Quantum mechanics describes the microscopic properties of nature in a regime where classical mechanics no longer applies. It explains phenomena such as the wave-particle duality, quantization of energy and the uncertainty principle and is generally used in single body systems. Use the ...

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81
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5answers
24k views

What is the actual significance of the amplituhedron?

The news that physicists have discovered a geometrical object that simplifies a lot our models of quantum physics has recently became viral. For an outsider like me, it is difficult to actually ...
71
votes
7answers
9k views

Why do people categorically dismiss some simple quantum models?

Deterministic models. Clarification of the question: The problem with these blogs is that people are inclined to start yelling at each other. (I admit, I got infected and it's difficult not to raise ...
60
votes
9answers
6k views

Is Angular Momentum truly fundamental?

This may seem like a slightly trite question, but it is one that has long intrigued me. Since I formally learned classical (Newtonian) mechanics, it has often struck me that angular momentum (and ...
57
votes
6answers
10k views

Can we theoretically balance a perfectly symmetrical pencil on its one-atom tip?

I was asked by an undergrad student about this question. I think if we were to take away air molecules around the pencil and cool it to absolute zero, that pencil would theoretically balance. Am I ...
52
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there a symmetry associated to the conservation of information?

Conservation of information seems to be a deep physical principle. For instance, Unitarity is a key concept in Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory. We may wonder if there is an underlying ...
51
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9answers
5k views

Quantum Entanglement - What's the big deal?

Bearing in mind I am a layman - with no background in physics - please could someone explain what the "big deal" is with quantum entanglement? I used to think I understood it - that 2 particles, say ...
50
votes
5answers
7k views

A list of inconveniences between quantum mechanics and (general) relativity?

It is well known that quantum mechanics and (general) relativity do not fit well. I am wondering whether it is possible to make a list of contradictions or problems between them? E.g. relativity ...
48
votes
8answers
19k views

Why don't electrons crash into the nuclei they “orbit”?

I'm having trouble understanding the simple "planetary" model of the atom that I'm being taught in my basic chemistry course. In particular, I can't see how a negatively charged electron can stay ...
48
votes
5answers
22k views

Is the universe fundamentally deterministic?

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question. I realise that this maybe a borderline philosophical question at this point in time, therefore feel free to close this question if you ...
46
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1answer
4k views

Is it possible to “see” atoms?

As per my knowledge, atoms are small beyond our imaginations. But there is an image on Wikipedia that shows silicon atoms observed at the surface of silicon carbide crystals. The image: How can we ...
45
votes
4answers
6k views

What is spin as it relates to subatomic particles?

I often hear about subatomic particles having a property called "spin" but also that it doesn't actually relate to spinning about an axis like you would think. Which particles have spin? What does ...
44
votes
0answers
1k views

Experimental test of the non-statisticality theorem?

Context: The recent paper The quantum state cannot be interpreted statistically by Pusey, Barrett and Rudolph (now On the reality of the quantum state, Nature Physics 8, 475–478 (2012), ...
43
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7answers
8k views

Why is quantum entanglement considered to be an active link between particles?

From everything I've read about quantum mechanics and quantum entanglement phenomena, it's not obvious to me why quantum entanglement is considered to be an active link. That is, it's stated every ...
40
votes
14answers
3k views

Why quantum mechanics?

Imagine you're teaching a first course on quantum mechanics in which your students are well-versed in classical mechanics, but have never seen any quantum before. How would you motivate the subject ...
40
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9answers
3k views

Is the uncertainty principle a property of elementary particles or a result of our measurement tools?

In many physics divulgation books I've read, this seems to be a commonly accepted point of view (I'm making this quote up, as I don't remember the exact words, but this should give you an idea): ...
38
votes
16answers
4k views

Quantum mechanics and everyday nature

Is there a phenomenon visible to the naked eye that requires quantum mechanics to be satisfactorily explained? I am looking for a sort of quantic Newtonian apple.
36
votes
6answers
3k views

Path integral vs. measure on infinite dimensional space

Coming from a mathematical background, I'm trying to get a handle on the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. According to Feynman, if you want to figure out the probability amplitude for ...
36
votes
4answers
3k views

Trace of a commutator is zero - but what about the commutator of $x$ and $p$?

