Questions tagged [decoherence]

Quantum decoherence is the *irreversible loss of ordering of the phase angles* between the components of a system in a quantum superposition resulting in classical or probabilistically additive behavior, thereby suppressing interference of wavefunction components.

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What is the quantum mechanical definition of a measurement?

I hear the word "measurement" thrown around a lot in quantum mechanics, and I have yet to hear a scientific definition that makes sense. How do we define it?
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Why doesn't a typical beam splitter cause a photon to decohere?

In many experiments in quantum mechanics, a single photon is sent to a mirror which it passes through or bounces off with 50% probability, then the same for some more similar mirrors, and at the end ...
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Why can interaction with a macroscopic apparatus, such as a Stern-Gerlach machine, sometimes not cause a measurement?

Consider a Stern-Gerlach machine that measures the $z$-component of the spin of an electron. Suppose our electron's initial state is an equal superposition of $$|\text{spin up}, \text{going right} \...
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Would every particle in the universe not have some form of measurement occurring at any given time? [duplicate]

I know this is probably a common point of confusion, but I have a specific question about measurements in Quantum Mechanics. I read an explanation on this, but still have a point of confusion. The ...
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What are the strongest objections to be made against decoherence as an explanation of “collapse?”

When we measure an observable A of a quantum system, we get an eigenvalue of A. Without worrying about connotations of Copenhagen vs. MWI, etc., let's just call this "collapse." Question: Among ...
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Reversing gravitational decoherence

[Update: Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful replies! I learned something extremely interesting and relevant (namely, the basic way decoherence works in QFT), even though it wasn't what I thought I ...
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Is the preferred basis problem solved?

Once and for all: Is the preferred basis problem in the Everettian Interpretation of QM considered solved by decoherence or not? THere are a few people who claim that it's not, but it seems the vast ...
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A tutorial explanation of decoherence?

Is there a tutorial explanation as to how decoherence transforms a wavefunction (with a superposition of possible observable values) into a set of well-defined specific "classical" observable values ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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Are Thomas Breuer's subjective decoherence and Scott Aaronson's freebits with Knightian freedom the same things in essence?

In his remarkable works (1,2 and their recent development 3) Thomas Breuer proves by diagonalization the phenomenon that the observer cannot distinguish all phase space states of a system where he is ...
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Is the wavefunction of particles inside a gas spread or localized?

For an individual free particle that starts localized, the wave function packet spreads over time, so the particle becomes less localized. Suppose now that we have a gas of those particles inside a ...
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Is decoherence even possible in anti de Sitter space?

Is decoherence even possible in anti de Sitter space? The spatial conformal boundary acts as a repulsive wall, thus turning anti de Sitter space into an eternally closed quantum system. Superpositions ...
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Are quantum decoherence and Everettian approaches to the measurement problem necessarily distinct?

As I understand it, there is a large contingent of physicists who believe that the measurement problem is "solved" by decoherence, without, for example, needing to postulate the existence of "many ...
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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 to ...
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Why does the electron wavefunction not collapse within atoms at room temperature in gas, liquids or solids due to decoherence?

Decoherence theory predicts that any quantum particle coupled to any "large" environment should undergo decoherence and its wavefunction should collapse. This explains why measurement leads to ...
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Do measurements of time-scales for decoherence disprove some versions of Copenhagen or MWI?

Do measurements of time-scales for decoherence disprove some versions of Copenhagen or MWI? Since these discussions of interpretations of quantum mechanics often shed more heat than light, I want to ...
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Decoherence. Does it solve the measurement problem? Is it discontinuous? When does it occur?

I am trying to better understand the current scientific consensus (to the extent that such a thing exists) on the interpretation of quantum physics. I understand that this is still very much an active ...
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Born's rule and Schrödinger's equation

In non-relativistic quantum mechanics, the equation of evolution of the quantum state is given by Schrödinger's equation and measurement of a state of particle is itself a physical process. Thus, ...
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Did Leggett and Caldeira solve the measurement problem?

In 1983 Leggett and Caldeira published a paper (see also here) that shows the evolution of the density matrix in a dissipative system. Follow-up work by Zurek and others shows the relevance to ...
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Can the Montevideo interpretation of quantum mechanics do what it claims?

Partly inspired by the great responses to a my previous physics.SE question about "reversing gravitational decoherence, today I was rereading the intriguing papers by Gambini, Pullin, Porto, et al., ...
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Can observers be particles?

Generally Quantum mechanics divides a system what is to be observed and an observer. This is generally taken to be some human being. But why restrict it to such? Why not a particle? Is there a good ...
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Schrödinger's cat and the difficulty of macroscopic superposition state

The Schrödinger's cat was regarded as peculiar since we seldom encounter a superposition state in macroscopic scale: $$ \mid \mathrm{dead \,\,cat} \rangle + \mid \mathrm{alive \,\, cat}\rangle $$ We ...
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Does sluggish decoherence in deep space have any noticeable effects?

It is well established that quantum mechanical systems lose their coherence over time due to interaction with an uncontrollable environment. In particular, Professor Haroche, among others, has ...
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What is the quantum structure of the interstellar matter?

