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25
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10answers
1k views

What is the difference between a measurement and any other interaction in quantum mechanics?

We've learned that the wave function of a particle collapses when we measure a particle's location. If it is found, it becomes more probable to find it a again in the same area, and if not the ...
17
votes
6answers
880 views

Is there a difference between observing a particle and hitting it with another particle?

First, let me state that I'm a lot less experienced with physics than most people here. Quantum mechanics was as far as I got and that was about 9 years ago, with no use in the meantime. A lot of ...
14
votes
4answers
451 views

State collapse in Heisenberg picture

I've been studying quantum mechanics and quantum field theory for a few years now and one question continues to bother me. The Schrodinger picture allows for an evolving state, which evolves through ...
14
votes
4answers
343 views

Comments on entropy and the direction of time in Landau and Lifshitz's Statistical Mechanics

In Landau and Lifshitz's Stat Mech Volume I is the comment: However, despite this symmetry, quantum mechanics does in fact involve an important non-equivalence of the two directions of time. ...
13
votes
4answers
389 views

How is it possible that quantum phenomenons (e.g. superposition) are possible when all quantum particles are being constantly observed?

I don't understand how quantum mechanics (and therefore also quantum computers) can work given that while we work with quantum states, particles that this quantum state consist of cannot be observed, ...
9
votes
5answers
358 views

Does an electron move from one excitation state to another, or jump?

I'm wondering, when an electron changes state, does it move from one state to another over some (very small) time period? Or does it change from one state to another in no time? If the former, what ...
8
votes
2answers
466 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
112 views

Does quantum collapse involve a loss of information? Does it require energy as suggested by the Landauer Limit?

I read in the context of quantum computing or of the minimal energy required for computation that there has to be a minimum possible amount of energy required to change one bit of information, called ...
7
votes
3answers
211 views

Is the Copenhagen interpretation merely an approximation to quantum mechanics?

So, I'm reading Max Tegmark's Our Mathematical Universe (Knopf edition, p. 229). He's discussing Everett/MWI for a bit and I'm not really paying attention and then I wake up to this: [I]t's time ...
7
votes
1answer
197 views

Does measurement, quantum in particular, always increase the total entropy?

Measurement of a quantum observable (in an appropriate, old-fashioned sense) necessarily involves coupling to a system with a macroscopically large number of degrees of freedom. Entanglement with this ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

On the nature of the collapse of the wave function

The collapse of the wave function by measurements is one of the most mysterious properties of quantum mechanics. At what scale does the wave function collapse? What are the conditions for a ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

What constitutes an observation/measurement in QM?

Fundamental notions of QM have to do with observation, a major example being The Uncertainty Principle. What is the technical definition of an observation/measurement? If I look at a QM system, it ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does observation collapse the wave function?

In one of the first lectures on QM we are always taught about Young's experiment and how particles behave either as waves or as particles depending on whether or not they are being observed. I want to ...
6
votes
2answers
390 views

Has the collapse of wave function due to observation been recorded?

I've seen pictures like this one, which depict the outcome of the Double-slit experiment with wave-like or particle features, depending how measurement has taken place. The graphic showing ...
6
votes
5answers
495 views

How isolated must a system be for it's wave function to be considered not collapsed?

As an undergrad I was often confused over people's bafflement with Schodinger's cat thought experiment. It seemed obvious to me that the term "observation" referred to the Geiger counter, not the ...
5
votes
3answers
691 views

Momentum of particle in a box

Take a unit box, the energy eigenfunctions are $\sin(n\pi x)$ (ignoring normalization constant) inside the box and 0 outside. I have read that there is no momentum operator for a particle in a box, ...
5
votes
3answers
545 views

Meaning of $\int \phi^\dagger \hat A \psi \:\mathrm dx$

While analysing a problem in quantum Mechanics, I realized that I don't fully understand the physical meanings of certain integrals. I have been interpreting: $\int \phi^\dagger \hat A \psi ...
5
votes
4answers
739 views

How does a state vector be projected onto an eigenspace after measurement

In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_in_quantum_mechanics#Degenerate_spectra, it is said that If there are multiple eigenstates with the same eigenvalue (called degeneracies),..., The ...
5
votes
2answers
264 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
180 views

Does the collapse of the wave function increase entropy of the atomic system itself?

Does wave-function collapse cause the entropy of the atom (ie. the sub-atomic particle system that makes up the atom) to increase?
4
votes
3answers
220 views

Confusion about wavefunction separability

A wavefunction is inherently a multi-particle function. If you have a container that is perfectly isolated from the external universe (not possible, but just imagine it) and filled with $n$ ...
4
votes
5answers
562 views

Eigenvalue Postulate and Experiment Outcomes in QM

In Nielsen and Chuang's text on Quantum Information and Computation, the measurement postulate is stated by using a collection of measurement operators and the outcomes are the indices of the ...
4
votes
3answers
698 views

Historical background of wave function collapse

I wonder what were the main experiments that led people to develop the concept of wave function collapse? (I think I am correct in including the Born Rule within the general umbrella of the collapse ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Inexact measurement and wavefunction collapse

As is usually said, measurement of an observable $q$ leads to collapse of wavefunction to an eigenstate of the corresponding operator $\hat q$. That is, now the wavefunction in $q$ representation is ...
3
votes
3answers
323 views

Is the wave function of a particle re-created after a measurement stops?