Operators can be cyclically interchanged inside a trace: $${\rm Tr} (AB)~=~{\rm Tr} (BA).$$ This means the trace of a commutator of any two operators is zero: $${\rm Tr} ([A,B])~=~0.$$ But what about ...
35
votes
7answers
6k views

Why is it said that without quantum mechanics we would not have modern computers?

I've heard this in many quantum mechanics talks and lectures, nevertheless I don't seem to grasp the idea behind it. What I mean is, at which point is that our modern understanding of quantum ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

Why is the application of probability in QM fundamentally different from application of probability in other areas?

Why is application of probability in QM fundamentally different than application of probability in other areas? Quantum mechanics applies probability according to the same probability theory that ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Nature of gravity: gravitons, curvature of space-time or both?

General relativity tells us that what we perceive as gravity is curvature of space-time. On the other hand (as I understand it) gravity can be understood as a force between objects which are ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

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, ...
9
votes
2answers
891 views

What does the Canonical Commutation Relation (CCR) tell me about the overlap between Position and Momentum bases?

I'm curious whether I can find the overlap $\langle q | p \rangle$ knowing only the following: $|q\rangle$ is an eigenvector of an operator $Q$ with eigenvalue $q$. $|p\rangle$ is an eigenvector of ...
7
votes
1answer
454 views

Have they really photographed light behaving both as a particle and a wave?

I just came across this article where they are claiming that they have photographed light behaving both as a wave and a particle! The paper has been published in Nature Communications and I read the ...
7
votes
2answers
713 views

DIY Quantum Eraser Experiment by the Scientific American: Is this really quantum?

Click here for the publication. Having performed this experiment, I have gotten clean results. Essentially, a double slit is made by putting an photon beam in the way of a wire with orthogonal ...
6
votes
3answers
109 views

Holograms other than light

Normal holograms are, if I understand correctly, what happens when coherent light is passed through something that manipulates the photon's wave functions to be what would have been present had they ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Trace of an operator matrix (Quantum computation and quantum information)

I'm reading the book Quantum computation and quantum information by Mike & Ike and I'm stuck at 2.60/2.61. There, the author says that, given the operator $A|ψ⟩⟨ψ|$, its trace is: $${\rm ...
5
votes
0answers
41 views

What is the relation between phase space formulation with Wigner quasi-probability distributions and path integral formulation of quantum mechanics?

I am trying to conceptually connect the two formulations of quantum mechanics. The phase space formulation deals with Wigner quasi-probability distributions on the phase space and the path integral ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Considering $\langle \underline{q} \mid \underline{p} \rangle=\frac{1}{(2\pi\hbar)^{n/2}}e^{i\underline{q}\cdot\underline{p}/\hbar}$ [duplicate]

I have been given the following complete systems of eigenvectors $$\mathbf{Q}\mid\mathbf{q} \rangle=\mathbf{q}\mid\mathbf{q} \rangle, \quad \mathbf{P}\mid\mathbf{p} \rangle=\mathbf{p}\mid\mathbf{p} ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

Can reduced density matrices of sub systems of an entangled composite system be different?

In a 4-dimensional hilbert space, only 4 entangled states( normalized ) are possible ( if I am not wrong ), the bell basis. In each of the state in bell basis the reduced density matrix is ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Spin drift velocity?

I am currently reading this Phys Rev paper by H C Torrey. In this paper, he derives the Bloch equations with an additional diffusion term. He says that the current density is given by $$\mathbf ...
3
votes
1answer
187 views

First order coherence through double slit

The state $$|\Psi \rangle = |0\rangle + \sum_j \int d\omega f_j(\omega)\hat{a}^\dagger_j (\omega) |0\rangle $$ is coming from a far field and incident on a double slit setup. Here j is the index of ...
3
votes
1answer
224 views

Do Bell inequality violations appear instantly when the source is turned on, or do they increase over time?

