Wanted: Photon Counters…

Here, the word “counter” refers to people, not instruments. [Hope no one takes offense.]

I have been trying to get in touch with those experimental physicists who have performed the single-quantum double-slit interference experiment, using photons as the main QM particle. A single-quantum single-slit diffraction experiment would be perfectly fine, too.

I am interested in having detailed and fine-grained data generated in such experiments, in order to validate my computational modeling results.

My PhD research had put forth visual comparisons with the excellent experimental results obtained by Dr. Tonomura of Hitachi [^]. However, Tonomura’s team had used electrons as the main QM particle—not photons.

For some reason or the other, I could not locate the direct experimental data for photons at the time when I published on this topic during my PhD (around 2005). The main reason then was that e-Journals access was not available at COEP at that time.

… Anyway, I had mentioned that experimental results for photons would be essentially similar.

However, later on, some people expressed apprehensions about this part. … I could not dismiss such apprehensions right out of the hand, mainly because I knew that some noted physicists had expressed doubts as to whether Schrodinger’s equation would even apply to  the case of photons. If somebody brings up that kind of an objection, then one tends to get lost in the theoretical subtleties, and the main point—viz., the new theoretical and computational approach—gets sidetracked. Of course, much of such a diversion/distraction would vaporize if one could show a direct experimental result involving photons.

… All in all, I have been on the lookout for a direct experimental evidence involving photons.

Some time later on, I did run into a few simple experiments done with even visible light, notably the one performed by Prof. Lyman Page, Jr., at Princeton [^].

As the linked page clearly shows, the results for the single-photon version indeed are essentially similar to those from the single-electron version of Tonomura’s experiment.

Might as well mention here that also Afshar et al. had produced some indirect experimental data involving photons, and it was these data that I really wanted to exploit when I submitted my abstract to a recent CERN conference in India… But then, the stupid/idiotic/moronic/etc. CERN people turned my paper proposal down. See my earlier post in part covering this issue here [^].

Some time later, I once again decided to do something towards validation of my computational modeling results. So, a few days ago, I wrote an email to Prof. Page. … Going by my experience of physicists, I didn’t expect him to even bother to reply. But, to my pleasant surprise, he did. Promptly. But only to tell me that their experiment has now been “retired.” He also added that he would keep it in mind if they revive it in future, and this indeed is very nice of him.

Experimentally, it won’t take anything more than the above-described (very simple) setup. So, it’s not a very big deal that I am asking for. [But, I don’t have even that much money—else I would have gone ahead and conducted the experiment myself.] Indeed, people won’t have to alter any single aspect of their (already simple) experimental setup.

Still, I guess, they would perhaps have to conduct the experiment once more, simply because they might not have recorded the single-photons detection data the way I want it to be recorded—their experimental procedure might have resulted in a spatial and/or temporal coarsening for the single-photon detection events.

Anyway, details like that can be discussed off-line, but here is a request to you the reader. If you spot any experimentalists in this field, please do drop a line to me to inform me about them. Thanks in advance!

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A Song I Like

(Hindi) The title track of the movie: Sholay
Music: R. D. Burman

[E&OE]

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