Quantum erasure with causally disconnected choice
The counterintuitive features of quantum physics challenge many common-sense assumptions. In an interferometric quantum eraser experiment, one can actively choose whether or not to erase which-path information (a particle feature) of one quantum system and thus observe its wave feature via interference or not by performing a suitable measurement on a distant quantum system entangled with it. In all experiments performed to date, this choice took place either in the past or, in some delayed-choice arrangements, in the future of the interference. Thus, in principle, physical communications between choice and interference were not excluded. Here, we report a quantum eraser experiment in which, by enforcing Einstein locality, no such communication is possible. This is achieved by independent active choices, which are space-like separated from the interference. Our setup employs hybrid path-polarization entangled photon pairs, which are distributed over an optical fiber link of 55 m in one experiment, or over a free-space link of 144 km in another. No naive realistic picture is compatible with our results because whether a quantum could be seen as showing particle- or wave-like behavior would depend on a causally disconnected choice. It is therefore suggestive to abandon such pictures altogether.