This experimental Question is a result of reading a particular article on Bell violations. I addressed the e-mail below to the corresponding authors —because who knows, they might reply— but it is not ...
2
votes
3answers
58 views

How do I operate on a spin state with a sigma operator?

For any arbitrary spin state $|s\rangle$. How do I operate on it with the Pauli spin matrix, $\hat{\sigma_z}$? Does this have something to do with a Bloch sphere?
2
votes
2answers
115 views

Changing of spin for electron?

Can we change the spin of electron by applying magnetic field from $\uparrow$ to $\downarrow$ configuration?
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Quantum mechanics and Classical limit(s)

I have tried to make sense of this and i am not sure i get it. What i gather from this page about the classical limit is: You need coherent states something like $\hbar \to 0$ is not really enaugh. ...
2
votes
4answers
609 views

What entities in Quantum Mechanics are known to be “not quantized”?

Since all the traditional "continuous" quantities like time, energy, momentum, etc. are taken to be quantized implying that derived quantities will also be quantized, I was wondering if Quantum ...
2
votes
3answers
83 views

Physical meaning of quantum interpretations

Do interpretations of quantum mechanics have physical meaning? An argument for no would be the fact that no matter the interpretation, one gets the same measurements. They also do not follow logical ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Methods to distinguish between pure/mixed states and entangled/separable states

I'm a little confused about how we can distinguish between pure/mixed states and entangled/separable states and I would really appreciate some help! I understand a density operator $\rho$ represents ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

Reason for the Gaussian wave packet spreading

I have recently read how the Gaussian wave packet spreads while propagating. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_packet#Gaussian_wavepackets_in_quantum_mechanics Though I understand the ...
1
vote
3answers
216 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
365 views

Spin of a particle and spin quantum number [duplicate]

what actually does the spin quantum number of a particle describe about? What it means when we say photon has spin 1, Higgs boson has spin 0, etc..?? What actually does that numerical value explain? I ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

Deriving effective model without integrating out degrees of freedom in path integral formalism?

In path integral formalism of quantum field theory (particle physics or condensed matter), one can in principle integrate out part of the degrees of freedom so as to attain an effective model ...
1
vote
0answers
72 views

Phenomena in the intersection of general relativity and quantum mechanics

I am looking for physical phenomena that have aspects involving both general relativity and quantum mechanics. The only example I know is Hawking radiation. While black holes are objects that cannot ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

Derivation of plane wave from inner product of position ket and momentum ket

In textbooks it seems to be taken for granted that $$\langle \mathbf{r}|\mathbf{k}\rangle ~=~ \frac{1}{\sqrt{\Omega}}\exp(i\mathbf{k}\cdot\mathbf{r}).$$ I'm sure it's obvious but is there a ...
0
votes
1answer
203 views

About interchange phase of identical particles in Weinberg's QFT book

In Weinberg's textbook on QFT(google book preview), he discussed the phase acquired after interchanging particle labels in the last paragraph of page 171 and the footnote of page 172. It seems he's ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

Understanding notation regarding particles states and wavefunctions

In the development in my notes of second quantisation I have a problem in understanding notation. We start by considering a basis $\psi_i(\mathbf{r})$ for the Hilbert space of single particle ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Commutator and Hamiltonian [on hold]

Assume that $[\hat{A},\hat{H}]_-=0$ and $[\hat{B},\hat{H}]_-=0$ but we know that $[\hat{A},\hat{B}]_-\neq 0$. Then there exists degenerate stationary states of $H$. How to prove it?
0
votes
1answer
20 views

Monoatomic fluids and free space around atoms

In monoatomic fluids the atoms can move quite freely around each other. Is there any thermodynamic/statistical mechanic equation how much free space there is between the atoms? This has to be ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

About shift operators

The question is this: Does $$L_+ L_- Y_{lm} $$ ,where $Y_{lm}$ is a spherical harmonic function, equals to zero. If so, why? The two operators above are defined as $$L_+ ={L_x + iL_y } $$ $$L_-={L_x ...