Yeah, I haven't quite understood, or been told, what happens to, for example an electron and it's wavefunction, when you stop to measure it? I mean, an electron has a wave function describing it's ...
3
votes
2answers
426 views

Entanglement and the double slit experiment

Is the double slit experiment an example of entanglement when it seems as if the photon is going through both slits? Or put another way, is it at this stage when we attempt measurement we see a photon ...
3
votes
3answers
654 views

Does the observer or the camera collapse the wave function in the double slit experiment?

Ok so if we setup a camera before the slit we will find a single photon and will follow through accordingly, likewise by having a camera setup after the slit, we can retroactivly collapse the wave ...
3
votes
4answers
423 views

How do we show that no hidden variable theories can replace QM?

I've always hit two big stumbling blocks in conceiving of the proof or disproof of hidden variable theories as being even valid idea, let alone an answerable question... I feel I must be ...
3
votes
4answers
174 views

Quantum Collapse

When we observe a quantum object does it collapse into a point? Or does it collapse into a smaller wave of area that is out of our range of accuracy? My gut tells me the latter.
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Can you count “collapses”? How many collapses in the observable universe?

If that’s too hard, how many collapses in 100 cc’s of boiling water in one second? In biology, the very first robin that is scientifically described is preserved and called the “type robin”. The ...
3
votes
1answer
414 views

wavefunction collapse and uncertainty principle

We all know that wavefunction collapse when it is observed. Uncertainty principle states that $\sigma_x \sigma_p \geq \frac {\hbar}{2}$. When wavefunction collapse, doesn't $\sigma_x$ become $0$?, as ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

What does the appearance of a classical particle fundamentally reduce to?

I've been reading an article that describes what seems to be a classical particle as a regularity in the global wavefunction over a quantum configuration space: When you actually see an electron ...
3
votes
3answers
324 views

Stochastic processes and wavefunction collapse

Some time ago I had an idea that, as the unitary evolution of the wavefunction is described by a deterministic equation (PDE, simply), could be the collapse of it be described by some kind of a ...
2
votes
5answers
179 views

The quantum state just after a position measurement

The wave function of a free particle is given as, $$\psi(x) ~=~ e^{-{ x }^{ 2 }/{ a }^{ 2 }}.$$ Then a position measurement is made and the position of the particle is found to be at $x=a$. My ...
2
votes
3answers
344 views

If I go to the church of the greater Hilbert space, can I have Unitary Collapse?

Actually, unitary pseudo-collapse? Von Neuman said quantum mechanics proceeds by two processes: unitary evolution and nonunitary reduction, also now called projection, collapse and splitting. ...
2
votes
2answers
293 views

Does every measurement correspond to an eigenstate of an observable?

In the postulates of quantum mechanics, physical observables are described by Hermitian matrices on the state space of a system. In another of my questions, the measurements of Rydberg-Ritz spectral ...
2
votes
1answer
327 views

Wave function collapse

When we try to measure the position of a system, wavefunction collapses to form a spike. After a while, the wavefunction spreads again, and you take another measurement, the results will be different" ...
2
votes
2answers
201 views

What does the Copenhagen interpretation say about the position of a particle before measurement?

Suppose there is a particle in space. When we measure the position of that particle, we get a particular value with a probability that can be calculated from the wave function. But, according to the ...
2
votes
2answers
708 views

Is Schrödinger’s cat misleading? And what would happen if Planck constant is bigger?

Schrödinger’s cat, the thought experiment, makes it seem like as if measurement can cause a system to stop being in a superposition of states and become either one of the states (collapsed). So does ...
2
votes
2answers
214 views

Does quantum mechanics predict instantaneous action at a distance even without entanglement?

The suggestion that quantum mechanics implies that instantaneous action at a distance occurs is normally based on the contention that this follows from the entanglement of particles that share a ...
2
votes
3answers
212 views

How to observe a particle with indefinite position?

As I understand it, when physicists talk about something behaving both like a particle and a wave, what they mean is that it has momentum like a particle, but its position is determined ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

(thought) experiment re: Bell's Theorem and Schrodinger's cat

I apologize if this question is naive. I am wondering about what would happen with the following experiment. Start with a standard Bell's Theorem setup: We have two quibits entangled in a particular ...
2
votes
3answers
395 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
124 views

Could observing unknowingly cause the wave function to collapse?

I've recently been reading (at a basic level) about the double slit experiment and how the mere act of observing can cause the "wave function to collapse", as they say. I find this mind-blowingly ...
2
votes
1answer
200 views

If there is no collapse of the wave-function does this mean that the many worlds interpretation of QM must be wrong?

If as some people suggest, there is no collapse of the wave function (is there a standard name for this position), then must one rule out the many-worlds interpretation of QM ?
2
votes
2answers
404 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
110 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) ...
2
votes
0answers
88 views

How can the pre-measurement be fulfilled?

In the decoherence program, the pre-measurement refers to the evolution in which the system and apparatus form a Schmidt state. In Maximilian Schlosshauer's review article(2005), I read "the linearity ...
2
votes
0answers
164 views

Can the time direction of wave function collapse be reversed?

The laws of physics are invariant under CPT transformations reversing time, inverting space and flipping charges. Almost so. The collapse of the wave function is the odd man out. Can the time ...
1
vote
4answers
214 views

Non linear QM and wave function collapse

I heard that there have been some propositions about describing the collapse of the wave-function by adding non-linear terms, but I couldn't anything in any any textbooks or even articles (probably ...