Weak values, quantum trajectories, and the cavity-QED experiment on wave-particle correlation
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Weak values as introduced by Aharonov, Albert, and Vaidman (AAV) are ensemble-average values for the results of weak measurements. They are interesting when the ensemble is preselected on a particular initial state and postselected on a particular final measurement result. It is shown that weak values arise naturally in quantum optics, as weak measurements occur whenever an open system is monitored (as by a photodetector). The quantum-trajectory theory is used to derive a generalization of AAV's formula to include (a) mixed initial conditions, (b) nonunitary evolution, (c) a generalized (nonprojective) final measurement, and (d) a non-back-action-evading weak measurement. This theory is applied to the recent cavity-QED experiment demonstrating wave particle duality [G. T. Foster, L. A. Orozco, H. M. Castro-Beltran, and H. J. Carmichael, Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 3149 (2000)]. It is shown that the "fractional-order" correlation function measured in that experiment can be recast as a weak value in a form as simple as that introduced by AAV.
Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Copyright 2002 American Physical Society. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.