Delayed choice experiments: an analysis in forward time

Marijn Waaijer*, Jan Van Neerven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In this article, we present a detailed analysis of two famous delayed choice experiments: Wheeler’s classic gedanken-experiment and the delayed quantum eraser. Our analysis shows that the outcomes of both experiments can be fully explained on the basis of the information collected during the experiments using textbook quantum mechanics only. At no point in the argument, information from the future is needed to explain what happens next. In fact, more is true: for both experiments, we show, in a strictly mathematical way, that a modified version in which the time-ordering of the steps is changed to avoid the delayed choice leads to exactly the same final state. In this operational sense, the scenarios are completely equivalent in terms of conclusions that can be drawn from their outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalQuantum Studies: Mathematics and Foundations
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Delayed choice
  • Delayed quantum eraser
  • Retro-causality
  • Wheeler’s gedanken-experiment


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