This tag is for questions about the exact nature of wavefunction collapse.

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Measurement of the energy of an atom using a cold substance

An atom was prepared in a superposition of ground state and excited states.I propose to measure the state by coupling the system to a cold enough substance. By cold enough I mean $$kT\ll E_1,$$ where ...
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1answer
40 views

Time reversal on superposition: I think [duplicate]

Imagine I have a box, and in it, I have a photon in a superposition of state |1> and |0>. I look into the box and register that the photon is in state |1>. Now, if I have ALL information in the ...
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2answers
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Unitarity and measurement

I used to believe that the wavefunction collapse came from the interaction of the system we want to measure {S} with the measurement apparatus {M} : {S} undergoing a non unitary transformation, but ...
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2answers
52 views

Eigenstate vs collapsed wave function

An eigenstate, or determinate state, is a state where the measurement of some observable always yields the same result. This means that the standard deviation of the observable is zero. If a ...
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2answers
43 views

Books on Quantum Measurement

I have been trying to understand clearly the concept of non locality, hidden variables, quantum measurement etc through research papers. I also read Quantum Theory and measurment by Wheeler and Zurek ...
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1answer
72 views

Superposition and simultaneous observation

Trying to understand superposition. Ok, so double slit experiment. The multiple paths the particle simultaneously travels interfere with each other but as it is absorbed, it chooses one "actual" ...
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0answers
174 views

Are universally valid possibilistic theories possible?

This is a spin-off of the following question: Are Thomas Breuer's subjective decoherence and Scott Aaronson's freebits with knightian freedom the same things in essence? Given that Thomas ...
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1answer
163 views

How does many-worlds interpretation make measurement unitary?

Does many-worlds interpretation of QM make the process of measurement (wavefunction collapse) be an unitary transform? If so, how does it do this? If we have an "object" qubit in state ...
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2answers
81 views

How do probabilities emerge in the many-worlds interpretation?

My understanding is that at each quantized unit of time that a split occurs, every possible recombination of particles occurs in the 'objective' universe. If this is the case, what relevance to ...
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2answers
70 views

The uncertainty principle and spin

I realize that this may be a very basic question, but I've been unable to find the answer elsewhere so thanks in advance for the help. Suppose an electron's spin is measured about an axis, and then ...
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3answers
159 views

Measurement of quantum state

Consider a particle in a box system.Assume its state to be a superposition of the ground and the first excited energy states.Consider two observers A and B (rest of the world).A made the measurement ...
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6answers
517 views

Explanation for the EPR-like paradox

I am trying to understand the process of Quantum Entanglement for use in Quantum computers. The problem I have is this: Suppose some nuclear process emits an electron-positron pair. Now after ...
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2answers
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Eigenstates into which a system can be projected after a measurement

I'm currently reading Dirac's Principles of Quantum Mechanics, on page 36, he says: Another assumption we make connected to the physical interpretation of the theory is that, if a certain real ...
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finetuned quantum experiments by Murch lab, do any have dynamics outside of basic QM formalism/ axioms?

a series of very finetuned quantum experiments have been reported by the Murch lab eg in 2 articles in Nature & analysis there,[1][2][3] some leading to dramatic accounts in the media.[4] do ...
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1answer
44 views

Would a pair of independent quantum coin tosses be perfectly anti-correlated?

Background Suppose we attach a button to an electronic flip flop such that an LED will toggle when we press the button with 50% probability, where the source of the randomness is a quantum event, ...
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1answer
60 views

If I want to determine a particle's momentum or position, do I get this information from the wave function?

I am confused about how one measures the dynamical variables (eg position) of a particle. I thought the wave function $\Psi(x,t)$ was the probability amplitude and $|\Psi(x,t)|^2$ represents the ...
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0answers
21 views

So far, what has been proven about the definition of an observer? [duplicate]

I've seen people reason that nearly any particle could be an observer, causing electrons in the double-slit experiment to have definite locations. The idea of what exactly the universe/quantum physics ...
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3answers
655 views

What happens after the collapse of a wavefunction?

If I have a quantum system which I prepare in a certain state, this state then evolves unitarily via a Hamiltonian. Suppose an observer provokes a collapse of the wave function by a certain ...
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8answers
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What is an observer in quantum mechanics?

My question is not about (pseudo) philosophical debate; it concerns mathematical operations and experimental facts. What is an observer? What are the conditions required to be qualified of observer, ...
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4answers
2k views

Why is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle stated the way it is?

I spent a long time being confused by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in my quantum chemistry class. It is frequently stated that the "position and momentum of a particle cannot be ...
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2answers
58 views

Is there enough information in a given quantum state to determine the state beforehand?

If I knew all the information about a state, and I knew the laws of physics in their complete totality, could I "reverse engineer" it to find, with 100% certainty, the state before it?
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How to infer the wave function $\psi$ of a EM wave?

There was a claim I read somewhere that said the wave function $\psi$ of a EM wave is measurable via $\vec E$ and $\vec H$ Can someone show how this works?
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2answers
111 views

How does De Broglie–Bohm theory or pilot wave theory explain the results of the Stern–Gerlach experiment?

The Copehagen interpretation of QM explains the Stern–Gerlach experiment by asserting that a particle is in a superposition of states and doesn't have a definite spin until measured. However, the de ...
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0answers
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Uncertainty Principle - measuring momentum on one entangled particle, position on the other

If two entangled particles are sent far apart and then at exactly the same time the position of one, and the momentum of the other, is measured, won't this mean that, because the corresponding values ...
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Born-like measuring rule in classical experiments

this 2011 paper "Born's rule from measurements of classical signals by threshold detectors which are properly calibrated" by Khrennikov investigates the theoretical possibility of Born-like ...
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Tight bounds between maximum weight and precision

Scales are rated according to their precision and maximum load -- attributes which seem to be universally close to one another (within about 3x10^4 grams). Eg, a scale that can measure up to a ...
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3answers
2k views

What does the quantum state of a system tell us about itself?

