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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
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2015 The Physics of What Happens
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2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
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2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
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2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Joseph Emerson
University of Waterloo


David Cory & Dmitry Pushin, University of Waterloo

Project Title

Fundamental Tests of the Structure of Quantum Information with Neutron Interferometry

Project Summary

One of the most characteristic features of quantum theory is the coherent or wavelike nature interference effects when a particle traverses two or more slits before striking a screen. This effect has been observed experimentally using single electrons and even much heavier particles such as buckyballs. With the goal of understanding a set of physical principles that might explain the characteristic features of quantum theory, over the past few decades scientists have constructed a very elegant theoretical framework, called generalized probability theories, for which Newtonian physics and quantum physics emerge as special cases. Recent work has shown that there can exist theories within this framework which produce novel "higher-order" interference effects - and that such higher-order interference could be observed in a controlled setting in which the results of three-slit interference are compared with those of the characteristic two-slit interference that is predicted by quantum theory. We will perform a fundamental test of quantum theory - and a novel search for higher-order "post-quantum" interference - for matter particles by measuring the two and three-slit interference fringes produced by individual neutrons passing through a single crystal silicon interferometer.

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