How Quantum is Quantum Counterfactual Communication?

Foundations of Physics 51 (1):1-17 (2021)
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Quantum Counterfactual Communication is the recently-proposed idea of using quantum physics to send messages between two parties, without any matter/energy transfer associated with the bits sent. While this has excited massive interest, both for potential ‘unhackable’ communication, and insight into the foundations of quantum mechanics, it has been asked whether this process is essentially quantum, or could be performed classically. We examine counterfactual communication, both classical and quantum, and show that the protocols proposed so far for sending signals that don’t involve matter/energy transfer associated with the bits sent must be quantum, insofar as they require wave-particle duality.

Author Profiles

Jonte Hance
University of Bristol
James Ladyman
University of Bristol


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