Physics & Astronomy
Associate Professor & Advising Coordinator
Ph.D., University of Michigan Field: Theoretical High Energy Physics My research interests include topics on the foundations of physics and general relativity.
My present research is on the foundations of quantum physics. The problem I am working on deals with the fact that there are experiments that seem to show that the quantum state description of a physical system represents only knowledge or information about some aspect of reality (Pfleegor, R. and Mandel, L. Interference of Independent Photon Beams, Phys. Rev. 159, 1084-1088 (1967)). However, it has been recently shown that any model in which a quantum state represents mere information about an underlying physical state of the system must make predictions that contradict those of quantum theory (Pusey, M. F., Barrett, J. &Rudolph, T. On the reality of the quantum state, Nature Physics, 8, 475-478 (2012)). Therefore, it is clear that to have a consistent model of quantum physics we need to find a model based on physical reality.
It is well known that quantum fields are the most successful description of physical phenomena. If I could show that quantum fields have physical reality, then the model based on quantum fields would be the model that fulfills all the conditions to describe physical reality. The physical reality of quantum fields could open up new areas of research.
In the past I worked on the Afshar experiment. The Afshar experiment results show an apparent violation of Bohr's principle of complementarity. Bohr's principle of complementarity is a cornerstone for the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics. Progress made in the last two years of study of the Afshar experiment has led me to interesting conclusions; the most important conclusion is that the apparent violation of Bohr's complementarity principle has been resolved. Interestingly, the resolution has nothing to do with errors in the experiment or its analysis. The reason for the violation of the complementarity principle in the Afshar experiment appears to be related to the use of a particular measuring technique. It is interesting that the technique used by Afshar et al. is a standard technique in the analysis of particle physics experiments. This technique has also been used in the analysis of a classical quantum experiment known as the delayed choice experiment. However, as the results of the Afshar experiment show, this standard measuring technique is not purely quantum mechanical but it has a classical (pre-quantum) physics component. The discovery that this successful analysis technique is semiclassical has important possibilities. It could be that any analysis done with this technique is incorrect since it mixes classical with quantum mechanics. The alternative is that this powerful measuring technique is complementary and compatible with quantum mechanics. In my work I assume the second possibility. In the next phase of my research I would like to study the compatibility issues between quantum mechanics and the semiclassical technique. More importantly, there should be several physical consequences that should be analyzed. Finally, I point out that the semiclassical measuring technique that consists of particle detection plus path extrapolation is compatible with a version of quantum mechanics known as de Broglie-Bohm theory. The de Broglie-Bohm theory is a consistent theory of quantum mechanics with a net output similar to standard quantum mechanics. The importance of de Broglie-Bohm theory is the absence of paradoxes such as the particle-wave duality paradox of standard quantum mechanics. In de Broglie-Bohm theory particle and wave both have real physical existence.
Recent: Complementarity paradox solved: surprising consequences, Foundations of Physics, 40, 11, (2010); arXiv:1001.4785 E. Flores, "Modified Afshar experiment: Calculations," Proc. SPIE, Vol. 7421, 74210W (2009) arXiv:0803.2192 R. Buonpastore, E. Knoesel, E. Flores, "Diffraction of coherent light with sinusoidal amplitude by a thin-slit grid," Opt. Int. J. Light Electron. Opt. (2009), doi:10.1016/j.ijleo.2008.12.004 arXiv:0805.0254 E. Flores, "Reply to Steuernagel," Found. Phys. 38, 778-781 (2008) arXiv:0802.0245 E. Flores and E. Knoesel, "Why Kastner analysis does not apply to a modified Afshar experiment," Proc. of SPIE, Vol.6664, 66640O, (2007) arXiv:quant-ph/0702210 S.S. Afshar, E. Flores, K.F. McDonald, E. Knoesel, "Paradox in Wave-Particle Duality for Non-Perturbative Measurements," Found. Phys. 37, 295 (2007) arXiv:quant-ph/0702188