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Can we somehow force an electron to stay in one position and if we can, how? and what will be its implications? Will it collapse, or will it cease to exist? Can we do it by draining all the energy from an electron by taking it 0k?

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  • $\begingroup$ No, is the answer to nearly all you have written. if you read this article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_cooling it should give you more details. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Sep 24 '16 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ If "force an electron to stay in one position" means "force an electron into a particular eigenstate of the momentum operator", then the answer is no, because "eigenstates" of the momentum operator are not square integrable and hence not states at all. $\endgroup$ – WillO Sep 24 '16 at 21:09
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This is an excellent question, more at the end.

As per Dr. Balakrishnan below:

The uncertainty principle actually states a fundamental property of quantum systems, and is not a statement about the observational success of current technology.

It has been confused with the observer effect on some measurements. The observer effect was used by Heisenberg as a physical analogy, not an explanation of the quantum phenomenon.

This phenomenon is true regardless of the presence or absence of an observer.

He reinterpreted quantum theory, not using Schrödinger's wave equation, but using matrix mathematics, although those who use wave mechanics also have their own mathematical explanation of the inherent inability to specify position and momentum.

As the first person stated more succinctly, if you accept

  1. this thing we call an electron inherently has these two features, position and momentum, and

  2. you accept either the wave mechanics or the matrix mathematical theory of quantum theory, both of which explain the inability to quantify simultaneously these features,

then it follows an electron by its nature is not immobile.

You have discovered something that many high school and university lecturers might mention, and some may, if only in passing, to clarify the nature of the principle that you have so ably brought to the attention of this blog.

See the link.


Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Professor V. Balakrishnan, Lecture 1 – Introduction to Quantum Physics; Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, National Programme of Technology Enhanced Learning.

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If you want to force a particle to stay on a fixed position its velocity would have to be exactly zero. But if you know the exact velocity, the uncertainty in the position increases, see Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Since you can't have both, an exact position and an exact velocity (zero or not) you can not force a particle to stand still.

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  • $\begingroup$ What if the uncertainty principle is just our way of saying that we cannot explain this. Maybe we haven't fully understood quantum mechanics to perform those kind of operation like I stated so we created the uncertainty principle. $\endgroup$ – John_Nash Sep 24 '16 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Its really not. The uncertainty principle is derivable from quantum mechanics. It is essentually an experimentally verified axiom relating conjugate variables. $\endgroup$ – Graham Reid Sep 24 '16 at 21:07

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