Quantum Mechanics

An Introductory Framework

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Contents
Articles
1. Introductory Principles
History of Quantum Mechanics Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 1 1 7 26 45 45 52 72 72 85 93 93 96 106 121 121 127 127 129 137 137 142 145 148 148 159 178

2. The Quantum Theories
Old Quantum Theory Quantum Mechanics after 1925

3. The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics The Copenhagen Interpretation

4. Einstein's Objections
Principle of Locality EPR Paradox Bell's Theorem

5. Schrödinger's Objections
Schrödinger's Cat

6. Measurement Problems
The Measurement Problem Measurement in Quantum Mechanics

7. Advanced Concepts
Quantum Number Quantum Information Quantum Statistical Mechanics

8. Advanced Topics
Quantum Field Theory String Theory Quantum Gravity

Appendix
Quantum Quantum state

188 188 190

References
Article Sources and Contributors Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 196 201

Article Licenses
License 202

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1. Introductory Principles
History of Quantum Mechanics
The history of quantum mechanics is a fundamental part of the history of modern physics. Quantum mechanics' history, as it interlaces with the history of quantum chemistry, began essentially with a number of different scientific discoveries: the 1838 discovery of cathode rays by Michael Faraday; the 1859-1860 winter statement of the black body radiation problem by Gustav Kirchhoff; the 1877 suggestion by Ludwig Boltzmann that the energy states of a physical system could be discrete; the discovery of the photoelectric effect by Heinrich Hertz in 1887; and the 1900 quantum hypothesis by Max Planck that any energy-radiating atomic system can theoretically be divided into a number of discrete "energy elements" ε (epsilon) such that each of these energy elements is proportional to the frequency ν with which each of them individually radiate energy, as defined by the following formula:

where h is a numerical value called Planck's constant. Then, Albert Einstein in 1905, in order to explain the photoelectric effect previously reported by Heinrich Hertz in 1887, postulated consistently with Max Planck's quantum hypothesis that light itself is made of individual quantum particles, which in 1926 came to be called photons by Gilbert N. Lewis. The photoelectric effect was observed upon shining light of particular wavelengths on certain materials, such as metals, which caused electrons to be ejected from those materials only if the light quantum energy was greater than the Fermi level (work function) in the metal. The phrase "quantum mechanics" was first used in Max Born's 1924 paper "Zur Quantenmechanik". In the years to follow, this theoretical basis slowly began to be applied to chemical structure, reactivity, and bonding.

10 influential figures in the history of quantum mechanics. Left to right:Max Planck, Albert Einstein,Niels Bohr, Louis de Broglie,Max Born, Paul Dirac,Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli,Erwin Schrödinger, Richard Feynman.

which was later called the "magneton". such as a molecule. c is the speed of light in a vacuum. together with the mathematicians Gustav von Escherich and Emil Müller. to calculate the magnetic moment of the electron. called Planck's Law. k is the Boltzmann constant. ν is the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation. I(ν. Photoelectric effect The emission of electrons from a metal plate caused by light quanta (photons) with energy greater than the Fermi level of the metal. that included a Boltzmann distribution (applicable in the classical limit). and T is the temperature of the body in degrees Kelvin. He was a founder of the Austrian Mathematical Society. similar quantum computations. . In 1900. but with numerically quite different values. were subsequently made possible for both the magnetic moments of the proton and the neutron that are three orders of magnitude smaller than that of the electron. β) of overlap.History of Quantum Mechanics 2 Overview Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann suggested in 1877 that the energy levels of a physical system. the German physicist Max Planck reluctantly introduced the idea that energy is quantized in order to derive a formula for the observed frequency dependence of the energy emitted by a black body. Moreover. and subsequently Niels Bohr in 1913. h is the Planck constant. the application of Planck's quantum theory to the electron allowed Ștefan Procopiu in 1911—1913. Boltzmann's rationale for the presence of discrete energy levels in molecules such as those of iodine gas had its origins in his statistical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics theories and was backed up by mathematical arguments. Planck's law[1] can be stated as follows: where: Ludwig Boltzmann’s diagram of the I2 molecule proposed in 1898 showing the atomic "sensitive region" (α. The earlier Wien approximation may be derived from Planck's law by assuming .T) is the energy per unit time (or the power) radiated per unit area of emitting surface in the normal direction per unit solid angle per unit frequency by a black body at temperature T. could be discrete. as it will also be the case twenty years later with the first quantum theory put forward by Max Planck.

when a light ray is spreading from a point. Lewis in 1926. Heisenberg formulated his uncertainty principle in 1927." This statement has been called the most revolutionary sentence written by a physicist of the twentieth century. aside. Einstein explained the photoelectric effect by postulating that light.[2] These energy quanta later came to be called "photons". The phrase "quantum physics" was first used in Johnston's Planck's Universe in Light of Modern Physics (1931). .History of Quantum Mechanics 3 The photoelectric effect reported by Heinrich Hertz in 1887. In 1924. Low-energy phenomena: Photoelectric effect Mid-energy phenomena: Compton scattering High-energy phenomena: Pair production In 1905. The idea that each photon had to consist of energy in terms of quanta was a remarkable achievement. were strictly phenomenological: during this time. there was no rigorous justification for quantization. from Henri Poincaré's discussion of Planck's theory in his 1912 paper Sur la théorie des quanta. the peak of the blackbody radiation curve shifts to longer wavelengths and also has lower intensities. From the introduction section of his March 1905 quantum paper. The blackbody radiation curves (1862) at left are also compared with the early. but consists of a finite number of 'energy quanta' that are localized in points in space. Bohr explained the spectral lines of the hydrogen atom. or more generally all electromagnetic radiation. and the Copenhagen interpretation started to take shape at about the same time. though successful. He also pioneered the use of operator theory. "On a heuristic viewpoint concerning the emission and transformation of light". Building on de Broglie's approach. when the German physicists Werner Heisenberg and Adam Jonathon Davis[5][6] developed matrix mechanics and the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger invented wave mechanics and the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation as an approximation to the generalised case of de Broglie's theory. Einstein states: "According to the assumption to be contemplated here. and can be absorbed or generated only as a whole. With decreasing temperature. In 1913. move without dividing. classical limit model of Rayleigh and Jeans (1900) shown at right. Starting around 1927.[7] Schrödinger subsequently showed that the two approaches were equivalent. It predicts electron spin and led Dirac to predict the existence of the positron. can be divided into a finite number of "energy quanta" that are localized points in space. These theories. perhaps. the French physicist Louis de Broglie put forward his theory of matter waves by stating that particles can exhibit wave characteristics and vice versa. again by using quantization.[3][4] They are collectively known as the old quantum theory. and explained by Albert Einstein in 1905. it effectively solved the problem of black body radiation attaining infinite energy. the energy is not distributed continuously over ever-increasing spaces. Paul Dirac began the process of unifying quantum mechanics with special relativity by proposing the Dirac equation for the electron. in his paper of July 1913 On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules. This theory was for a single particle and derived from special relativity theory. modern quantum mechanics was born in 1925. which occurred in theory if light were to be explained only in terms of waves. The Dirac equation achieves the relativistic description of the wavefunction of an electron that Schrödinger failed to obtain. a term introduced by Gilbert N. The short wavelength side of the curves was already approximated in 1896 by the Wien distribution law.

resulting in quantum field theories. Tomonaga during the 1940s. researchers made attempts at applying quantum mechanics to fields instead of single particles.P. J. Weinberg and Salam independently showed how the weak nuclear force and quantum electrodynamics could be merged into a single electroweak force. Feynman diagram of gluon radiation in Quantum Chromodynamics Founding experiments . F. Weisskopf. J. as described in his likewise famous 1932 textbook. and Ernest Rutherford's 1907 discovery of the atomic nucleus. Jordan. Dirac. During the same period. Max Planck's 1900 quantum hypothesis. and the electromagnetic field. Gross and Wilczek in 1975. The theory of Quantum Chromodynamics was formulated beginning in the early 1960s. Dyson. These. still stand. The theory as we know it today was formulated by Politzer. that atomic energy radiators have discrete energy values (ε = hν). Early workers in this area include P. Beginning in 1927. which incorporated an explanation of Johannes Rydberg's 1888 formula. the physicists Glashow. Higgs and Goldstone. and remain widely used. The field of quantum chemistry was pioneered by physicists Walter Heitler and Fritz London. Quantum chemistry was subsequently developed by a large number of workers. disappearing from the outer orbit and appearing in the inner one and cannot exist in the space between orbits 2 and 3. Albert Einstein's 1905 light quanta postulate. i. This area of research culminated in the formulation of quantum electrodynamics by R. who published a study of the covalent bond of the hydrogen molecule in 1927. Feynman. Slater into various theories such as Molecular Orbital Theory or Valence Theory. for which they received the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics.I. and John C. Pauli. Building on pioneering work by Schwinger. as described in his famous 1930 textbook. Note that the electron does not travel along the black line when emitting a photon. and P. Schwinger. W.A. Quantum electrodynamics describes a quantum theory of electrons.History of Quantum Mechanics including the influential bra-ket notation. It jumps. and served as a model for subsequent Quantum Field theories. V. Thomson's 1904 plum pudding model. J. positrons. Hungarian polymath John von Neumann formulated the rigorous mathematical basis for quantum mechanics as the theory of linear operators on Hilbert spaces. like many other works from the founding period.[8][5][6] 4 Niels Bohr's 1913 quantum model of the atom. and S. including the American theoretical chemist Linus Pauling at Caltech.M.e.

(1896) J. (1955) Clauss Jönsson`s double-slit experiment with electrons. Oxford University Press. phy-astr. 1995. Auyang. particles of light with quantized energy.google.1356056 [5] David Edwards. Max (1966). ISBN 978-0-521-81421-8. (August. E. 9184. Cowan and Frederick Reines confirm the existence of the neutrino in the neutrino experiment.879I. pp. Quantum theory at the crossroads: reconsidering the 1927 Solvay conference. Edwards. Ewald Osers. Thomson's cathode ray tube experiments (discovers the electron and its negative charge). Bibcode 2001AmJPh. 1967). Anton Zeilinger. Volume 42. translated by M. (1897) The study of black body radiation between 1850 and 1900. Cambridge. Valentini. The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Field Theory: Fermions. 26. Viking [3] McCormmach. (December 1977). 20.. (1911) Otto Stern and Walther Gerlach conduct the Stern-Gerlach experiment. "Henri Poincaré and the Quantum Theory".1086/351880 [8] S. 1979. which could not be explained without quantum concepts. Blakiston's Son & Co. which demonstrates the wave nature of the electron (http:/ / hyperphysics. arXiv:quant-ph/0609184.. No. Synthese. Masius. Antony (2009). (1909) Ernest Rutherford's gold foil experiment disproved the plum pudding model of the atom which suggested that the mass and positive charge of the atom are almost uniformly distributed. F. pp. J. Harold Wienfurter. "Erwin Schrodinger's Reaction to Louis de Broglie's Thesis on the Quantum Theory. UK: Cambridge University Press.A. (1994) References [1] M. American Journal of Physics 69 (8): 879–884. (1961) 5 • The Quantum Hall effect. doi:10. The quantized version of the Hall effect has allowed for the definition of a new practical standard for electrical resistance and for an extremely precise independent determination of the fine structure constant. and Mark Kasevich.69. Guido. (1927) Clyde L. proving Interaction-free measurement is possible. [9] The Davisson-Germer experiment. Valentini.1086/350182 [4] Irons. Bibcode 2006quant. The photoelectric effect: Einstein explained this in 1905 (and later received a Nobel prize for it) using the concept of photons. which demonstrates the quantized nature of particle spin. Robert Millikan's oil-drop experiment. P.".9184B. [6] D. 7 (1981). Isis 58 (1): 37–55. The conceptual development of quantum mechanics. "Poincaré's 1911–12 proof of quantum discontinuity interpreted as applying to atoms". OCLC 534562 .. Number 1/September. gsu. New York: McGraw-Hill. edu/ hbase/ quantum/ davger2. Philadelphia. providing experimental verification of the Elitzur-Vadiman bomb tester. html) Further reading • Bacciagaluppi. doi:10. Quantum Leaps (http://books. (c1805) Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity. [7] Hanle. Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. pages 22. of Theor. Isis 68 (4): 606–609.1119/1. How is Quantum Field Theory Possible?. Jeremy (2009). Gauge Fields. The theory of heat radiation.History of Quantum Mechanics • • • • • • • • • • • Thomas Young's double-slit experiment demonstrating the wave nature of light. 1–70. Phys. and Super-symmetry. [2] Folsing. 43. Russell (Spring. Albrecht (1997). Vol.. ISBN 978-0-674-03541-6 • Jammer. Part I: Lattice Field Theories. doi:10. 2001). Thomas Herzog. (1920) Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer demonstrate the wave nature of the electron[9] in the Electron diffraction experiment. International J. (1982) • The Mach-Zehnder Interferometer experiment conducted by Paul Kwiat. Cambridge. Planck (1914).com/?id=j0Me3brYOL0C& printsec=frontcover). which showed that electric charge occurs as quanta (whole units). second edition. • The experimental verification of quantum entanglement by Alain Aspect. OCLC 227191829 • Bernstein. Albert Einstein: A Biography.ph. discovered in 1980 by Klaus von Klitzing. trans. 42.

Journal of Mathematics and Mechanics. 1976. 36(3). ACM SIGACT News.ac. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science V: 1969. • Hermann Weyl. A. Phys. with careful attention to the history of the subject).st-and.uk/~history/HistTopics/ The_Quantum_age_begins. Lichnerowicz and D.Y. M. Benjamin.and II. 1989. • A.oberlin. Space and Logic". Omnès. 111-151. 2005.de/) . (Discusses logical and philosophical issues of quantum mechanics.mpiwg-berlin.mpg. pp. Cohen. Bayen. A.. 1957. Kadison. Springer-Verlag. Vol. 54.edu/physics/dstyer/StrangeQM/history. Deformation theory and quantization I. Fronsdal. C. W.html) • A Brief History of Quantum Mechanics (http://www. 51–66. • N. • C. Understanding Quantum Mechanics. • G. pp. • R. 1963 (paperback reprint by Dover 2004). ISBN 0-471-43958-4. 1951 • G. 1983. • A. W. Gleason. 1950. The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Quantum Physics. Isometries of Operator Algebras. 2011. Oxford University Press. Papanikolaou. • D. Mackey. Flato. "Matter. D. 1999.History of Quantum Mechanics • Jammer. Reasoning Formally About Quantum Systems: An Overview. This is a thorough and well-illustrated introduction. The New Quantum Age: From Bell's Theorem to Quantum Computation and Teleportation. An Introduction to Hilbert Space and Quantum Logic. 61–110. 325–338. 111 (1978) pp. Max (1974). Ludwig. Benjamin. ISBN 978-0-19-958913-5 6 External links • A History of Quantum Mechanics (http://www-groups. Princeton University Press. A. OCLC 969760 • F. New York: Wiley.html) • Homepage of the Quantum History Project (http://quantum-history. • Finkelstein. Annals of Mathematics. Dover Publications. Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.dcs. Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Whitaker. Piron. Measures on the Closed Subspaces of a Hilbert Space. • R. The philosophy of quantum mechanics: The interpretations of quantum mechanics in historical perspective. Sternheimer. Springer-Verlag. Ann. (N.).

Werner Heisenberg. Classical physics explains matter and energy at the macroscopic level of the scale familiar to human experience. In the words of Richard Feynman. Even more disconcerting. entangled particles seem to exhibit what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance. Quantum mechanics predicts the energies. Albert Einstein.[2] These concepts are described in roughly the order they were first discovered. the act of measuring the first property necessarily introduces additional energy into the micro-system being studied. the colours. Radiators of photons (such as neon lights) have emission spectra that are discontinuous.[4] . Richard Feynman. including the behavior of astronomical bodies. Put another way. behave in some respects like particles and in other respects like waves. but at the end of the 19th Century observers discovered phenomena in both the large (macro) and the small (micro) worlds that classical physics could not explain. Some aspects of quantum mechanics can seem counter-intuitive or even paradoxical. From above and from left to right:Max Planck.[1] Coming to terms with these limitations led to the development of quantum mechanics.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 7 Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics Quantum mechanics is the body of scientific principles that explains the behavior of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles and how these phenomena could be related to everyday life (see: Schrodinger's cat)." As is described in more detail in the article on Quantum entanglement. for a more complete history of the subject. the less precise another measurement pertaining to the same particle (such as its momentum) must become. thereby perturbing that system."[3] Many types of energy. see History of quantum mechanics. measuring position first and then measuring momentum does not have the same outcome as measuring momentum first and then measuring position. a major revolution in physics.Niels Bohr.Max Born." matches between states that classical physics would insist must be random even when distance and the speed of light ensure that no physical causation could account for these correlations. Louis de Broglie. where classical physics is an excellent approximation. quantum mechanics deals with "nature as She is — absurd. This article describes how physicists discovered the limitations of classical physics and developed the main concepts of the quantum theory that replaced them in the early decades of the 20th century. because they describe behavior quite different than that seen at larger length scales. It remains the key to measurement for much of modern science and technology. Paul Dirac. and the spectral intensities of all forms of electromagnetic radiation. Quantum mechanics ordains that the more closely one pins down one measure (such as the position of a particle). such as photons (discrete units of light). pairs of particles can be created as "entangled twins.Erwin Schrödinger. Wolfgang Pauli. in that only certain frequencies of light are present.

[9] . rather than being able to emit any arbitrary amount of energy.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 8 The first quantum theory: Max Planck and black body radiation Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted from the surface of an object due to the object's temperature. the energy of each oscillator was "quantized. If an object is heated sufficiently. is known as the ultraviolet catastrophe. the constant of proportionality is now known as the Planck constant. To reproduce the experimental results he had to assume that each oscillator produced an integer number of units of energy at its single characteristic frequency. red and Wien approximation. and so the energy E of an oscillator of frequency f is given by [7] Correct values (green) contrasted against the classical values (Rayleigh-Jeans law. classical physics predicted that energy will be emitted by a hot body at an infinite rate. but less brightly and at longer wavelengths than the human eye can detect. at short wavelengths. The first model that was able to explain the full spectrum of thermal radiation was put forward by Max Planck in 1900. In the late 19th century. which is clearly wrong. and Planck won the Nobel Prize in 1918 "in recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta. In other words. according to Planck. and the overall power emitted per unit area is given by the Stefan–Boltzmann law. because it absorbs all the light that falls on it and emits none. blue). such an object looks perfectly black."[6] The quantum of energy for each oscillator. as light at shorter wavelengths (higher frequencies) begins to be emitted. This result. usually written as h. When it is cold. Heating it further causes the colour to change from red to yellow to blue to white. classical physics was unable to explain the relationship between temperatures and predominant frequencies of radiation. Everything else in the picture is glowing with thermal radiation as well. Hot metalwork from a blacksmith. In fact. The Planck constant. rather than (as we now know) a fundamental change in our understanding of the world. and the radiation it emits is called black body radiation. Consequently. However. Planck's view was that quantization was purely a mathematical trick. using a set of harmonic oscillators. it starts to emit light at the red end of the spectrum — it is red hot. Physicists were searching for a single theory that explained why they got the experimental results that they did."[8] At the time. was proportional to the frequency of the oscillator. A far-infrared camera can observe this radiation. has the value 663 × 10−34 J s. however.[5] He modeled the thermal radiation as being in equilibrium. It turns out that a perfect emitter is also a perfect absorber. thermal radiation had been fairly well-characterized experimentally. an ideal thermal emitter is known as a black body. The yellow-orange glow is the visible part of the thermal radiation emitted due to the high temperature. How the wavelength at which the radiation is strongest changes with temperature is given by Wien's displacement law. Planck's law was the first quantum theory in physics.

f0. The ejected electron has a kinetic energy EK which is. Einstein's ideas were met initially with great scepticism.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 9 Photons: the quantisation of light In 1905.[11] This amount of energy is different for each metal. one of the most significant pieces of evidence in its favour was its ability to explain several puzzling properties of the photoelectric effect. Because of the preponderance of evidence in favour of the wave theory. magnetism and light are all manifestations of the same phenomenon: the Einstein's portrait by Harm electromagnetic field. is the frequency of a photon whose energy is equal to the work function: If f is greater than f0. Einstein argued that it takes a certain amount of energy. which predicts that the electron's energy should be proportional to the intensity of the radiation. which are the complete set of laws of Kamerlingh Onnes at the University of Leiden in 1920 classical electromagnetism.[13] only its frequency determines the maximum energy that can be imparted to the electron. the photon model became favoured.[10] The energy of a single photon is given by its frequency multiplied by Planck's constant: For centuries. called the work function. which are now called photons. the wave analogy remained indispensable for helping to understand other characteristics of light. The photoelectric effect In 1887 Heinrich Hertz observed that light can eject electrons from metal. electrons are ejected (blue arrows.e. equal to the photon's energy minus the energy needed to dislodge the electron from the metal: Light (red arrows. which imparts at most an energy hf to the electron. Maxwell's equations. James Clerk Maxwell had shown that electricity. This observation is at odds with classical electromagnetism. If the energy of the photon is less than the work function then it does not carry sufficient energy to remove the electron from the metal. Eventually. describe light as waves: a combination of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. denoted by φ.[12]:24 Einstein explained the effect by postulating that a beam of light is a stream of particles (photons). If the light is of sufficient frequency (i. such as diffraction.[11] To explain the threshold effect. right). the debate was generally considered to have been settled in favour of the wave theory. however. at most. He suggested that quantisation was not just a mathematical trick: the energy in a beam of light occurs in individual packets.[11] Therefore. sufficient energy). left) is shone upon a metal. Nonetheless. The threshold frequency. as it was able to explain observed effects such as refraction. The lowest frequency of light that causes electrons to be emitted. described in the following section. is different for every metal. if the frequency is too low.[11] In 1902 Philipp Lenard discovered that the maximum possible energy of an ejected electron is related to the frequency of the light. no electrons are ejected regardless of the intensity. scientists had debated between two possible theories of light: was it a wave or did it instead comprise a stream of tiny particles? By the 19th century. diffraction and polarization.[11] An electron is likely to be struck only by a single photon. the intensity of the beam has no effect. the energy hf is enough to remove an electron. to remove an electron from the metal. not to its intensity. and that if the beam is of frequency f then each photon has an energy equal to hf. called the threshold frequency. Albert Einstein took an extra step. .

10 . and all photons of different frequencies have proportionally different energies. Light of high frequency could carry more energy only because of flooding a surface with more photons arriving per second.[14][15] The relationship between the frequency of electromagnetic radiation and the energy of each individual photon is why ultraviolet light can cause sunburn. Once again. In other words. and increasing its temperature changes the quanta of energy that are available to excite individual atoms to higher levels and permit them to emit photons of higher frequencies. which will be at their equilibrium level. the characteristic frequency of a radiating body is dependent on its temperature. To change the color of such a radiating body it is necessary to change its temperature. But that is not so for otherwise larger suns and larger pieces of iron in a forge would glow with colours more toward the violet end of the spectrum. In nature. but visible or infrared light cannot. single photons are rarely encountered. Statistically. So an infrared lamp can warm a large surface. orange light. All photons of the same frequency have identical energy. Einstein's idea that individual units of light may contain different amounts of energy depending on their frequency made it possible to explain the experimental results that hitherto had seemed quite counter-intuitive. The emission sources available to Hertz and Lennard in the 19th century shared that characteristic. is quantised). perhaps large enough to keep people comfortable in a cold room. The sun emits photons continuously at all electromagnetic frequencies. A photon of ultraviolet light will deliver a high amount of energy—enough to contribute to cellular damage such as occurs in a sunburn. the characteristic behavior of a photoelectric device will reflect the behavior of the vast majority of its electrons. they initially expected that a higher intensity of light would produce a higher voltage from the photoelectric device. then if you doubled the rate of photon delivery.e. It might be surmised that adding continuously to the total energy of some radiating body would make it radiate red light. The total energy emitted per unit of time by a sun or by a piece of iron in a forge depends on both the number of photons emitted per unit of time and also on the amount of energy carried by each of the photons involved.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics Einstein's description of light as being composed of particles extended Planck's notion of quantised energy: a single photon of a given frequency f delivers an invariant amount of energy hf. and so on in that order. so they appear to propagate as a continuous wave. but it cannot give anyone a sunburn. Einstein rejected that wave-dependent classical approach in favour of a particle-based analysis where the energy of the particle must be absolute and varies with frequency in discrete steps (i. An electron that was already excited above the equilibrium level of the photoelectric device might be ejected when it absorbed uncharacteristically low frequency illumination. although the photon is a particle it was still being described as having the wave-like property of frequency. If each individual photon had identical energy. individual photons can deliver more or less energy. yellow light. A photon of infrared light will deliver a lower amount of energy—only enough to warm one's skin. the effect that makes the light meters of modern cameras work. If it were true that all photons carry the same energy. but only depending on their frequencies. blue light. In other words. When physicists were looking only at beams of light containing huge numbers of individual and virtually indistinguishable photons it was difficult to understand the importance of the energy levels of individual photons. and that weak beams of light toward the violet end of the spectrum would produce higher and higher voltages. the initial energy-state of the electrons in a photoelectric device prior to absorption of light is not necessarily uniform. However. not as discrete units. it would not be correct to talk of a "high energy" photon. green light. They discovered that strong beams of light toward the red end of the spectrum might produce no electrical potential at all. may both be said to contain a great deal of energy. This point is helpful in comprehending the distinction between the study of individual particles in quantum dynamics and the study of massed particles in classical physics. Therefore anomalous results may occur in the case of individual electrons. Light of low frequency could carry more energy only for the same reason. or a piece of iron in a forge that glows red. violet light. the particle account of light was being "compromised". Although the energy imparted by photons is invariant at any given frequency. you would double the number of energy units arriving each second. A sun that radiates red light. however. So when physicists first discovered devices exhibiting the photoelectric effect.

the emission spectrum should contain certain ultraviolet wavelengths. 6. For example. white light consists of a continuous emission across the whole range of visible frequencies. Thus Balmer's constant was the basis of a system of discrete. dense. and should therefore give off electromagnetic radiation. and for m = 3 and n > 3. equal to 0. it was known that atoms comprise a diffuse cloud of negatively-charged electrons surrounding a small. the visible light given off by hydrogen consists of four different colours. and n must be greater than m. and in 1914 Theodore Lyman found some of the predicted ultraviolet wavelengths. A second. quantised.0110 nm−1. it gives off light only at discrete frequencies. This understanding suggested a model in which the electrons circle around the nucleus like planets orbiting a sun. When excited. related. it was also known that the atom in this model would be unstable: according to classical theory orbiting electrons are undergoing centripetal acceleration. hydrogen gas gives off light in four distinct colours (spectral lines) in the visible spectrum. Emission spectrum of hydrogen. as shown in the picture below. 4. It also predicts additional wavelengths in the emission spectrum: for m = 1 and for n > 1. By contrast. In 1885 the Swiss mathematician Johann Balmer discovered that each wavelength λ (lambda) in the visible spectrum of hydrogen is related to some integer n by the equation where B is a constant which Balmer determined to be equal to 364. puzzle was the emission spectrum of atoms.[17] . as well as a number of lines in the infra-red and ultra-violet. Rydberg's formula accounts for the four visible wavelengths of hydrogen by setting m = 2 and n = 3. integers.[16] However. positively-charged nucleus.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 11 The quantisation of matter: the Bohr model of the atom By the dawn of the 20th century.e. He predicted that λ is related to two integers n and m according to what is now known as the Rydberg formula:[17] where R is the Rydberg constant. i. Experimental observation of these wavelengths came two decades later: in 1908 Louis Paschen found some of the predicted infrared wavelengths. When a gas is heated. In 1888 Johannes Rydberg generalized and greatly increased the explanatory utility of Balmer's formula. colliding with it in a fraction of a second.56 nm. 5. the loss of energy also causing them to spiral toward the nucleus. it should also contain certain infrared wavelengths.

called the Bohr radius. giving off the emitted light in the form of a photon. an electron that absorbs a photon gains energy.[19] The possible energies of photons given off by each element were determined by the differences in energy between the orbits. and e is the charge on an electron. to a lower orbit. A consequence of these constraints is that the electron will not crash into the nucleus: it cannot continuously emit energy. electrons could inhabit only certain orbits around the atomic nucleus. The energy of the electron[21] can also be calculated. Starting from this assumption. of an electron is quantised: The Bohr model of the atom. showing an electron quantum jumping to ground state n = 1.[20] Bohr theorised that the angular momentum. the extra energy is emitted in the form of a photon. as might be expected classically. m is the mass of an electron. hence it jumps to an orbit that is farther from the nucleus. L. is equal to 0. the wavelengths of light that can be emitted are given by This equation has the same form as the Rydberg formula. Instead. and it cannot come closer to the nucleus than a0 (the Bohr radius).Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 12 Bohr's model In 1913 Niels Bohr proposed a new model of the atom that included quantized electron orbits. When an atom emitted (or absorbed) energy.0529 nm.[18] In Bohr's model. rm. the electron would jump instantaneously from one orbit to another. and predicts that the constant R should be given by . An electron loses energy by jumping instantaneously from its original orbit to a lower orbit. The Bohr radius is the radius of the smallest allowed orbit. the electron did not move in a continuous trajectory from one orbit around the nucleus to another. The energy Eγ of this photon is the difference in the energies En and Em of the electron: Since Planck's equation shows that the photon's energy is related to its wavelength by Eγ = hc/λ. Each photon from glowing atomic hydrogen is due to an electron moving from a higher orbit. and is given by . with radius rn. where ke is the Coulomb constant. where n is an integer and h is the Planck constant. and that it can have only certain energies. Conversely. For simplicity this is written as where a0. and so the emission spectrum for each element would contain a number of lines. Coulomb's law and the equations of circular motion show that an electron with n units of angular momentum will orbit a proton at a distance r given by . Thus Bohr's assumption that angular momentum is quantised means that an electron can only inhabit certain orbits around the nucleus.

Exactly the same behaviour can be demonstrated in water waves. or to explain why some spectral lines are brighter than others. At Bell Labs. The concept of wave-particle duality says that neither the classical concept of "particle" nor of "wave" can fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects. associated with a particle is related to its momentum.[26] (This term was later popularised by mathematician Banesh Hoffmann. is discussed in the section below. Similar wave-like phenomena were later shown for atoms and even small molecules. . astrophysicist A.)[27]:172 Wave-particle duality is an example of the principle of complementarity in quantum physics. Thomson and Davisson shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937 for their experimental work. If one of the slits is covered up. holds for all types of matter. and so the double-slit experiment was seen as a demonstration of the wave nature of light. the wave-like nature of electrons was demonstrated by showing that a beam of electrons could exhibit diffraction. called the de Broglie hypothesis. matter also has wave-like properties. Davisson and Germer guided their beam through a crystalline grid. Eddington proposed in 1927 that "We can scarcely describe such an entity as a wave or as a particle. producing an interference pattern (the 3 fringes shown at the right). At the University of Aberdeen. a simple diffraction pattern. De Broglie was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1929 for his hypothesis. An elegant example of wave-particle duality. a beam of light is directed through two narrow. p through the Planck constant h :[24][25] The relationship. λ . George Thomson passed a beam of electrons through a thin metal film and observed the predicted diffraction patterns. In fact. The double-slit experiment In the double-slit experiment as originally performed by Thomas Young and Augustin Fresnel in 1827. just like a beam of light. producing an interference pattern of light and dark bands on a screen.S. De Broglie's treatment of quantum events served as a jumping off point for Schrödinger when he set about to construct a wave equation to describe quantum theoretical events. Light from one slit interferes with light from the other. Closing one slit results in a much simpler pattern diametrically opposite the open slit. it was not able to make accurate predictions for multi-electron atoms. Three years later. perhaps as a compromise we had better call it a 'wavicle' ". Wave-particle duality In 1924. Indeed. a much simpler pattern is seen. Louis de Broglie proposed the idea that just as light has both wave-like and particle-like properties. one might naively expect that the intensity of the fringes due to interference would be halved everywhere. the double slit experiment.[22] However. Thus all matter exhibits properties of both particles and waves.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 13 Therefore the Bohr model of the atom can predict the emission spectrum of hydrogen in terms of fundamental constants.[23] The wavelength. closely spaced slits. either photons or matter.

