Investigating student understanding of quantum entanglement

Antje Kohnle, Erica Deffebach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Quantum entanglement is a central concept of quantum theory for multiple particles. Entanglement played an important role in the development of the foundations of the theory and makes possible modern applications in quantum information technology. As part of the QuVis Quantum Mechanics Visualization Project, we developed an interactive simulation Entanglement: The nature of quantum correlations using two-particle entangled spin states. We investigated student understanding of entanglement at the introductory and advanced undergraduate levels by collecting student activity and post-test responses using two versions of the simulation and carrying out a small number of student interviews. Common incorrect ideas found include statements that all entangled states must be maximally entangled (i.e. show perfect correlations or anticorrelations along all common measurement axes), that the spins of particles in a product state must have definite values (cannot be in a superposition state with respect to spin) and difficulty factorizing product states. Outcomes from this work will inform further development of the QuVis Entanglement simulation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 Physics Education Research Conference proceedings
EditorsAlice D. Churukian, Dyan Jones, Lin Ding
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers
ISBN (Print)978-1-931024-28-0
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2015

Publication series

NamePER Conference series
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers
ISSN (Print)1539-9028
ISSN (Electronic)2377-2379


  • PERC 2015


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