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Weak Values and Two-State Vector Formalism in Elementary Scattering and Reflectivity—A New Effect

Chatzidimitriou-Dreismann, Chariton Aris

The notions of Weak Value (WV) and Two-State Vector Formalism (TSVF), firstly introduced by Aharonov and collaborators, provide a quantum-theoretical formalism of extracting new information from a system in the limit of small disturbances to its state. Here, we explore two applications to the case of non-relativistic two-body scattering with one body weakly interacting with its environment. We present a physically compelling analysis of a new quantum effect: momentum transfer deficit and an accompanying enhanced energy transfer; or, equivalently, an apparent mass-deficit of the struck body. First, incoherent inelastic neutron scattering (INS) from protons of H2 molecules in C-nanotubes is investigated. The data of the H2 translational motion along the nanotube shows that the neutron apparently exchanges energy and momentum with a fictitious particle with mass of 0.64 atomic mass units (a.m.u.), which is in blatant contradiction with the expected value of 2 a.m.u. Second, the same theory is applied to neutron reflectivity—which is elastic and coherent—from the interface of (single crystal) Si with H2O-D2O liquid mixtures. The data shows a striking enhanced reflectivity in a wide range of momentum transfers, which is tantamount to a momentum-transfer deficit with respect to conventional expectations. However, these effects find a natural interpretation within the WV-TSVF theoretical analysis under consideration. In summary, both scattering effects contradict conventional theoretical expectations, thus also supporting the novelty of the theoretical framework of WV and TVSF. Additionally, it should be pointed out that the two dynamical variables in the interaction Hamiltonian of the theoretical model belong to two different physical bodies.
Published in: Universe, 10.3390/universe5020058, MDPI