An example of a standing wave is a violin string. The equation. about 1933. because the violin string is fixed at both ends. Heisenberg's colleague Max Born realised that Heisenberg's method of calculating the . demonstrating the wave-like propagation of light. and like a particle when we do an experiment to measure its particle-like properties. The quantum particle acts as a wave when passing through the double slits. The waves created by a stringed instrument appear to oscillate in place. The interference pattern from two slits is much more complex. somewhat as laid down in a catalog. atoms. photon or electron) is passing through the apparatus at a time. Werner Heisenberg was trying to find an explanation for the intensities of the different lines in the hydrogen emission spectrum. where l is the length and n is a positive integer. Application to the Bohr model De Broglie expanded the Bohr model of the atom by showing that an electron in orbit around a nucleus could be thought of as having wave-like properties. Erwin Schrödinger.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 14 The double-slit experiment has also been performed using electrons. moving in a well of electrical potential created by the proton. and describes how the quantum state of a physical system changes in time. age 46 At a somewhat earlier time. an electron will be observed only in situations that permit a standing wave around a nucleus. Thus it has been demonstrated that all matter possesses both particle and wave characteristics. and the same type of interference pattern is seen."[29] Schrödinger was able to calculate the energy levels of hydrogen by treating a hydrogen atom's electron as a classical wave. The wavelength of a standing wave is related to the length of the vibrating object and the boundary conditions. and even molecules. it can carry standing waves of wavelengths 2l/n. Even if the source intensity is turned down so that only one particle (e." and that it therefore provides "future expectation[s] . In particular. called the Schrödinger equation after its creator. The diffraction pattern produced when light is shone through one slit (top) and the interference pattern produced by two slits (bottom). moving from crest to trough in an up-and-down motion. he says that the psi-function featured in his equation provides the "means for predicting probability of measurement results. By means of a series of mathematical analogies. defines the permitted stationary states of a quantum system. but as a particle when it is detected. For example. the same interference pattern develops over time. Development of modern quantum mechanics In 1925. Where on the detector screen any individual particle shows up will be the result of an entirely random process. which is fixed at both ends and can be made to vibrate. De Broglie suggested that the allowed electron orbits were those for which the circumference of the orbit would be an integer number of wavelengths. is central to quantum mechanics. Erwin Schrödinger developed the equation that describes the behaviour of a quantum mechanical wave. building on de Broglie's hypothesis. Heisenberg wrote out the quantum mechanical analogue for the classical computation of intensities.[28] In the paper that introduced Schrödinger's cat. This is a typical feature of quantum complementarity: a quantum particle will act as a wave when we do an experiment to measure its wave-like properties.g. Shortly afterwards. This calculation accurately reproduced the energy levels of the Bohr model.

. those properties that are not known with precision must be described by probabilities. which gives a physical meaning to the wavefunction in the Copenhagen interpretation: the probability amplitude) 4. An experiment can demonstrate the particle-like properties of matter. The main principles of the Copenhagen interpretation are: 1. The quantum mechanical description of large systems should closely approximate the classical description. (Complementarity principle due to Bohr) 6. (Born rule. A system is completely described by a wave function. known as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The probability of an event — for example. Heisenberg and others tried to explain what these experimental results and mathematical models really mean. Yet the two men disagreed on the interpretation of their mutual theory. Schrödinger proved that Heisenberg's matrix mechanics and his own wave mechanics made the same predictions about the properties and behaviour of the electron." 15 Copenhagen interpretation Bohr. (Heisenberg) 2. aimed to describe the nature of reality that was being probed by the measurements and described by the mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics. (Correspondence principle of Bohr and Heisenberg) Various consequences of these principles are discussed in more detail in the following subsections. mathematically. exhibits a wave-particle duality. but not both at the same time. Measuring devices are essentially classical devices. Matter. where on the screen a particle will show up in the two slit experiment — is related to the square of the amplitude of its wave function.[30] In May 1926. the two theories were identical. Their description. but Schrödinger hoped that a theory based on continuous wave-like properties could avoid what he called (in the words of Wilhelm Wien[31]) "this nonsense about quantum jumps. 7. due to Max Born. or its wave-like properties. For instance. like energy.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics probabilities for transitions between the different energy levels could best be expressed by using the mathematical concept of matrices. Heisenberg saw no problem in the theoretical prediction of instantaneous transitions of electrons between orbits in an atom. How changes over time is given by the Schrödinger equation. . and measure classical properties such as position and momentum. (Heisenberg's uncertainty principle) 5. 3. It is not possible to know the values of all of the properties of the system at the same time. The description of nature is essentially probabilistic.

On a scale of cars and people. which absorbs a random amount of energy. In measuring the electron's position.[35] The uncertainty principle shows mathematically that the product of the uncertainty in the position and momentum of a particle (momentum is velocity multiplied by mass) could never be less than a certain value.in the momentum is less. but about the nature of the system itself — our naive assumption that the car had a definite position and speed was incorrect. we will get a result that is closer to the true value. not its original momentum. When it does show up. However. the measurement of the position and momentum of an electron using a photon of light. like position and speed. and how accurately we can measure these values depends on the quality of our measuring equipment — if we improve the precision of our measuring equipment.hence uncertainty . Heisenberg proved that these assumptions are not correct. the less precisely the other can be known. and the wave function has disappeared with it. Naively. cannot both be known to arbitrary precision: the more precisely one property is known. the time and the space where it interacted with the device are known within very tight limits. In particular. The uncertainty principle isn't a statement about the accuracy of our measuring equipment. Heisenberg gave. With a photon of lower frequency the disturbance . In 1927..Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 16 Uncertainty principle Suppose that we want to measure the position and speed of an object — for example a car going through a radar speed trap. and that this value is related to Planck's constant. the photon has disappeared. Heisenberg won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1932 for the work that he [32] did at around this time. an exposed spot in a sheet of photographic film. we would assume that how precisely we measure the speed of the car does not affect the measurement of its position. but so is the accuracy of the measurement of the position of the impact. and vice versa. for instance in the CCD of an electronic camera. rendering the measurement obtained of its momentum increasingly uncertain (momentum is velocity multiplied by mass). Wave function collapse Wave function collapse is a forced term for whatever happened when it becomes appropriate to replace the description of an uncertain state of a system by a description of the system in a definite state. as an illustration. the higher the frequency of the photon the more accurate is the measurement of the position of the impact. or a change in electric potential in some cell of a CCD. Explanations for the nature of the process of becoming certain are controversial.g. . from the collision products.[34] Werner Heisenberg at the age of 26. At any time before a photon "shows up" on a detection screen it can only be described by a set of probabilities for where it might show up. In its place some physical change in the detection screen has appeared. but the greater is the disturbance of the electron. we assume that the car has a definite position and speed at a particular moment in time. these uncertainties are too small to notice. but when dealing with atoms and electrons they become critical.[33] Quantum mechanics shows that certain pairs of physical properties. This statement is known as the uncertainty principle. for one is necessarily measuring its post-impact disturbed momentum. e.

In particular. When an object can definitely be "pinned-down" in some respect. Pauli formulated his exclusion principle. Therefore it is necessary to formulate clearly the difference between the state of something that is indeterminate. or "spin". Application to the hydrogen atom Bohr's model of the atom was essentially two-dimensional — an electron orbiting in a plane around its nuclear "sun. thus satisfying the exclusion principle. determining the magnetic moment of the orbital around the z-axis. 4. each electron has four properties: 1.[37] Schrödinger was able to calculate the energy levels of hydrogen by treating a hydrogen atom's electron as a wave. stating that "There cannot exist an atom in such a quantum state that two electrons within [it] have the same set of quantum numbers. statements about both the position and momentum of particles can only assign a probability that the position or momentum will have some numerical value. The quantum number represented the sense (positive or negative) of spin. represented by the "wave function" Ψ."[36] A year later. to resolve inconsistencies between observed molecular spectra and the predictions of quantum mechanics. created by the proton. spherical or otherwise. a "cloud" of possible locations. V. It is often depicted as a three-dimensional region within which there is a 95 percent probability of finding the electron.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 17 Eigenstates and eigenvalues For a more detailed introduction to this subject. about an axis." However. it is said to possess an eigenstate. the uncertainty principle states that an electron cannot be viewed as having an exact location at any given time. The "inclination" of the orbital. Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit identified Pauli's new degree of freedom with a property called spin. The "shape" of the orbital. In the modern theory the orbit has been replaced by an atomic orbital. 3. The "spin" of the electron. Orbitals have a range of different shapes in three dimensions. . Within Schrödinger's picture. and the state of something having a definite value. and allow two electrons in the same orbital to occupy distinct quantum states if they "spun" in opposite directions. in a electric potential well. The energies of the different orbitals can be calculated. with two possible values. originating with Ralph Kronig. Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new quantum degree of freedom (or quantum number). these are known as the electron's quantum numbers. The quantum state can be described by giving a number to each of these properties. The quantum state of the electron is described by its wavefunction. The Pauli exclusion principle In 1924. Spin would account for the missing magnetic moment. the spectrum of atomic hydrogen had a doublet. The solutions to Schrödinger's equation are distributions of probabilities for electron positions and locations. indicating whether the particle wave is one that is closer to the nucleus with less energy or one that is farther from the nucleus with more energy. The idea. The Pauli exclusion principle demands that no two electrons within an atom may have the same values of all four numbers. An "orbital" designation. 2. and they accurately reproduce the energy levels of the Bohr model. such as an electron in a probability cloud. was that electrons behave as if they rotate. The collective name for these properties is the quantum state of the electron. or pair of lines differing by a small amount. see: Introduction to eigenstates Because of the uncertainty principle. where only one line was expected.

2py. denoted l. the spin quantum number (pertaining to the "orientation" of the electron's spin) is denoted ms. which is the same as in Bohr's model. describes the magnetic moment of the electron. The next quantum number. s = 1⁄2. n. moreover. and g. The possible values for n are integers: The shapes of the first five atomic orbitals: 1s. and are denoted by the letters d.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 18 The first property describing the orbital is the principal quantum number. The azimuthal quantum number represents the orbital angular momentum of an electron around its nucleus. 2px. The colours show the phase of the wavefunction. The chemist Linus Pauling wrote. The other orbitals have more complicated shapes (see atomic orbital). the azimuthal quantum number. the magnetic quantum number. 2s. which can have the value of +1⁄2 for one electron and −1⁄2 for the other. the Pauli Exclusion Principle requires that the two electrons differ in the value of one quantum number. The third quantum number. The possible values for ml are integers from −l to l: The magnetic quantum number measures the component of the angular momentum in a particular direction. and the way that electrons fill them. and is denoted by ml (or simply m). that determines the organisation of the periodic table and the structure and strength of chemical bonds between atoms. The possible values for l are integers from 0 to n − 1: The shape of each orbital has its own letter as well. and ml are the same. The next shape is denoted by the letter p and has the form of a dumbbell. with values +1⁄2 or −1⁄2. The shape is a consequence of the angular momentum of the orbital. l. describes the shape of the orbital. Their values of n. by way of example: In the case of a helium atom with two electrons in the 1s orbital. The choice of direction is arbitrary. . and 2pz."[36] It is the underlying structure and symmetry of atomic orbitals. The angular momentum represents the resistance of a spinning object to speeding up or slowing down under the influence of external force. conventionally the z-direction is chosen. n denotes the energy level of each orbital. The first shape is denoted by the letter s (a mnemonic being "sphere"). they have the same spin. Accordingly they must differ in the value of ms. f. The fourth quantum number.

Paul Dirac extended the Pauli equation. A concrete way of thinking about entangled photons. then that experiment changes the photon involved from one having a superposition of "blue" and "red" characteristics to a photon that has only one of those characteristics.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 19 Dirac wave equation In 1928. such as the speed at which an electron orbits the nucleus." If the experimenter now performs some experiment that will determine whether one of the photons is either blue or red. Nothing is certain until the superimposed waveforms "collapse. for which he proposed a novel solution: he posited the existence of an antielectron and of a dynamical vacuum. emerge simultaneously from the double slits arrive at the detection screen in a state of superposition. and to reproduce from physical first principles Sommerfeld's successful formula for the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum. Dirac's equations sometimes yielded a negative value for energy. This led to the many-particle quantum field theory." At that instant an electron shows up somewhere in accordance with the probabilities that are the squares of the amplitudes of the two superimposed waveforms.1984) Quantum entanglement The Pauli exclusion principle says that two electrons in one system cannot be in the same state. Dirac was able to predict the value of the magnetic moment associated with the electron's spin. is as follows: Imagine that the superposition of a state that can be mentally labeled as blue and another state that can be mentally labeled as red will then appear (in imagination. The situation there is already very abstract. and two resolution possibilities. it would necessarily show up in the opposite state to whatever its twin had revealed. He was able to solve for the spectral lines of the hydrogen atom. So whenever it might be investigated after its twin had been measured. Nature leaves open the possibility. and found the experimentally observed value. however. By using the simplest electromagnetic interaction. of course) as a purple state. . Perhaps they are produced by the excitation of a crystal that characteristically absorbs a photon of a certain frequency and emits two photons of half the original frequency. that two electrons can have both states "superimposed" over each of them. which described spinning electrons. Recall that the wave functions that Superposition of two quantum characteristics. So the two photons come out "purple. which was too large to be that of a spinning charged sphere governed by classical physics. The result was a theory that dealt properly with events. when its twin was made to reveal itself as either blue or red. The problem that Einstein had with such an imagined situation was that if one of these photons had been kept bouncing between mirrors in a laboratory on earth. that meant that the distant photon now had to lose its "purple" status too. Paul Dirac (1902 . to account for special relativity. photons in which two contrary states are superimposed on each of them in the same event. occurring at a substantial fraction of the speed of light. Two photons are produced as the result of the same atomic event. and the other one had traveled halfway to the nearest star.

proton. The magnetic field. while according to the Copenhagen interpretation. EPR attempted to show from quantum theory that a particle has both position and momentum simultaneously."[40] Other effects that manifest themselves as fields are gravitation and static electricity. Electric charges are the sources of. As a force is exerted. through their common past. in turn causes electric current (moving electrons). that quantum mechanics is often used to refer to "the entire notion of quantum view. & Rosen 1935 is currently Einstein's most cited publication in physics journals. among others. Erwin Schrödinger used the word "entanglement" and declared: "I would not call that one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics. setting out what is now called the EPR paradox. Electromagnetism can be called "electrodynamics" because it is a dynamic interaction between electrical and magnetic forces. He sought to explain this seeming interaction in a classical way.[41] In 2008. This includes the electron. He added. and create. Electromagnetism begins with the electric charge. Podolsky.[43] Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in physics for 1933 with Schrödinger. . Assuming what is now usually called local realism. abbreviated EPR). . and preferably not by some "spooky action at a distance. .[39] The Bell inequalities are the most powerful challenge to Einstein's claims. electric charges move. and the fields (such as the electromechanical field) are continuous classical entities."[42]:108 In 1931.) In the same year. . physicist Richard Hammond wrote that Sometimes we distinguish between quantum mechanics (QM) and quantum field theory (QFT). An electric field is a field which exerts a force on any particles that carry electric charges. Einstein started with the theory's prediction that two or more particles that have interacted in the past can appear strongly correlated when their various properties are later measured. "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory. however. QM refers to a system in which the number of particles is fixed. England — a series of clustering cones — presents the idea of small worlds that Paul Dirac studied to reach his discovery of anti-matter. Einstein. . a current flows and a magnetic field is produced. This sculpture in Bristol. goes a step further and allows for the creation and annihilation of particles . Dirac proposed the existence of particles that later became known as anti-matter. when he attempted to quantise the electromagnetic field — a procedure for constructing a quantum theory starting from a classical theory. (Einstein. The interacting electric and magnetic field is called an electromagnetic field. . 20 Quantum field theory The idea of quantum field theory began in the late 1920s with British physicist Paul Dirac."[44] Quantum electrodynamics Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is the name of the quantum theory of the electromagnetic force. and Rosen (1935. at any point in space." The argument is worked out in a famous paper. EPR concluded that quantum theory is incomplete in that it refuses to consider physical properties which objectively exist in nature. electric fields. only one of those two properties actually exists and only at the moment that it is being measured. and even quarks. QFT . A field in physics is "a region or space in which a given effect (such as magnetism) exists.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics In trying to show that quantum mechanics was not a complete theory. Podolsky." [38] The question of whether entanglement is a real condition is still in dispute. Understanding QED begins with understanding electromagnetism.

renormalization eventually was embraced as an important and self-consistent tool in QED and other fields of physics. Richard P. Flash memory chips found in USB drives also use quantum tunnelling.. Bibcode 1901AnP. This was the progenitor to modern quantum electrodynamics. English translation: " On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spectrum (http:/ / dbhs. and magnetic resonance imaging. Princeton. the electron microscope. electrical fields. [3] Feynman.. spectral lines may shift or split. which are indispensable for modern electronics. to erase their memory cells. can only take specific values. pp. In even the simple light switch. Phys.. seventh printing with corrections. "Mechanics" is the branch of science that deals with the action of forces on objects." like the energy of Planck's harmonic oscillators. and predictions pertinent to quantum mechanics are all consistent and hold a very high level of confirmation.[45] Notes [1] Quantum Mechanics from [[National Public Radio (http:/ / www. wvusd. Years later. html)]] [2] Classical physics also does not accurately describe the universe on the largest scales or at speeds close to that of light. Ann. electrical currents. As a result. org/ trasnsistor/ science/ info/ quantum. From this inconsistency the Standard Model of particle physics was discovered. so "quantum mechanics" is the part of mechanics that deals with objects for which particular properties are quantized. equations. which remedied the higher energy breakdown in theory. the problem of unsolvable infinities developed in this relativistic quantum theory. and magnetic fields is called electromagnetism.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics The physical description of interacting charged particles. The Standard Model unifies the electromagnetic and weak interactions into one theory. downloaded 13 June 2012 from http:/ / faculty. For example. us/ webdocs/ Chem-History/ Planck-1901/ Planck-1901. in most countries money is effectively quantized. . ed.309.553P. doi:10.. 21 Interpretations The physical measurements. uni-augsburg." page 5 of 7. Max (1901). ca. [4] Alan Macdonald. html)". "Ueber das Gesetz der Energieverteilung im Normalspectrum" (http:/ / www. Applications Applications of quantum mechanics include the laser. de/ annalen/ history/ historic-papers/ 1901_309_553-563. in the late 1940s Feynman's diagrams depicted all possible interactions pertaining to a given event. "Spooky action at a distance: The puzzle of entanglement in quantum theory. However. in that it had essential ingredients of the modern theory. The diagrams showed that the electromagnetic force is the interactions of photons between interacting particles. k12. [6] The word "quantum" comes from the Latin word for "how much" (as does "quantity"). This is called the electroweak theory. physik. A special class of quantum mechanical applications is related to macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superfluid helium and superconductors. with the "quantum of money" being the lowest-value coin in circulation. N. renormalization solved this problem. 309 (3): 553–63. Also.: Princeton University Press. (1988). An example of a prediction of quantum electrodynamics which has been verified experimentally is the Lamb shift. In the 1960s physicists realized that QED broke down at extremely high energies. ISBN 978-0691024172. QED : the strange theory of light and matter (1st Princeton pbk.19013090310. 10. Something which is "quantized. as otherwise the electrons in the electric current could not penetrate the potential barrier made up of a layer of oxide. The study of semiconductors led to the invention of the diode and the transistor.). . quantum tunnelling is absolutely vital.1002/andp. the transistor. provisional procedure by some of its originators. This refers to an effect whereby the quantum nature of the electromagnetic field causes the energy levels in an atom or ion to deviate slightly from what they would otherwise be. An accurate description requires general relativity. In 1928 Paul Dirac produced a relativistic quantum theory of electromagnetism. Initially viewed as a suspect. edu/ ~macdonal/ [5] This result was published (in German) as Planck. pdf). pbs. the question of what these abstract models say about the underlying nature of the real world has received competing answers. However. luther.J.

Helge (1 December 2000). Entanglrment. Prentice Hall. 51f." p. [12] Stephen Hawking.H. [9] Kragh.. . britannica. ac.19053220607. Z. but at intensities achievable with non-laser sources these effects are unobservable. p. [23] J. [31] W.+ perhaps+ as+ a+ compromise+ we+ had+ better+ call+ it+ a+ `wavicle& source=bl& ots=K0IfGzaXli& sig=zgrQiBJbHRLuUzVBT-yy8jZhC1Y& hl=en& ei=i8g1SpOHC4PgtgOu_4jVDg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1) [27] Banesh Hoffman.. the course of Gifford Lectures that Eddington delivered in the University of Edinburgh in January to March 1927. 89. "Über den anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinematik und Mechanik". [26] A. The electron has kinetic energy by virtue of its actual motion around the nucleus. 323-38. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 528298/ Schrodinger-equation) [29] Erwin Schrödinger. Schrödinger: Life and Thought. [20] Dicke and Wittke. Amir D. (Penguin. ISBN 1-84046-577-8. zbp. [17] Taylor. Phys. Prentice Hall. J. Dubson. The Strange Story of the Quantum. pp. 12 [15] Einstein's photoelectric effect equation can be derived and explained without requiring the concept of "photons". 110f. enter into a temporary physical interaction due to known forces between them and when after a time 22 . Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. p. 10f.. Bibcode 1927ZPhy. 201. pdf) [16] The classical model of the atom is called the planetary model. Dover.. D. J. org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1918/ ). Zafiratos.S.172H. . org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1932/ press. For more on this point. see NTRS. at/ dokumente/ einstein1. [22] The model can be easily modified to account of the emission spectrum of any system consisting of a nucleus and a single electron (that is. .+ and+ Heat"+ "where+ n+ =+ 1. of which we know the states by their respective representation. The term "photon" was introduced in 1926. C.1007/BF01397280. Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Introducing Quantum Theory. nasa. Wheeler and W. Mechanics. 43 (3–4): 172–198. The results are quantitatively correct for thermal light sources (the sun. PhysicsWorld. edu/ AnnusMirabilis/ AeReserveArticles/ eins_lq. as long as the electrons in the material are treated by the laws of quantum mechanics. britannica.. etc) both for the rate of electron emission as well as their angular distribution. O. "The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics. R. D. nasa. univie. C. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. com/ cws/ article/ print/ 373). Introducing Quantum Theory. see Heisenberg's entryway to matrix mechanics. 47 [37] "Orbital (chemistry and physics). [19] World Book Encyclopedia. jhu. Moore. (2004). com/ books?id=PGOTKcxSqMUC& pg=PA201& lpg=PA201& dq=We+ can+ scarcely+ describe+ such+ an+ entity+ as+ a+ wave+ or+ as+ a+ particle. eds. based on the Geiger-Marsden gold foil experiment which first demonstrated the existence of the nucleus.A. pp. [32] Heisenberg's Nobel Prize citation (http:/ / nobelprize. [21] In this case. Retrieved 2009-08-01. de/ rzt/ rzt/ it/ QM/ cat. 2001. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 614029/ uncertainty-principle) [36] Linus Pauling.43. Totem Books. [11] Taylor. [18] McEvoy. [10] Einstein. Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers. tu-harburg. 147–8. Zurek. ISBN 0-13-589789-0. gov/ archive/ nasa/ casi. ISBN 1-84046-577-8.gov (http:/ / ntrs. The Nobel Foundation. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate (2004). M.11 of Part I of Quantum Theory and Measurement (J. gov/ 19680009569_1968009569. Totem Books. com/ books?hl=en& q="Mechanics. 2005. 31 (1935). pp. phl. 1932 (http:/ / nobelprize. "Max Planck: the reluctant revolutionary" (http:/ / physicsworld. This paper can be downloaded from http:/ / www. the energy of the electron is the sum of its kinetic and potential energies. W. p. translated into English as On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light (http:/ / lorentz. html. Schrödinger. google. p. Annalen der Physik 17 (6): 132–148. [14] Dicke and Wittke. [34] Nobel Prize in Physics presentation speech. pdf). doi:10. ions such as He+ or O7+ which contain only one electron)."& btnG=Search+ Books). ISBN 0-13-589789-0.+ Wave+ Motion. Bantam. [And then appeared as Section I.. Dubson. New Jersey 1983). p. Addison-Wesley. Cambridge University Press (1989). Kessinger Publishing.NASA... google. ntrs. Wave Motion. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. Eddington. (http:/ / books. 124. P.. html) [35] "Uncertainty principle. The Nature of the Chemical Bond. (2004). (1927)." Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. pdf). and potential energy because of its electromagnetic interaction with the nucleus.132E. Princeton university Press." Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. p.. Albert (1905). Zafiratos.. J. 9. Zarate. org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1932/ ) [33] Heisenberg first published his work on the uncertainty principle in the leading German physics journal Zeitschrift für Physik: Heisenberg. p. " [30] For a somewhat more sophisticated look at how Heisenberg transitioned from the old quantum theory and classical physics to the new quantum mechanics. "Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt" (http:/ / www. The Universe in a Nutshell. p. P. 537. or sometimes the Rutherford model after Ernest Rutherford who proposed it in 1911. "This translation was originally published in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. especially p. Totem Books. ISBN 1-84046-577-8. Introducing Quantum Theory. [8] "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1918" (http:/ / nobelprize. A. P. 555says: "When two systems. 2007. R.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics [7] Francis Weston Sears (1958). A. 70–89. 2003) ISBN 0-452-28457 [25] J. the electromagnetic radiation can be treated as a classical electromagnetic wave. The Nature of the Physical World. (2004)...1002/andp. and Heat (http:/ / books. 127–9. [13] Actually there can be intensity-dependent effects. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 431159/ orbital) [38] E.322. Bibcode 1905AnP. That is. 222. britannica. [24] Aezel. page 6.com." Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. 114.. 1959 [28] "Schrodinger Equation (Physics). p. M. doi:10. incandescent lamps. p. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate (2004).

Richard L. (1983). Albert (1934). Ahmed. From Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and Ideas in the Twenty-First Century. "Quantum Physics" (http://hyperphysics.). 23 References • Bernstein. Philosophical Library. "Action and Passion at a Distance: An Essay in Honor of Professor Abner Shimony". (2012). 345. "(title not given in citation)". A. • Müller-Kirsten. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 206162/ field) [42] Richard Hammond.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics of mutual influence the systems separate again. "Heisenberg. edu/ npl/ int_rep/ qm_nl. HyperPhysics. • Liboff. The Bohr Atom. Physical Review 76 (6): 769–789. LCCN 51001018. Paul Arthur (1949).. 225. Cramer. J. Francis Weston (1949). • Scientific American Reader.." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http:/ / www. American Journal of Physics 73 (11).washington. • Schlipp.76. • Nave. Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution. ed. • Heisenberg. Introducing Quantum Theory.76.769F. (1992). Georgia State University. Appleton-Century-Crofts. World Scientific. ISBN 0-918024-18-8. (2004). ISBN 0-06-130549-9. University of Virginia. Tokyo: Japan Physical Society. John G. ISBN 0-390-30488-3. Richard P. html#quacon). I would not call that one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics. Harper and Brothers. (2008).. Readings in the Philosophy of Science. Jeremy (2005). Zarate. Herbert. Kamefuchi et al." Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. Louis (1953). ISBN 978-0-08-044528-1. Resonance.edu/hbase/quacon. Joseph Henry Press. • Feigl. David (2002). Journal of Science Education 9 (8). . • Bohr. eds. University of Chicago Press.. Matrix Mechanics and the Uncertainty Principle". doi:10. 2008. • Lakshmibala. Elsevier. . npl. Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist.edu (http:/ / www. pp. ISBN 0-19-504601-3. then they can no longer be described as before. The Revolution in Physics. Noonday Press. cited in: Popescu. LCCN 55003947.). Introductory Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed. "Max Born and the quantum theory". LCCN 99010404. Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. viz. ASIN B00005VGVF.gsu. • Peat. Robert Bruce. • Fowler. LCCN 53010401.pdf). princeton. LCCN 57014416. Retrieved 2007-11-24. H. • Reichenbach. A. • Shimony. 1953. ISBN 978-1-60163-003-2 [43] The Physical World website (http:/ / www. May (1953). • Feynman. Daniel Rohrlich (1996). Bibcode 1949PhRv. The Nobel Foundation." [39] "Quantum Nonlocality and the Possibility of Superluminal Effects". ISBN 1-874166-37-4.. html) [40] "Mechanics. Addison-Wesley. Henry (1957). OCLC 530611. ISBN 0-486-40459-5.edu/~mcdonald/examples/QED/feynman_pr_76_769_49. Z. Carl Rod (2005). • Sears. Dover. ISBN 0-486-47011-3. K. University of California Press. p. merriam-webster.1103/PhysRev. britannica. New Page Books. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics: Schrödinger Equation and Path Integral (2nd ed. [45] Durrani. S. ISBN 978-981-4397-74-2. org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1933/ ). Hans (1944). The Unknown Universe. physicalworld.). by endowing each of them with a representative of its own. Mara (2001). • Lindsay. org/ restless_universe/ html/ ru_dira.phy-astr. Sandu. (1949). com/ dictionary/ field) [41] "Field. P. J. npl. Nanosilicon.physics. Werner (1958). Optics (3rd ed. • Einstein. F... Niels (1958)..769. ISBN 0-486-47928-5. LCCN 50005340. Physics and Philosophy. "Space-Time Approach to Quantum Electrodynamics" (http://www. • de Broglie. John Wiley & Sons. Tudor Publishing Company. Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in the Light of New Technology (S. arXiv:quant-ph/9605004 [quant-ph]. H. html) [44] "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1933" (http:/ / nobelprize.). • Beller. • McEvoy. Michael (1999). washington. Margenau. Brodbeck. Oscar. Essays in Science. Vijay Kumar. LCCN 53006438. LCCN a44004471. Philosophic Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Physics. W.

a Western Perspective (Revised ed. Andreas. Patrick (2003) The New Quantum Universe.425W. 14: 179. Silberhorn. Tavel.1928. Bibcode 2009EJPh. arXiv:quant-ph/9801014 [quant-ph]. Press. • A website with good introduction to Quantum mechanics can be found here.21. Ivancevic. Press. Acad. "The Correspondence Principle in the Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Allen Lane. Richard P. John Archibald. Benjamin Schumacher (1998). • Victor Stenger (2000) Timeless Reality: Symmetry. Princeton Univ. across the universe. J. (1949). Includes much about the technologies quantum theory has made possible. • Vladimir G. 24 Further reading The following titles. Nat. World Scientific Publishing Company. • Jim Al-Khalili (2003) Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed.html) .21. • Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (2011) The Quantum Universe. Provides an intuitive introduction in non-mathematical terms and an introduction in comparatively basic mathematical terms. "Classical Electrodynamics in Terms of Direct Interparticle Action". The author is a rare physicist who tries to communicate to philosophers and humanists. Press. Bibcode 1949RvMP.1189B. • Ghirardi. • Tony Hey and Walters..google. attempt to communicate quantum theory to lay people.. Patrick. Press. • N.1088/0143-0807/30/5/026. Strunz. • Bronner. doi:10. Ivancevic (2008) Quantum leap: from Dirac and Feynman.1103/RevModPhys. The most technical of the works cited here. European Journal of Physics 30 (5): 1189–1200. Shimon (2012). Contemporary physics and the limits of knowledge (http:// books. Carl. Cambridge Univ.. David Mermin (1990) “Spooky actions at a distance: mysteries of the QT” in his Boojums all the way through. Princeton University Press. (http://www.. • Malin. • Roland Omnes (1999) Understanding Quantum Mechanics. World Scientific Publishing Company. Katherine (2005). Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books. Gerald Malsbary. H. Rutgers University Press. Tijana T. Meyn. Physics Today. • Wheeler. • Richard Feynman (1985) QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. Chpts. • Wieman. Jan-Peter (2009). Kenneth (2005) The Quantum World. all by working physicists." Proc. trigonometry.30. Princeton Univ. "Demonstrating quantum random with single photons".. World Scientific. • Van Vleck. GianCarlo (2004) Sneaking a Look at God's Cards. • Westmoreland. 5–8. Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and the Nature of Reality. Cambridge Univ.). Simplicity. Harvard Univ. • Martinus Veltman (2003) Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics. ISBN 978-0-8135-3077-2. Includes elementary particle physics. Feynman. Sci. "Transforming Physics Education". Judith (illustrations) (2002). using a minimum of technical apparatus. to human body and mind.com/?id=SELS0HbIhjYC&pg=PA200&dq=Wave+function+collapse). ISBN 0-691-08388-6 • Ford. Christine.425. Perkins. Morton. "Quantum Entanglement and the Nonexistence of Superluminal Signals".. Passages using algebra. trans.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics • Tavel.com/acad/ webtext/atoms/atpt-4. Press: 110–176. ISBN 978-981-4324-57-1. Weidenfield & Nicholson. and bra-ket notation can be passed over on a first reading. Reviews of Modern Physics 21 (3): 425–433.chem1. and Multiple Universes. doi:10.

encyclopedia.php) • The Quantum Exchange (http://www.jp/seminar/MicroWorld1_E/MicroWorld_1_E.com) • " Uncertainty Principle. You can see the interference pattern build up over time. • Experiments with single photons (http://www.newscientist.org/history/heisenberg/p07. (http://www.htm) • The spooky quantum (http://www. (http://www. (http://www. (http://www2.com/channel/ fundamentals/quantum-world) From the New Scientist.wolfram.html)" • Quantum Theory.html) • Quantum Mechanics.com/doc/1E1-quantumt.phys.com/spacetime/index.psu.com/ TimeEvolutionOfAWavepacketInASquareWell/) An animated demonstration of a wave packet dispersion over time.imamu.physik.de/quantumlab/english/) An introduction into quantum physics with interactive experiments • Hitachi video recording of double-slit experiment done with electrons. (http://www.pdf) • Everything you wanted to know about the quantum world.html)" a recording of Werner Heisenberg's voice. (http://www. Emeritus professor at Kyushu University.sa/Scientific_selections/abstracts/Physics/THE SPOOKY QUANTUM.com/watch?v=oxknfn97vFE) .compadre.org/quantum) (tutorials and open source learning software). Kenjiro.com/ht/index.aip.Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 25 External links • Takada. • Single and double slit interference (http://class.uni-erlangen.kyushu-u.wetpaint. " Microscopic World – Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. • Theoretical Physics wiki (http://theoreticalphysics.youtube.pdf) • Time-Evolution of a Wavepacket in a Square Well (http://demonstrations.edu.didaktik.edu/251Labs/10_Interference_&_Diffraction/ Single_and_Double-Slit_Interference. (http://thisquantumworld.ac.thebigview. • This Quantum World.kutl.

