Often when talking about the double-slit experiment, it is said that the wavefunction of an electron (or any other particle for that matter) collapses when observed which results in a definite position of an electron.

My question is wouldn't the particle in question be subject to virtual photons produced by the gravitational field and electromagnetic field from the photographic plate,surrounding environment,ect which subject the particle to virtual photons hence why doesn't the wave function collapse in these instances?

  • $\begingroup$ None of these are real particles and are used only as placeholders in mathematical equations. Consciously observing something isn’t the reason interference comes and goes. There’s some underlying physical thing happening there. $\endgroup$ Mar 10 '20 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ There is a valid interpretation of QM that does not require collapse: the statistical or ensemble interpretation. Since collapse does not make sense, I stick to this. $\endgroup$
    – my2cts
    Mar 10 '20 at 17:20

Virtual particles are mathematical functions carrying the quantum numbers of the name, a mnemonic placeholder to keep correct conservation of quantum numbers in the Feynman diagrams. The four vectors describing them are off mass shell and depending on the problem are varying under a Feynman integral.

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So they cannot be considered measurements or real interacting particles.


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