Relativistic Measurement Backaction in the Quantum Dirac Oscillator

Keye Zhang, Lu Zhou, Pierre Meystre, Weiping Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


An elegant method to circumvent quantum measurement backaction is the use of quantum mechanics free subsystems (QMFS), with one approach involving the use of two oscillators with effective masses of opposite signs. Since negative energies, and hence masses, are a characteristic of relativistic systems a natural question is to what extent QMFS can be realized in this context. Using the example of a one-dimensional Dirac oscillator we investigate conditions under which this can be achieved, and identify Zitterbewegung or virtual pair creation as the physical mechanism that fundamentally limits the feasibility of the scheme. We propose a tabletop implementation of a Dirac oscillator system based on a spin-orbit coupled ultracold atomic sample that allows for a direct observation of the corresponding analog of virtual pair creation on quantum measurement backaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110401
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 11 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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