Even more disconcerting."[3] Many types of energy.Max Born.Niels Bohr. Louis de Broglie. the less precise another measurement pertaining to the same particle (such as its momentum) must become.[1] Coming to terms with these limitations led to the development of quantum mechanics. such as photons (discrete units of light). where classical physics is an excellent approximation. Classical physics explains matter and energy at the macroscopic level of the scale familiar to human experience. a major revolution in physics." matches between states that classical physics would insist must be random even when distance and the speed of light ensure that no physical causation could account for these correlations. and the spectral intensities of all forms of electromagnetic radiation. Put another way. see History of quantum mechanics. the colours.Werner Heisenberg." As is described in more detail in the article on Quantum entanglement. Paul Dirac. because they describe behavior quite different than that seen at larger length scales.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 26 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics Quantum mechanics is the body of scientific principles that explains the behavior of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles and how these phenomena could be related to everyday life (see: Schrodinger's cat). From above and from left to right:Max Planck. in that only certain frequencies of light are present.Erwin Schrödinger. Quantum mechanics predicts the energies. Quantum mechanics ordains that the more closely one pins down one measure (such as the position of a particle). It remains the key to measurement for much of modern science and technology.[2] These concepts are described in roughly the order they were first discovered. Radiators of photons (such as neon lights) have emission spectra that are discontinuous.[4] . quantum mechanics deals with "nature as She is — absurd. but at the end of the 19th Century observers discovered phenomena in both the large (macro) and the small (micro) worlds that classical physics could not explain. In the words of Richard Feynman. behave in some respects like particles and in other respects like waves. measuring position first and then measuring momentum does not have the same outcome as measuring momentum first and then measuring position. Albert Einstein. the act of measuring the first property necessarily introduces additional energy into the micro-system being studied. Richard Feynman. including the behavior of astronomical bodies. pairs of particles can be created as "entangled twins. for a more complete history of the subject. This article describes how physicists discovered the limitations of classical physics and developed the main concepts of the quantum theory that replaced them in the early decades of the 20th century. entangled particles seem to exhibit what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance. Wolfgang Pauli. Some aspects of quantum mechanics can seem counter-intuitive or even paradoxical. thereby perturbing that system.

When it is cold. the energy of each oscillator was "quantized. an ideal thermal emitter is known as a black body. at short wavelengths. Physicists were searching for a single theory that explained why they got the experimental results that they did. If an object is heated sufficiently. Consequently. However. The first model that was able to explain the full spectrum of thermal radiation was put forward by Max Planck in 1900. rather than being able to emit any arbitrary amount of energy.[9] . In the late 19th century. using a set of harmonic oscillators. however. because it absorbs all the light that falls on it and emits none. Hot metalwork from a blacksmith."[6] The quantum of energy for each oscillator. usually written as h. rather than (as we now know) a fundamental change in our understanding of the world. Heating it further causes the colour to change from red to yellow to blue to white. such an object looks perfectly black. which is clearly wrong. A far-infrared camera can observe this radiation. In fact. and the overall power emitted per unit area is given by the Stefan–Boltzmann law. To reproduce the experimental results he had to assume that each oscillator produced an integer number of units of energy at its single characteristic frequency. It turns out that a perfect emitter is also a perfect absorber. is known as the ultraviolet catastrophe. has the value 663 × 10−34 J s. red and Wien approximation. as light at shorter wavelengths (higher frequencies) begins to be emitted. blue).Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 27 The first quantum theory: Max Planck and black body radiation Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted from the surface of an object due to the object's temperature. and the radiation it emits is called black body radiation. Everything else in the picture is glowing with thermal radiation as well. it starts to emit light at the red end of the spectrum — it is red hot. and Planck won the Nobel Prize in 1918 "in recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta. was proportional to the frequency of the oscillator. Planck's law was the first quantum theory in physics.[5] He modeled the thermal radiation as being in equilibrium. thermal radiation had been fairly well-characterized experimentally. according to Planck. The Planck constant. Planck's view was that quantization was purely a mathematical trick. but less brightly and at longer wavelengths than the human eye can detect. In other words. This result."[8] At the time. classical physics predicted that energy will be emitted by a hot body at an infinite rate. The yellow-orange glow is the visible part of the thermal radiation emitted due to the high temperature. classical physics was unable to explain the relationship between temperatures and predominant frequencies of radiation. How the wavelength at which the radiation is strongest changes with temperature is given by Wien's displacement law. the constant of proportionality is now known as the Planck constant. and so the energy E of an oscillator of frequency f is given by [7] Correct values (green) contrasted against the classical values (Rayleigh-Jeans law.

The lowest frequency of light that causes electrons to be emitted. Maxwell's equations.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 28 Photons: the quantisation of light In 1905. which predicts that the electron's energy should be proportional to the intensity of the radiation.[13] only its frequency determines the maximum energy that can be imparted to the electron. which imparts at most an energy hf to the electron. such as diffraction. is different for every metal. f0. the debate was generally considered to have been settled in favour of the wave theory. denoted by φ. the wave analogy remained indispensable for helping to understand other characteristics of light. scientists had debated between two possible theories of light: was it a wave or did it instead comprise a stream of tiny particles? By the 19th century. which are now called photons. called the work function.[12]:24 Einstein explained the effect by postulating that a beam of light is a stream of particles (photons). to remove an electron from the metal. called the threshold frequency. is the frequency of a photon whose energy is equal to the work function: If f is greater than f0.e. not to its intensity. If the energy of the photon is less than the work function then it does not carry sufficient energy to remove the electron from the metal.[11] Therefore. if the frequency is too low. right). James Clerk Maxwell had shown that electricity. . diffraction and polarization.[11] To explain the threshold effect. The threshold frequency. one of the most significant pieces of evidence in its favour was its ability to explain several puzzling properties of the photoelectric effect. If the light is of sufficient frequency (i. Albert Einstein took an extra step. no electrons are ejected regardless of the intensity. describe light as waves: a combination of oscillating electric and magnetic fields.[11] In 1902 Philipp Lenard discovered that the maximum possible energy of an ejected electron is related to the frequency of the light.[10] The energy of a single photon is given by its frequency multiplied by Planck's constant: For centuries. The photoelectric effect In 1887 Heinrich Hertz observed that light can eject electrons from metal. magnetism and light are all manifestations of the same phenomenon: the Einstein's portrait by Harm electromagnetic field. left) is shone upon a metal. at most. the energy hf is enough to remove an electron. He suggested that quantisation was not just a mathematical trick: the energy in a beam of light occurs in individual packets. Nonetheless. sufficient energy). The ejected electron has a kinetic energy EK which is. equal to the photon's energy minus the energy needed to dislodge the electron from the metal: Light (red arrows. Einstein's ideas were met initially with great scepticism. the photon model became favoured.[11] An electron is likely to be struck only by a single photon.[11] This amount of energy is different for each metal. and that if the beam is of frequency f then each photon has an energy equal to hf. Einstein argued that it takes a certain amount of energy. as it was able to explain observed effects such as refraction. the intensity of the beam has no effect. electrons are ejected (blue arrows. which are the complete set of laws of Kamerlingh Onnes at the University of Leiden in 1920 classical electromagnetism. This observation is at odds with classical electromagnetism. however. described in the following section. Because of the preponderance of evidence in favour of the wave theory. Eventually.

is quantised).e. individual photons can deliver more or less energy. the characteristic behavior of a photoelectric device will reflect the behavior of the vast majority of its electrons. Statistically. single photons are rarely encountered. In other words. Therefore anomalous results may occur in the case of individual electrons. Once again. perhaps large enough to keep people comfortable in a cold room. but it cannot give anyone a sunburn. This point is helpful in comprehending the distinction between the study of individual particles in quantum dynamics and the study of massed particles in classical physics. So when physicists first discovered devices exhibiting the photoelectric effect. and so on in that order. The emission sources available to Hertz and Lennard in the 19th century shared that characteristic. or a piece of iron in a forge that glows red. All photons of the same frequency have identical energy. In nature. Einstein rejected that wave-dependent classical approach in favour of a particle-based analysis where the energy of the particle must be absolute and varies with frequency in discrete steps (i. green light. A photon of infrared light will deliver a lower amount of energy—only enough to warm one's skin. however. although the photon is a particle it was still being described as having the wave-like property of frequency. However.[14][15] The relationship between the frequency of electromagnetic radiation and the energy of each individual photon is why ultraviolet light can cause sunburn. but only depending on their frequencies. To change the color of such a radiating body it is necessary to change its temperature. If it were true that all photons carry the same energy. but visible or infrared light cannot. and that weak beams of light toward the violet end of the spectrum would produce higher and higher voltages. Light of low frequency could carry more energy only for the same reason. 29 . orange light. Einstein's idea that individual units of light may contain different amounts of energy depending on their frequency made it possible to explain the experimental results that hitherto had seemed quite counter-intuitive. But that is not so for otherwise larger suns and larger pieces of iron in a forge would glow with colours more toward the violet end of the spectrum. may both be said to contain a great deal of energy. the particle account of light was being "compromised". yellow light. So an infrared lamp can warm a large surface. they initially expected that a higher intensity of light would produce a higher voltage from the photoelectric device. A sun that radiates red light.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics Einstein's description of light as being composed of particles extended Planck's notion of quantised energy: a single photon of a given frequency f delivers an invariant amount of energy hf. The sun emits photons continuously at all electromagnetic frequencies. so they appear to propagate as a continuous wave. you would double the number of energy units arriving each second. it would not be correct to talk of a "high energy" photon. and increasing its temperature changes the quanta of energy that are available to excite individual atoms to higher levels and permit them to emit photons of higher frequencies. violet light. and all photons of different frequencies have proportionally different energies. the effect that makes the light meters of modern cameras work. which will be at their equilibrium level. Although the energy imparted by photons is invariant at any given frequency. A photon of ultraviolet light will deliver a high amount of energy—enough to contribute to cellular damage such as occurs in a sunburn. It might be surmised that adding continuously to the total energy of some radiating body would make it radiate red light. the characteristic frequency of a radiating body is dependent on its temperature. then if you doubled the rate of photon delivery. They discovered that strong beams of light toward the red end of the spectrum might produce no electrical potential at all. The total energy emitted per unit of time by a sun or by a piece of iron in a forge depends on both the number of photons emitted per unit of time and also on the amount of energy carried by each of the photons involved. blue light. If each individual photon had identical energy. Light of high frequency could carry more energy only because of flooding a surface with more photons arriving per second. not as discrete units. When physicists were looking only at beams of light containing huge numbers of individual and virtually indistinguishable photons it was difficult to understand the importance of the energy levels of individual photons. An electron that was already excited above the equilibrium level of the photoelectric device might be ejected when it absorbed uncharacteristically low frequency illumination. the initial energy-state of the electrons in a photoelectric device prior to absorption of light is not necessarily uniform. In other words.

integers. He predicted that λ is related to two integers n and m according to what is now known as the Rydberg formula:[17] where R is the Rydberg constant. In 1885 the Swiss mathematician Johann Balmer discovered that each wavelength λ (lambda) in the visible spectrum of hydrogen is related to some integer n by the equation where B is a constant which Balmer determined to be equal to 364. dense. Emission spectrum of hydrogen. puzzle was the emission spectrum of atoms. 5. and in 1914 Theodore Lyman found some of the predicted ultraviolet wavelengths. as well as a number of lines in the infra-red and ultra-violet. Experimental observation of these wavelengths came two decades later: in 1908 Louis Paschen found some of the predicted infrared wavelengths. white light consists of a continuous emission across the whole range of visible frequencies. and n must be greater than m. hydrogen gas gives off light in four distinct colours (spectral lines) in the visible spectrum. 6. When a gas is heated.[17] .Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 30 The quantisation of matter: the Bohr model of the atom By the dawn of the 20th century. it was also known that the atom in this model would be unstable: according to classical theory orbiting electrons are undergoing centripetal acceleration.e. colliding with it in a fraction of a second. 4. For example. the visible light given off by hydrogen consists of four different colours.56 nm.[16] However. Thus Balmer's constant was the basis of a system of discrete. i. This understanding suggested a model in which the electrons circle around the nucleus like planets orbiting a sun. related. and should therefore give off electromagnetic radiation. as shown in the picture below. quantised. In 1888 Johannes Rydberg generalized and greatly increased the explanatory utility of Balmer's formula. Rydberg's formula accounts for the four visible wavelengths of hydrogen by setting m = 2 and n = 3. it was known that atoms comprise a diffuse cloud of negatively-charged electrons surrounding a small. By contrast. equal to 0.0110 nm−1. it should also contain certain infrared wavelengths. and for m = 3 and n > 3. the emission spectrum should contain certain ultraviolet wavelengths. When excited. It also predicts additional wavelengths in the emission spectrum: for m = 1 and for n > 1. it gives off light only at discrete frequencies. A second. positively-charged nucleus. the loss of energy also causing them to spiral toward the nucleus.

the extra energy is emitted in the form of a photon. The energy of the electron[21] can also be calculated.[18] In Bohr's model. is equal to 0. and so the emission spectrum for each element would contain a number of lines. an electron that absorbs a photon gains energy. L. called the Bohr radius. and predicts that the constant R should be given by . For simplicity this is written as where a0. When an atom emitted (or absorbed) energy. The Bohr radius is the radius of the smallest allowed orbit. hence it jumps to an orbit that is farther from the nucleus. to a lower orbit. of an electron is quantised: The Bohr model of the atom.0529 nm. An electron loses energy by jumping instantaneously from its original orbit to a lower orbit. Starting from this assumption. The energy Eγ of this photon is the difference in the energies En and Em of the electron: Since Planck's equation shows that the photon's energy is related to its wavelength by Eγ = hc/λ. giving off the emitted light in the form of a photon. and that it can have only certain energies. Each photon from glowing atomic hydrogen is due to an electron moving from a higher orbit. Instead. as might be expected classically. showing an electron quantum jumping to ground state n = 1. the wavelengths of light that can be emitted are given by This equation has the same form as the Rydberg formula. Conversely. with radius rn. Coulomb's law and the equations of circular motion show that an electron with n units of angular momentum will orbit a proton at a distance r given by . and is given by . A consequence of these constraints is that the electron will not crash into the nucleus: it cannot continuously emit energy. and it cannot come closer to the nucleus than a0 (the Bohr radius). the electron did not move in a continuous trajectory from one orbit around the nucleus to another.[20] Bohr theorised that the angular momentum.[19] The possible energies of photons given off by each element were determined by the differences in energy between the orbits. electrons could inhabit only certain orbits around the atomic nucleus. and e is the charge on an electron. Thus Bohr's assumption that angular momentum is quantised means that an electron can only inhabit certain orbits around the nucleus. where ke is the Coulomb constant. rm. m is the mass of an electron. the electron would jump instantaneously from one orbit to another. where n is an integer and h is the Planck constant.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 31 Bohr's model In 1913 Niels Bohr proposed a new model of the atom that included quantized electron orbits.

a beam of light is directed through two narrow. holds for all types of matter. matter also has wave-like properties.[23] The wavelength. the wave-like nature of electrons was demonstrated by showing that a beam of electrons could exhibit diffraction. astrophysicist A. Wave-particle duality In 1924. a simple diffraction pattern. perhaps as a compromise we had better call it a 'wavicle' ".Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 32 Therefore the Bohr model of the atom can predict the emission spectrum of hydrogen in terms of fundamental constants. λ . or to explain why some spectral lines are brighter than others. Louis de Broglie proposed the idea that just as light has both wave-like and particle-like properties. one might naively expect that the intensity of the fringes due to interference would be halved everywhere. Thomson and Davisson shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937 for their experimental work. The double-slit experiment In the double-slit experiment as originally performed by Thomas Young and Augustin Fresnel in 1827. If one of the slits is covered up.S. it was not able to make accurate predictions for multi-electron atoms. and so the double-slit experiment was seen as a demonstration of the wave nature of light. closely spaced slits. associated with a particle is related to its momentum. The concept of wave-particle duality says that neither the classical concept of "particle" nor of "wave" can fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects. Davisson and Germer guided their beam through a crystalline grid. Indeed. producing an interference pattern (the 3 fringes shown at the right). is discussed in the section below. Light from one slit interferes with light from the other. De Broglie was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1929 for his hypothesis. Three years later. Exactly the same behaviour can be demonstrated in water waves. just like a beam of light.)[27]:172 Wave-particle duality is an example of the principle of complementarity in quantum physics. At the University of Aberdeen. the double slit experiment. Thus all matter exhibits properties of both particles and waves. called the de Broglie hypothesis. a much simpler pattern is seen. p through the Planck constant h :[24][25] The relationship. .[26] (This term was later popularised by mathematician Banesh Hoffmann. either photons or matter. At Bell Labs. George Thomson passed a beam of electrons through a thin metal film and observed the predicted diffraction patterns. An elegant example of wave-particle duality. producing an interference pattern of light and dark bands on a screen. In fact. De Broglie's treatment of quantum events served as a jumping off point for Schrödinger when he set about to construct a wave equation to describe quantum theoretical events. Eddington proposed in 1927 that "We can scarcely describe such an entity as a wave or as a particle. Closing one slit results in a much simpler pattern diametrically opposite the open slit.[22] However. Similar wave-like phenomena were later shown for atoms and even small molecules.

which is fixed at both ends and can be made to vibrate. An example of a standing wave is a violin string. The interference pattern from two slits is much more complex. By means of a series of mathematical analogies. Where on the detector screen any individual particle shows up will be the result of an entirely random process. The wavelength of a standing wave is related to the length of the vibrating object and the boundary conditions. Shortly afterwards.[28] In the paper that introduced Schrödinger's cat. defines the permitted stationary states of a quantum system. called the Schrödinger equation after its creator. This calculation accurately reproduced the energy levels of the Bohr model. demonstrating the wave-like propagation of light. In particular. and even molecules. about 1933. atoms. Development of modern quantum mechanics In 1925. The quantum particle acts as a wave when passing through the double slits. Werner Heisenberg was trying to find an explanation for the intensities of the different lines in the hydrogen emission spectrum. The waves created by a stringed instrument appear to oscillate in place. Heisenberg's colleague Max Born realised that Heisenberg's method of calculating the . Even if the source intensity is turned down so that only one particle (e. an electron will be observed only in situations that permit a standing wave around a nucleus. moving in a well of electrical potential created by the proton. photon or electron) is passing through the apparatus at a time. Application to the Bohr model De Broglie expanded the Bohr model of the atom by showing that an electron in orbit around a nucleus could be thought of as having wave-like properties.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 33 The double-slit experiment has also been performed using electrons. but as a particle when it is detected. and like a particle when we do an experiment to measure its particle-like properties. moving from crest to trough in an up-and-down motion. he says that the psi-function featured in his equation provides the "means for predicting probability of measurement results. Thus it has been demonstrated that all matter possesses both particle and wave characteristics. Erwin Schrödinger. and the same type of interference pattern is seen. building on de Broglie's hypothesis."[29] Schrödinger was able to calculate the energy levels of hydrogen by treating a hydrogen atom's electron as a classical wave. it can carry standing waves of wavelengths 2l/n. because the violin string is fixed at both ends. The diffraction pattern produced when light is shone through one slit (top) and the interference pattern produced by two slits (bottom)." and that it therefore provides "future expectation[s] . is central to quantum mechanics. where l is the length and n is a positive integer. De Broglie suggested that the allowed electron orbits were those for which the circumference of the orbit would be an integer number of wavelengths. somewhat as laid down in a catalog.g. The equation. the same interference pattern develops over time. For example. age 46 At a somewhat earlier time. Erwin Schrödinger developed the equation that describes the behaviour of a quantum mechanical wave. Heisenberg wrote out the quantum mechanical analogue for the classical computation of intensities. and describes how the quantum state of a physical system changes in time. This is a typical feature of quantum complementarity: a quantum particle will act as a wave when we do an experiment to measure its wave-like properties.

[30] In May 1926. aimed to describe the nature of reality that was being probed by the measurements and described by the mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics. exhibits a wave-particle duality. or its wave-like properties. . An experiment can demonstrate the particle-like properties of matter. Heisenberg and others tried to explain what these experimental results and mathematical models really mean.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics probabilities for transitions between the different energy levels could best be expressed by using the mathematical concept of matrices. For instance. The description of nature is essentially probabilistic. How changes over time is given by the Schrödinger equation. but not both at the same time. Measuring devices are essentially classical devices. 7. (Born rule. It is not possible to know the values of all of the properties of the system at the same time. (Complementarity principle due to Bohr) 6." 34 Copenhagen interpretation Bohr. . (Heisenberg's uncertainty principle) 5. those properties that are not known with precision must be described by probabilities. like energy. known as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The main principles of the Copenhagen interpretation are: 1. (Correspondence principle of Bohr and Heisenberg) Various consequences of these principles are discussed in more detail in the following subsections. The probability of an event — for example. Matter. mathematically. Heisenberg saw no problem in the theoretical prediction of instantaneous transitions of electrons between orbits in an atom. the two theories were identical. but Schrödinger hoped that a theory based on continuous wave-like properties could avoid what he called (in the words of Wilhelm Wien[31]) "this nonsense about quantum jumps. where on the screen a particle will show up in the two slit experiment — is related to the square of the amplitude of its wave function. The quantum mechanical description of large systems should closely approximate the classical description. due to Max Born. A system is completely described by a wave function. 3. Yet the two men disagreed on the interpretation of their mutual theory. Their description. (Heisenberg) 2. which gives a physical meaning to the wavefunction in the Copenhagen interpretation: the probability amplitude) 4. and measure classical properties such as position and momentum. Schrödinger proved that Heisenberg's matrix mechanics and his own wave mechanics made the same predictions about the properties and behaviour of the electron.

which absorbs a random amount of energy. Wave function collapse Wave function collapse is a forced term for whatever happened when it becomes appropriate to replace the description of an uncertain state of a system by a description of the system in a definite state.[35] The uncertainty principle shows mathematically that the product of the uncertainty in the position and momentum of a particle (momentum is velocity multiplied by mass) could never be less than a certain value. but the greater is the disturbance of the electron. the measurement of the position and momentum of an electron using a photon of light.in the momentum is less. With a photon of lower frequency the disturbance . Explanations for the nature of the process of becoming certain are controversial. and that this value is related to Planck's constant. the photon has disappeared.[33] Quantum mechanics shows that certain pairs of physical properties. we would assume that how precisely we measure the speed of the car does not affect the measurement of its position.hence uncertainty . In particular. as an illustration. these uncertainties are too small to notice. and how accurately we can measure these values depends on the quality of our measuring equipment — if we improve the precision of our measuring equipment.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 35 Uncertainty principle Suppose that we want to measure the position and speed of an object — for example a car going through a radar speed trap. e. rendering the measurement obtained of its momentum increasingly uncertain (momentum is velocity multiplied by mass). but about the nature of the system itself — our naive assumption that the car had a definite position and speed was incorrect. . cannot both be known to arbitrary precision: the more precisely one property is known.[34] Werner Heisenberg at the age of 26. or a change in electric potential in some cell of a CCD. the higher the frequency of the photon the more accurate is the measurement of the position of the impact. we assume that the car has a definite position and speed at a particular moment in time. the less precisely the other can be known. The uncertainty principle isn't a statement about the accuracy of our measuring equipment. At any time before a photon "shows up" on a detection screen it can only be described by a set of probabilities for where it might show up. like position and speed. and the wave function has disappeared with it. In measuring the electron's position. In its place some physical change in the detection screen has appeared. not its original momentum. an exposed spot in a sheet of photographic film. In 1927. we will get a result that is closer to the true value. and vice versa. This statement is known as the uncertainty principle.. the time and the space where it interacted with the device are known within very tight limits. Heisenberg proved that these assumptions are not correct. Naively. When it does show up. but so is the accuracy of the measurement of the position of the impact. from the collision products. but when dealing with atoms and electrons they become critical.g. On a scale of cars and people. Heisenberg won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1932 for the work that he [32] did at around this time. Heisenberg gave. for one is necessarily measuring its post-impact disturbed momentum. However. for instance in the CCD of an electronic camera.

The solutions to Schrödinger's equation are distributions of probabilities for electron positions and locations. and allow two electrons in the same orbital to occupy distinct quantum states if they "spun" in opposite directions. was that electrons behave as if they rotate. with two possible values. The quantum state of the electron is described by its wavefunction. where only one line was expected. spherical or otherwise. 3.[37] Schrödinger was able to calculate the energy levels of hydrogen by treating a hydrogen atom's electron as a wave. The energies of the different orbitals can be calculated. it is said to possess an eigenstate. these are known as the electron's quantum numbers. represented by the "wave function" Ψ. thus satisfying the exclusion principle. created by the proton.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 36 Eigenstates and eigenvalues For a more detailed introduction to this subject. Within Schrödinger's picture. An "orbital" designation. The "inclination" of the orbital. The quantum state can be described by giving a number to each of these properties. or "spin". It is often depicted as a three-dimensional region within which there is a 95 percent probability of finding the electron. In the modern theory the orbit has been replaced by an atomic orbital. indicating whether the particle wave is one that is closer to the nucleus with less energy or one that is farther from the nucleus with more energy. V. each electron has four properties: 1. Spin would account for the missing magnetic moment. . Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new quantum degree of freedom (or quantum number). the uncertainty principle states that an electron cannot be viewed as having an exact location at any given time. 4. Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit identified Pauli's new degree of freedom with a property called spin. see: Introduction to eigenstates Because of the uncertainty principle. When an object can definitely be "pinned-down" in some respect. a "cloud" of possible locations. The quantum number represented the sense (positive or negative) of spin. The Pauli exclusion principle demands that no two electrons within an atom may have the same values of all four numbers. Pauli formulated his exclusion principle. statements about both the position and momentum of particles can only assign a probability that the position or momentum will have some numerical value. In particular. The "spin" of the electron. 2. in a electric potential well. Orbitals have a range of different shapes in three dimensions. and they accurately reproduce the energy levels of the Bohr model. the spectrum of atomic hydrogen had a doublet."[36] A year later. determining the magnetic moment of the orbital around the z-axis. Therefore it is necessary to formulate clearly the difference between the state of something that is indeterminate. Application to the hydrogen atom Bohr's model of the atom was essentially two-dimensional — an electron orbiting in a plane around its nuclear "sun. The Pauli exclusion principle In 1924. The idea. The "shape" of the orbital. about an axis. originating with Ralph Kronig. The collective name for these properties is the quantum state of the electron." However. to resolve inconsistencies between observed molecular spectra and the predictions of quantum mechanics. stating that "There cannot exist an atom in such a quantum state that two electrons within [it] have the same set of quantum numbers. and the state of something having a definite value. such as an electron in a probability cloud. or pair of lines differing by a small amount.

and the way that electrons fill them. they have the same spin. describes the shape of the orbital. which can have the value of +1⁄2 for one electron and −1⁄2 for the other.2py. by way of example: In the case of a helium atom with two electrons in the 1s orbital. The next shape is denoted by the letter p and has the form of a dumbbell. The angular momentum represents the resistance of a spinning object to speeding up or slowing down under the influence of external force. the spin quantum number (pertaining to the "orientation" of the electron's spin) is denoted ms. Their values of n. and g. describes the magnetic moment of the electron."[36] It is the underlying structure and symmetry of atomic orbitals. that determines the organisation of the periodic table and the structure and strength of chemical bonds between atoms. denoted l. conventionally the z-direction is chosen. The possible values for l are integers from 0 to n − 1: The shape of each orbital has its own letter as well.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 37 The first property describing the orbital is the principal quantum number. The chemist Linus Pauling wrote. 2px. The azimuthal quantum number represents the orbital angular momentum of an electron around its nucleus. and are denoted by the letters d. and ml are the same. . The colours show the phase of the wavefunction. and is denoted by ml (or simply m). 2s. Accordingly they must differ in the value of ms. which is the same as in Bohr's model. the azimuthal quantum number. n denotes the energy level of each orbital. The first shape is denoted by the letter s (a mnemonic being "sphere"). and 2pz. with values +1⁄2 or −1⁄2. The third quantum number. The other orbitals have more complicated shapes (see atomic orbital). The choice of direction is arbitrary. s = 1⁄2. The possible values for ml are integers from −l to l: The magnetic quantum number measures the component of the angular momentum in a particular direction. the magnetic quantum number. The next quantum number. moreover. l. The shape is a consequence of the angular momentum of the orbital. f. The possible values for n are integers: The shapes of the first five atomic orbitals: 1s. The fourth quantum number. n. the Pauli Exclusion Principle requires that the two electrons differ in the value of one quantum number.

