Questions tagged [superposition]

A basic principle of solutions of *linear* differential (often wave) equations, ensuring that the sum ("superposition") of two solutions is automatically a solution as well. Conversely, solutions (amounting to quantum states in quantum mechanics, since the Schrödinger equation is linear) can be represented as a sum of two or more other distinct solutions, and so can be Fourier/eigenstate resolved to enhance mathematical tractability.

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What's an atomic superstate/superposition, and how is it possible?

What's an atomic superstate/superposition, and how is it possible? I understand the basics - being something can be moving and staying still at the same time; the observer changes the behaviour - but ...
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Superposition principle and polarization

I am reading an optics book (Physics of Light and Optics by Peatross and Ware) that asserts this: A beam of light can always be considered as an intensity sum of completely unpolarized light and ...
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Can we explain Huygens' principle taking into account Maxwell's predictions?

Descartes gave the corpuscular model (1637) of light. Corpuscular model was further developed by Issac Newton. Model predicted that if the ray light (on refraction) bends towards the normal then the ...
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Quantum eraser double slit experiment

In the quantum eraser double slit experiment, does the photon (or wavefunction) pass through one slit or both slits when different polarizers are placed over the slits?
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Basic Quantum Superposition

I'm looking to improve my understanding of quantum superposition. Consider the two-slit setup, where $|A\rangle$ is the state of the electron at the source, $|z\rangle$ is the state at some point on ...
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Spin half for the value of $|1 0\rangle$?

Spin-1/2 The eigenspinor , $X=aX_++bX_-$ $$X_+=\left( \begin{array}{cc} 1\\ 0\end{array} \right) $$$$X_-=\left( \begin{array}{cc} 0\\ 1\end{array} \right)$$ They are define like this because they ...
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Does the Strong Nuclear Force follow Superposition?

I have just started the study of nuclear physics in my high school, and while reading about nuclear forces and binding energy per nucleon, I found out that the nuclear forces are highly short ranged ...
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How is quantum superposition different from mixed state?

According to Wikipedia, if a system has $50\%$ chance to be in state $\left|\psi_1\right>$ and $50\%$ to be in state $\left|\psi_2\right>$, then this is a mixed state. Now, consider the state $...
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Superpositions with two observers

This is a bit of an odd question. I'm not a physicist, so bear with me if I say something wrong. Lets say you have some sort of quantum event where matter is in a superposition. Standing next to you ...
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Expectation value of total energy for the quantum harmonic oscillator [closed]

A particles unnormalized wavefunction is given as $$\psi(x)=2\psi_1+\psi_2+2\psi_3.$$ How can I find $\langle E\rangle $ without calculating $\langle T\rangle$ or $\langle V\rangle $ ...
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Experimental relationship between linear dependence and superposition

From Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics The principle of superposition may seem obvious to you, but it did not have to be so simple: if the electromagnetic force were proportional to the ...
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Calculating the field of an infinite flat sheet of charge using the superposition principle

I am trying to calculate the field of an infinite flat sheet of charge (a plain with uniform charge density $\sigma$) using the superposition principle. I know that the field of an infinite line ...
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Where the extra power comes from?

Suppose we have two radio waveforms each has amplitude of 1, then the total power is 2. Suppose these two waveforms add up some where constructively, then the amplitude become 2, and the total power ...
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Linearity of Quantum Mechanics?

The proof of the No-Cloning Theorem states "By the linearity of quantum mechanics, ..." -- Could someone please give me a rough sketch/outline of what this means? Does it have to do with the Hilbert ...
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Nonlinear waves superposition

Non-linear waves do not superimpose to each other, but why? What characteristics give this property?
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Differences between pure/mixed/entangled/separable/superposed states

I am currently trying to establish a clear picture of pure/mixed/entangled/separable/superposed states. In the following I will always assume a basis of $|1\rangle$ and $|0\rangle$ for my quantum ...
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Electromagnetic wave propagation through two lossless dielectrics

In Elements of Electromagnetics (Sadiku, 3rd edition, Section 10.8), the author says to consider two lossless dielectric materials joined at an interface $z=0$. Here two lossless dielectric materials ...
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Why do neutrinos propagate in a mass eigenstate?

I am aware that flavor $\neq$ mass eigenstate, which is how mixing happens, but whenever someone talks about neutrino oscillations they tend to state without motivation that when neutrinos are ...
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Superposition and the Winning Jackpot Numbers [closed]

Let's say I buy myself a lottery ticket (Mega-Millions). I have $\frac{1}{175,711,536}$ chance of winning. Before I tune on the tv/radio and listen to the winning numbers (i.e. make an observation), ...
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Undamped oscillations. Why is the solution a linear combination of $\sin()$ and $\cos()$?

$ma = mg - cx$, where $x(0) = x_0 = 0$ is the position in which there is no tension in the rope. $dx/dt = v_0$ for $t = 0$; $v_0$ is a known constant. The discriminant of the characteristic equation ...
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How do we know superposition exists?

How do we know superposition exists? Has it been observed, or has it been deduced, and how certain are we? The Copenhagen Interpretation seems to imply that superposition collapses into one state ...
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Can we use intensities in the superposition principle?

In using the superposition principle to calculate intensities in interference patterns, can we add the intensities of the waves instead of their amplitudes? I think that amplitude account for the ...
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Is this statement about quantum mechanics valid?

