Document Type


Publication Date



How does the quantum-to-classical transition of measurement occur? This question is vital for both foundations and applications of quantum mechanics. Here, we develop a new measurement-based framework for characterizing the classical and quantum free electron–photon interactions and then experimentally test it. We first analyze the transition from projective to weak measurement in generic light–matter interactions and show that any classical electron-laserbeam interaction can be represented as an outcome of weak measurement. In particular, the appearance of classical point-particle acceleration is an example of an amplified weak value resulting from weak measurement. A universal factor, exp(-Γ2/2) , quantifies the measurement regimes and their transition from quantum to classical, where Γ corresponds to the ratio between the electron wavepacket size and the optical wavelength. This measurement-based formulation is experimentally verified in both limits of photon-induced near-field electron microscopy and the classical acceleration regime using a DLA. Our results shed new light on the transition from quantum to classical electrodynamics, enabling us to employ the essence of the wave-particle duality of both light and electrons in quantum measurement for exploring and applying many quantum and classical light–matter interactions.


This article was originally published in Light: Science & Applications, volume 12, in 2023.

Peer Reviewed



The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.