPS device allows you to arrive at ones destination. Of course for the analogy to be complete we have to understand this information contains nothing that would be classically considered as energy to be relayed to the particle. Again let me thank you for an interesting essay as I think it demonstrates clearly how the conventional treatment of things can lead to have one more confused and also how Bohm's explanation can cut through much of the confusion.



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Author Neil Bates replied on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 16:59 GMT
Phil, thanks for your reply. I am open-minded but don't think this paradox depends on details of which interpretation of QM is employed. Once we realize that passage of a photon state should impart an average change in angular momentum that is based on net circularity, rather than a chance of cumulative effect being either all RH or all LH, we have gone beyond what standard quantum mechanics predicts will happen (or is possible.) However BM imagines photon spin, we already know what happens in experiments involving transfer of that angular momentum. If one photon in repetition acts like many, each one alone; then my result will apply. BM would have to imagine an alternative to indistinguishability of particles. I am not aware of such, yet must admit to a cursory appreciation of the Bohmian approach.

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 14:05 GMT

Very interesting to see your essay.

Perhaps all of us are convinced that: the choice of yourself is right!That of course is reasonable.

So may be we should work together to let's the consider clearly defined for the basis foundations theoretical as the most challenging with intellectual of all of us.

Why we do not try to start with a real challenge is very close and are the focus of interest of the human science: it is a matter of mass and grain Higg boson of the standard model.

Knowledge and belief reasoning of you will to express an opinion on this matter:

You have think that: the Mass is the expression of the impact force to material - so no impact force, we do not feel the Higg boson - similar to the case of no weight outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Does there need to be a particle with mass for everything have volume? If so, then why the mass of everything change when moving from the Earth to the Moon? Higg boson is lighter by the Moon's gravity is weaker than of Earth?

The LHC particle accelerator used to "Smashed" until "Ejected" Higg boson, but why only when the "Smashed" can see it,and when off then not see it ?

Can be "locked" Higg particles? so when "released" if we do not force to it by any the Force, how to know that it is "out" or not?

You are should be boldly to give a definition of weight that you think is right for us to enjoy, or oppose my opinion.

Because in the process of research, the value of "failure" or "success" is the similar with science. The purpose of a correct theory be must is without any a wrong point ?

Glad to see from you comments soon,because still have too many of the same problems.

Regards !


August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 04:11 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
of points. After it anyone give you
of points so you have
of points and
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
then the participant`s rating
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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George wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 05:25 GMT
Hi Neil,

Your approach is favorable to me and I have rated your work. The photon really has circular polarization, and other elementary particles as well...

link text

Please check and rating mine work, despite the time is short.

Best wishes

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