Towards a controlled test of the indistinguishability of a pair of well-separated composite particles

Presenting Author: Neil Glikin, University of California Berkeley
Contributing Author(s): Erik Urban, Boerge Hemmerling, Hartmut Haeffner

The symmetrization postulate is a fundamental tenant of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. It imposes heavy restrictions on the allowed states of systems of identical particles as compared to systems of particles which are distinguishable, and applies to composite particles as well as fundamental ones. The physical manifestation of the consequential statistics of such restrictions is observable in many physical phenomena, and has been directly experimentally probed, for example, via spectroscopy of ensembles of many homonuclear diatomic molecules. We describe experiments towards the goal of demonstrating the indistinguishability of a single pair of 40-Ca+ ions. Using a surface-electrode Paul trap with concentric annular electrodes as a platform, we engineer a Hamiltonian similar to one which describes a homonuclear diatomic molecule in two dimensions. Such a platform should provide the necessary circular symmetry for observing indistinguishability, while allowing for precise control of the parameters of the Hamiltonian, as well as direct control of the rotational and vibrational state of the two-ion system. Using this system, we hope to study the emergence of indistinguishability under controlled conditions even for particles which are always separated by many micrometers.

(Session 5 : Thursday from 5:00pm - 7:00 pm)


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