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

38

Dirac wave equation
In 1928, Paul Dirac extended the Pauli equation, which described spinning electrons, to account for special relativity. The result was a theory that dealt properly with events, such as the speed at which an electron orbits the nucleus, occurring at a substantial fraction of the speed of light. By using the simplest electromagnetic interaction, Dirac was able to predict the value of the magnetic moment associated with the electron's spin, and found the experimentally observed value, which was too large to be that of a spinning charged sphere governed by classical physics. He was able to solve for the spectral lines of the hydrogen atom, and to reproduce from physical first principles Sommerfeld's successful formula for the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum. Dirac's equations sometimes yielded a negative value for energy, for which he proposed a novel solution: he posited the existence of an antielectron and of a dynamical vacuum. This led to the many-particle quantum field theory.
Paul Dirac (1902 - 1984)

Quantum entanglement
The Pauli exclusion principle says that two electrons in one system cannot be in the same state. Nature leaves open the possibility, however, that two electrons can have both states "superimposed" over each of them. Recall that the wave functions that Superposition of two quantum characteristics, and two resolution possibilities. emerge simultaneously from the double slits arrive at the detection screen in a state of superposition. Nothing is certain until the superimposed waveforms "collapse," At that instant an electron shows up somewhere in accordance with the probabilities that are the squares of the amplitudes of the two superimposed waveforms. The situation there is already very abstract. A concrete way of thinking about entangled photons, photons in which two contrary states are superimposed on each of them in the same event, is as follows: Imagine that the superposition of a state that can be mentally labeled as blue and another state that can be mentally labeled as red will then appear (in imagination, of course) as a purple state. Two photons are produced as the result of the same atomic event. Perhaps they are produced by the excitation of a crystal that characteristically absorbs a photon of a certain frequency and emits two photons of half the original frequency. So the two photons come out "purple." If the experimenter now performs some experiment that will determine whether one of the photons is either blue or red, then that experiment changes the photon involved from one having a superposition of "blue" and "red" characteristics to a photon that has only one of those characteristics. The problem that Einstein had with such an imagined situation was that if one of these photons had been kept bouncing between mirrors in a laboratory on earth, and the other one had traveled halfway to the nearest star, when its twin was made to reveal itself as either blue or red, that meant that the distant photon now had to lose its "purple" status too. So whenever it might be investigated after its twin had been measured, it would necessarily show up in the opposite state to whatever its twin had revealed.

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics In trying to show that quantum mechanics was not a complete theory, Einstein started with the theory's prediction that two or more particles that have interacted in the past can appear strongly correlated when their various properties are later measured. He sought to explain this seeming interaction in a classical way, through their common past, and preferably not by some "spooky action at a distance." The argument is worked out in a famous paper, Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen (1935; abbreviated EPR), setting out what is now called the EPR paradox. Assuming what is now usually called local realism, EPR attempted to show from quantum theory that a particle has both position and momentum simultaneously, while according to the Copenhagen interpretation, only one of those two properties actually exists and only at the moment that it is being measured. EPR concluded that quantum theory is incomplete in that it refuses to consider physical properties which objectively exist in nature. (Einstein, Podolsky, & Rosen 1935 is currently Einstein's most cited publication in physics journals.) In the same year, Erwin Schrödinger used the word "entanglement" and declared: "I would not call that one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics." [38] The question of whether entanglement is a real condition is still in dispute.[39] The Bell inequalities are the most powerful challenge to Einstein's claims.

39

Quantum field theory
The idea of quantum field theory began in the late 1920s with British physicist Paul Dirac, when he attempted to quantise the electromagnetic field — a procedure for constructing a quantum theory starting from a classical theory. A field in physics is "a region or space in which a given effect (such as magnetism) exists."[40] Other effects that manifest themselves as fields are gravitation and static electricity.[41] In 2008, physicist Richard Hammond wrote that Sometimes we distinguish between quantum mechanics (QM) and quantum field theory (QFT). QM refers to a system in which the number of particles is fixed, and the fields (such as the electromechanical field) are continuous classical entities. QFT . . . goes a step further and allows for the creation and annihilation of particles . . . . He added, however, that quantum mechanics is often used to refer to "the entire notion of quantum view."[42]:108 In 1931, Dirac proposed the existence of particles that later became known as anti-matter.[43] Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in physics for 1933 with Schrödinger, "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory."[44]

Quantum electrodynamics

Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is the name of the quantum theory of the electromagnetic force. Understanding QED begins with understanding electromagnetism. Electromagnetism can be called "electrodynamics" because it is a dynamic interaction between electrical and magnetic forces. Electromagnetism begins with the electric charge. Electric charges are the sources of, and create, electric fields. An electric field is a field which exerts a force on any particles that carry electric charges, at any point in space. This includes the electron, proton, and even quarks, among others. As a force is exerted, electric charges move, a current flows and a magnetic field is produced. The magnetic field, in turn causes electric current (moving electrons). The interacting electric and magnetic field is called an electromagnetic field.

This sculpture in Bristol, England — a series of clustering cones — presents the idea of small worlds that Paul Dirac studied to reach his discovery of anti-matter.

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics The physical description of interacting charged particles, electrical currents, electrical fields, and magnetic fields is called electromagnetism. In 1928 Paul Dirac produced a relativistic quantum theory of electromagnetism. This was the progenitor to modern quantum electrodynamics, in that it had essential ingredients of the modern theory. However, the problem of unsolvable infinities developed in this relativistic quantum theory. Years later, renormalization solved this problem. Initially viewed as a suspect, provisional procedure by some of its originators, renormalization eventually was embraced as an important and self-consistent tool in QED and other fields of physics. Also, in the late 1940s Feynman's diagrams depicted all possible interactions pertaining to a given event. The diagrams showed that the electromagnetic force is the interactions of photons between interacting particles. An example of a prediction of quantum electrodynamics which has been verified experimentally is the Lamb shift. This refers to an effect whereby the quantum nature of the electromagnetic field causes the energy levels in an atom or ion to deviate slightly from what they would otherwise be. As a result, spectral lines may shift or split. In the 1960s physicists realized that QED broke down at extremely high energies. From this inconsistency the Standard Model of particle physics was discovered, which remedied the higher energy breakdown in theory. The Standard Model unifies the electromagnetic and weak interactions into one theory. This is called the electroweak theory.

40

Interpretations
The physical measurements, equations, and predictions pertinent to quantum mechanics are all consistent and hold a very high level of confirmation. However, the question of what these abstract models say about the underlying nature of the real world has received competing answers.

Applications
Applications of quantum mechanics include the laser, the transistor, the electron microscope, and magnetic resonance imaging. A special class of quantum mechanical applications is related to macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superfluid helium and superconductors. The study of semiconductors led to the invention of the diode and the transistor, which are indispensable for modern electronics. In even the simple light switch, quantum tunnelling is absolutely vital, as otherwise the electrons in the electric current could not penetrate the potential barrier made up of a layer of oxide. Flash memory chips found in USB drives also use quantum tunnelling, to erase their memory cells.[45]

Notes
[1] Quantum Mechanics from [[National Public Radio (http:/ / www. pbs. org/ trasnsistor/ science/ info/ quantum. html)]] [2] Classical physics also does not accurately describe the universe on the largest scales or at speeds close to that of light. An accurate description requires general relativity. [3] Feynman, Richard P. (1988). QED : the strange theory of light and matter (1st Princeton pbk., seventh printing with corrections. ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. pp. 10. ISBN 978-0691024172. [4] Alan Macdonald, "Spooky action at a distance: The puzzle of entanglement in quantum theory," page 5 of 7, downloaded 13 June 2012 from http:/ / faculty. luther. edu/ ~macdonal/ [5] This result was published (in German) as Planck, Max (1901). "Ueber das Gesetz der Energieverteilung im Normalspectrum" (http:/ / www. physik. uni-augsburg. de/ annalen/ history/ historic-papers/ 1901_309_553-563. pdf). Ann. Phys. 309 (3): 553–63. Bibcode 1901AnP...309..553P. doi:10.1002/andp.19013090310. . English translation: " On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spectrum (http:/ / dbhs. wvusd. k12. ca. us/ webdocs/ Chem-History/ Planck-1901/ Planck-1901. html)". [6] The word "quantum" comes from the Latin word for "how much" (as does "quantity"). Something which is "quantized," like the energy of Planck's harmonic oscillators, can only take specific values. For example, in most countries money is effectively quantized, with the "quantum of money" being the lowest-value coin in circulation. "Mechanics" is the branch of science that deals with the action of forces on objects, so "quantum mechanics" is the part of mechanics that deals with objects for which particular properties are quantized.

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
[7] Francis Weston Sears (1958). Mechanics, Wave Motion, and Heat (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?hl=en& q="Mechanics,+ Wave+ Motion,+ and+ Heat"+ "where+ n+ =+ 1,"& btnG=Search+ Books). Addison-Wesley. p. 537. . [8] "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1918" (http:/ / nobelprize. org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1918/ ). The Nobel Foundation. . Retrieved 2009-08-01. [9] Kragh, Helge (1 December 2000). "Max Planck: the reluctant revolutionary" (http:/ / physicsworld. com/ cws/ article/ print/ 373). PhysicsWorld.com. [10] Einstein, Albert (1905). "Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt" (http:/ / www. zbp. univie. ac. at/ dokumente/ einstein1. pdf). Annalen der Physik 17 (6): 132–148. Bibcode 1905AnP...322..132E. doi:10.1002/andp.19053220607. ., translated into English as On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light (http:/ / lorentz. phl. jhu. edu/ AnnusMirabilis/ AeReserveArticles/ eins_lq. pdf). The term "photon" was introduced in 1926. [11] Taylor, J. R.; Zafiratos, C. D.; Dubson, M. A. (2004). Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Prentice Hall. pp. 127–9. ISBN 0-13-589789-0. [12] Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell, Bantam, 2001. [13] Actually there can be intensity-dependent effects, but at intensities achievable with non-laser sources these effects are unobservable. [14] Dicke and Wittke, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, p. 12 [15] Einstein's photoelectric effect equation can be derived and explained without requiring the concept of "photons". That is, the electromagnetic radiation can be treated as a classical electromagnetic wave, as long as the electrons in the material are treated by the laws of quantum mechanics. The results are quantitatively correct for thermal light sources (the sun, incandescent lamps, etc) both for the rate of electron emission as well as their angular distribution. For more on this point, see NTRS.NASA.gov (http:/ / ntrs. nasa. gov/ archive/ nasa/ casi. ntrs. nasa. gov/ 19680009569_1968009569. pdf) [16] The classical model of the atom is called the planetary model, or sometimes the Rutherford model after Ernest Rutherford who proposed it in 1911, based on the Geiger-Marsden gold foil experiment which first demonstrated the existence of the nucleus. [17] Taylor, J. R.; Zafiratos, C. D.; Dubson, M. A. (2004). Modern Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Prentice Hall. pp. 147–8. ISBN 0-13-589789-0. [18] McEvoy, J. P.; Zarate, O. (2004). Introducing Quantum Theory. Totem Books. pp. 70–89, especially p. 89. ISBN 1-84046-577-8. [19] World Book Encyclopedia, page 6, 2007. [20] Dicke and Wittke, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, p. 10f. [21] In this case, the energy of the electron is the sum of its kinetic and potential energies. The electron has kinetic energy by virtue of its actual motion around the nucleus, and potential energy because of its electromagnetic interaction with the nucleus. [22] The model can be easily modified to account of the emission spectrum of any system consisting of a nucleus and a single electron (that is, ions such as He+ or O7+ which contain only one electron). [23] J. P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate (2004). Introducing Quantum Theory. Totem Books. p. 110f. ISBN 1-84046-577-8. [24] Aezel, Amir D., Entanglrment, p. 51f. (Penguin, 2003) ISBN 0-452-28457 [25] J. P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate (2004). Introducing Quantum Theory. Totem Books. p. 114. ISBN 1-84046-577-8. [26] A.S. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, the course of Gifford Lectures that Eddington delivered in the University of Edinburgh in January to March 1927, Kessinger Publishing, 2005, p. 201. (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=PGOTKcxSqMUC& pg=PA201& lpg=PA201& dq=We+ can+ scarcely+ describe+ such+ an+ entity+ as+ a+ wave+ or+ as+ a+ particle;+ perhaps+ as+ a+ compromise+ we+ had+ better+ call+ it+ a+ `wavicle& source=bl& ots=K0IfGzaXli& sig=zgrQiBJbHRLuUzVBT-yy8jZhC1Y& hl=en& ei=i8g1SpOHC4PgtgOu_4jVDg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1) [27] Banesh Hoffman, The Strange Story of the Quantum, Dover, 1959 [28] "Schrodinger Equation (Physics)," Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 528298/ Schrodinger-equation) [29] Erwin Schrödinger, "The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics," p. 9. "This translation was originally published in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 124, 323-38. [And then appeared as Section I.11 of Part I of Quantum Theory and Measurement (J.A. Wheeler and W.H. Zurek, eds., Princeton university Press, New Jersey 1983). This paper can be downloaded from http:/ / www. tu-harburg. de/ rzt/ rzt/ it/ QM/ cat. html. " [30] For a somewhat more sophisticated look at how Heisenberg transitioned from the old quantum theory and classical physics to the new quantum mechanics, see Heisenberg's entryway to matrix mechanics. [31] W. Moore, Schrödinger: Life and Thought, Cambridge University Press (1989), p. 222. [32] Heisenberg's Nobel Prize citation (http:/ / nobelprize. org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1932/ ) [33] Heisenberg first published his work on the uncertainty principle in the leading German physics journal Zeitschrift für Physik: Heisenberg, W. (1927). "Über den anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinematik und Mechanik". Z. Phys. 43 (3–4): 172–198. Bibcode 1927ZPhy...43..172H. doi:10.1007/BF01397280. [34] Nobel Prize in Physics presentation speech, 1932 (http:/ / nobelprize. org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1932/ press. html) [35] "Uncertainty principle," Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 614029/ uncertainty-principle) [36] Linus Pauling, The Nature of the Chemical Bond, p. 47 [37] "Orbital (chemistry and physics)," Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 431159/ orbital) [38] E. Schrödinger, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 31 (1935), p. 555says: "When two systems, of which we know the states by their respective representation, enter into a temporary physical interaction due to known forces between them and when after a time

41

. (2004). • McEvoy. I would not call that one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics. LCCN 51001018.. • Scientific American Reader. ISBN 0-19-504601-3.edu/hbase/quacon. Herbert.edu/~mcdonald/examples/QED/feynman_pr_76_769_49. washington. "Heisenberg. OCLC 530611. Matrix Mechanics and the Uncertainty Principle". • Feynman. doi:10.pdf).washington.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics of mutual influence the systems separate again.). Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist. LCCN 50005340. Henry (1957). Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. • Sears.76. W. Francis Weston (1949). Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in the Light of New Technology (S. britannica. ISBN 0-486-47928-5. LCCN 53006438. "Max Born and the quantum theory".). May (1953). com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 206162/ field) [42] Richard Hammond. merriam-webster. ISBN 0-486-47011-3. viz. LCCN a44004471. ISBN 0-918024-18-8." [39] "Quantum Nonlocality and the Possibility of Superluminal Effects". ISBN 0-486-40459-5. • Heisenberg. John G. (1949). Cramer. David (2002). LCCN 53010401. Mara (2001). Z. ed. [45] Durrani..edu (http:/ / www. The Nobel Foundation. p. 1953. (2012). ISBN 0-06-130549-9. S. org/ nobel_prizes/ physics/ laureates/ 1933/ ). ISBN 978-981-4397-74-2. physicalworld. LCCN 57014416. ISBN 1-874166-37-4. University of California Press. • Reichenbach. • Feigl. P. Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution. Bibcode 1949PhRv. Kamefuchi et al. University of Virginia. Werner (1958). Readings in the Philosophy of Science.. (1992).769. The Bohr Atom. Niels (1958). H. Philosophical Library. H. arXiv:quant-ph/9605004 [quant-ph]. American Journal of Physics 73 (11). Richard L. Nanosilicon. Foundations of Physics. • Peat. "Space-Time Approach to Quantum Electrodynamics" (http://www.phy-astr. Resonance. • Lakshmibala. Sandu. • Einstein. K. npl. npl. Tokyo: Japan Physical Society. Physical Review 76 (6): 769–789. Elsevier. . 2008. eds. Zarate. by endowing each of them with a representative of its own. J. Joseph Henry Press. Addison-Wesley.).. LCCN 99010404. LCCN 55003947.. 42 References • Bernstein. Ahmed. Retrieved 2007-11-24. F. 345. Louis (1953). "(title not given in citation)". cited in: Popescu. Michael (1999). ISBN 978-1-60163-003-2 [43] The Physical World website (http:/ / www. Dover. edu/ npl/ int_rep/ qm_nl. Physics and Philosophy. • Nave. org/ restless_universe/ html/ ru_dira. ISBN 0-390-30488-3. Tudor Publishing Company. • de Broglie. html#quacon). Introductory Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed. • Bohr.76. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics: Schrödinger Equation and Path Integral (2nd ed. Daniel Rohrlich (1996). Oscar." Encyclopædia Britannica (http:/ / www. Noonday Press. From Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and Ideas in the Twenty-First Century. Robert Bruce. then they can no longer be described as before. • Beller. • Müller-Kirsten.gsu. The Revolution in Physics. • Schlipp. A. J. HyperPhysics. Paul Arthur (1949).. html) [40] "Mechanics." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http:/ / www. Philosophic Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. html) [44] "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1933" (http:/ / nobelprize. Hans (1944). ASIN B00005VGVF. Introducing Quantum Theory.1103/PhysRev. Essays in Science. • Shimony. Jeremy (2005). Journal of Science Education 9 (8). World Scientific. • Liboff. com/ dictionary/ field) [41] "Field. Optics (3rd ed. ISBN 978-0-08-044528-1. 225. • Fowler. (1983). princeton.. Richard P. A. Harper and Brothers. Vijay Kumar. University of Chicago Press. Margenau. Carl Rod (2005). pp. (2008). "Action and Passion at a Distance: An Essay in Honor of Professor Abner Shimony". "Quantum Physics" (http://hyperphysics.769F. John Wiley & Sons. Appleton-Century-Crofts. Albert (1934). New Page Books. The Unknown Universe.).physics. . • Lindsay. Brodbeck. Georgia State University.

Press. • Wheeler. • Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (2011) The Quantum Universe. Sci.com/?id=SELS0HbIhjYC&pg=PA200&dq=Wave+function+collapse). European Journal of Physics 30 (5): 1189–1200. Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books.1189B. Tijana T. J. Physics Today. all by working physicists. • Jim Al-Khalili (2003) Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed. • Bronner. Bibcode 1949RvMP.1928. using a minimum of technical apparatus. • Van Vleck. Christine.21. • N. John Archibald. Jan-Peter (2009). arXiv:quant-ph/9801014 [quant-ph]. Chpts. Tavel. Strunz. Judith (illustrations) (2002). Includes much about the technologies quantum theory has made possible." Proc.com/acad/ webtext/atoms/atpt-4. World Scientific Publishing Company. Acad. Shimon (2012). Cambridge Univ.). Princeton University Press. • Richard Feynman (1985) QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. and bra-ket notation can be passed over on a first reading.. Kenneth (2005) The Quantum World. "The Correspondence Principle in the Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. David Mermin (1990) “Spooky actions at a distance: mysteries of the QT” in his Boojums all the way through. Includes elementary particle physics.30. Bibcode 2009EJPh. 5–8.. (1949). Weidenfield & Nicholson. • Martinus Veltman (2003) Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics.. H. "Demonstrating quantum random with single photons". 43 Further reading The following titles. trans. • Ghirardi. Morton.1088/0143-0807/30/5/026. Press. • A website with good introduction to Quantum mechanics can be found here. • Roland Omnes (1999) Understanding Quantum Mechanics. World Scientific Publishing Company. Patrick (2003) The New Quantum Universe.. doi:10. Passages using algebra.1103/RevModPhys. • Wieman. Gerald Malsbary. ISBN 978-981-4324-57-1. to human body and mind.425. • Vladimir G.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics • Tavel. Press.21.google.. Carl. Patrick. Nat. Ivancevic. Meyn. ISBN 978-0-8135-3077-2. Perkins. doi:10.425W. Press. • Westmoreland. 14: 179. Harvard Univ. Simplicity. Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and the Nature of Reality. ISBN 0-691-08388-6 • Ford. World Scientific. Katherine (2005). trigonometry. Princeton Univ.chem1. Allen Lane. Andreas. Contemporary physics and the limits of knowledge (http:// books. Cambridge Univ. The most technical of the works cited here. Feynman. Rutgers University Press. • Malin. GianCarlo (2004) Sneaking a Look at God's Cards. "Classical Electrodynamics in Terms of Direct Interparticle Action". Ivancevic (2008) Quantum leap: from Dirac and Feynman. Silberhorn. The author is a rare physicist who tries to communicate to philosophers and humanists. Reviews of Modern Physics 21 (3): 425–433.html) . Press: 110–176. • Victor Stenger (2000) Timeless Reality: Symmetry. "Quantum Entanglement and the Nonexistence of Superluminal Signals". and Multiple Universes. Benjamin Schumacher (1998).. attempt to communicate quantum theory to lay people. a Western Perspective (Revised ed. Princeton Univ. Richard P. (http://www. Provides an intuitive introduction in non-mathematical terms and an introduction in comparatively basic mathematical terms. "Transforming Physics Education". across the universe. • Tony Hey and Walters.

uni-erlangen.sa/Scientific_selections/abstracts/Physics/THE SPOOKY QUANTUM. (http://www. • This Quantum World. You can see the interference pattern build up over time.imamu.encyclopedia.youtube. (http://www.com/spacetime/index.htm) • The spooky quantum (http://www. (http://www.aip.psu.Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 44 External links • Takada. • Experiments with single photons (http://www. Emeritus professor at Kyushu University.kyushu-u.com) • " Uncertainty Principle.php) • The Quantum Exchange (http://www.didaktik.edu/251Labs/10_Interference_&_Diffraction/ Single_and_Double-Slit_Interference.phys.jp/seminar/MicroWorld1_E/MicroWorld_1_E.compadre. " Microscopic World – Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. (http://www.de/quantumlab/english/) An introduction into quantum physics with interactive experiments • Hitachi video recording of double-slit experiment done with electrons.html)" a recording of Werner Heisenberg's voice. (http://www.org/history/heisenberg/p07.edu.wolfram.pdf) • Time-Evolution of a Wavepacket in a Square Well (http://demonstrations.wetpaint. Kenjiro.com/doc/1E1-quantumt. • Theoretical Physics wiki (http://theoreticalphysics. (http://www2.thebigview.kutl.com/watch?v=oxknfn97vFE) . (http://thisquantumworld.ac.com/ TimeEvolutionOfAWavepacketInASquareWell/) An animated demonstration of a wave packet dispersion over time.newscientist.html)" • Quantum Theory.html) • Quantum Mechanics.com/ht/index.com/channel/ fundamentals/quantum-world) From the New Scientist.physik.pdf) • Everything you wanted to know about the quantum world. • Single and double slit interference (http://class.org/quantum) (tutorials and open source learning software).

which in the old quantum era was inappropriately called space quantization (Richtungsquantelung). In order for the old quantum condition to make sense. For this reason. This allowed the orbits of the electron to be ellipses instead of circles. only those motions which obey the old quantum condition: where the are the momenta of the system and the are the corresponding coordinates. The quantum numbers are integers and the integral is taken over one period of the motion at constant energy (as described by the Hamiltonian). but there must be a set of coordinates where the motion decomposes in a multi-periodic way. meaning that there are separate coordinates in terms of which the motion is periodic. Basic principles The basic idea of the old quantum theory is that the motion in an atomic system is quantized. and introduced the concept of quantum degeneracy. and Arnold Sommerfeld[2] made a crucial contribution by quantizing the z-component of the angular momentum. except for the issue of electron spin. the classical motion must be separable. The motivation for the old quantum condition was the correspondence principle. complemented by the physical observation that the quantities which are quantized must be adiabatic invariants. The theory was never complete or self-consistent. but was a collection of heuristic prescriptions which are now understood to be the first quantum corrections to classical mechanics. either condition determines the correct classical quantity to quantize in a general system up to an additive constant. The theory would have correctly explained the Zeeman effect.[1] The Bohr model was the focus of study. they can even be incommensurate. The Quantum Theories Old Quantum Theory The old quantum theory is a collection of results from the years 1900–1925 which predate modern quantum mechanics. These are like the allowed orbits of the Bohr model of the atom. . or discrete. The periods of the different motions do not have to be the same. which is a quantity called the action and is quantized in units of Planck's constant. The main tool was Bohr–Sommerfeld quantization. a procedure for selecting out certain discrete set of states of a classical integrable motion as allowed states. the system can only be in one of these states and not in any states in between.45 2. Given Planck's quantization rule for the harmonic oscillator. Planck's constant was often called the quantum of action. The theory did not extend to chaotic motions. The system obeys classical mechanics except that not every motion is allowed. The integral is an area in phase space. because it required a full multiply periodic trajectory of the classical system for all time in order to pose the quantum conditions.

and the quantum condition is that the area enclosed by an orbit in phase space is an integer. This is true for all material systems. going to zero like At small values of . the total specific heat is equal to the total number of oscillators times k. The reason is that kT is the typical energy of random motion at temperature T. and it goes to zero at absolute zero. Debye gave a quantitative theory of solid specific heats in terms of quantized oscillators with various frequencies (see Einstein solid and Debye model). There are overall three oscillators for each atom. so the specific heat is exponentially small at low temperatures. A short while later. It follows that the energy is quantized according to the Planck rule: a result which was known well before. whose Hamiltonian is: The level sets of H are the orbits. The specific heat is smaller at colder temperatures. and used to formulate the old quantum condition. This reproduces the equipartition theorem of classical thermodynamics: every harmonic oscillator at temperature T has energy kT on average. The thermal properties of a quantized oscillator may be found by averaging the energy in each of the discrete states assuming that they are occupied with a Boltzmann weight: kT is Boltzmann constant times the absolute temperature. because it is the thermodynamic potential associated to the energy. a reasonable model of a solid. the change in energy with respect to beta. So the oscillator stays in its ground state. is also exponentially small. The change in energy with respect to temperature is the specific heat. and remained a deep puzzle for those who advocated an atomic theory of matter. This means that at very cold temperatures. and its value can not be determined using it. the average energy U in the Harmonic oscillator approaches zero very quickly. Classical mechanics cannot explain the third law. storing next to no energy at all. and when this is smaller than . So the specific heat of a classical solid is always 3k per atom. From this expression. corresponding to the three possible directions of independent oscillations in three dimensions. but at low temperatures they don't. . Einstein resolved this problem in 1906 by proposing that atomic motion is quantized. The quantity is more fundamental in thermodynamics than the temperature. there is not enough energy to give the oscillator even one quantum of energy.Old Quantum Theory 46 Examples Harmonic oscillator The simplest system in the old quantum theory is the harmonic oscillator. exponentially fast. or in chemistry units. 3R per mole of atoms. Please note that this result differs by from the results found with the help of quantum mechanics. which is the temperature as measured in more natural units of energy. it is easy to see that for large values of . because in classical mechanics the specific heat is independent of the temperature. for very low temperatures. Monatomic solids at room temperatures have approximately the same specific heat of 3k per atom. and this observation is called the third law of thermodynamics. the average energy U is equal to . This contradiction between classical mechanics and the specific heat of cold materials was noted by James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century. or equivalently the change in energy with respect to temperature. This was the first application of quantum theory to mechanical systems. This constant is neglected in the derivation of the old quantum theory. at high temperatures. For a collection of atoms connected by springs. This means that the specific heat of an oscillator is constant in classical mechanics and equal to k.

The integral is easiest for a particle in a box of length L. A rotator consists of a mass M at the end of a massless rigid rod of length R and in two dimensions has the Lagrangian: which determines that the angular momentum J conjugate to condition requires that J multiplied by the period of . where is the inclination relative to an arbitrarily chosen z-axis while is the rotator angle in the projection to the x–y plane. this restriction imposed on circular orbits In three dimensions. The equation of motion for is trivial: is a constant: . the places where the momentum vanishes. the value of the momentum p is found from the conservation equation: which is integrated over all values of q between the classical turning points. The kinetic energy is again the only contribution to the Lagrangian: And the conjugate momenta are and .Old Quantum Theory 47 One-dimensional potential One-dimensional problems are easy to solve. a rigid rotator can be described by two angles — and . so that the quantum condition is: Which determines the energy levels. This case is much more difficult in the full quantum mechanical treatment. the constant confining force F binding a particle to an impenetrable wall. At any energy E. The old quantum is an integer multiple of Planck's constant: the angular momentum to be an integer multiple of was enough to determine the energy levels. . the semiclassical answer here is not exact but approximate. Rotator Another simple system is the rotator. . where the quantum condition is: which gives the allowed momenta: and the energy levels Another easy case to solve with the old quantum theory is a linear potential on the positive halfline. the polar angle. and unlike the other examples. becoming more accurate at large quantum numbers. In the Bohr model.

the allowed values of l for any given n are no bigger than n. was given the name space quantization. but the discrete states of definite angular momentum in any one orientation are quantum superpositions of the states in other orientations. Hydrogen atom The angular part of the Hydrogen atom is just the rotator. For a fixed value of the total angular momentum L. which is the principal quantum number n. and gives a new quantum number k which determines the energy in combination with l. The energy is: and it only depends on the sum of k and l. so that the process of quantization does not pick out a preferred axis. a result which seems to contradict rotational invariance but which was confirmed by the Stern–Gerlach experiment. because it seemed incompatible with rotational invariance. with some ambiguity at the extreme values. This phenomenon. the name "space quantization" fell out of favor. and the same phenomenon is now called the quantization of angular momentum. The Sommerfeld model predicted that the magnetic moment of an atom measured along an axis will only take on discrete values. the angular momentum is quantized the same way. Bohr–Sommerfeld theory is a part of the development of quantum mechanics and describes the possibility of atomic energy levels being split by a magnetic field. but in the era of the old quantum theory it led to a paradox: how can the orientation of the angular momentum relative to the arbitrarily chosen z-axis be quantized? This seems to pick out a direction in space. the quantum condition integral is: which is elementary. In modern quantum mechanics. the quantization of angular momentum about an axis. The semiclassical hydrogen atom is called the Sommerfeld model.Old Quantum Theory which is the z-component of the angular momentum. This condition is reproduced in modern quantum mechanics. Since k is positive. The two quantum conditions restrict the total angular momentum and the z-component of the angular momentum to be the integers l. the total angular momentum should be restricted in the same way as the two-dimensional rotator. and its orbits are ellipses of various sizes at discrete inclinations. the Hamiltonian for a classical Kepler problem is (the unit of mass and unit of energy redefined to absorb two constants): Fixing the energy to be (a negative) constant and solving for the radial momentum p. The only remaining variable is the radial coordinate. and gives the quantum numbers l and m. which can be solved. because the z component of the angular momentum is the magnetic moment of the rotator along the z direction in the case where the particle at the end of the rotator is charged. For this reason. The energies reproduce those in the Bohr model.m. except with the correct quantum mechanical multiplicities. . Since the three-dimensional rotator is rotating about an axis. The quantum condition demands that the integral of the constant as varies from 0 to is an integer multiple of h: 48 And m is called the magnetic quantum number. which executes a periodic one-dimensional potential motion.

