We are an experimental quantum optics group run by Kevin Resch, based in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.

Causal relations get coherent in Nature Communications

Our paper, Quantum-coherent mixtures of causal relations, by JP MacLean, Katja Ried, Rob Spekkens and Kevin Resch was published today in Nature Communications.  This work was the result of a collaboration between the Quantum Optics and Quantum Information group at the University of Waterloo (IQC/Physics) and the Perimeter Institute.

Abstract: Understanding the causal influences that hold among parts of a system is critical both to explaining that system’s natural behaviour and to controlling it through targeted interventions. In a quantum world, understanding causal relations is equally important, but the set of possibilities is far richer. The two basic ways in which a pair of time-ordered quantum systems may be causally related are by a cause-effect mechanism or by a common cause acting on both. Here we show a coherent mixture of these two possibilities. We realize this nonclassical causal relation in a quantum optics experiment and derive a set of criteria for witnessing the coherence based on a quantum version of Berkson’s effect, whereby two independent causes can become correlated on observation of their common effect. The interplay of causality and quantum theory lies at the heart of challenging foundational puzzles, including Bell’s theorem and the search for quantum gravity.

Comments are closed.