Hypothesis Disproved

A linear polarizer which I had ordered on-line recently arrived, and I did a promised experiment today, to test a hypothesis.


In This earlier posting and This earlier posting, I had proposed what amounts to two hypotheses combined:

  1. That photons may be circularly-polarized as one of their fundamental states, specifically left-handedly or right-handedly, so that other states of light can emerge from those states, eventually also due to a superposition of these two, intrinsic states.
  2. That quantum superposition can generally be collapsed, after which it will not resume as such, but after which witnessing of the resulting state may still take place.

The second hypothesis was meant as a synonym, for stating that:

  • Quantum-Mechanics is to take a form, in which certain states of particles are primary, while others are secondary, so that the secondary states can only form from the superposition of the primary states, while the reverse does not follow. This paraphrasing of the second hypothesis was further meant as a motivation to test, whether the particle-nature of matter and energy are in fact primary – hence, the circularly-polarized photons – and not the wave-nature.

Equipment used in the experiment:

A circular polarizer: A complex component, which has the logical operations of filtering light first, so that only light whose wave-function is plane-polarized along one axis is transmitted, and then secondly, to circularly-polarize the resulting light, so that its wave-functions along any two axes will be phase-shifted 90⁰ with respect to time. This was meant as a source for a primary state of light, polarized in an unknown direction out of two possible directions, since the retail store that sold me this circular polarizer, also did not label, whether it would produce left-handed or right-handed light. It’s to serve as a sufficiently-reliable source of circularly-polarized light.

A linear polarizer: A technically simpler component, which simply transmits light whose wave-function is plane-polarized along one axis, while absorbing light, whose wave-function is perpendicular to the plane transmitted. This was meant as an alternative, secondary state of light, formed as the superposition of left-handed and right-handed, circularly-polarized light.

A light-source: To consist of a mundane room-lighting fixture, which is assumed to generate randomly-polarized light.


  1. The matter will be regarded as trivial, that when stating ‘the wave function’, I am referring to ‘the electrostatic wave-function’, which is assumed to be perpendicular to the magnetic wave-function, while also being in-phase with it at all times.
  2. The question will be ignored, whether the circular polarizer itself physically consists of two distinct layers, that perform its logical operations one-by-one, or whether it is of some other design, that accomplishes the same logical operations in some other way.



Light from the light-source will first be passed through the linear polarizer, and then through the circular polarizer, to confirm that two axes of plane-polarized light, when perpendicular, will lead to near-zero overall transmission, while when they are parallel, will lead to maximum transmission, which will also be used as the notional reference, corresponding to ‘50% transmission’.


Light from the light-source will first be passed through the circular polarizer, the output of which is somehow to correspond to photons polarized in one circular direction, after which it will be passed to the linear polarizer.

Expected Result:

Because according to the hypotheses, the circularly-polarized light corresponds to an intrinsic state, which will no longer become superposed with the opposite state, the second component, the linear polarizer in the test-case, should not be able to output linearly- or plane-polarized light, because to do so should require the availability of both left- and right-handed photons. But, the linear polarizer will only receive a full amplitude of one or the other.

Real results:


The control case performed as expected.


In the test-case, regardless of what orientation was chosen between the two polarizers, light emerged from the last, with constant brightness corresponding to ‘50% transmission’.


While the principal is to be upheld, that circularly-polarized light may be one system for stating polarization, out of which plane-polarized light can emerge, eventually through quantum superposition, the reverse also seems to be possible.

However, this does not seem to favor an intrinsic state, as belonging to classical concepts of a particle, because the wave-function can be manipulated, regardless of the eventual existence of particles. And so this result further seems to suggest that wave-particle duality is plausible.

(Further Observations as of 02/24/2018 : )

(As of 02/21/2018 : )

It has not really been disproved that by itself, in some abstract way, photons could be left-handed or right-handed. But it would seem that the ‘force’ which keeps a photon, say, left-handed – which would also be called its angular momentum – is so weak, that any presence of a wave-function in the dielectric, which may be linear, can easily cause half the photons to flip to being right-handed trivially, and with no apparent loss in photon energy.

  • If this happened, I was not able to observe it.
  • Any loss in a photon’s energy is generally understood, to imply some change in its wavelength. If half the photons were subject to this, their wavelengths should disagree with the other half’s – even if only so minutely.
  • Even if this does happen, it fails to confirm that the left-handed or right-handed states are in some way primary, which actually formed the second hypothesis out of two, which this experiment was meant to test.
  • Trivially, IF the possibility still exists by itself, that a state of superposition can be made to collapse, then to plane-polarize light fails to do so. This would follow, as plane-polarized light can be used, to create circularly-polarized light. So the perpendicular vector would assume an amplitude of (±i) where before it had (0), in order to have been in a collapsed, once-superposed state.


Now, It could be that researchers who work with Quantum-Mechanics already knew this. But if they did, they failed to publish a direct answer to this question, in a place on the Internet which I could find and simply link to. So I’ve published it now.

( 18h15 : )

I’ve just repeated the experiment, to be absolutely sure of this. Once one possesses the required equipment, this experiment only requires a few minutes to carry out. Both polarizers are on standard 52mm camera-mounts, so that they can just be screwed together, in whichever sequence.

In the Test-Case, the combined output seems considerably brighter than just ‘25%’, in comparison to the Control case defining ‘50%’.

(Edit 02/22/2018 : )

I think I have an explanation, for why the brightness of the Test-Case seemed to exceed 25% significantly.

When viewed in diffuse light, the polarizer-combination looks like it’s only 25% bright. But when held up directly against a lighting-fixture, a perceptual phenomenon can take place, by which the appearance of brightness to the Human eye, saturates. Thus, any translucent foil held up directly against a light-source, may seem lighter than it actually is. In the same vein, the brightness of the Control case did not strike me as 50% dark. But, because I had it written up as part of the procedure to make it so, I also did not go back to edit what amounted to my procedure.

(Edit 02/24/2018 : )

I can be slightly more precise, about what this result does imply.

I can state as an alternative representation, what the addition of any two plane-polarized waves is, but in the form of two added, circularly-polarized waves. In other words, actually-plane-polarized light, can also be said to consist of two circular components, and their phase-position – i.e., the use of complex numbers – can position the left-hand wave with respect to the right-hand wave, such than any angle of plane-polarization results.

If this was a basis in QM for defining photons, we’d say that the photons are in a superposed state between left-handed and right-handed, just as we can state that they are in a superposed state between two plane-polarized states, again, including the use of complex numbers, to account for the possibility of a phase-shift, resulting in circularly-polarized light.

But, If we needed to account for the behavior in the Test-Case of this experiment, then two contradictions would result:

  1. Because left-handed photons would require right-handed counterparts, to form plane-polarized light again – which we could then restate as a superposition – half the photons with one circular direction would need to change directions. The side-effect of this would be, that the total number of photons in the resulting beam has not changed by much. But in reality, in the Test-Case, the amplitude of the beam has decreased by one-half, for a second time. And so, even after the state of a photon has changed, that photon would still carry energy, but in the actual, observed results of the Test-Case, half the energy of the circularly-polarized beam has disappeared again, to result in a plane-polarized beam. This constitutes a major contradiction.
  2. Quantum-Mechanics prefers situations where – even if complex numbers need to be used – a result is a linear combination of two initial states. If half the photons in the circularly-polarized beam were to react to an electric dipole-moment in the dielectric and change directions, the amplitude of the resulting beam would no longer be, such a linear combination. And so a major inconsistency would result, with the way QM normally operates.


Dirk Mittler


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