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Quantum interference between fundamentally different processes is enabled by shaped input wavefunctions

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posted on 2023-01-12, 14:32 authored by J. Lim, Y. S. Ang, L. K. Ang, L. J. Wong
We present a general framework for quantum interference (QI) between multiple, fundamentally different processes. Our framework reveals the importance of shaped input wavefunctions in enabling QI, and predicts unprecedented interactions between free electrons, bound electrons, and photons: (i) the vanishing of the zero-loss peak by destructive QI when a shaped electron wavepacket couples to light, under conditions where the electron's zero-loss peak otherwise dominates; (ii) QI between free electron and atomic (bound electron) spontaneous emission processes, which can be significant even when the free electron and atom are far apart, breaking the common notion that electron and atom must be close by to significantly affect each other's processes. Our work shows that emerging quantum waveshaping techniques unlock the door to greater versatility in light-matter interactions and other quantum processes in general.

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