In quantum mechanics, quantum state refers to the state of a quantum system. A quantum state is given as a vector in a vector space, called the state vector. The state vector theoretically ...
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874 views

Is the collapse of the wave function inherently time asymmetric?

Schroedinger's equation, as we all know, is time symmetric. In quantum field theory, we have to come up with a more sophisticated CPT reversal, but the essential point remains unchanged. However, the ...
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1answer
207 views

Is kinetic energy in QM a state-property or is it distributed?

Suppose we have a quantum mechanical system, which is well described by its wave function in r-representation $\Psi$. We are interested in the properties of an observable, say the kinetic energy $T$. ...
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1answer
131 views

How did we come to know that electrons actually 'move' in an atom?

Rutherford's experiments confirmed the existence of light-weight electron clouds in a mostly empty atom, and that they occupy some space around the nucleus. What made us conclude that they can move? ...
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2answers
170 views

Why isn't transformation, caused by measurement, unitary?

It is said, that when measured, a quantum system undergoes "wave function collapse", which is a non-unitary transformation. Why? The wave function is $\Psi = \alpha \left|0\right\rangle + \beta ...
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2answers
171 views

Without apparatus can we say that the system is measured(decohered) by the environment?

"Einselection" and "tridecompositional uniqueness theorem" seem to resolve the preferred basis problem. But the premise is that there are three parts in discussion.(system, apparatus, environment) ...
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Schrodinger's dead cat when the evidence is destroyed

In the classic (and morbid) Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment, we imagine putting a cat into a box with a vial of poison which will be triggered by a quantum detectors. We set up a radioactive ...
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6answers
774 views

Simple example showing why measurement & interaction are different

Does someone know of a clear (pedagogical) example where one can really see(with the math) where interaction and measurement are not synonymous in quantum mechanics? I know that every measurement ...
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4answers
506 views

Is every quantum measurement reducible to measurements of position and time?

I am currently studying Path Integrals and was unable to resolve the following problem. In the famous book Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, written by Feynman and Hibbs, it says (at the beginning ...
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1answer
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Do electrons have a location before they are observed/measured? [closed]

Is this in all interpretations of QM? What about interpretations that are realist (MWI, penrose, ect)?
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1answer
146 views

Are wave functions real physical objects? [duplicate]

Are wave functions (ex. electron waves) real physical objects or just mathematical tools?. Some researchers say that they have proof that they are real objects. Here's [the link] ...
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2answers
307 views

Entanglement and simultaneity

According to the special theory of relativity, distant simultaneity depends on the observer's reference frame. And, according to the quantum theory, in the case of two entangled particles, a measure ...
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4answers
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Why is QM maximally predictive?

Let's suppose I'm in the lab and I claim that I can predict more than QM can, specifically, I can predict exactly at which moment in time a particle decays. You don't believe me (naturally) so I set ...
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2answers
113 views

How do I calculate the most probable orbital an electron is in?

If I saw a snapshot in time of an electron near a proton (Hydrogen), then the electron can be in any orbital as long as it doesn't lie on a node of the wave function. So how would I determine which ...
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5answers
241 views

How does a Wavefunction collapse?

I have been wondering and researching... How does a wavefunction collapse into one state?More specifically, what conditions cause a wavefunction for a quantum particle to collapse? Does this have to ...
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1answer
69 views

What are observables? [closed]

What are observables and how are they related to quantum decoherence and wavefunction collapse. I read this: Observables - what are they? but it was about the technical details on observables. Even ...
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0answers
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Would it be possible to Loschmidt reverse Wigner's friend using future technology?

Would it be possible to Loschmidt reverse Wigner's friend using future technology? Why or why not? Can a human be isolated in a decoherence shielded box? Can we have fine control over every single ...
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4answers
702 views

Decoherence and collapse

It is said that the decoherence does not solve the problem of measurement and/or the emergence of classicality, can somebody explain it with simple analogies or in a manner accessible to a ...
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1answer
122 views

How does quantum decoherence occur?

My question is how does quantum decoherence happen. What happens with a quantum system when "observed?" Can you give a mathematical explanation that is simple, precise, and easy to understand?
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2answers
77 views

Wave Function Collapse Versus Decoherence

I'm aware that wave function collapse is still a topic of debate-and that decoherence is a pretty good explanation for how things might approach wave function collapse, in some sense. But the way I've ...
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4answers
947 views

Must Matter Particles Have A Hard Edge?

It's my understanding that electrons are particles, and it's also my understanding that their location while orbiting an atom cannot be determined precisely and must be determined by statistics and ...
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3answers
72 views

Why do we care about compatible observables?

Going through my first treatment of quantum mechanics at the Griffiths level, and I was wondering why we care about observables being compatible and what is the significance of having an eigenstate ...
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1answer
64 views

How does “observation” affect physics?

I watched this video which very very comprehensively demonstrates concept that sometimes particles behave differently based on whether or not they're being observed. The idea that observing something ...
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1answer
112 views

Visualisation of electron

first things first, I'm not by any means a physicist nor a student of physics. I study graphic design. Theme of my bachelor thesis is visualisation of physical and mathematical phenomenons, long story ...