Old Quantum Theory 49 Relativistic orbit Arnold Sommerfeld derived the relativistic solution of atomic energy levels.[4] De Broglie waves In 1905. for short wavelength. Einstein noted that the entropy of the quantized electromagnetic field oscillators in a box is. particles of light. Einstein's theoretical argument was based on thermodynamics. on counting the number of states. and so was not completely convincing. more precisely that an electromagnetic standing wave with frequency with the quantized energy: . Einstein concluded that the quanta could be treated as if they were localizable objects (see[5] page 139/140). This solution is same as the solution of the Dirac equation. Nevertheless. The number of point particles is equal to the number of quanta. and their ratio the equation of motion is (see Binet with solution The angular shift of periapsis per revolution is given by With the quantum conditions and we will obtain energies where is the fine-structure constant. equal to the entropy of a gas of point particles in the same box. he concluded that light had attributes of both waves and particles.[3] We will start this derivation with the relativistic equation for energy in the electric potential After substitution we get For momentum equation) . and named them photons.

as a PhD candidate. electrons as well as photons. For example. The rate of emission of radiation is proportional to . . Bohr had suggested that the k-th harmonic of the classical motion correspond to the transition from level n to level n−k. or. and the momentum had to be the electromagnetic wave. These ideas led to the development of the Schrödinger equation. a standing wave must fit an integer number of wavelengths between twice the distance between the walls. He then noted that the quantum condition: counts the change in phase for the wave as it travels along the classical orbit. The description was approximate. which happens at frequencies at multiples of the orbit frequencies. as it would be in classical mechanics. It did not deal with the emission and absorption of radiation. The frequency is the angular frequency of the orbit while k is an index for the Fourier mode. since the Fourier components did . The condition becomes: so that the quantized momenta are: reproducing the old quantum energy levels. Louis de Broglie proposed a new interpretation of the quantum condition. it would be n–l–m in the Sommerfeld model. at discrete energies. for a particle confined in a box. Kramers transition matrix The old quantum theory was formulated only for special mechanical systems which could be separated into action angle variables which were periodic. expressed in terms of wavelength instead. He suggested that all matter. Nevertheless. the number of wavelengths along a classical orbit must be an integer. who noted that the phase function for the waves: in a mechanical system should be identified with the solution to the Hamilton–Jacobi equation. and it explained the reason for quantized orbits—the matter waves make standing waves only at discrete frequencies. decomposed into harmonics at multiples of the orbit frequency: The index n describes the quantum numbers of the orbit. Kramers proposed that the transition between states were analogous to classical emission of radiation. and requires that it be an integer multiple of . are described by waves obeying the relations. This is the condition for constructive interference. Kramers suggested that the orbits of a quantum system should be Fourier analyzed. Einstein could not describe how the where is the wavenumber of 50 The photons have momentum as well as energy. In 1924. because the momentum and energy form a four-vector. an equation which even Hamilton considered to be the short-wavelength limit of wave mechanics. This is required by relativity. as do the frequency and wave-number. This development was given a more mathematical form by Einstein. Expressed in wavelengths. Hendrik Kramers was able to find heuristics for describing how emission and absorption should be calculated.Old Quantum Theory should be thought of as consisting of n photons each with an energy photons were related to the wave.

Niels Bohr identified the correspondence principle and used it to formulate a model of the hydrogen atom which explained the line spectrum. History The old quantum theory was sparked by the work of Max Planck on the emission and absorption of light. 51 Limitations of the old quantum theory The old quantum theory had some limitations:[6] • The old quantum theory provides no means to calculate the intensities of the spectral lines. That is. In the next few years Arnold Sommerfeld extended the quantum rule to arbitrary integrable systems making use of the principle of adiabatic invariance of the quantum numbers introduced by Lorentz and Einstein. explaining the specific heat anomaly. Bose and Einstein gave the correct quantum statistics for photons. • It fails to explain the anomalous Zeeman effect (that is. Schrödinger's wave mechanics developed separately from matrix mechanics until Schrödinger and others proved that the two methods predicted the same experimental consequences. creating matrix mechanics. Throughout the 1910s and well into the 1920s. followed by Debye. Kramers gave a prescription for calculating transition probabilities between quantum states in terms of Fourier components of the motion. Sommerfeld's model was much closer to the modern quantum mechanical picture than Bohr's. applied quantum principles to the motion of atoms. • It fails when applied to atoms with more than one electron. where the spin of the electron cannot be neglected). Hendrik Kramers explained the Stark effect. ideas which were extended in collaboration with Werner Heisenberg to a semiclassical matrix-like description of atomic transition probabilities. Max Planck introduced the zero point energy and Arnold Sommerfeld semiclassically quantized the relativistic hydrogen atom. This idea led to the development of matrix mechanics. leading to the confusion of half-integer quantum numbers. and began in earnest after the work of Albert Einstein on the specific heats of solids. It was later understood that the old quantum theory is in fact the semi-classical approximation (also called quasi-classical) to the Schrödinger equation[7] which has limited applicability. many problems were attacked using the old quantum theory with mixed results. which reproduced all the successes of the old quantum theory without ambiguities and inconsistencies.Old Quantum Theory not have frequencies that exactly match the energy spacings between levels. In 1924. it cannot be applied to many-body systems. Molecular rotation and vibration spectra were understood and the electron's spin was discovered. Louis de Broglie introduced the wave theory of matter. Matrix mechanics and wave mechanics put an end to the era of the old-quantum theory. Einstein. . In 1926 Erwin Schrödinger found a completely quantum mechanical wave-equation. Paul Dirac later proved in 1926 that both methods can be obtained from a more general method called transformation theory. which was extended to a semiclassical equation for matter waves by Albert Einstein a short time later. Heisenberg went on to reformulate all of quantum theory in terms of a version of these transition matrices. In 1913.

momentum. Ya I Granovski (2004). And the Copenhagen interpretation of Niels Bohr became widely accepted. iop. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Physics. ISBN 81-224-1465-6. ..S.322. ISBN 3-87144-484-7. For example. the atomic theory and the corpuscular theory of light (as updated by Einstein) first came to be widely accepted as scientific fact. Quantum Mechanics (http:/ / books. analog) way. pp. quantum mechanics had been further . pdf). the wave–particle duality of energy and matter and the uncertainty principle provide a unified view of the behavior of photons. Bibcode 1905AnP..[1] In the context of quantum mechanics. ISBN 978-0-08-020940-1. . "Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt" (http:/ / www. Mathematical manipulations of the wavefunction usually involve the bra-ket notation. electrons. [6] Chaddha. [5] Einstein. according to John Wheeler.. The wavefunction treats the object as a quantum harmonic oscillator. some of these behaviors are macroscopic and only emerge at extreme (i. and the mathematics is akin to that describing acoustic resonance. Annalen der Physik 17 (6): 132–148. Braunschweig: Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn. Extract of page 9 (http:/ / books. respectively. Landau. Arnold Sommerfeld (1924). At around the same time. and not in a continuous (cf. Quantum Mechanics after 1925 Quantum mechanics (QM – also known as quantum physics. The name quantum mechanics derives from the observation that some physical quantities can change only in discrete amounts (Latin quanta). and other atomic-scale objects. Arnold (1919).M. Many of the results of quantum mechanics are not easily visualized in terms of classical mechanics—for instance. de/ annalen/ history/ einstein-papers/ 1905_17_132-148. In advanced topics of quantum mechanics. ISBN 0-08-012101-2. com/ books?id=Bzj2JcPeAHAC& pg=PA9)}} [7] L. The earliest versions of quantum mechanics were formulated in the first decade of the 20th century. 206. New Dehli: New Age international. Pergamon Press. J. By 1930. as opposed to a more "traditional" system that is thought of as simply being at rest.e. Quantum mechanics departs from classical mechanics primarily at the quantum realm of atomic and subatomic length scales. Lifshitz (1977). (1967). Albert (1905). com/ books?id=Bzj2JcPeAHAC). Braunschweig. 3 (3rd ed.. unchanging zero state. physik. ed. and other physical properties of a particle. Vol. with zero kinetic energy.1002/andp. Louis de Broglie and Erwin Schrodinger (Wave Mechanics). Sommerfeld. "Sommerfeld formula and Dirac's theory" (http:/ / www. Retrieved 2008-02-18. p. where the action is on the order of the Planck constant. Further reading • Thewlis. and Wolfgang Pauli and Satyendra Nath Bose (statistics of subatomic particles). D.). quantum mechanics allows for far more dynamic.19053220607. ISBN 3-87144-484-7.132E. The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are abstract..D. very low or very high) energies or temperatures. Atombau und Spektrallinien. these latter theories can be viewed as quantum theories of matter and electromagnetic radiation. uni-augsburg. which requires an understanding of complex numbers and linear functionals. Instead of a traditional static. Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. doi:10. Pergamon Press. (2006). Physics ± Uspekhi 47 (5): 523–524. Early quantum theory was significantly reformulated in the mid-1920s by Werner Heisenberg. (1962). Max Born and Pascual Jordan. Quantum Mechanics: Non-Relativistic Theory. A mathematical function called the wavefunction provides information about the probability amplitude of position. E. G. 8-9. pdf).Old Quantum Theory 52 References [1] [2] [3] [4] ter Haar. or quantum theory) is a branch of physics dealing with physical phenomena at microscopic scales. the angular momentum of an electron bound to an atom or molecule is quantized. The Old Quantum Theory. who created matrix mechanics. Atombau und Spektrallinien'. the ground state in a quantum mechanical model is a non-zero energy state that is the lowest permitted energy state of a system. google. chaotic possibilities. .. google. org/ EJ/ article/ 1063-7869/ 47/ 5/ L06/ PHU_47_5_L06.

Later Max Planck corrected the theory and proposed what is now called Planck's law. Albert Einstein and Robert A.V. In 1896. quantum electronics. performed the famous double-slit experiment that he later described in a paper entitled "On the nature of light and colours". Paul Dirac and John von Neumann. each energy element E is proportional to its frequency ν: . Wilhelm Wien empirically determined a distribution law of black-body radiation. introducing elliptical orbits. 53 History The first study of quantum mechanics goes back to the 17th and 18th centuries when scientists such as Robert Hooke. quantum optics. it was only valid at high frequencies. This experiment played a major role in the general acceptance of the wave theory of light. later named Wien's law after him. In 1838 with the discovery of cathode rays by Michael Faraday. the statistical nature of our knowledge of reality. C. and philosophical speculation about the role of the observer. The first studies of quantum phenomena in nature were by the work of several scientists as Arthur Compton. Peter Debye extended Niels Bohr's theory of atomic structure.[3] In 1803. these studies were followed by the 1859 statement of the black-body radiation problem by Gustav Kirchhoff. which led to the development of quantum mechanics. Millikan (both studied the Photoelectric effect). Christian Huygens and Leonhard Euler proposed a wave theory of light based on experimental observations. and underestimated the radiancy at low frequencies. However. Raman.[4] Planck's hypothesis that energy is radiated and absorbed in discrete "quanta" (or "energy elements") precisely matched the observed patterns of black-body radiation.[2] with a greater emphasis placed on measurement in quantum mechanics. Thomas Young. and its more advanced developments in terms of quantum field theory. and speculative quantum gravity theories. This phase is known as Old quantum theory. According to Planck. an English polymath. Much 19th century physics has been re-evaluated as the "classical limit" of quantum mechanics. and the 1900 quantum hypothesis of Max Planck.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 unified and formalized by the work of David Hilbert. and quantum information science. string theory. Quantum mechanics has since branched out into almost every aspect of 20th century physics and other disciplines. Pieter Zeeman (each one of them has a quantum effect named after their works). the 1877 suggestion by Ludwig Boltzmann that the energy states of a physical system can be discrete. At the same time Niels Bohr developed his theory of the atomic structure later confirmed with experiments by Henry Moseley. a concept also introduced by Arnold Sommerfeld[5] . In 1913. such as quantum chemistry.

Paul Dirac. meaning "how great" or "how much". Wolfgang Pauli. in 1905 Albert Einstein interpreted Planck's quantum hypothesis realistically and used it to explain the photoelectric effect. including condensed matter physics. Niels Bohr. such as the energy of an atom at rest (see Figure 1). in which shining light on certain materials can eject electrons from the material.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 54 where h is Planck's constant. From Einstein's simple postulation was born a flurry of debating. The discovery that particles are discrete packets of energy with wave-like properties led to the branch of physics dealing with atomic and sub-atomic systems which is today called quantum mechanics. called wave–particle duality. Albert Einstein further developed this idea to show that an electromagnetic wave such as light could be described as a particle (later called the photon) with a discrete quantum of energy that was dependent on its frequency. Thus the entire field of quantum physics emerged.[6] However. leading to its wider acceptance at the Fifth Solvay Conference in 1927. Max Born. and testing. Arthur Compton. While quantum mechanics traditionally described the world of the very small. Bohr and Heisenberg published results that The 1927 Solvay Conference in Brussels. Planck is considered the father of the Quantum Theory The foundations of quantum mechanics were established during the first half of the 20th century by Max Planck. The other exemplar that led to quantum mechanics was the study of electromagnetic waves. in which particles and waves were neither one nor the other. Louis de Broglie. closed the "Old Quantum Theory". David Hilbert. it is also needed to explain certain recently investigated macroscopic systems such as superconductors and superfluids. The word quantum derives from the Latin. it refers to a discrete unit that quantum theory assigns to certain physical quantities. In the mid-1920s. such as visible light. In the summer of 1925. When it was found in 1900 by Max Planck that the energy of waves could be described as consisting of small packets or "quanta". Satyendra Nath Bose. John von Neumann. Wilhelm Wien. solid-state . Albert Einstein. Enrico Fermi. It is the underlying mathematical framework of many fields of physics and chemistry.[7] This led to a theory of unity between subatomic particles and electromagnetic waves. developments in quantum mechanics led to its becoming the standard formulation for atomic physics. light quanta came to be called photons (1926). Erwin Schrödinger. Werner Heisenberg. Planck (cautiously) insisted that this was simply an aspect of the processes of absorption and emission of radiation and had nothing to do with the physical reality of the radiation itself. Max Von Laue. Arnold Sommerfeld and others. Freeman Dyson. theorizing.[8] In quantum mechanics. Out of deference to their particle-like behavior in certain processes and measurements. but had certain properties of both.

If the operator's spectrum is discrete. such as position and momentum. electrons may be considered (to a certain probability) to be located somewhere within a given region of space. which could not be explained by Newton's laws of motion and Maxwell's laws of (classical) electromagnetism. the possible states are points in the projective space of a Hilbert space. the nucleus.[16] According to one interpretation. often referred to as "clouds". Heisenberg's uncertainty principle quantifies the inability to precisely locate the particle given its conjugate momentum.[10] Quantum mechanics is essential to understanding the behavior of systems at atomic length scales and smaller. However. making stable atoms impossible. it allows one to compute the probability of finding an electron in a particular region around the nucleus at a particular time. Contrary to classical mechanics. the state space for position and momentum states is the space of square-integrable functions. and nuclear physics. The exact nature of this Hilbert space is dependent on the system .[14] the possible states of a quantum mechanical system are represented by unit vectors (called "state vectors").[9] Some fundamental aspects of the theory are still actively studied. as the result of a measurement the wave function containing the probability information for a system collapses from a given initial state to a particular eigenstate. The probability distribution of an observable in a given . For example. especially the differences in the spectra of light emitted by different isotopes of the same element.[13] and John von Neumann. and the associated eigenvalue corresponds to the value of the observable in that eigenstate. usually called the complex projective space. Formally. the observable can only attain those discrete eigenvalues. these reside in a complex separable Hilbert space . also referred to as state vector in a complex vector space. nuclear chemistry. Contours of constant probability. For example. the state of a system at a given time is described by a complex wave function. may be drawn around the nucleus of an atom to conceptualize where the electron might be located with the most probability. particle physics.variously called the "state space" or the "associated Hilbert space" of the system . For instance. electrons would rapidly travel toward.[11] Quantum mechanics was initially developed to provide a better explanation of the atom. computational chemistry. Broadly speaking. computational physics. with accuracy. quantum chemistry. atomic physics. quantum mechanics incorporates four classes of phenomena for which classical physics cannot account: • The quantization of certain physical properties • Wave–particle duality • The Uncertainty principle • Quantum entanglement.for example. The possible results of a measurement are the eigenvalues of the operator representing the observable — which explains the choice of Hermitian operators. 55 Mathematical formulations In the mathematically rigorous formulation of quantum mechanics developed by Paul Dirac[12] David Hilbert. probabilistic wave–particle wavefunction orbital path around (or through) the nucleus. but with their exact positions unknown. in the natural world electrons normally remain in an uncertain. non-deterministic.[15] This abstract mathematical object allows for the calculation of probabilities of outcomes of concrete experiments. for which all the eigenvalues are real. if classical mechanics truly governed the workings of an atom.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 physics. In other words. Each observable is represented by a maximally Hermitian (precisely: by a self-adjoint) linear operator acting on the state space.that is well defined up to a complex number of norm 1 (the phase factor). one can never make simultaneous predictions of conjugate variables. Each eigenstate of an observable corresponds to an eigenvector of the operator. "smeared". molecular physics. The quantum theory of the atom was developed as an explanation for the electron remaining in its orbit. and collide with. In the formalism of quantum mechanics. defying classical electromagnetism. while the state space for the spin of a single proton is just the product of two complex planes.

it is helpful to use different words to describe states having uncertain values and states having definite values (eigenstates).it makes a definite prediction of what the wavefunction will be at any later time.[23] During a measurement. rather. In the decades after the formulation of quantum mechanics. or quantum state nuclear attraction. a definite energy. The time evolution of wave functions is deterministic in the sense that . The Schrödinger equation describes how wavefunctions change in time. Usually.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 state can be found by computing the spectral decomposition of the corresponding operator. It was the central topic in the famous Bohr-Einstein debates. such that the probability is the squared modulus of the complex amplitude. the wavefunction will instantaneously be an eigenstate (or "generalized" eigenstate) of that observable. later wavefunction is not deterministic. This is one of the most difficult aspects of quantum systems to understand. where the amplitude of the wave function is large. for example. it is impossible to predict with certainty the result. playing a role similar to Newton's second law in classical mechanics. After the measurement is performed. such as dense probability clouds. However. the question of what constitutes a "measurement" has been extensively studied. certain states that are associated with a definite value of a particular observable. the change of the initial wavefunction into another. This process is known as wavefunction collapse. the wave function collapses into a position eigenstate centered at x. For example.[24][25] Wave functions change as time progresses. The basic idea is that when a quantum system interacts with a measuring apparatus. it is unpredictable (i. in which the two scientists attempted to clarify these fundamental principles by way of thought experiments. If one knows the corresponding wave function at the instant before the measurement. quantum mechanics does not pinpoint the exact values of a particle's position and momentum (since they are conjugate pairs) or its energy and time (since they too are conjugate pairs).[22] The time evolution of a quantum state is described by the Schrödinger equation.given a wavefunction at an initial time . Often these results are skewed by many causes. whereby electron location is given by a probability function.[20] In the everyday world. quantum mechanics does not assign definite values.[17] Generally. the relative state interpretation). uncertainty is involved in the value. so that the original quantum system ceases to exist as an independent entity. Hence. a controversial and much-debated process[21] that involves expanding the system under study to include the measurement device. predicts that the center of a wave packet will move through space at a 56 . it is natural and intuitive to think of everything (every observable) as being in an eigenstate. that is. and a definite time of occurrence. Therefore. Probability clouds are approximate. see the article on measurement in quantum mechanics. When one measures the position of the particle. these probabilities will depend on the quantum state at the "instant" of the measurement. There are. The probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics thus stems from the act of measurement. however. it makes a prediction using a probability distribution. but not certain. it describes the probability of obtaining the possible outcomes from measuring an observable. having obtained some result x. but better than the Bohr model. Newer interpretations of quantum mechanics have been formulated that do away with the concept of "wavefunction collapse" (see. A time-evolution simulation can be seen here. it only provides a range of probabilities of where that particle might be given its momentum and momentum probability. random). the free particle in the previous example will usually have a wavefunction that is a wave packet centered around some mean position x0 (neither an eigenstate of position nor of momentum).[18][19] Naturally. For details. one will be able to compute the probability of the wavefunction collapsing into each of the possible eigenstates.[17] It is probable.e. their respective wavefunctions become entangled. a definite momentum. on the other hand. Instead. the wave function eigenvalue. Everything appears to have a definite position. The Schrödinger equation. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is represented by the statement that the operators corresponding to certain observables do not commute. These are known as eigenstates of the observable ("eigen" can be translated from German as meaning "inherent" or "characteristic"). that it will be near x0. However. if one measures the observable. in which the Hamiltonian (the operator corresponding to the total energy of the system) generates the time evolution. applied to the aforementioned example of the free particle. a system will not be in an eigenstate of the observable (particle) we are interested in.

or independent of time . The angular momentum and energy are quantized. 57 . . which means that the position becomes more uncertain with time. 1: Probability densities corresponding to the wavefunctions of an value. a single electron in an unexcited atom is pictured classically as a particle moving in a circular trajectory around the atomic nucleus. 3. Brighter areas probabilities. the interference between quantum states.. This also has the effect of turning a position eigenstate (which can be thought of as an infinitely sharp wave packet) into a broadened wave packet that no longer represents a (definite.. time vanishes in the absolute square of the wave function. the hydrogen molecular ion. . are spherically symmetric).. These deviations can then be computed based on the classical motion.. whereas in quantum mechanics it is described by a static.) and angular probability amplitude encodes information about momenta (increasing across from left to right: s. one uses the analytic result for a simple quantum mechanical model to generate a result for a more complicated model that is related to the simpler model by (for one example) the addition of a weak potential energy. However. and take only Schrödinger equation are only available for a very discrete values like those shown (as is the case for resonant frequencies in small number of relatively simple model acoustics) Hamiltonians. analytic solutions of the frequency.). spherically symmetric wavefunction surrounding the nucleus (Fig. certain) position eigenstate. a definite states. This approach is particularly important in the field of quantum chaos.such as when in a stationary state of constant energy. the wave packet will also spread out as time progresses. Even the helium atom . and the hydrogen atom are the most important representatives. possessing a sharp energy and. There exist several techniques for generating approximate solutions. In the important method known as perturbation theory. 2. labeled s. As it turns out. Many systems that are treated dynamically in classical mechanics are described by such "static" wave functions. the particle in a box. not merely its absolute Fig.which contains just one more electron than does the hydrogen atom .Quantum Mechanics after 1925 constant velocity (like a classical particle with no forces acting on it). For example. Another method is the "semi-classical equation of motion" approach. p. 1) (note. and are indeed modes of oscillation as well. that only the lowest angular momentum states. Whereas the absolute value of the electron in a hydrogen atom possessing definite energy levels (increasing from the top of the image to the bottom: n = 1.[27] The Schrödinger equation acts on the entire probability amplitude. however. of which the quantum harmonic oscillator. d.has defied all attempts at a fully analytic treatment. however.[26] Some wave functions produce probability distributions that are constant. its phase encodes information about correspond to higher probability density in a position measurement. thus. This Wavefunctions like these are directly comparable to Chladni's figures of gives rise to the "wave-like" behavior of quantum acoustic modes of vibration in classical physics. which applies to systems for which quantum mechanics produces only weak (small) deviations from classical behavior.

the well-known model of the quantum harmonic oscillator uses an explicitly non-relativistic expression for the kinetic energy of the oscillator. A fully relativistic quantum theory required the development of quantum field theory. An important guide for making these choices is the correspondence principle. and angular momentum.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 58 Mathematically equivalent formulations of quantum mechanics There are numerous mathematically equivalent formulations of quantum mechanics. is to treat charged particles as quantum mechanical objects being acted on by a classical electromagnetic field. at the high energy limit. Early attempts to merge quantum mechanics with special relativity involved the replacement of the Schrödinger equation with a covariant equation such as the Klein-Gordon equation or the Dirac equation. In other words. it was applied to models whose correspondence limit was non-relativistic classical mechanics. the position of a particle) or discrete (e. A simpler approach. momentum. The first complete quantum field theory. the statistical probability of random behaviour approaches zero. For instance. i. whereas a single particle exhibits a degree of randomness. One can even start from an established classical model of a particular system. They assert that the state space of a system is a Hilbert space. and is thus a quantum version of the classical harmonic oscillator. the energy of an electron bound to a hydrogen atom).[30] and In the matrix formulation. and that observables of that system are Hermitian operators acting on that space—although they do not tell us which Hilbert space or which operators. such as in the emission of photons by charged particles. Observables can be either continuous (e. they had certain unsatisfactory qualities stemming from their neglect of the relativistic creation and annihilation of particles.. in systems incorporating millions of particles averaging takes over and.matrix mechanics (invented by Werner Heisenberg)[28] and wave mechanics (invented by Erwin Schrödinger). the instantaneous state of a quantum system encodes the probabilities of its measurable properties. which states that the predictions of quantum mechanics reduce to those of classical mechanics when a system moves to higher energies or—equivalently—larger quantum numbers.[31] An alternative formulation of quantum mechanics is Feynman's path integral formulation. While these theories were successful in explaining many experimental results. the role of Max Born in the development of QM has become somewhat confused and overlooked. quantum electrodynamics. The full apparatus of quantum field theory is often unnecessary for describing electrodynamic systems. one that has been employed since the inception of quantum mechanics. or "observables". This fact was recognized in a paper that Heisenberg himself published in 1940 honoring Max Planck.g. When quantum mechanics was originally formulated.[29] Especially since Werner Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1932 for the creation of quantum mechanics. For example. position. . A 2005 biography of Born details his role as the creator of the matrix formulation of quantum mechanics. then attempt to guess the underlying quantum model that would give rise to the classical model in the correspondence limit. One of the oldest and most commonly used formulations is the "transformation theory" proposed by the late Cambridge theoretical physicist Paul Dirac. which unifies and generalizes the two earliest formulations of quantum mechanics . the elementary quantum model of the hydrogen atom describes the electric field of the hydrogen atom using a classical Coulomb potential.g. This "high energy" limit is known as the classical or correspondence limit. Examples of observables include energy. This "semi-classical" approach fails if quantum fluctuations in the electromagnetic field play an important role. Interactions with other scientific theories The rules of quantum mechanics are fundamental.. provides a fully quantum description of the electromagnetic interaction. which applies quantization to a field (rather than a fixed set of particles).e. classical mechanics is simply a quantum mechanics of large systems. This is the quantum-mechanical counterpart of the action principle in classical mechanics. in which a quantum-mechanical amplitude is considered as a sum over all possible histories between the initial and final states. These can be chosen appropriately in order to obtain a quantitative description of a quantum system.

the remaining fundamental force. thermal. and Quantum machine). The resolution of these incompatibilities is an area of active research. and classical mechanics is just an approximation for large systems of objects (or a statistical quantum mechanics of a large collection of particles).[33] 59 Quantum mechanics and classical physics Predictions of quantum mechanics have been verified experimentally to an extremely high degree of accuracy. The quantum field theory of the strong nuclear force is called quantum chromodynamics. with complex classical mechanics exhibiting behaviors similar to quantum mechanics. and quantum chaos studies the relationship between classical and quantum descriptions in these systems. Quantum coherence is an essential difference between classical and quantum theories. the laws of classical Newtonian physics remain accurate in predicting the behavior of the vast majority of "large" objects (on the order of the size of large molecules or bigger) at velocities much smaller than the velocity of light. For example. the formulation of a complete theory of quantum gravity is hindered by apparent incompatibilities between general relativity (the most accurate theory of gravity currently known) and some of the fundamental assumptions of quantum theory. approaching absolute zero). chaotic systems do not have good quantum numbers. However.[36] • While the seemingly "exotic" behavior of matter posited by quantum mechanics and relativity theory become more apparent when dealing with particles of extremely small size or velocities approaching the speed of light. For microscopic bodies. in their quantized forms. whereas classical "waves" infer that there is an adding together of intensities. into a single quantum field theory (known as electroweak theory). the extension of the system is much smaller than the coherence length. The weak nuclear force and the electromagnetic force were unified. Semi-classical approximations are workable. when quantum behavior can manifest itself on more macroscopic scales (see macroscopic quantum phenomena. and the mechanical.[32] It has proven difficult to construct quantum models of gravity. According to the correspondence principle between classical and quantum mechanics. and is illustrated by the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox.[35] Quantum coherence is not typically evident at macroscopic scales .although an exception to this rule can occur at extremely low temperatures (i. all objects obey the laws of quantum mechanics.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 Quantum field theories for the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force have also been developed. The laws of classical mechanics thus follow from the laws of quantum mechanics as a statistical average at the limit of large systems or large quantum numbers. the stability of bulk matter (which consists of atoms and molecules which would quickly collapse under electric forces alone). optical and magnetic properties of matter are all results of the interaction of electric charges under the rules of quantum mechanics. the rigidity of solids. and theories such as string theory are among the possible candidates for a future theory of quantum gravity. This is in accordance with the following observations: • Many macroscopic properties of a classical system are a direct consequence of the quantum behavior of its parts. These three men shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979 for this work. which gives rise to long-range entanglement and other nonlocal phenomena that are characteristic of quantum systems.e.[34] However. Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg. Bose-Einstein condensate.[37] . chemical. Quantum interference involves adding together probability amplitudes. by the physicists Abdus Salam. Classical mechanics has also been extended into the complex domain. and have led to predictions such as Hawking radiation. and describes the interactions of subnuclear particles such as quarks and gluons.

electromagnetism. which is currently (in the perturbative regime at least) the most accurately tested physical theory.the common interpretation of quantum mechanics by physicists since 1927 . Current predictions state that at around 1014 GeV the three aforementioned forces are fused into a single unified field. and used them to formulate the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in the hope of showing that quantum mechanics had unacceptable implications. have labored for many years in the attempt to discover a theory underlying everything. and gravity . While clearly contributing to the field. such as the lack of deterministic causality.and contrary to Einstein's ideas. He also had difficulty with the assertion that a single subatomic particle can occupy numerous areas of space at one time.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 60 Relativity and quantum mechanics Main articles: Quantum gravity and Theory of everything Even with the defining postulates of both Einstein's theory of general relativity and quantum theory being indisputably supported by rigorous and repeated empirical evidence and while they do not directly contradict each other theoretically (at least with regard to their primary claims). Consequently. "My God does not play with dice"." it is speculated that it may be possible to merge gravity with the other three gauge symmetries. since no transfer of information happens. the lack of a correct theory of quantum gravity is an important issue in cosmology and the search by physicists for an elegant "Theory of Everything" (TOE). the weak force.although Einstein was correct in identifying seemingly paradoxical implications of quantum mechanical nonlocality . expected to occur at roughly 1019 GeV.[39] Attempts at a unified field theory The quest to unify the fundamental forces through quantum mechanics is still ongoing. he did not accept many of the more "philosophical consequences and interpretations" of quantum mechanics. resolving the inconsistencies between both theories has been a major goal of 20th and 21st century physics. He is famously quoted as saying. he was also the first to notice some of the apparently exotic consequences of entanglement. and has stated so publicly in his lecture "Gödel and the End of Physics" (2002).the strong force. This TOE would combine not only the different models of subatomic physics. so that unification between general relativity and quantum mechanics is not an urgent issue in those particular applications. quantum mechanics was not. have definitively verified quantum entanglement. this effect does not violate causality. However. Many prominent physicists. According to the paper of J.from a single force or phenomenon. Gravity is negligible in many areas of particle physics.these implications could be experimentally tested. While Stephen Hawking was initially a believer in the Theory of Everything. and many subsequent experiments since. However. Quantum electrodynamics (or "quantum electromagnetism"). they have proven extremely difficult to incorporate into one consistent. Quantum entanglement forms the basis of quantum cryptography.[41] Beyond this "grand unification. which is used in high-security commercial applications in banking and government. Bell and the Copenhagen interpretation .[38] Einstein himself is well known for rejecting some of the claims of quantum mechanics. cohesive model.although the two particles can be an arbitrary distance apart. but also derive the four fundamental forces of nature . he has concluded that one is not obtainable. after considering Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. Alain Aspect's initial experiments in 1982. However. at the same time: • a "realistic" theory and • a local theory. in response to this aspect. The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox shows in any case that there exist experiments by which one can measure the state of one particle and instantaneously change the state of its entangled partner . but in 1964 it was shown by John Bell (see Bell inequality) that .[40] (blog) has been successfully merged with the weak nuclear force into the electroweak force and work is currently being done to merge the electroweak and strong force into the electrostrong force. including Stephen Hawking. However — and while special relativity is parsimoniously . This was 1935.

by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet. a theoretical physicist who formulated the groundbreaking M-theory. Loop quantum Gravity was first proposed by Carlo Rovelli. as discovered with general relativity. Einstein held that there should be a local hidden variable theory underlying quantum mechanics and.[44] This is not accomplished by introducing some "new axiom" to quantum mechanics. Other popular theory is Loop quantum gravity (LQG) a theory that describes the quantum properties of gravity.due largely to the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr . The evolution of a spin network over time. According to this interpretation.remains the quantum mechanical formalism that is currently most widely accepted amongst physicists. Therefore LQG predicts that not just matter.completely "compactified" (or infinitely curved) and not readily amenable to measurement or probing.616×10−35 m. More precisely. It has the same nature of the granularity of the photons in the quantum theory of electromagnetism or the discrete levels of the energy of the atoms. "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.at lower energies . formulated in 1956. but also space itself. has not been fully incorporated into quantum theory. the most famous of which has become known as the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. there is no meaning to length shorter than this (cf. currently the best theory describing the gravitation force. 61 Philosophical implications Since its inception. due to the complementarity nature of evidence obtained under different experimental situations. Even fundamental issues. The granularity is a direct consequence of the quantization. space can be viewed as an extremely fine fabric or network "woven" of finite loops. LQG is an attempt to merge and adapt standard quantum mechanics and standard general relativity. All of the possible consistent states of the measured system and the measuring apparatus (including the observer) are present in a real physical . which is an attempt at describing the supersymmetrical based string theory. disliked this loss of determinism in measurement. One of the leading authorities continuing the search for a coherent TOE is Edward Witten. such as Max Born's basic rules concerning probability amplitudes and probability distributions took decades to be appreciated by society and many leading scientists. but on the contrary. but instead must be considered a final renunciation of the classical idea of "causality"."[42] The Copenhagen interpretation . is called a spin foam. as in other interpretations . because. has an atomic structure. consequently. Albert Einstein. holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 incorporated into quantum electrodynamics — the expanded general relativity. It is also believed therein that any well-defined application of the quantum mechanical formalism must always make reference to the experimental arrangement. although 7 of the spatial dimensions are . M-theory posits that our apparent 4-dimensional spacetime is. According to theory. which is approximately 1.not just formally mathematical. John Bell showed that this "EPR" paradox led to experimentally testable differences between quantum mechanics and local realistic theories. These networks of loops are called spin networks. But here it is space itself which is discrete. the geometry of spacetime is a manifestation of gravity. Experiments have been performed confirming the accuracy of quantum mechanics. thereby demonstrating that the physical world cannot be described by any local realistic theory. Indeed. in reality.quantum superposition. Such a superposition of consistent state combinations of different systems is . He produced a series of objections to the theory. The predicted size of this structure is the Planck length. himself one of the founders of quantum theory. Planck scale energy). some 75 years after its enunciation. The main output of the theory is a physical picture of space where space is granular. the renowned physicist Richard Feynman once said. the many counter-intuitive aspects and results of quantum mechanics have provoked strong philosophical debates and many interpretations. actually an 11-dimensional spacetime containing 10 spatial dimensions and 1 time dimension.[43] The Bohr-Einstein debates provide a vibrant critique of the Copenhagen Interpretation from an epistemological point of view. that the present theory was incomplete. the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics is not a temporary feature which will eventually be replaced by a deterministic theory. The Everett many-worlds interpretation. It is also a theory of quantum space and quantum time.

