I am confused about the nature of quantum measurements.
In short: if a particle is coupled with a field, when will the wave collapse. A field might be coupled to a particle for a long time, and then suddenly decides to releases its energy to the particle. What determines when this happens?
I ordered my thoughts in a number of points, but maybe its all the same question. Any help would be much appreciated!
Suppose there is a particle in a electromagnetic field. The particle has the transition available to absorb a single excitation, photon, of the EM wave.
1: is the likelihood of phenomenon such as scattering or absorption determined by a probability distribution? and hence is photon absorption a wavefunction collapse phenomenon. (i guess so right? it is the photoelectric effect)
2: Can the collapse of the wavefunction, occording to a probability distribution, only be a result of a measurement? ( I mean measurement in general, including interaction with surroundings )
3: The way i see a measurement, it is some sort of extraction of information from a system at a particular time. like a snapshot. (The collapse happens (almost) instantaneous, so measurements spread out over time, can be considered multiple measurements?)
4: So the particle is continuously coupled with the field. Absorption is a result of measurement, or collapse. When then occurs such a measurement?
5: if measurements would happen continuously when the field and particle are coupled, wont the wave collapse right away, and then be trapped in this state (quantum zeno effect)?
6: Or if the measurement does not happen continuously, when then? Is there another probability distribution that determines if a measurement is occurring? never heard of this.