In Philosophy of Language by William G. Lycan, there are the lines: Even apparent truths of logic, such as truths of the form "Either P or not P", might be abandoned in light of suitably weird ...
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What does the Copenhagen interpretation say about the position of a particle before measurement?

Suppose there is a particle in space. When we measure the position of that particle, we get a particular value with a probability that can be calculated from the wave function. But, according to the ...
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Is normalization consistent with Schrodinger's Equation?

Schrodinger's Equation does not set a limit on the size of wave functions but to normalize a wave function a limit must be set. How is this consistent physically and mathematically with Schrodinger's ...
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Summing up magnetic fields

In the case of a complex shape filiform distribution of current, are we allowed to determine the magnetic field created by sections of the distribution and then summing them up, like we do with a ...
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Where does energy go in destructive interference? [duplicate]

I have read that when two light waves interfere destructively, the energy contained within is transferred to other parts of the wave which have interfered constructively. However, I am having some ...
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Deriving group velocity

At the introduction to quantum mechanic phase $v_p$ and group $v_g$ velocities are often presented. I know how to derive $v_p$ and get equation: $$ \scriptsize v_p=\frac{\omega}{k}. $$ What i dont ...
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Is Schrödinger’s cat misleading? And what would happen if Planck constant is bigger?

Schrödinger’s cat, the thought experiment, makes it seem like as if measurement can cause a system to stop being in a superposition of states and become either one of the states (collapsed). So does ...
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Do multiple electrons exist during superposition?

Wikipedia says: Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics that holds that a physical system—such as an electron—exists partly in all its particular, theoretically ...
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Quantum superposition and fate [closed]

First of all, sorry for my knowledge of physics. Maybe my question is too obvious but I want to ask it. I am thinking about fate and if it exist or no. According to my assumption if I take any ...
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According to wave function collapse you only have one outcome, so what happens to the other superpositions?

If the superpositions of a wave function are not needed because only one of the superpositions is allowed, what happens to the eigenvalues of the "null" superpositions? Is the energy transferred ...
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How is a Qubit in two states under Superposition?

I have read a little about Quantum computing. From what I understand, Quantum Superposition is when a qubit is in a state $\alpha|0\rangle$ + $\beta|1\rangle$, where $\alpha$ and $\beta$ are ...
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Why is quantum entanglement so important in the context of quantum computation?

Entanglement also allows multiple states to be acted on simultaneously, unlike classical bits that can only have one value at a time. Entanglement is a necessary ingredient of any quantum computation ...
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Is the superposition principle universal?

In David J. Griffiths' Introduction to Electrodynamics, he claims that the superposition principle is not obvious but has always been found to be consistent with the experiments. So I was wondering ...
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Can you tell if a particle is in superposition?

This may be an easy answer for anybody. Is it possible to detect if a particle A is still in a superposition via the sending a group of particles B through a box containing particle A?
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If superposition is possible in QM, why do we often assume systems are already in their eigenstates?

My understanding is that an arbitrary quantum-mechanical wavefunction can be written as a linear combination of eigenfunctions of some Hermitian operator, most commonly the Hamiltonian; when a ...
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What does superposition mean in quantum mechanics?

What does superposition mean in quantum mechanics? When I say $A+B=C$ (forces). I can mean push something with force $A$ + force $B$ together, and that is same as I push it with force $C$. But when ...
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How can we create superposition in QM?

How can we force a particle (let's say that we know this particle has spin up) to be in a superposition of spin up and down? Wouldn't literally any interaction of it with anything cause it to be in ...
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Huygens Principle and principal of rectilinear propagation of light

Suppose I have an wave source and light waves are radiating from it. If I have a point source, then after a time t, with a radius of ct I will have a circular wave front.By Huygens principle each ...
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Does measuring destroy entanglement

Before measuring a quantum particle(photon) it exists in a superposition state, once we observe(measure) it, it settles in one of the possible states(destroying superposition). For entangled particles,...
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Classical vs qubits: Superposition

Since a quantum information lecture today I have been wondering what does it really mean for a state to be in superposition? Is this something that is answerable? This is what we learnt (or what I ...
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Huygens-Fresnel principle

Huygens principle states that 1) Every point on a given wavefront may be considered as a source of secondary wavelets which spread out with the speed of light in that medium. 2) The new wavefront is ...
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Is the universe linear? If so, why?

I'm trying to build a quantum memory system that uses the superposition principle to model specific phenomenon I am trying to predict. Is the universe linear? The superposition principle would apply ...
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What happens to the energy when waves perfectly cancel each other?

What happens to the energy when waves perfectly cancel each other (destructive interference)? It appears that the energy "disappear" but the law of conservation of energy states that it can't be ...
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Why is the Principle of Superposition true in EM? Does it hold more generally?

In the theory of electromagnetism (EM), why is the principle of superposition true? Can we read it off from Maxwell's equations directly? Does it have any limit of applicability or is it a ...
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Understanding the cause of sidebands in Amplitude Modulation

I've read it many places that Amplitude Modulation produces sidebands in the frequency domain. But as best as I can imagine it, modulating the amplitude of a fixed-frequency carrier wave just makes ...
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What's the difference between an entangled state, a superposed state and a cat state?

1) Can a state be entangled without also being a superposition? (Please give an example.) 2) Can a state be a superposition without being entangled? (Again, an example please.) 3) And what about ...
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Linearity of quantum mechanics and nonlinearity of macroscopic physics

We live in a world where almost all macroscopic physical phenomena are non-linear, while the description of microscopic phenomena is based on quantum mechanics which is linear by definition. What are ...