Researchers are currently seeking robust methods of directly manipulating quantum states. which are indispensable parts of modern electronics systems and devices. and the multiverse hypotheses. Not only is this completely impractical. The application of quantum mechanics to chemistry is known as quantum chemistry. which will theoretically allow guaranteed secure transmission of information. according to the theory of quantum decoherence.. it would destroy any evidence that the original measurement took place (to include the physicist's memory). and the magnitudes of the energies involved. the transistor (and thus the microchip). The inaccessibility can be understood as follows: once a measurement is done. 62 Applications Quantum mechanics had enormous[46] success in explaining many of the features of our world. The individual behaviors of the subatomic particles that make up all forms of matter (electrons. However. A great deal of modern technological inventions operate at a scale where quantum effects are significant. mathematically describe most of chemistry. as observers. Everett's interpretation is perfectly consistent with John Bell's experiments and makes them intuitively understandable.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 called an entangled state. most of the calculations performed in modern computational chemistry rely on quantum mechanics. together with the system that was originally measured. Quantum mechanics is also critically important for understanding how individual atoms combine covalently to form molecules. In order to prove that the wave function did not collapse. Quantum mechanics can also provide quantitative insight into ionic and covalent bonding processes by explicitly showing which molecules are energetically favorable to which others. but even if one could theoretically do this. the electron microscope.e.[45] Relational quantum mechanics appeared in the late 1990s as the modern derivative of the Copenhagen Interpretation. based on the phenomenon of quantum tunneling through potential barriers . A more distant goal is the development of A working mechanism of a resonant tunneling diode device. photons. Quantum mechanics has strongly influenced string theories. Examples include the laser.[47] Furthermore. While the multiverse is deterministic. The study of semiconductors led to the invention of the diode and the transistor. candidates for a Theory of Everything (see reductionism). Efforts are being made to more fully develop quantum cryptography. In light of these Bell tests. the consistent state contribution to the aforementioned superposition) that we. neutrons. Cramer (1986) formulated his Transactional interpretation. one would have to bring all these particles back and measure them again. protons. because we can observe only the universe (i. we perceive non-deterministic behavior governed by probabilities. the measured system becomes entangled with both the physicist who measured it and a huge number of other particles. in principle. and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Relativistic quantum mechanics can. inhabit. these "parallel universes" will never be accessible to us. and others) can often only be satisfactorily described using quantum mechanics. some of which are photons flying away at the speed of light towards the other end of the universe.

its quantum state can be represented as a wave of arbitrary shape and extending over space as a wave function. which deals with techniques to transmit quantum information over arbitrary distances.. This is called an eigenstate of position—or. if the particle is in an eigenstate of momentum. such as black body radiation and the stability of the orbitals of electrons in atoms. then its position is completely unknown. or complete precision). where h is Planck's constant and p is the momentum of the eigenstate. If one performs a position measurement on such a wavefunction. stated in mathematical terms. a generalized position eigenstate (eigendistribution).[49] Even so.even in the simple light switch. the resultant x will be obtained with 100% probability (i. Quantum theory also provides accurate descriptions for many previously unexplained phenomena. some systems exhibit quantum mechanical effects on a large scale .Quantum Mechanics after 1925 quantum computers.[51] .[50] In an eigenstate of momentum having a plane wave form. 63 Examples Free particle For example. Flash memory chips found in USB drives use quantum tunneling to erase their memory cells. as otherwise the electrons in the electric current could not penetrate the potential barrier made up of a layer of oxide. it can be shown that the wavelength is equal to h/p. with full certainty. one can measure the position (alone) of a moving free particle. including smell receptors and protein structures. so the properties of the particle can be described as the properties of a wave. classical physics can often provide good approximations to results otherwise obtained by quantum physics. Quantum tunneling is vital to the operation of many devices . then its momentum is completely unknown. The Uncertainty Principle states that both the position and the momentum cannot simultaneously be measured with complete precision. consider a free particle. On the other hand. creating an eigenstate of position with a wavefunction that is very large (a Dirac delta) at a particular position x. and zero everywhere else.e. typically in circumstances with large numbers of particles or large quantum numbers.[48] Recent work on photosynthesis has provided evidence that quantum correlations play an essential role in this basic fundamental process of the plant kingdom. which are expected to perform certain computational tasks exponentially faster than classical computers. The position and momentum of the particle are observables. the frictionless flow of a liquid at temperatures near absolute zero. If the particle is in an eigenstate of position. While quantum mechanics primarily applies to the atomic regimes of matter and energy. Another active research topic is quantum teleportation. In quantum mechanics.superfluidity. is one well-known example. Therefore. However. It has also given insight into the workings of many different biological systems. there is wave-particle duality.

Energy states in rectangular dots are more ‘s-type’ and ‘p-type’. and Scattering at a finite potential step of height V0. rectangular and triangular-shaped quantum dots are shown. shown in green. E > V0 for this figure. and the coefficients A and B are determined from the boundary conditions and by imposing a continuous derivative on the solution. Each term of the solution can be interpreted as an incident. incident particles with energies higher than the size of the potential step are still partially reflected.and right-moving waves: . . Step potential The potential in this case is given by: The solutions are superpositions of left. Here. the wave functions are mixed due to confinement symmetry. Yellow is the incident wave. blue are reflected and transmitted waves. where the wave vectors are related to the energy via . The amplitudes and direction of left. in a triangular dot. or transmitted component of the wave. red does not occur. In contrast to classical mechanics.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 64 3D confined electron wave functions for each eigenstate in a Quantum Dot.and right-moving waves are indicated. allowing the calculation of transmission and reflection coefficients. However. reflected.

and infinite potential energy everywhere outside' that region. The general solutions of the Schrödinger equation for the particle in a box are: or. And additionally. At each wall (x = 0 and x = L). and so D = 0. which in this case coincides with the kinetic energy of the particle. and so it must be that kL is an integer multiple of π. The presence of the walls of the box determines the values of C. from Euler's formula. since . For the one-dimensional case in the direction. The box is defined as having zero potential energy everywhere inside a certain region. D. Thus when x = 0. since this would conflict with the Born interpretation. Therefore. When x = L. and k. The quantization of energy levels follows from this constraint on k.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 65 Rectangular potential barrier This is a model for the quantum tunneling effect. C cannot be zero. Particle in a box The particle in a one-dimensional potential energy box is the most simple example where restraints lead to the quantization of energy levels. ψ = 0. the time-independent Schrödinger equation can be written as:[52] Writing the differential operator 1-dimensional potential energy box (or infinite potential well) the previous equation can be seen to be evocative of the classic kinetic energy analogue with as the energy for the state . which has important applications to modern devices such as flash memory and the scanning tunneling microscope. sin kL = 0.

where Hn are the Hermite polynomials: and the corresponding energy levels are . Each standing-wave frequency is proportional to a possible energy level of the oscillator.E. This is another example which illustrates the quantization of energy for bound states. where the oscillator can have any energy. .and F) are standing waves (or "stationary states").e. In quantum mechanics. the potential for the quantum harmonic oscillator is given by: This problem can be solved either by solving the Schrödinger equation directly. first proposed by Paul Dirac.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 66 Finite potential well This is the generalization of the infinite potential well problem to potential wells of finite depth. or by using the more elegant "ladder method".D. a ball attached to a spring) in classical mechanics (A-B) and quantum mechanics (C-H). The eigenstates are given by: Some trajectories of a harmonic oscillator (i. with the real part shown in blue and the imaginary part shown in red. the position of the ball is represented by a wave (called the wavefunction). which is not trivial. Harmonic oscillator As in the classical case. This "energy quantization" does not occur in classical physics. Some of the trajectories (such as C.

htm [10] Compare the list of conferences presented here (http:/ / ysfine. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 265. 2012-07-27.Quantum Mechanics after 1925 67 Notes [1] The angular momentum of an unbound electron. Campbridge University Press. Retrieved 2012-08-18. . . Zajonc. . com/ r/ philosophy/ comments/ 8p2qv/ determinism_and_naive_realism/ ). Second edition (http:/ / books. Venkatesan. aip.. eu/ deutsch-englisch/ eigen) [21] "Topics: Wave-Function Collapse" (http:/ / www.com. . (1978). ukzn. [25] Michael Trott. J.1002/andp. [29] http:/ / th-www.. merriam-webster. com/ ) [11] Oocities. Merriam-webster. fccj. . Phy. ISBN 3-540-58080-8. html). pl/ acta/ vol19/ pdf/ v19p0683. S. . ISBN 0-521-80412-4. edu/ physics/ classical-mechanics/ pdf_lectures/ 06. The historical development of quantum theory. org/ ~ethall/ quantum/ quant. The Dark Side of the Force: Economic Foundations of Conflict Theory (http:/ / books.ph. [23] "Determinism and Naive Realism : philosophy" (http:/ / www. in/ resonance/ December2010/ p1056-1059.. Walter.utexas. Demonstrations. ISBN 0-7637-2470-X. K. google. [19] Hirshleifer. [24] Michael Trott. pp. Demonstrations. The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. if. Bender. [33] Carl M. 1932 (English translation: Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. html). [22] "Collapse of the wave-function" (http:/ / farside. Retrieved 2010-10-15. wolfram.. . p.wolfram.132E. google. ISBN 0387906428.com. 1999. ias. in German. [13] D. pp. uj. Princeton University Press. Reddit. archive. aspx?PaperID=25988& reason=500). [2] van Hove. [3] Max Born & Emil Wolf. Black-body theory and the quantum discontinuity 1894-1912. Aip. com/ books?id=_qzs1DD3TcsC& pg=PA36). Daniel W.322. Berndt (1994). html) at the Wayback Machine (archived October 26.com. Oxford: Clarendon Press.edu. za/ ~petruccione/ Phys120/ Wave Functions and the Schrödinger Equation. Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik. com/ TimeEvolutionOfAWavepacketInASquareWell/ ). Cambridge University Press [4] Mehra. see also Einstein's early work on the quantum hypothesis. google. Retrieved 2010-10-15. org/ history/ heisenberg/ p08a. Annalen der Physik 17 (6): 132–148. [5] http:/ / www. doi:10. Springer. Berlin.Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary" (http:/ / www. Inc. html). p. htm). p. [8] "Quantum . dict. "Complex Elliptic Pendulum". ph. 1989. The Principles of Quantum Mechanics. wolfram. [31] http:/ / ocw. com/ books?id=5t0tm0FB1CsC& pg=PA215). . 52. Retrieved 2012-08-18.0131 [hep-th]. "Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt [On a heuristic point of view concerning the production and transformation of light]". . 149-166. 2005). (1905). google. com/ dictionary/ quantum). [7] Einstein. edu. . Jack (2001). pp. Quantum Mechanics Symmetries. pdf) (PDF).. "Von Neumann's contributions to quantum mechanics" (http:/ / www. usu. pdf) (PDF). 1930. Retrieved 2012-08-18. editor. (1976). ISBN 0195023838.wolfram. Hilbert Lectures on Quantum Theory. Farside. utexas. actapress. Piravonu Mathews.M. [16] "Heisenberg . ams. A Textbook of Quantum Mechanics (http:/ / books. 1955). Retrieved 2010-10-15. reddit.eu (http:/ / de. (1982).. 124-8 and 285-6. edu/ ~luca/ Topics/ qm/ collapse.Quantum Mechanics. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Karta Kooner (2009-12-31). 36. Spaceandmotion.org. com/ mik_malm/ quantmech. George. in contrast. p. olemiss. pdf [30] Nancy Thorndike Greenspan. "Time Evolution of a Wavepacket In a Square Well" (http:/ / demonstrations. Princeton University Press. arXiv:1001. spaceandmotion. Reprinted in The collected papers of Albert Einstein. . "The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born" (Basic Books. Leon (1958). ac. com/ PaperInfo. [20] Dict. 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[34] "Quantum mechanics course iwhatisquantummechanics" (http:/ / www. scribd. com/ doc/ 5998949/ Quantum-mechanics-course-iwhatisquantummechanics). Scribd.com. 2008-09-14. . Retrieved 2012-08-18. [35] "Between classical and quantum�" (http:/ / philsci-archive. pitt. edu/ 2328/ 1/ handbook. pdf) (PDF). . Retrieved 2012-08-19. [36] "Atomic Properties" (http:/ / academic. brooklyn. cuny. edu/ physics/ sobel/ Nucphys/ atomprop. html). Academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu. . Retrieved 2012-08-18. [37] http:/ / assets. cambridge. org/ 97805218/ 29526/ excerpt/ 9780521829526_excerpt. pdf [38] "There is as yet no logically consistent and complete relativistic quantum field theory.", p. 4.  — V. B. Berestetskii, E. M. Lifshitz, L P Pitaevskii (1971). J. B. Sykes, J. S. Bell (translators). Relativistic Quantum Theory 4, part I. Course of Theoretical Physics (Landau and Lifshitz) ISBN 0-08-016025-5 [39] http:/ / www. damtp. cam. ac. uk/ strings02/ dirac/ hawking/  [40] "Life on the lattice: The most accurate theory we have" (http:/ / latticeqcd. blogspot. com/ 2005/ 06/ most-accurate-theory-we-have. html). Latticeqcd.blogspot.com. 2005-06-03. . Retrieved 2010-10-15. [41] Parker, B. (1993). Overcoming some of the problems. pp. 259–279. [42] The Character of Physical Law (1965) Ch. 6; also quoted in The New Quantum Universe (2003), by Tony Hey and Patrick Walters [43] "Action at a Distance in Quantum Mechanics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)" (http:/ / plato. stanford. edu/ entries/ qm-action-distance/ ). Plato.stanford.edu. 2007-01-26. . Retrieved 2012-08-18. [44] "Everett's Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)" (http:/ / plato. stanford. edu/ entries/ qm-everett/ ). Plato.stanford.edu. . Retrieved 2012-08-18. [45] The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (http:/ / www. npl. washington. edu/ npl/ int_rep/ tiqm/ TI_toc. html) by John Cramer. Reviews of Modern Physics 58, 647-688, July (1986) [46] See, for example, the Feynman Lectures on Physics for some of the technological applications which use quantum mechanics, e.g., transistors (vol III, pp. 14-11 ff), integrated circuits, which are follow-on technology in solid-state physics (vol II, pp. 8-6), and lasers (vol III, pp. 9-13). [47] Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry - Linus Pauling, E. Bright Wilson (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=vdXU6SD4_UYC). Books.google.com. 1985-03-01. ISBN 9780486648712. . Retrieved 2012-08-18. [48] Anderson, Mark (2009-01-13). "Is Quantum Mechanics Controlling Your Thoughts? | Subatomic Particles" (http:/ / discovermagazine. com/ 2009/ feb/ 13-is-quantum-mechanics-controlling-your-thoughts/ article_view?b_start:int=1& -C). DISCOVER Magazine. . Retrieved 2012-08-18. [49] "Quantum mechanics boosts photosynthesis" (http:/ / physicsworld. com/ cws/ article/ news/ 41632). physicsworld.com. . Retrieved 2010-10-23. [50] Davies, P. C. W.; Betts, David S. (1984). Quantum Mechanics, Second edition (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=XRyHCrGNstoC& pg=PA79). Chapman and Hall. p. 79. ISBN 0-7487-4446-0. ., [51] Baofu, Peter (2007-12-31). The Future of Complexity: Conceiving a Better Way to Understand Order and Chaos (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=tKm-Ekwke_UC). Books.google.com. ISBN 9789812708991. . Retrieved 2012-08-18. [52] Derivation of particle in a box, chemistry.tidalswan.com (http:/ / chemistry. tidalswan. com/ index. php?title=Quantum_Mechanics)

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References
The following titles, all by working physicists, attempt to communicate quantum theory to lay people, using a minimum of technical apparatus. • Malin, Shimon (2012). Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and the Nature of Reality, a Western Perspective (Revised ed.). World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-4324-57-1. • Chester, Marvin (1987) Primer of Quantum Mechanics. John Wiley. ISBN 0-486-42878-8 • Richard Feynman, 1985. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08388-6. Four elementary lectures on quantum electrodynamics and quantum field theory, yet containing many insights for the expert. • Ghirardi, GianCarlo, 2004. Sneaking a Look at God's Cards, Gerald Malsbary, trans. Princeton Univ. Press. The most technical of the works cited here. Passages using algebra, trigonometry, and bra-ket notation can be passed over on a first reading. • N. David Mermin, 1990, "Spooky actions at a distance: mysteries of the QT" in his Boojums all the way through. Cambridge University Press: 110-76. • Victor Stenger, 2000. Timeless Reality: Symmetry, Simplicity, and Multiple Universes. Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books. Chpts. 5-8. Includes cosmological and philosophical considerations. More technical:

Quantum Mechanics after 1925 • Bryce DeWitt, R. Neill Graham, eds., 1973. The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Princeton Series in Physics, Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08131-X • Dirac, P. A. M. (1930). The Principles of Quantum Mechanics. ISBN 0-19-852011-5. The beginning chapters make up a very clear and comprehensible introduction. • Hugh Everett, 1957, "Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics," Reviews of Modern Physics 29: 454-62. • Feynman, Richard P.; Leighton, Robert B.; Sands, Matthew (1965). The Feynman Lectures on Physics. 1-3. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-7382-0008-5. • Griffiths, David J. (2004). Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-111892-7. OCLC 40251748. A standard undergraduate text. • Max Jammer, 1966. The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics. McGraw Hill. • Hagen Kleinert, 2004. Path Integrals in Quantum Mechanics, Statistics, Polymer Physics, and Financial Markets, 3rd ed. Singapore: World Scientific. Draft of 4th edition. (http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/b5) • Gunther Ludwig, 1968. Wave Mechanics. London: Pergamon Press. ISBN 0-08-203204-1 • George Mackey (2004). The mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-43517-2. • Albert Messiah, 1966. Quantum Mechanics (Vol. I), English translation from French by G. M. Temmer. North Holland, John Wiley & Sons. Cf. chpt. IV, section III. • Omnès, Roland (1999). Understanding Quantum Mechanics. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00435-8. OCLC 39849482. • Scerri, Eric R., 2006. The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance. Oxford University Press. Considers the extent to which chemistry and the periodic system have been reduced to quantum mechanics. ISBN 0-19-530573-6 • Transnational College of Lex (1996). What is Quantum Mechanics? A Physics Adventure. Language Research Foundation, Boston. ISBN 0-9643504-1-6. OCLC 34661512. • von Neumann, John (1955). Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02893-1. • Hermann Weyl, 1950. The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics, Dover Publications. • D. Greenberger, K. Hentschel, F. Weinert, eds., 2009. Compendium of quantum physics, Concepts, experiments, history and philosophy, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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Further reading
• Bernstein, Jeremy (2009). Quantum Leaps (http://books.google.com/books?id=j0Me3brYOL0C& printsec=frontcover). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03541-6. • Müller-Kirsten, H. J. W. (2012). Introduction to Quantum Mechanics: Schrödinger Equation and Path Integral (2nd ed.). World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-4397-74-2. • Bohm, David (1989). Quantum Theory. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-65969-0. • Eisberg, Robert; Resnick, Robert (1985). Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles (2nd ed.). Wiley. ISBN 0-471-87373-X. • Liboff, Richard L. (2002). Introductory Quantum Mechanics. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-8053-8714-5. • Merzbacher, Eugen (1998). Quantum Mechanics. Wiley, John & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-88702-1. • Sakurai, J. J. (1994). Modern Quantum Mechanics. Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-201-53929-2. • Shankar, R. (1994). Principles of Quantum Mechanics. Springer. ISBN 0-306-44790-8. • Cox, Brian; Forshaw, Jeff (2011). The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen. Allen Lane. ISBN 1-84614-432-9.

Quantum Mechanics after 1925

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External links
• Quantum Cook Book (http://oyc.yale.edu/sites/default/files/notes_quantum_cookbook.pdf) by R. Shankar, Open Yale PHYS 201 material (4pp) • A foundation approach to quantum Theory that does not rely on wave-particle duality. (http://www.mesacc. edu/~kevinlg/i256/QM_basics.pdf) • The Modern Revolution in Physics (http://www.lightandmatter.com/lm/) - an online textbook. • J. O'Connor and E. F. Robertson: A history of quantum mechanics. (http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/ history/HistTopics/The_Quantum_age_begins.html) • Introduction to Quantum Theory at Quantiki. (http://www.quantiki.org/wiki/index.php/ Introduction_to_Quantum_Theory) • Quantum Physics Made Relatively Simple (http://bethe.cornell.edu/): three video lectures by Hans Bethe • H is for h-bar. (http://www.nonlocal.com/hbar/) • Quantum Mechanics Books Collection (http://www.freebookcentre.net/Physics/Quantum-Mechanics-Books. html): Collection of free books Course material • Doron Cohen: Lecture notes in Quantum Mechanics (comprehensive, with advanced topics). (http://arxiv.org/ abs/quant-ph/0605180) • MIT OpenCourseWare: Chemistry (http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Chemistry/index.htm). • MIT OpenCourseWare: Physics (http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/index.htm). See 8.04 (http://ocw. mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/8-04Spring-2006/CourseHome/index.htm) • Stanford Continuing Education PHY 25: Quantum Mechanics (http://www.youtube.com/stanford#g/c/ 84C10A9CB1D13841) by Leonard Susskind, see course description (http://continuingstudies.stanford.edu/ courses/course.php?cid=20072_PHY 25) Fall 2007 • 5½ Examples in Quantum Mechanics (http://www.physics.csbsju.edu/QM/) • Imperial College Quantum Mechanics Course. (http://www.imperial.ac.uk/quantuminformation/qi/tutorials) • Spark Notes - Quantum Physics. (http://www.sparknotes.com/testprep/books/sat2/physics/ chapter19section3.rhtml) • Quantum Physics Online : interactive introduction to quantum mechanics (RS applets). (http://www. quantum-physics.polytechnique.fr/) • Experiments to the foundations of quantum physics with single photons. (http://www.didaktik.physik. uni-erlangen.de/quantumlab/english/index.html) • AQME (http://www.nanohub.org/topics/AQME) : Advancing Quantum Mechanics for Engineers — by T.Barzso, D.Vasileska and G.Klimeck online learning resource with simulation tools on nanohub • Quantum Mechanics (http://www.lsr.ph.ic.ac.uk/~plenio/lecture.pdf) by Martin Plenio • Quantum Mechanics (http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/qm/389.pdf) by Richard Fitzpatrick • Online course on Quantum Transport (http://nanohub.org/resources/2039) FAQs • Many-worlds or relative-state interpretation. (http://www.hedweb.com/manworld.htm) • Measurement in Quantum mechanics. (http://www.mtnmath.com/faq/meas-qm.html) Media • PHYS 201: Fundamentals of Physics II (http://oyc.yale.edu/physics/phys-201#sessions) by Ramamurti Shankar, Open Yale Course • Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=84C10A9CB1D13841) by Leonard Susskind • Everything you wanted to know about the quantum world (http://www.newscientist.com/channel/ fundamentals/quantum-world) — archive of articles from New Scientist.

Quantum Mechanics after 1925 • Quantum Physics Research (http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/matter_energy/quantum_physics/) from Science Daily • Overbye, Dennis (December 27, 2005). "Quantum Trickery: Testing Einstein's Strangest Theory" (http://www. nytimes.com/2005/12/27/science/27eins.html?scp=1&sq=quantum trickery&st=cse). The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2010. • Audio: Astronomy Cast (http://www.astronomycast.com/physics/ep-138-quantum-mechanics/) Quantum Mechanics — June 2009. Fraser Cain interviews Pamela L. Gay. Philosophy • "Quantum Mechanics" (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm) entry by Jenann Ismael in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy • "Measurement in Quantum Theory" (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-measurement) entry by Henry Krips in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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[3] Moreover. by measuring an AI consciousness[4] or via quantum computing. There exist a number of contending schools of thought. Although quantum mechanics has held up to rigorous and thorough experimental testing. a set of observations. how are we acquiring it and to what extent is it possible for a given subject or entity to be known. of 72 "leading cosmologists and other quantum field theorists" found that 58% supported the many-worlds interpretation. as physicists continue to show a strong interest in the subject. including both those obtained by empirical research. The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics An interpretation of quantum mechanics is a set of statements which attempt to explain how quantum mechanics informs our understanding of nature. They usually consider an interpretation of quantum mechanics as an interpretation of the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. There are two different interpretations of the wavefunction: 1. volume of space. In one it corresponds to a material field. Historical background The definition of terms used by researchers in quantum theory (such as wavefunctions and matrix mechanics) progressed through many stages. possibly infinite. specifying the physical meaning of the mathematical entities of the theory. Schrödinger originally viewed the wavefunction associated with the electron as corresponding to the charge density of an object smeared out over an extended. the interpreted theory is "really about" and 2. the epistemology which is concerned in what is knowledge. and more informal subjective ones (that humans invariably observe an unequivocal world is important in the interpretation of quantum mechanics).g. including Stephen Hawking and Nobel laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman. and other matters. The Copenhagen interpretation was traditionally the most popular among physicists. the instrumentalist position has been challenged by proposals for falsifiable experiments that might one day distinguish interpretations.[2] a controversial poll mentioned in "The Physics of Immortality" (published in 1994). This question is of special interest to philosophers of physics.72 3. the ontology which is concerned with what.[1]) However. 2. The qualities that vary between interpretations are: 1. many of these experiments are open to different interpretations. often misattributed to Richard Feynman. which elements of quantum mechanics can be considered "real". in the other it corresponds to a probability distribution — specifically. e. the many-worlds interpretation has been gaining acceptance. if anything. differing over whether quantum mechanics can be understood to be deterministic. They are interpretations of a formalism — a set of equations and formulae for generating results and predictions — and 2. For instance. they are interpretations of a phenomenology. Max Born interpreted it as simply corresponding to a probability distribution. the probability that the quantum of charge is located at any particular point within spatial dimensions. next to a purely instrumentalist position that denies any need for explanation (a view expressed in David Mermin's famous quote "shut up and calculate".[5] The nature of interpretation More or less all interpretations of quantum mechanics share two qualities: 1. .

