In the double slit experiment, If there was an electromagnetic field at the slits, would the electron still create an interference pattern? Or would the presence of the field collapse the wave function of the electron?

  • $\begingroup$ Collapse the wave function to what state? $\endgroup$ – garyp Mar 23 '17 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ Into a position state, or localizes the wave function into a position. So that it doesnt create interference any more $\endgroup$ – 2117 Mar 23 '17 at 16:44

Let's start from a generic, unspecified "detector". When a detector is on, the wave function collapses. What counts as a detector? ANY interaction capable of discriminating between which of the two slits the particle went through. So if an electromagnetic could conceivably identify which slit the particle went through, then the wave function collapses. If the interaction with the electromagnetic field cannot reveal that information (if there is an interaction, but it is not relevant to the "which slit?" issue), then the wave function doesn't collapse and there is an interference pattern on the screen.

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  • $\begingroup$ What I'm talking about is just a generic electromagnetic field. Not one that tells you which slit information $\endgroup$ – 2117 Mar 23 '17 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ Then no. As he explained, if the electromagnetic field doesn't tell you what slit the electron went through, then it won't collapse the electron. $\endgroup$ – John Dumancic Mar 24 '17 at 0:07

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