Consider an interstellar medium of one hydrogen atom/cm$^3$ with $500$ photons/cm$^3$ coming from CMB. This density of particles is very weak according to quantum decoherence. So, according to ...
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Any link between decoherence and renormalization?

I have been studying decoherence in quantum mechanics (not in qft, and don't know how it is described there) and renormalization in QFT and statistical field theory, I found at first a similarity ...
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Has the Copenhagen Interpretation remained accurate?

Almost a century past, has the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) undergone any modification? In other words, has any of its underlying principles been reformulated since? The notable (usual) examples ...
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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 its wavefunction, when you stop to measure it. I mean, an electron has a wave function describing its ...
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What is the difference between classical correlation and quantum correlation?

What is the difference between classical correlation and quantum correlation?
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Can a super-positioned human be used to differentiate between the Copenhagen interpretation and many-worlds?

I'm pretty new to quantum physics, so there's a good chance that I have this all backwards. However, by my understanding of the Copenhagen interpretation, the wave function 'collapses' upon ...
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Reason for decoherence time's dependence on variables?

Zurek 2001 is a review article on decoherence in quantum mechanics. Equation 5.36 on p. 24 gives an estimate of the decoherence time, which I'll paraphrase as follows: $ \frac{t_D}{t_R} = \left(\frac{...
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How does a Wavefunction collapse?

How does a wavefunction collapse into one state? More specifically, what conditions cause a wavefunction for a quantum particle to collapse? Does this have to do with density matrices? Please ...
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What is behind recoherence?

I am quite familiar with the concept of decoherence, and I heard that a system that has decohered could recohere after that, I was wondering what could cause the the coherences that have leaked into ...
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Does uniqueness of the triorthogonal decomposition make quantum measurement objective?

Some books and articles on quantum measurement theory make use of a theorem (by Elby-Bub 1994) called the Triorthogonal Decomposition Theorem: For three subsystems, a state vector $\lvert \Psi \...
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Conservation of quantum coherence?

Is coherence conserved under unitary transformation? As we saw in the process of generating entanglement, coherence between states of the subsystem is transferred to quantum correlations (related to ...
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If all the particles of a Bose-Einstein condensate become entangled with each other,does the system still remain a Bose-Einstein condensate?

I know that an entangled system is found in a single entangled state and that when you try to observe the individual state of a particle from an entangled system using a reduced density matrix, you ...
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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 non-...
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How does quantum decoherence occur?

My question is how does quantum decoherence happen. What happens with a quantum system when "observed?" Can you give a mathematical explanation that is simple, precise, and easy to understand?
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Why doesn't gravity mess up the double slit experiment?

So let's say you are doing a double slit experiment. Also, let's use electrons. My question is, won't the gravity of the electron affect the earth, thereby causing it decoherence and its wave ...
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What does spontaneous symmetry breaking have to do with decoherence?

Background The question here by Prof. Wen, and the answers that follow point out that spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) has something to do with decoherence if I understand it crudely correctly. ...
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Can an observer be the observed?

As a supplement to this question as to whether particles can be observers, supposing that the answer is yes. One could suppose a setup where particle A is observing particle B, but what to stop us ...
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How can the quantum state of the universe decohere

Decoherence explains how a classical state appears once quantum information in a quantum state leaks out. But presumably that environment has its own quantum state which then leaks out to a larger ...
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Coherences in the density matrix

It is said that the off-diagonal elements of density matrix are "coherence". When a system interacts with its environment the off-diagonal elements decay and the final density matrix is the diagonal ...
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Kraus operators for two interacting harmonic oscillators: Problem with the calculation (Ex. 8.21 of Nielsen-Chuang)

I'm working with Exercise 8.21 of the Nielsen-Chuang book on quantum information. It illustrates the amplitude-damping quantum channel by the interaction between two harmonic oscillators (the first ...
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What events lead to quantum decoherence?

Is there a very specific definition for all types of events where quantum decoherence occurs? Is it merely any event that is "thermodynamically irreversible" and/or "causes entropy to increase"? Is it ...
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Optical coherence versus quantum coherence

Optical coherence is usually defined to be the measure of statistical correlation (for example if the phase difference is constant) of a pair of waves. Recently I came across the notion of quantum ...
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What is the preferred basis objection to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics?

I've seen the preferred basis problem referred to in many places, but have not seen a clear explanation of what the problem is. For example, this question asks whether the problem has been solved, but ...
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quantum field theoretic models of decoherence

I am interested in whether there is a field theoretic description (there is, so what is it?) of the tensor product (aka density matrix) model of open quantum systems. In particular, I am interested in ...
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How it can be: separable Hilbert space in fundametial physics, and non-separable in condensed matter physics?

The fundamental QFT is formulated in a separable Hilbert space. But mostly approaches in condensed matter physics, e. g. thermal field dynamics, use a non-separable Hilbert space. It looks like it is ...
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Origin of position-momentum asymmetry in quantum mechanics

Elementary quantum theory teaches there exists a symmetry between position space and momentum space - you are free to switch by Fourier transform between position eigenvectors or momentum eigenvectors ...