The phenomenon of entanglement. How. i. and in these theories there seems to be less need to provide special interpretation for those numbers or functions. indeterminism may be attributed to the real existence of a "maybe" in the universe (ontology) or to limitations of an observer's information and predictive abilities (epistemology). wave functions interact with each other and evolve in time in accordance with the laws of quantum mechanics until a measurement is performed. the wave-function assigns non-zero probabilities to all possible values of any given physical quantity. and are therefore. 6. on the other hand. A solution to the problem of interpretation consists in providing some form of plausible picture. strictly speaking. properties of a point mass or properties of a field are described by real numbers or functions defined on two or three dimensional sets. The role played by observers and the process of measurement. The abstract. Firstly. the direct interpretation introduced the concept of measurement. alternative theories rather than interpretations. According to the theory. Some approaches tend to avoid giving any interpretation of phenomena or formalism. do we see a particle in a specific position when its wave function is spread across all space? In order to describe how specific outcomes arise from the probabilities. the accepted mathematical structure of quantum mechanics is based on fairly abstract mathematics. as offered by the many-worlds or the consistent histories interpretations. The complementarity of the proffered descriptions of reality. realism. This can be achieved by purely mathematical solutions.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics The same phenomenon may be given an ontological reading under one interpretation. The existence of what appear to be non-deterministic and irreversible processes. The rapid rate at which quantum descriptions become more complicated as the size of a system increases. or towards anti-realism. In general. then. and an epistemological one under another. by resolving the second kind of transformation. for instance Bohmian mechanics. and in particular the correlations between remote events that are not expected in classical theory. it is open to debate as to whether an approach is equivalent to the standard formalism. These can be described as instrumentalist. at which point the system takes on one of its possible values. The world around us seems to be in a specific state. as is illustrated by the double-slit experiment. Other approaches suggest modifications to the formalism. For instance. such as position. 2. Furthermore. • Non-reversible and unpredictable transformations described by mathematically more complicated transformations (see quantum operations).e. with a probability that's governed by the wave-function. 3. Interpretations may be broadly classed as leaning more towards ontology. In classical mechanics and electromagnetism. These transformations are determined by solutions to the Schrödinger equation. These have direct. the process of measurement may play an essential role in quantum theory .a hotly contested point. Examples include the transformations undergone by a system as a result of measurement. including: 1. . but quantum mechanics describes it by wave functions that govern the probability of all values. 73 Problems of interpretation The difficulties of interpretation reflect a number of points about the orthodox description of quantum mechanics. In some cases. 4. 5. mathematical nature of that description. spatial meaning. such as Hilbert spaces and operators on those spaces. Thus the mathematical formalism used to describe the time evolution of a non-relativistic system proposes two opposed kinds of transformation: • Reversible transformations described by unitary operators on the state space. Measurement can interact with the system state in somewhat peculiar ways.

it is difficult to overlap the quantum and classical descriptions to see how the classical approximations are being made.[6] Another obstruction to interpretation is the phenomenon of complementarity. Because the complexity of a quantum system is exponential in its number of degrees of freedom. which seemingly violates principles of local causality. Instrumentalist interpretation Any modern scientific theory requires at the very least an instrumentalist description that relates the mathematical formalism to experimental practice and prediction. Measurable quantities are associated with Hermitian operators acting on H: these are referred to as observables. As is now well-known (Omnès. Examples of A and B are propositions using a wave description of S and a corpuscular description of S. if we interpret the formal structure X of quantum mechanics by means of a structure Y (via a mathematical equivalence of the two structures).e. the precise ontological status of each interpretation remains a matter of philosophical argument. the outcome is a well-defined probability distribution agreeing with the real numbers. When the system S is prepared in a pure state. The latter statement is one part of Niels Bohr's original formulation. moreover. complementarity means that the composition of physical properties for S (such as position and momentum both having values within certain ranges). does not obey the rules of classical propositional logic (see also Quantum logic). quantum mechanics provides a computational instrument to determine statistical properties of this distribution. anything said outside the mathematical formulation is necessarily limited in accuracy.. argue that an interpretation is nothing more than a formal equivalence between sets of rules for operating on experimental data. if a measurement of a real-value quantity is performed many times. This is often phrased by saying that there are "complementary" propositions A and B that can each describe S. Some physicists. which is often equated to the principle of complementarity itself. Also. One of these is the phenomenon of entanglement. for example Asher Peres and Chris Fuchs. In the case of quantum mechanics. what is the status of Y? This is the old question of saving the phenomena. such as its expectation value. In other words. each time starting with the same initial conditions. using propositional connectives. 74 Problematic status of interpretations As classical physics and non-mathematical language cannot match the precision of quantum mechanics mathematics. That is. The expectation value of this distribution is given by the expression . the most common instrumentalist description is an assertion of statistical regularity between state preparation processes and measurement processes. but not at the same time. Complementarity says there is no logical picture (one obeying classical propositional logic) that can simultaneously describe and be used to reason about all properties of a quantum system S. 1999) the "origin of complementarity lies in the non-commutativity of [the] operators" that describe observables (i. in a new guise. as illustrated in the EPR paradox. which seems to violate basic principles of propositional logic. Rather. it is associated with a vector in H. Calculations for measurements performed on a system S postulate a Hilbert space H over the complex numbers. particles) in quantum mechanics.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics In addition to the unpredictable and irreversible character of measurement processes. Repeated measurement of an observable A where S is prepared in state ψ yields a distribution of values. Complementarity does not usually imply that it is classical logic which is at fault (although Hilary Putnam did take that view in his paper "Is logic empirical?"). there are other elements of quantum physics that distinguish it sharply from classical physics and which are not present in any classical theory. thereby implying that the whole exercise of interpretation is unnecessary.

for it makes no claims about elements of physical reality. such as: • • • • Realism Completeness Local realism Determinism To explain these properties. while in other interpretations it is not. it does not attempt to answer the question why. They characterised element of reality as a quantity whose value can be predicted with certainty before measuring or otherwise disturbing it. and possibly information about spatial extension of these elements. In this context a measurement operation is a transformation which turns a ket-vector into a probability distribution (for a formalization of this concept see quantum operations). although this usage is somewhat misleading since instrumentalism explicitly avoids any explanatory role. Realism is also a property of each of the elements of the maths. and measurement operations.e. direct way to compute a statistical property of the outcome of an experiment. Hence the bare instrumentalist view of quantum mechanics outlined in the previous section is not an interpretation at all. a bare instrumentalist description could be referred to as an interpretation. measurement operations. an interpretation is complete if every element of the interpreting structure is present in the mathematics. For example. once it is understood how to associate the initial state with a Hilbert space vector. The transitions may be non-deterministic or probabilistic or there may be infinitely many states. The current usage of realism and completeness originated in the 1935 paper in which Einstein and others proposed the EPR paradox. A measurement operation refers to an operation which returns a value and might result in a system state change. a semantic explanation of the formal mathematics of quantum mechanics) can be characterized by its treatment of certain matters addressed by Einstein. and defined a complete physical theory as one in which every element of physical reality is accounted for by the theory.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics This mathematical machinery gives a simple. In a semantic view of interpretation. in some interpretations of quantum mechanics (such as the many-worlds interpretation) the ket vector associated to the system state is said to correspond to an element of physical reality. . To that end we will regard an interpretation as a correspondence between the elements of the mathematical formalism M and the elements of an interpreting structure I. that is. where: • The mathematical formalism M consists of the Hilbert space machinery of ket-vectors. • The interpreting structure I includes states. the probability of finding the system in a given state computing the expectation value of a (rank-1) projection operator The probability is then the non-negative real number given by is given by 75 By abuse of language. and the measured quantity with an observable (that is. Spatial information would be exhibited by states represented as functions on configuration space. Summary of common interpretations of quantum mechanics Classification adopted by Einstein An interpretation (i. an element is real if it corresponds to something in the interpreting structure. unitary time dependence of the ket-vectors. transitions between states. As an example of such a computation.[7] In that paper the authors proposed the concepts element of reality and the completeness of a physical theory. we need to be more explicit about the kind of picture an interpretation provides. self-adjoint operators acting on the space of ket-vectors. The crucial aspect of an interpretation is whether the elements of I are regarded as physically real. a specific Hermitian operator).

the speed of light). as there may not be a clear choice of a time parameter. not in the electron". According to this interpretation. repeatedly splitting the universe into mutually unobservable alternate histories—distinct universes within a greater multiverse. The phenomena associated with measurement are claimed to be explained by decoherence. The Copenhagen interpretation rejects questions like "where was the particle before I measured its position?" as meaningless. It is claimed to be consistent with the Schrödinger equation. In order for this to make sense. The theory is based on a consistency criterion that allows the history of a system to be described so that the probabilities for each history obey the additive rules of classical probability. thus according to Heisenberg "reality is in the observations. Bohr and Heisenberg extended the probabilistic interpretation of the wavefunction proposed originally by Max Born.[8] Many worlds The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which a universal wavefunction obeys the same deterministic. The measurement process randomly picks out exactly one of the many possibilities allowed for by the state's wave function in a manner consistent with the well-defined probabilities that are assigned to each possible state. a given theory may have two interpretations.g. 76 The Copenhagen interpretation The Copenhagen interpretation is the "standard" interpretation of quantum mechanics formulated by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg while collaborating in Copenhagen around 1927. According to the interpretation. namely that the state at a future instant is a function of the state in the present (see time evolution). . In other words. Moreover. A precise formulation of local realism in terms of a local hidden variable theory was proposed by John Bell. that value is an element of reality. reversible laws at all times. combined with experimental testing. measurement operations in the interpreting structure must be localized. Consistent histories The consistent histories interpretation generalizes the conventional Copenhagen interpretation and attempts to provide a natural interpretation of quantum cosmology. It may not always be clear whether a particular interpretation is deterministic or not. Bell's theorem implies that quantum mechanics cannot satisfy both local realism and counterfactual definiteness. • The effects of measurement have a propagation speed not exceeding some universal limit (e. the interaction of an observer or apparatus that is external to the quantum system is the cause of wave function collapse. of a particle). the purpose of a quantum-mechanical theory is to predict the relative probabilities of various alternative histories (for example. Bell's theorem. in particular there is no (indeterministic and irreversible) wavefunction collapse associated with measurement.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics Determinism is a property characterizing state changes due to the passage of time. For instance. Local realism has two aspects: • The value returned by a measurement corresponds to the value of some function in the state space. one of which is deterministic and the other not. which occurs when states interact with the environment producing entanglement. restricts the kinds of properties a quantum theory can have.

or correlation. professor at Simon Fraser University. it is held by relational quantum mechanics that this applies to all physical objects. Thus the physical content of the theory has to do not with objects themselves. The wavefunction evolves according to the Schrödinger wave equation. A Modern Development. and the wavefunction never collapses. a single particle – but is an abstract statistical quantity that only applies to an ensemble (a vast multitude) of similarly prepared systems or particles. ed. Any "measurement event" is seen simply as an ordinary physical interaction. Ballentine. it may be in a superposition of two or more states. Schilpp (Harper & Row. de Broglie–Bohm theory The de Broglie–Bohm theory of quantum mechanics is a theory by Louis de Broglie and extended later by David Bohm to include measurements. It takes the statistical interpretation of Born to the fullest extent. The theory is considered to be a hidden variable theory. The simultaneous determination of a particle's position and velocity is subject to the usual uncertainty principle constraint. or statistical interpretation The ensemble interpretation. Particles.[12][13] An independent relational approach to quantum mechanics was developed in analogy with David Bohm's elucidation of special relativity.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics 77 Ensemble interpretation. The state vector of conventional quantum mechanics becomes a description of the correlation of some degrees of freedom in the observer. whether or not they are conscious or macroscopic. which become immediately unnecessary if one accepts the interpretation that the description refers to ensembles of systems and not to individual systems.[14] in which a detection event is regarded as establishing a relationship between the quantized field and the detector. New York) The most prominent current advocate of the ensemble interpretation is Leslie E. since the particles have definite positions at all times.[10] Collapse is explained as phenomenological. are guided by the wavefunction.A. The theory takes place in a single space-time. Probably the most notable supporter of such an interpretation was Einstein: The attempt to conceive the quantum-theoretical description as the complete description of the individual systems leads to unnatural theoretical interpretations. which always have positions. following the precedent of special relativity.[11] Relational quantum mechanics The essential idea behind relational quantum mechanics. between the system and its observer(s). author of the graduate level text book Quantum Mechanics. "collapsed" eigenstate.[15] . it claims to make the fewest assumptions associated with the standard mathematics. but the relationship. is that different observers may give different accounts of the same series of events: for example. is non-local. to one observer at a given point in time. P. The inherent ambiguity associated with applying Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is subsequently avoided. That is. it must describe an ensemble. while to another observer at the same time. can be viewed as a minimalist interpretation. and is deterministic. The measurement problem is resolved. and by embracing non-locality it satisfies Bell's inequality.[9] It is evident from this double-slit experiment with an ensemble of individual electrons that. However. Consequently. An experiment illustrating the ensemble interpretation is provided in Akira Tonomura's Video clip 1 . —Einstein in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist. since the quantum mechanical wave function (absolutely squared) describes the completed interference pattern. with respect to the observed system. if quantum mechanics is to be a complete theory. The interpretation states that the wave function does not apply to an individual system – for example. a system may be in a single. relational quantum mechanics argues that the notion of "state" describes not the observed system itself. an establishment of the sort of correlation discussed above. also called the statistical interpretation. but the relations between them.

[27] Other physicists have elaborated their own variations of the von Neumann interpretation. In objective theories. von Neumann concluded that the collapse was caused by the consciousness of the experimenter. they are realistic.[22] This point of view was prominently expanded on by Eugene Wigner. indeterministic. Fényes (1952). and resolves various quantum paradoxes. The author argues that it avoids the philosophical problems with the Copenhagen interpretation and the role of the observer. The mechanism of collapse is not specified by standard quantum mechanics.[18] An alternative stochastic interpretation was developed by Roumen Tsekov. results are inconclusive. no-hidden-variables theories. collapse occurs randomly ("spontaneous localization"). Thus. is the point of intersection between quantum mechanics and the mind/body problem. He concluded that the entire physical universe could be made subject to the Schrödinger equation (the universal wave function). meaning that Objective Collapse is more of a theory than an interpretation. that consciousness causes the collapse. but. should involve a wave function collapse. More recent work on the stochastic interpretation has been done by M.[17] Similar considerations had previously been published. thus far.[23][24] Variations of the von Neumann interpretation include: Subjective reduction research This principle. and Walter Weizel (1953).[19] Objective collapse theories Objective collapse theories differ from the Copenhagen interpretation in regarding both the wavefunction and the process of collapse as ontologically objective. or when some physical threshold is reached. Examples include the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber theory[20] and the Penrose interpretation. Fürth (1933).[21] von Neumann/Wigner interpretation: consciousness causes the collapse In his treatise The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Cramer is an interpretation of quantum mechanics inspired by the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory. I. but he later abandoned this interpretation. and researchers are working to detect conscious events correlated with physical events that. Pavon. including: • Henry P. Stochastic mechanics An entirely classical derivation and interpretation of Schrödinger's wave equation by analogy with Brownian motion was suggested by Princeton University professor Edward Nelson in 1966. and are referenced in Nelson's paper. for example by R. with observers having no special role.[25][26] Participatory anthropic principle (PAP) John Archibald Wheeler's participatory anthropic principle says that consciousness plays some role in bringing the universe into existence.[16] It describes a quantum interaction in terms of a standing wave formed by the sum of a retarded (forward-in-time) and an advanced (backward-in-time) wave. according to quantum theory. Since something "outside the calculation" was needed to collapse the wave function.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics 78 Transactional interpretation The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) by John G. John von Neumann deeply analyzed the so-called measurement problem. Stapp (Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer) • Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner (Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness) . which needs to be extended if this approach is correct.

[33][34][35][36] This creates retrocausality: events in the future can affect ones in the past. which can be used for making predictions about future measurements. and whenever the observer acquires new information about the system through the process of measurement. not because of any unique physical process which takes place there. Quantum logic Quantum logic can be regarded as a kind of propositional logic suitable for understanding the apparent anomalies regarding quantum measurement.. van Fraassen. obtained from a knowledge of how a system was prepared. just a change in our knowledge of it . The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes several versions:[32] • The Copenhagen variant • Kochen-Dieks-Healey Interpretations • Motivating Early Modal Interpretations. but only because the state is a construct of the observer and not an objective property of the physical system[31] Modal interpretations of quantum theory Modal interpretations of quantum mechanics were first conceived of in 1972 by B. . this term now is used to describe a larger set of models that grew out of this approach. A... In these theories.The “reduction of the wavepacket” does take place in the consciousness of the observer. rather than as an objective event.. These approaches have been appraised as similar to instrumentalism. in his paper “A formal approach to the philosophy of science.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics 79 Many minds The many-minds interpretation of quantum mechanics extends the many-worlds interpretation by proposing that the distinction between worlds should be made at the level of the mind of an individual observer. The existence of two laws for the evolution of the state vector.becomes problematical only if it is believed that the state vector is an objective property of the system. These approaches have been described as a revival of immaterialism[29] • Interpretations where quantum mechanics is said to describe an observer's knowledge of the world. exactly as events in the past can affect ones in the future. Dickson and J. Time-symmetric theories Several theories have been proposed which modify the equations of quantum mechanics to be symmetric with respect to time reversal. such as J. based on the work of R. a single measurement cannot fully determine the state of a system (making them a type of hidden variables theory). This research area and its name originated in the 1936 paper by Garrett Birkhoff and John von Neumann. Quantum information theories Informational approaches subdivide into two kinds[28] • Information ontologies. but given two measurements performed at different times.[30] Collapse (also known as reduction) is often interpreted as an observer acquiring information from a measurement. M. it is possible to calculate the exact state of the system at all intermediate times. who attempted to reconcile some of the apparent inconsistencies of classical boolean logic with the facts related to measurement and observation in quantum mechanics. The state is not an objective property of an individual system but is that information. rather than the world itself. most notably those concerning composition of measurement operations of complementary variables.. The collapse of the wavefunction is therefore not a physical change to the system. Clifton. This approach has some similarity with Bohr's thinking. Wheeler's "it from bit".A quantum mechanical state being a summary of the observer’s information about an individual physical system changes both by dynamical laws.” However. Bub..

Nevertheless. the space-time topology itself branches. These range from proposals by mainstream physicists to the more occult ideas of quantum mysticism. Similarly. the physical theory stands. No experimental evidence exists that distinguishes among these interpretations.[37] Other interpretations As well as the mainstream interpretations discussed above. Interpretation Author(s) Deterministic? Wavefunction real? Agnostic No Unique history? Yes Hidden Collapsing variables? wavefunctions? Agnostic No Observer role? None Local? Counterfactual definiteness? No Ensemble interpretation Copenhagen interpretation de Broglie–Bohm theory von Neumann interpretation Quantum logic Many-worlds interpretation Popper's [38] interpretation Max Born. Wheeler. a number of other interpretations have been proposed which have not made a significant scientific impact. and is consistent with itself and with reality. 1957 [39] No Yes Yes Yes No None Yes Yes13 . Comparison of interpretations The most common interpretations are summarized in the table below. designing experiments which would test the various interpretations is the subject of active research."[37] In MWI. For example. 1936 Hugh Everett. are themselves at the center of the controversy surrounding the given interpretation.. quantum computation and quantum gravity. 80 Branching space-time theories BST theories resemble the many worlds interpretation. 1952 No No1 Yes3 Yes No Yes2 No Causal No No Yes Yes4 Yes None No Yes von Neumann.. it is the wave functions that branches. rather than a consequence of the separate evolution of different components of a state vector. in line with the ensemble interpretation. To that extent.: particles in BST have multiple well defined trajectories at the microscopic level. in fact. It also has some resemblance to hidden variable theories and the ensemble interpretation.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics due to the second measurement. These can only be treated stochastically at a coarse grained level. The point where two particles appear to "become entangled" is simply a point where each particle is being influenced by events that occur to the other particle in the future. David Bohm. 1926 No Niels Bohr. 1932. The values shown in the cells of the table are not without controversy. 1927 Louis de Broglie. 1927. Wigner Garrett Birkhoff. whereas in BST. they explain entanglement as not being a true physical state but just an illusion created by ignoring retrocausality. Most of these interpretations have variants. Werner Heisenberg. BST has applications to Bells theorem. however. 1957 No Yes Yes No Yes Causal No No Agnostic Yes Agnostic Yes Yes5 No No No No No Interpretational6 Agnostic None Yes No No Karl Popper. "the main difference is that the BST interpretation takes the branching of history to be feature of the topology of the set of events with their causal relationships. difficulties arise only when one attempts to "interpret" the theory. it is difficult to get a precise definition of the Copenhagen interpretation as it was developed and argued about by many people. for the precise meanings of some of the concepts involved are unclear and.

13   Caused by the fact that Popper holds both CFD and locality to be true. the state is specific to the reference frame of the observer. collapse theories 1986. . Davidon. i. 1994 No No Agnostic10 No Intrinsic12 Yes • 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • •   According to Bohr. 9   In the TI the collapse of the state vector is interpreted as the completion of the transaction between emitter and absorber. 6   Quantum mechanics is regarded as a way of predicting observations. 2   According to the Copenhagen interpretation. Popper exchanged many long letters with Einstein. 1970 Yes Yes No No No Interpretational7 Interpretational6 None Yes No Robert B. Cramer. 10   Comparing histories between systems in this interpretation has no well-defined meaning. and. then Zurek calls this the "existential interpretation". 1976 Edward Nelson. about the issue.e. 8   If wavefunction is real then this becomes the many-worlds interpretation. If wavefunction less than real. 1984 Agnostic8 No Agnostic8 Yes No No No Yes No Objective Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber. 7   Observers separate the universal wavefunction into orthogonal sets of experiences. Bell etc. 1986 Yes No Yes No No No Yes Yes No Yes9 Yes11 None No Yes14 No Carlo Rovelli. but multiple wave histories. not just macroscopic or conscious observers. 1966 Yes No No Yes No No None No No H. 11   Any physical interaction is treated as a collapse event relative to the systems involved. but more than just information. 14   The transactional interpretation is explicitly non-local. 5   But quantum logic is more limited in applicability than Coherent Histories. if this modification has been empirically refuted or not. the wavefunction collapses when a measurement is performed. or a theory of measurement. According to Heisenberg the wavefunction represents a probability. it is under dispute whether Popper's interpretation can really be considered an interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (which is what Popper claimed) or whether it must be considered a modification of Quantum Mechanics (which is what many Physicists claim). 12   The state of the system is observer-dependent. Dieter Zeh. 1989 Transactional interpretation Relational interpretation John G. Griffiths. Penrose interpretation.. in case of the latter. 4   Unique particle history. 3   Both particle AND guiding wavefunction are real. but not an objective reality itself in space and time.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics 81 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Time-symmetric theories Stochastic interpretation Many-minds interpretation Consistent histories William C. the concept of a physical state independent of the conditions of its experimental observation does not have a well-defined meaning.

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washington.1637R. abc. 19(7):8–14. Klower Academic Publishers. 85-92 (1998). [27] ". (1966) Derivation of the Schrödinger Equation from Newtonian Mechanics. Benjamin. L. "Quantum Optics as a Relativistic Theory of Light. Zheng and T. pdf). org/ writings/ GRW Theory. [28] Information. H. Harvard Univ. see Carlo Rovelli (1996).. B. Retrieved 2011-01-24. Instrumentalism: Old and New in Quantum Information. Foundations of Physics 22:10. The philosophy of Niels Bohr. [35] Wharton. Quantum Mechanics and Experience. The Emerging Physics of Consciousness." Il Nuovo Cimento. K. washington. Phys.stanford. p. Volume 36B." Physica Scripta. 1992: About the EPR controversy. Translated by Robert T. 37(1). 6060-6078 (2000) [19] Roumen Tsekov (2009). Y." Physics Essays 9: 447. Retrieved 2011-01-24. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. [23] [ Michael Esfeld. 313-332 (2010). Observation and Interpretation. ISBN 90-277-0105-9. Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. . 83 Further reading Almost all authors below are professional physicists. 1987. in Jack A.0723 [quant-ph]. nl/ ~seop/ entries/ qm-modal/ ). 40(3). ISBN 0-7100-0971-2. Plato. [26] C.Op. Wholeness and the Implicate Order. John. see Q. Popper. J. "What Branching Spacetime might do for Phyiscs" (http:/ / philsci-archive. 1996. Reidel Publishing Company.35. Abc. The Special Theory of Relativity. thymos. google. (Niels Bohr. 36(8):704– 712. Timpson (http:/ / users. html). University of Tokyo (1992) 240. doi:10.. B.net. Annual Report. Press. quantum-relativity. quantum-relativity. 34-40 (1976). pp. pp. Buttersworth Scientific Publications. [21] "Review of Penrose's Shadows of the Mind" (http:/ / www.E. A. Christopher G.com. [14] David Bohm.) [31] Hartle. Immaterialism. Thymos. 27-48. For a full account (http:/ / www. M. 1(1):127-139. arXiv:quant-ph/9501014 [quant-ph]. J. Mark." [30] "Physics concerns what we can say about nature". Kobayashi. al. 30B. science. Am. [32] "Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)" (http:/ / www. Volume T76. Bibcode 1996IJTP. 1992.1007/BF02302261.) 1957. Rev. pp. pdf). [17] Nelson. [22] von Neumann. 159-168 (2007). • John S.. 2006-02-18. "Relational Quantum Mechanics". (1963). "A Novel Interpretation of the Klein-Gordon Equation.] [24] Zvi Schreiber (1995). The 2004 edition (ISBN 0-521-52338-9) includes two additional papers and an introduction by Alain Aspect. com/ mind/ penrose. Phys. Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics. romanfrigg. Collapse of a Quantum Field may Affect Brain Function. pp. 1968. pp.Cramer" (http:/ / www. Cambridge Univ. Princeton: Princeton University Press. "The Nine Lives of Schroedinger's Cat". uk/ ~bras2317/ iii_2. edu/ 3781/ 1/ what_branching_spacetime_might_do. Tuszynski (Ed). ISBN 0-674-74112-9. "Bohmian Mechanics versus Madelung Quantum Hydrodynamics". published in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. pdf) (PDF).edu. Quantum mechanics of individual systems. "On the Two-State Vector Reformulation of Quantum Mechanics. Pavon. Korner & Price (eds. 1965 [15] (http:/ / www. npl. "Quantum Physics of Single Systems. 145–154. pitt. K. uva. [40] de Muynck. “Stochastic mechanics and the Feynman integral”. Journal of Consciousness Studies. Retrieved 2011-01-24. Retrieved 2011-01-24. stanford. Phys. [16] "Quantum Nocality .nl. ISBN 1-4020-0932-1. org/ Quantum-Relativity. (1968). arXiv:quant-ph/9609002. edu/ npl/ int_rep/ qm_nl.: "Let us call the thought that information might be the basic category from which all else flows informational immaterialism. quoted in Petersen. ISBN 0-521-36869-3. 150. [13] For more information. pdf) [29] Timpson. Npl. . . • David Z Albert. . (1994). [36] Wharton. arXiv:0904. com/ ?id=k3rUe8XVjJUC& printsec=frontcover& dq=an+ empiricist+ approach#v=onepage& q=& f=false). Science. (1999)." Foundations of Physics. . (2006). Elsevier Science Ltd. htm). R. Beyer. Cit. [25] Dick J. pp 65–70. Nunn et. School of Science.C. edu/ entries/ qm-relational/ ). • Dmitrii Ivanovich Blokhintsev. net. (1932/1955). • David Bohm. . [34] Aharonov. J. Foundations of quantum mechanics: an empiricist approach (http:/ / books.2 [38] Marie-Christine Combourieu: Karl R.edu. [37] Sharlow. Press. 1079-1085 [18] M. . Consciousness and Quantum Physics: Empirical Research on the Subjective Reduction of the State Vector. Math.uva. Essay Review: Wigner’s View of Physical Reality. D. au/ rn/ scienceshow/ stories/ 2006/ 1572643. and Vaidman. B.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics [12] "Relational Quantum Mechanics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)" (http:/ / plato.The anthropic universe" (http:/ / www. [20] "Frigg. ac. ox. Bell. Retrieved 2011-01-24. . pdf) p. 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doi:10.1445404. • --------. Oxford Univ. Giancarlo. Press. 6. • " Quantum Entanglement and Information (http://plato.stanford. Conceptual Foundation of Quantum Mechanics. The Road to Reality. empiricist interpretations. Princeton Univ. Broad overview (http://www. • --------. • Bernard d'Espagnat. Sneaking a Look at God’s Cards. 1986. Shadows of the Mind. "Nine formulations of quantum mechanics". • N. The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. For general readers. arXiv:quant-ph/0012089 [quant-ph].edu/entries/qm-bohm/)" by Sheldon Goldstein. Princeton Univ. (March 2002). • " Relational Quantum Mechanics (http://plato. Princeton Univ. The Fabric of Reality.edu/entries/qm-collapse/)" by Giancarlo Ghirardi. • Roger Penrose. ISBN 0-7139-9061-9. • " Quantum mechanics (http://plato. ISBN 0-8133-4087-X.stanford.nl/ktn/Wim/muynck. Knopf. Press. Westview Press.cambridge.edu/entries/qm-manyworlds/)" by Lev Vaidman. ISBN 0-226-24948-4. On Physics and Philosophy. 1999. The Shaky Game: Einstein Realism and the Quantum Theory.stanford.com/physics/quantum+physics/book/978-3-540-92127-1) Springer.org/catalogue/catalogue. Understanding Quantum Mechanics. • " Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (http://plato. • Gregg Jaeger (2009) Entanglement. 1976. Press. ISBN 0-19-853978-9. ISBN 0-14-027541-X. • Willem M. • " Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (http://plato. (http://www. In Search of Reality. • --------. • Arthur Fine. 1994. The Emperor's New Mind.stanford. de Muynck.stanford. Oxford Univ.edu/entries/qm-everett/ )" by Jeffrey Barrett. • " Everett's Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics (http://plato. New York: Alfred A. Princeton Univ. 2003.stanford.edu/entries/qm-copenhagen/)" by Jan Faye. 84 External links • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: • " Bohmian mechanics (http://plato. 2004. springer. 1999. Press. • " Collapse Theories. Science and its Conceptual Foundations. David Mermin (1990) Boojums all the way through.edu/entries/qt-entangle/)" by Jeffrey Bub. Especially chpt. • Roland Omnes. • --------. (http://plato. 1997.edu/entries/qm-relational/)" by Federico Laudisa and Carlo Rovelli. Information.stanford. Univ. ISBN 0-691-03669-1. Press. Addison Wesley. 2004.1119/1. against oversimplified view of the measurement process. 1983. • " Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (http://plato. and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. asp?isbn=0521388805) Cambridge Univ. Press. London: Allen Lane. 2nd ed. 1989. ISBN 0-521-38880-5. Veiled Reality: An Analysis of Quantum Mechanical Concepts. Daniel F. • David Deutsch. • Styer. Argues that quantum theory is incomplete.stanford. • " The Role of Decoherence in Quantum Mechanics (http://plato.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics • Adan Cabello (15 November 2004).edu/entries/qm-decoherence/)" by Guido Bacciagaluppi. Press. Press. • --------. American Journal of Physics 70 (3): 288–297. "Bibliographic guide to the foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum information".stanford.edu/entries/qm/)" by Jenann Ismael. Quantum Philosophy: Understanding and Interpreting Contemporary Science.phys.tue. Princeton Univ. ISBN 978-3-540-92127-1. . ISBN 0-387-11399-1.htm#quantum) of the realist vs. • --------. of Chicago Press. (http://www. • --------. 1994.edu/entries/qm-modal/)" by Michael Dickson and Dennis Dieks.stanford. • Ghirardi. Argues forcefully against instrumentalism. Springer. ISBN 0-19-851973-7. 2006.

