Measuring which-path information with coupled electronic Mach-Zehnder interferometers


We theoretically investigate a generalized “which-path” measurement on an electronic Mach-Zehnder Interferometer (MZI) implemented via Coulomb coupling to a second electronic MZI acting as a detector. The use of contextual values, or generalized eigenvalues, enables the precise construction of which-path operator averages that are valid for any measurement strength from the available drain currents. The form of the contextual values provides direct physical insight about the measurement being performed, providing information about the correlation strength between system and detector, the measurement inefficiency, and the proper background removal. We find that the detector interferometer must display maximal wavelike behavior to optimally measure the particle-like which-path information in the system interferometer, demonstrating wave-particle complementarity between the system and detector. We also find that the degree of quantum erasure that can be achieved by conditioning on a specific detector drain is directly related to the ambiguity of the measurement. Finally, conditioning the which-path averages on a particular system drain using the zero-frequency cross correlations produces conditioned averages that can become anomalously large due to quantum interference; the weak-coupling limit of these conditioned averages can produce both weak and detector-dependent semiweak values.

Physical Review B 85, 0452320
Justin Dressel
Justin Dressel
Associate Professor of Physics

Researches quantum information, computation, and foundations.