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An experimental test of noncontextuality without unphysical idealizations

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JournalNature Communications
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Apr 2016
DatePublished (current) - 13 Jun 2016
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


To make precise the sense in which nature fails to respect classical physics, one requires a formal notion of classicality. Ideally, such a notion should be defined operationally, so that it can be subject to direct experimental test, and it should be applicable in a wide variety of experimental scenarios so that it can cover the breadth of phenomena thought to defy classical understanding. Bell’s notion of local causality fulfils the first criterion but not the second. The notion of noncontextuality fulfils the second criterion, but it is a long-standing question whether it can be made to fulfil the first. Previous attempts to test noncontextuality have all assumed idealizations that real experiments cannot achieve, namely noiseless measurements and exact operational equivalences. Here we show how to devise tests that are free of these idealizations. We perform a photonic implementation of one such test, ruling out noncontextual models with high confidence.

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