Background Classical physics draws a distinction between particles and energy.mtnmath.ac. • Interpretations of quantum mechanics on arxiv. " The Nine Lives of Schrodinger's Cat. (http://www.station1. (http://xstructure. whereas quantum mechanics is based on the observation that matter has both wave and particle aspects and postulates that the state of every subatomic particle can be described by a wavefunction—a mathematical expression used to calculate the probability that the particle. entities which fit neither the classical idea of particles nor the classical idea of waves.sprynet.free. the photoelectric effect.inr.org/) • Theory of incomplete measurements.txt) • Measurement in Quantum Mechanics FAQ. the existence of energy in discrete quantities had been postulated.org. various aspects of energy quanta. or measuring. Also. • Alfred Neumaier's FAQ. Werner Heisenberg and others in the years 1924–27. in order to explain phenomena. if one attempted to measure their individual trajectories through a simple physical apparatus.quantum-relativity. (http://www.htm) Argues for the superiority of the Bohm interpretation.com/faq/meas-qm. These models could not easily be reconciled with the way objects are observed to behave on the macro scale of everyday life.html) 85 The Copenhagen Interpretation The Copenhagen interpretation is one of the earliest and most commonly taught interpretations of quantum mechanics.ca/qm. they became highly unpredictable in certain contexts. The essential concepts of the interpretation were devised by Niels Bohr.html) • Erich Joos' Decoherence Website.net/DouglasJones/many. for example. This feature of the mathematics is known as wavefunction collapse.pdf) Deriving quantum mechanics axioms from properties of acceptable measurements. (http://www. The predictions they offered often appeared counter-intuitive and caused much consternation . According to the interpretation. The Copenhagen interpretation is an attempt to explain the mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics and the corresponding experimental results. and to the development of new models (theories) that described and predicted very accurately these micro-scale phenomena. • Hidden Variables in Quantum Theory: The Hidden Cultural Variables of their Rejection. if measured. the act of measurement causes the set of probabilities to immediately and randomly assume only one of the possible values.decoherence.fr/tim.htm) • Relational Approach to Quantum Physics.[1] It holds that quantum mechanics does not yield a description of an objective reality but deals only with probabilities of observing. (http://home.mat. holding that only the latter exhibit waveform characteristics.htm) • Numerous Many Worlds-related Topics and Articles. (http://www..johnsankey.org/abs/quant-ph/9501014)" Overview of competing interpretations. and the stability and spectrum of atoms such as hydrogen. (http://www.Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics • Schreiber. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. Z.univie.ru/x-bin/subthemes3. classical physics. while elementary particles showed predictable properties in many experiments.ac. and even appeared to be in contradiction with. (http://cc3d.de/) • Quantum Mechanics for Philosophers. such as the spectrum of black-body radiation. py?level=2&index1=362483&skip=0) • The many worlds of quantum mechanics. miguel-montenegro. (http://arxiv. In the early work of Max Planck. will be in a given location or state of motion. (http://www.at/~neum/physics-faq.com/Hidden_cultural_variables.com/~owl1/qm. that had eluded explanation by. Early twentieth-century experiments on the physics of very small-scale phenomena led to the discovery of phenomena which could not be predicted on the basis of classical physics. (http://www.

g. which has directed the entire development of modern atomic physics. The description of nature is essentially probabilistic.[5] Lectures with the titles 'The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory' and 'Criticisms and Counterproposals to the Copenhagen Interpretation'. 5. presumably dating back to the 1920s. 6. The purpose of the book seems to me to be fulfilled if it contributes somewhat to the diffusion of that 'Kopenhagener Geist der Quantentheorie' [i.. sometimes opposite. Copenhagen spirit of quantum theory] if I may so express myself. The term 'Copenhagen interpretation' suggests something more than just a spirit. in some experiments both of these complementary viewpoints must be invoked to explain the results. when they helped originate quantum mechanical theory. representing the state of the system. published in 1930. 3. David Bohm's[4]) that had been developed. 4. which evolves 2.e. Asher Peres remarked that very different. The lectures then served as the basis for his textbook. (This is the correspondence principle of Bohr and Heisenberg. with its more definite sense. there are several basic principles that are generally accepted as being part of the interpretation: 1. are reprinted in the collection Physics and Philosophy.[6] Principles Because it consists of the views developed by a number of scientists and philosophers during the second quarter of the 20th Century. there is no definitive statement of the Copenhagen interpretation.[3] while criticizing alternate "interpretations" (e. with the probability of a given outcome of a measurement given by the square of the amplitude of the wave function. In 1929. Heisenberg gave a series of invited lectures at the University of Chicago explaining the new field of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg wrote: On the whole the book contains nothing that is not to be found in previous publications. The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory. except when a measurement is made. A system is completely described by a wave function . Measuring devices are essentially classical devices.[2] In the book's preface.[8] Nonetheless. no such text exists. views are presented as "the Copenhagen interpretation" by different authors.The Copenhagen Interpretation among the physicists—often including their discoverers. (The Born rule.) . It appears that the particular term.[7] Thus. and measure only classical properties such as position and momentum. that Heisenberg delivered in 1955. such as some definite set of rules for interpreting the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. An experiment can show the particle-like properties of matter. or the wave-like properties. those properties that are not known exactly must be described by probabilities. at which point it instantaneously collapses to an eigenstate of the observable measured. after Max Born) It is not possible to know the value of all the properties of the system at the same time. was coined by Heisenberg in the 1950s.. apart from some informal popular lectures by Bohr and Heisenberg. (Heisenberg's uncertainty principle) Matter exhibits a wave–particle duality. smoothly in time. particularly in the investigations of Bohr. according to the complementarity principle of Niels Bohr. which contradict each other on several important issues. 86 Origin of the term Werner Heisenberg had been an assistant to Niels Bohr at his institute in Copenhagen during part of the 1920s. The quantum mechanical description of large systems will closely approximate the classical description. various ideas have been associated with it. However.

So if an electron passes through a double slit apparatus there are various probabilities for where on the detection screen that individual electron will hit. that the wave function is merely a mathematical tool for calculating the probabilities in a specific experiment. The subjective view.[12] Heisenberg never used the term collapse. that the wave function represents nothing but knowledge. Bohr and Heisenberg were not in complete agreement. or is at least non-committal about its being a discrete entity or a discernible component of some discrete entity. has some similarities to the Ensemble interpretation in that it takes probabilities to be the essence of the quantum state.The Copenhagen Interpretation 87 Meaning of the wave function The Copenhagen Interpretation denies that the wave function is anything more than a theoretical concept. Copenhagenists have always made the assumption of collapse." He suggested instead that the Copenhagen interpretation follows the principle: "What is observed certainly exists. when an observation takes place). There are some who say that there are objective variants of the Copenhagen Interpretation that allow for a "real" wave function. On the other hand. Heisenberg in particular was prompted to move towards realism. preferring to speak of the wavefunction representing our knowledge of a system. We use that freedom to avoid paradoxes. who. as it interprets them in terms of subjective probability. denied that the Copenhagen interpretation asserted: "What cannot be observed does not exist. Many-worlds interpretations say that an electron hits wherever there is a possibility that it might hit. Some argue that the concept of the collapse of a "real" wave function was introduced by Heisenberg and later developed by John Von Neumann in 1932. Bohr emphasized that science is concerned with predictions of the outcomes of experiments.) In more prosaic terms. An example of the agnostic view is given by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. in the way that adherents of the Many-worlds interpretation have not. but unlike the ensemble interpretation. An adherent of the subjective view. there is no longer any probability whatsoever that it will hit somewhere else. and they held different views at different times. it takes these probabilities to be perfectly applicable to single experimental outcomes. (In other words. and collapse as the "jumping" of the wavefunction to a new state. and that any additional propositions offered are not scientific but meta-physical. even in the early days of quantum physics. But once it has hit. those who hold to the Copenhagen understanding are willing to say that a wave function involves the various probabilities that a given event will proceed to certain different outcomes. Bohr was heavily influenced by positivism. representing a "jump" in our knowledge which occurs once a particular phenomenon is registered by the experimenter (i.[9] Even if the wave function is not regarded as real. there is still a divide between those who treat it as definitely and entirely subjective.e."[10] Nature of collapse All versions of the Copenhagen interpretation include at least a formal or methodological version of wave function collapse. but it is questionable whether that view is really consistent with some of Bohr's statements. and those who are non-committal or agnostic about the subject. But when one or another of those more. and that each of these hits occurs in a separate universe. would take an equally subjective view of "collapse".or less-likely outcomes becomes manifest the other probabilities cease to have any function in the real world. .[11] in which unobserved eigenvalues are removed from further consideration. while participating in a colloquium at Cambridge. about what is not observed we are still free to make suitable assumptions.

Each observer (Wigner and his friend) has different information and therefore different wave functions. if he survives. buckminsterfullerene. In practice it has been performed for light. viruses.The Copenhagen Interpretation 88 Acceptance among physicists According to a poll at a Quantum Mechanics workshop in 1997. The distinction between the "objective" nature of reality and the subjective nature of probability has led to a great deal of controversy. elephants. Bayesian versus Frequentist interpretations of probability. The external observer believes the system is in the state . bacteria. but not both at the same time (Bohr's Complementarity Principle). once the cat is observed. so that if the spin of one particle is measured. atoms. The greater systems (like viruses. His friend however is convinced that cat is alive. EPR (Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen) paradox Entangled "particles" are emitted in a single event. molecules. etc. followed by the many-worlds interpretation. quantum mechanics considers all matter as possessing both particle and wave behaviors. Conservation laws ensure that the measured spin of one particle must be the opposite of the measured spin of the other. Wigner's Friend Wigner puts his friend in with the cat. planets. Due to the smallness of Planck's constant it is practically impossible to realize experiments that directly reveal the wave nature of any system bigger than a few atoms but. and 50% chance it will be alive. the spin of the other particle is now instantaneously known. Astrophysicist and science writer John Gribbin describes it as having fallen from primacy after the 1980s.e.[13] the Copenhagen interpretation is the most widely-accepted specific interpretation of quantum mechanics. Schrödinger's Cat This thought experiment highlights the implications that accepting uncertainty at the microscopic level has on macroscopic objects. Is light a particle or a wave? The Copenhagen Interpretation: Light is neither. i.[15] Consequences The nature of the Copenhagen Interpretation is exposed by considering a number of experiments and paradoxes. there is a 50% chance it will be dead. The wave function means that. A cat is put in a sealed box." But this can't be accurate because it implies the cat is actually both dead and alive until the box is opened to check on it. 3. Schrödinger resists "so naively accepting as valid a 'blurred model' for representing reality. Thus a description of the cat during the course of the experiment—having been entangled with the state of a subatomic particle—becomes a "blur" of "living and dead cat. humans. The most discomforting aspect of this paradox is . cats. bacteria. not exact.[14] Although current trends show substantial competition from alternative interpretations. Cf. 2. 4. throughout much of the twentieth century the Copenhagen interpretation had strong acceptance among physicists.) are considered as "classical" ones but only as an approximation. A particular experiment can demonstrate particle (photon) or wave properties. Double-Slit Diffraction Light passes through double slits and onto a screen resulting in a diffraction pattern. 1. for him. How can Wigner and his friend see different wave functions? The Copenhagen Interpretation: Wigner's friend highlights the subjective nature of probability. The same experiment can in theory be performed with any physical system: electrons. in general. protons. cats. with its life or death made dependent on the state of a subatomic particle."[16] How can the cat be both alive and dead? The Copenhagen Interpretation: The wave function reflects our knowledge of the system. But the cat. the cat is in the state . will only remember being alive.[17][18] and some atoms. etc. electrons.

Steven Weinberg in "Einstein's Mistakes". The claim that EPR effects violate the principle that information cannot travel faster than the speed of light have been countered by noting that they cannot be used for signaling because neither observer can control.e. at any rate.. A further argument is that relativistic difficulties about establishing which measurement occurred first also undermine the idea that one observer is causing what the other is measuring. proponents of Many worlds[19] and the Transactional interpretation[20][21] (TI) maintain that Copenhagen interpretation is fatally non-local. However. don't tell God what to do". only the function of registering decisions. it seems as if the Copenhagen interpretation is inconsistent with special relativity. not to what can or can not be subsequently done with the information. it should be noted that is a somewhat spurious argument. unless data about the first spin measurement has somehow passed faster than light (of course TI gets around the light speed limit by having information travel backwards in time instead)." is absolutely necessary here and cannot be omitted from the interpretation of quantum theory. or predetermine.The Copenhagen Interpretation that the effect is instantaneous so that something that happens in one galaxy could cause an instantaneous change in another galaxy. In his article entitled "Criticism and Counterproposals to the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory. Copenhagenists claim that interpretations of quantum mechanics where the wave function is regarded as real have problems with EPR-type effects. 89 Criticism The completeness of quantum mechanics (thesis 1) was attacked by the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen thought experiment which was intended to show that quantum physics could not be a complete theory." countering the view of Alexandrov that (in Heisenberg's paraphrase) "the wave function in configuration space characterizes the objective state of the electron. rather. he knows the spin of the other. processes in space and time. Experimental tests of Bell's inequality using particles have supported the quantum mechanical prediction of entanglement. i. and it does not matter whether the observer is an apparatus or a human being. in response. However. said: . Physics Today. Einstein's comments "I. November 2005. The Copenhagen Interpretation gives special status to measurement processes without clearly defining them or explaining their peculiar effects. no information-bearing signal or entity can travel at or faster than the speed of light. both on the grounds that it is non-deterministic and that it includes an undefined measurement process that converts probability functions into non-probabilistic measurements. The Copenhagen Interpretation: Assuming wave functions are not real. Bohr. and therefore cannot manipulate what the other observer measures. Thus. wave-function collapse is interpreted subjectively.e. according to Einstein's theory of special relativity. said "Einstein. which is finite. Of course the introduction of the observer must not be misunderstood to imply that some kind of subjective features are to be brought into the description of nature.[22] Many physicists and philosophers have objected to the Copenhagen interpretation. The observer has. i. However. am convinced that He (God) does not throw dice. in that speed of light limitations applies to all information. the transition from the "possible" to the "actual. The moment one observer measures the spin of one particle. another observer cannot benefit until the results of that measurement have been relayed to him. since they imply that the laws of physics allow for influences to propagate at speeds greater than the speed of light.. but the registration." Heisenberg says. what he observes. page 31. But. since no matter who measured first the other will measure the opposite spin despite the fact that (in theory) the other has a 50% 'probability' (50:50 chance) of measuring the same spin."[23] and "Do you really think the moon isn't there if you aren't looking at it?"[24] exemplify this. This is totally spurious. at less than or equal to the speed of light.

A similar view is adopted in Quantum Information Theories. pointed out probability is a measure of a human's information about the physical world. ISBN 978-981-02-1010-6. [5] H. This is surely wrong: Physicists and their apparatus must be governed by the same quantum mechanical rules that govern everything else in the universe. 90 Alternatives The Ensemble interpretation is similar. and the so-called "retarded" or time-forward version[28] are both regarded as real and the transactional interpretation results. Quantum generations: A History of Physics in the Twentieth Century. so they have to be accepted. to observers and their apparatus. but the observer and the act of measurement are themselves treated classically. a position often equated with eschewing all interpretation.1086/425941. com/ books?id=-4sJ_fgyZJEC& pg=PA2). Many physicists have subscribed to the instrumentalist interpretation of quantum mechanics. more precisely.166B. Although the Copenhagen interpretation is often confused with the idea that consciousness causes collapse. T. a state vector) that evolves in a perfectly deterministic way. But these rules are expressed in terms of a wave function (or. and collapse is entirely rejected. While this slogan is sometimes attributed to Paul Dirac[29] or Richard Feynman. Kragh. it offers an interpretation of the wave function. But this leaves the task of explaining them by applying the deterministic equation for the evolution of the wave function. For an atemporal interpretation that “makes no attempt to give a ‘local’ account on the level of determinate particles”. [2] J. but not for the reason Einstein thought. World Scientific. doi:10. Physical Review 85 (2): 166–193.1103/PhysRev. but not for single particles. David (1952). p.[22] If the wave function is regarded as ontologically real. ("advanced" or time-reversed) of the relativistic version of the wavefunction. Don (2004). .The Copenhagen Interpretation All this familiar story is true. google.") [6] Werner Heisenberg.[27] Dropping the principle that the wave function is a complete description results in a hidden variable theory. 271. Bibcode 1952PhRv. 2..166.. 210. "Who invented the Copenhagen Interpretation? A study in mythology". Springer-Verlag. ("the term 'Copenhagen interpretation' was not used in the 1930s but first entered the physicist’s vocabulary in 1955 when Heisenberg used it in criticizing certain unorthodox interpretations of quantum mechanics. Quantum physics & observed reality: a critical interpretation of quantum mechanics (http:/ / books. Harper.85. The historical development of quantum theory.[26] from a Bayesian point of view. Jaynes. The consistent histories interpretation advertises itself as "Copenhagen done right".85. So where do the probabilistic rules of the Copenhagen interpretation come from? Considerable progress has been made in recent years toward the resolution of the problem. the Schrödinger equation. The Copenhagen interpretation describes what happens when an observer makes a measurement. [3] Howard. p. p. Rechenberg.[25] E. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 1999. but it leaves out an irony. Bohr's version of quantum mechanics was deeply flawed. it is in fact due to David Mermin. JSTOR 10. 1958 . It is enough to say that neither Bohr nor Einstein had focused on the real problem with quantum mechanics.. where the quantum system is the universe. which is what Jaynes called a Mind Projection Fallacy. 2001.[30] Notes and references [1] Hermann Wimmel (1992). If wave function collapse is regarded as ontologically real as well. Quantum mechanics under the Copenhagen Interpretation interpreted probability as a physical phenomenon. it defines an "observer" merely as that which collapses the wave function. [4] Bohm. which I cannot go into here. "A Suggested Interpretation of the Quantum Theory in Terms of "Hidden" Variables. It is summarized by the sentence "Shut up and calculate!". Princeton University Press.[27] the conjugate wavefunction. I & II". Physics and Philosophy. The Copenhagen rules clearly work. Philosophy of Science: 669–682. an objective collapse theory is obtained. a many worlds theory results. The problem of thinking in terms of classical measurements of a quantum system becomes particularly acute in the field of quantum cosmology. Mehra and H.

137. [27] The Quantum Liar Experiment.from Copenhagen to the present day". 1958. For example. Claus Kiefer (2002). stanford. from Claus Kiefer (2002). [14] The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (http:/ / www.. "Could Feynman Have Said This?" (http:/ / scitation. became soon very popular among physicists. [18] Brezger. Björn. doi:10. wustl.46. upenn. in two classic articles on the foundations of quantum mechanics.100404.CO. Fortsch. Modern Physics 33 (23): 10078. Iss. npl. Claus Kiefer (2002). org/ journals/ doc/ PHTOAD-ft/ vol_57/ iss_5/ 10_1. 0) [11] "To summarize. html#3. This attitude changed drastically with his paper in which he introduced the uncertainty relations – there he put forward the point of view that it is the theory which decides what can be observed. gov/ ~skands/ slides/ A-Quantum-Journey. washington. "Clearing up Mysteries--The Original Goal" (http:/ / bayes.". pdf). in an article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society.The Copenhagen Interpretation [7] In fact Bohr and Heisenberg never totally agreed on how to understand the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. edu/ npl/ int_rep/ tiqm/ TI_20. [12] "the “collapse” or “reduction” of the wave function. Heisenberg wanted to base quantum theory solely on observable quantities such as the intensity of spectral lines. Ballentine (1970) and Stapp(1972) give diametrically opposite definitions of 'Copenhagen. edu/ etj/ articles/ cmystery. arXiv:quant-ph/0110012.ph. Zeilinger. Björn. in particular due to its intuitiveness. [29] http:/ / home. arXiv:quant-ph/0210152 [quant-ph].from Copenhagen to the present day". hedweb. "Matter-Wave Interferometer for Large Molecules". Uttenthaler. T. arXiv:quant-ph/9709032. [25] 'Since the Universe naturally contains all of its observers. hep. Anton (2001)..2-Q. 46 (6–8): 855–862. Pais. com/ manworld. J. fnal. html#2. 9) [21] Collapse and Nonlocality in the Transactional Interpretation (http:/ / www.. History Philos.1002/(SICI)1521-3978(199811)46:6/8<855::AID-PROP855>3. [13] Max Tegmark (1998). 863-914 (1979). [10] John Cramer on the Copenhagen Interpretation (http:/ / www. htm#local) [20] Relativity and Causality in the Transactional Interpretation (http:/ / www. the word anschaulich (intuitive) is contained in the title of Heisenberg’s paper. Physical Review Letters 88 (10): 100404. RE Kastner. "Diffraction of Complex Molecules by Structures Made of Light".1103/PhysRevLett. [17] Nairz. p. html#3. This was introduced by Heisenberg in his uncertainty paper [3] and later postulated by von Neumann as a dynamical process independent of the Schrodinger equation". Asher Peres (2002). Maximum Entropy and Bayesian Methods: 7. ps) [15] Gribbin. Physical Review Letters 87 (16).May2010 [28] The non-relativistic Schrödinger equation does not admit advanced solutions. Stud. In fact. Physics and Philosophy.87p0401N. washington. (1989). . 323-38.855T. probably there are more. npl. Physics Today 57 (5). Reviews of Modern Physics 51. 7) [22] Werner Heisenberg. doi:10.160401. Zeilinger. Bibcode 1998ForPh. washington. [26] Jaynes. ppt [30] N. "The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Many Worlds or Many Words?". arXiv:quant-ph/0210152 [quant-ph]. edu/ ~max/ everett. Anton (2002). Olaf. the problem arises to come up with an interpretation of quantum theory that contains no classical realms on the fundamental level. arXiv:quant-ph/0210152 [quant-ph]. "Popper's experiment and the Copenhagen interpretation". PMID 11909334. [23] "God does not throw dice" quote [24] A. Hackermüller. "On the interpretation of quantum theory . doi:10. [19] Michael price on nonlocality in Many Worlds (http:/ / www. Arndt.'".from Copenhagen to the present day". Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. aip.88j0404B. shtml). Claus Kiefer (2002). Bibcode 1999quant. Brezger. edu/ npl/ int_rep/ tiqm/ TI_38. edu/ entries/ qm-copenhagen/ ) [8] "There seems to be at least as many different Copenhagen interpretations as people who use that term. Petschinka. Vol41.0. Lucia. Julia. "On the interpretation of quantum theory . arXiv:quant-ph/0202158.1103/PhysRevLett.. edu/ npl/ int_rep/ tiqm/ TI_33.88. Stefan. getting rid of all intuitive (anschauliche) concepts such as particle trajectories in space-time.10078P.from Copenhagen to the present day". p. [9] "Historically. Markus. Arndt. 91 . His move from positivism to operationalism can be clearly understood as a reaction on the advent of Schrödinger’s wave mechanics which. "On the interpretation of quantum theory .87. David Mermin. Einstein and the quantum theory. Bohr once distanced himself from what he considered to be Heisenberg's more subjective interpretation Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http:/ / plato.. "On the interpretation of quantum theory . 907. 124. E. Bibcode 2001PhRvL. Q for Quantum [16] Erwin Schrödinger.Phys. one can identify the following ingredients as being characteristic for the Copenhagen interpretation(s)[. arXiv:quant-ph/0210152 [quant-ph]. arXiv:quant-ph/9910078. Markus.'. Bibcode 2002PhRvL. npl. Harper..2. .]Reduction of the wave packet as a formal rule without dynamical significance".

81 (1998) 5039 M. Margeneau. New Scientist No.html) • Preprint of Afshar Experiment (http://www.uj.irims.edu.com/k/andy-biddulph/the-quantum-illusion/2na7zaaxgtohe/2/) . The Nature of Physical Reality. Forever Quantum. T. Quantum Theory and Measurement.google. Nature 409 (2001) 791. A Single Particle Uncertainty Relation.benbest.html) • The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (http://www. Phys. Lett.. Acta Physica Polonica B39 (2008) 587.pl/acta/vol39/pdf/v39p0587. Rev. MIT Press 1968 H.com/science/quantum. Zurek (eds).pdf) External links • Copenhagen Interpretation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) (http://plato. Wheeler & W.The Copenhagen Interpretation 92 Further reading • • • • • • • G. Weihs et al. Quantum Physics and the Philosophical Tradition.H..org/quant-ph/030503/) • The Quantum Illusion (http://knol.stanford. Petersen. Schürmann. J. Rowe et al. (http://th-www.A. McGraw-Hill 1950 M.edu/entries/ qm-copenhagen) • Physics FAQ section about Bell's inequality (http://math.edu/home/baez/physics/Quantum/ bells_inequality.ucr. 2595 (2007) 37. if. Princeton University Press 1983 A. Chown.

I have left to the Consideration of my readers. Experiments have shown that quantum mechanically entangled particles must either violate the principle of locality or allow superluminal communication. which obeys the principle of locality. is to me so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it. 1692/3 Coulomb's law of electric forces was initially also formulated as instantaneous action at a distance. so that one body may act upon another at a distance thro' a Vacuum. quantum mechanics has nothing to say about these "elements of reality". Quantum mechanics Einstein's view EPR Paradox Albert Einstein argued that quantum mechanics was an incomplete physical theory. However. can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics (known as Bell's theorem). operate upon. Letters to Bentley. but whether this Agent be material or immaterial. a different challenge to the principle of locality subsequently emerged from the theory of Quantum Mechanics. He later succeeded in producing an alternative theory of gravitation. and affect other matter without mutual Contact…That Gravity should be innate. without the Mediation of something else. In 1905 Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity postulated that no material or energy can travel faster than the speed of light. without the Mediation of any thing else. and Einstein thereby sought to reformulate physical laws in a way which obeyed the principle of locality. in a famous paper he and his co-authors articulated the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox which showed that position and momentum were simultaneous "real" physical properties of a subatomic particle. but was later superseded by Maxwell's Equations of electromagnetism which obey locality. the principle of locality states that an object is influenced directly only by its immediate surroundings. However. It is inconceivable that inanimate Matter should. . Thirty years later John Stewart Bell responded with a paper that posited (paraphrased) that no physical theory of local hidden variables. by and through which their Action and Force may be conveyed from one to another.93 4.[1] Pre-quantum mechanics In the 17th Century Newton's law of universal gravitation was formulated in terms of "action at a distance". thereby violating the principle of locality. General Relativity. Using the principle of locality. inherent and essential to Matter.[2] —Isaac Newton. Gravity must be caused by an Agent acting constantly according to certain laws. Einstein's Objections Principle of Locality In physics. no local realism. which Einstein himself had helped to create. which is not material.

it can be a tendency: in the way that glass objects tend to break. i.. it is local realism that is rejected. that does not require that they are the creation of the observer (contrary to the "consciousness causes collapse" interpretation of quantum mechanics). If the wavefunction is assumed to physically exist in real space-time. this is known as the Principle of Local Action. such as the Copenhagen interpretation and the interpretation based on Consistent Histories. Likewise. A and B: external influence on A has no direct influence on B. hence in agreement with positivism in philosophy as the only topic that science should discuss. an interpretation rejected by Einstein in the EPR paradox but subsequently apparently quantified by Bell's inequalities. Furthermore. If this axiom were to be completely abolished.[4] The latter is the claim that the world is in some sense mind-independent: that even if the results of a possible measurement do not pre-exist the act of measurement. which is used consistently only in field theory. even if they do not actually break. Local realism is a significant feature of classical mechanics..) The following idea characterises the relative independence of objects far apart in space. but some physicists dispute that experiments have demonstrated Bell's violations. and properties of objects. or are disposed to break. Copenhagen interpretation In most of the conventional interpretations. when applied to . but quantum mechanics largely rejects this principle due to the theory of distant quantum entanglements. 1948) 94 Local realism Local realism is the combination of the principle of locality with the "realistic" assumption that all objects must objectively have a pre-existing value for any possible measurement before the measurement is made. A closely related term is counterfactual definiteness (CFD). Different interpretations of quantum mechanics violate different parts of local realism and/or counterfactual definiteness. would become impossible.e. and of electrodynamics. where the wavefunction is not assumed to physically exist in real space-time.. and thereby the postulation of laws which can be checked empirically in the accepted sense. a mind-independent property does not have to be the value of some physical variable such as position or momentum. the ability to assume the existence of objects. and the wavefunction has a restricted interpretation. and that there could be no violations of it. of general relativity. that violates Bell's inequalities must abandon either local realism or counterfactual definiteness.)""Quantum Mechanics and Reality" ("Quanten-Mechanik und Wirklichkeit". He said: "(. These interpretations propose that actual definite properties of a physical system "do not exist" prior to the measurement. (. without being realistic in the physicist's sense of "local realism" (which would require that a single value be produced with certainty). used to refer to the claim that one can meaningfully speak of the definiteness of results of measurements that have not been performed (i. Dialectica 2:320-324.Principle of Locality Philosophical view Einstein assumed that the principle of locality was necessary. such as quantum mechanics.[6] Any theory.e. And so be time independent: “I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it” ~Albert Einstein Realism Realism in the sense used by physicists does not equate to realism in metaphysics. the mind-independent properties of quantum systems could consist of a tendency to respond to particular measurements with particular values with ascertainable probability. even when they have not been measured). A property can be dispositional (or potential). as nothing more than a mathematical tool used to calculate the probabilities of experimental outcomes. This is a non-local process because Born's Rule. the idea of the existence of quasienclosed systems.[5] Such an ontology would be metaphysically realistic. on the grounds that the sub-class of inhomogeneous Bell inequalities has not been tested or due to experimental limitations in the tests. the principle of locality is violated during the measurement process via wavefunction collapse..

References [1] J-D. faster than light) if the wavefunction is considered physically real and the probability density has converged to zero at arbitrarily far distances during the finite time required for the measurement process. 1948) [4] Norsen. Zalta. yields a probability density for all regions of space and time. "Action at a Distance in Quantum Mechanics" (http:/ / plato.de/~as3/nonlocality. Zeh . org/ abs/ quant-ph/ 0607057v2) [5] Ian Thomson's dispositional quantum mechanics (http:/ / www. Y-C. and clearly non-local (i. Einstein locality (http://www. only the measurable action at a distance . and they are not predicted by the current theories. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 ed. Because the differences between the different interpretations are mostly philosophical ones (except for the Bohm and many-worlds interpretations). Relativity Locality is one of the axioms of relativistic quantum field theory. except where (and when) the measured entity is found to exist. html) [2] Berkovitz. In Edward N. a solution to the field equations is local if the underlying equations are either Lorentz invariant or. com/ nphys/ journal/ vaop/ ncurrent/ full/ nphys2460. edu/ archives/ win2008/ entries/ qm-action-distance/ #ActDisCoExiNonSepHol). V. but counterfactual definiteness is rejected by the extension of the notion of reality to allow the existence of parallel universes.uni-heidelberg. generativescience. (http:/ / bendov.). Acín. org/ ) [6] Ben Dov. S. the observables must commute. In this framework. Bancal. Liang. Quantum non-locality based on finite-speed causal influences leads to superluminal signalling (http:/ / www.would usually be considered in violation of the principle of locality by physicists. more generally. T.rzuser. The formalization of locality in this case is as follows: if we have two observables. Scarani & N.a superluminal propagation of real. the probability density vanishes everywhere instantaneously. Pironio. stanford. as required for causality. Gisin (Nature Physics. .html) by H.Against "Realism" (http:/ / arxiv. This "vanishing" is postulated to be a real physical process. 2012). physicists usually employ language in which the important statements are neutral with regard to all of the interpretations. htm) External links • Quantum nonlocality vs. Many-worlds interpretation In the many-worlds interpretation both realism and locality are retained. [3] "Quantum Mechanics and Reality" ("Quanten-Mechanik und Wirklichkeit".Principle of Locality the system's wavefunction. Y. 95 Bohm interpretation The Bohm interpretation preserves realism. A. . info/ eng/ crucial. physical information . Dialectica 2:320-324. Upon actual measurement of the physical system. Local Realism and the Crucial experiment. Alternatively.e. Such phenomena have never been seen. D. each localized within two distinct space-time regions which happen to be at a spacelike separation from each other. hence it needs to violate the principle of locality in order to achieve the required correlations. Joseph (2008). nature. generally covariant or locally Lorentz invariant.

"Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?" was published in 1935. referred to as A and B. The EPR paper. Either there was some interaction between the particles. do show the phenomena of Bell-inequality violations that are considered to invalidate EPR's preferred "local hidden-variables" type of explanation for the correlations that EPR first drew attention to. is in conflict with the theory of relativity. But what happens when we keep decreasing the intensity of the beam. there was no space for such hidden parameters. An example of such indeterminacy can be seen when a beam of light is incident on a half-silvered mirror. To that end they pointed to a consequence of quantum mechanics that its supporters had not noticed. According to quantum mechanics. no classical disturbance. or the information about the outcome of all possible measurements was already present in both particles. the other will pass. in its formalism. and pointed out that measuring a quantity of a particle A will cause the conjugated quantity of particle B to become undetermined. written in 1935. They then concluded that quantum mechanics was incomplete since. it was known from experiments that the outcome of an experiment sometimes cannot be uniquely predicted. has shown that this explanation is inadequate. The first explanation. History of EPR developments The article that first brought forth these matters. even if there was no contact. so that only one photon is in transit at any time? Half of the photons will pass and another half will be reflected. provided by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. and became determined. According to EPR there were two possible explanations. such as those of Alain Aspect and his group. Physical quantities come in pairs which are called conjugate quantities. When one quantity was measured.[1] Einstein struggled to the end of his life for a theory that could better comply with his idea of causality. the conjugated quantity became indeterminate. At the time the EPR article was written. as predicted by quantum theory. have confirmed that physical probabilities. since Einstein's death. Most physicists who have examined the matter concur that experiments. Example of such a conjugate pair are position and momentum of a particle.EPR Paradox 96 EPR Paradox The EPR paradox is an early and influential critique leveled against quantum mechanics. whether jointly or individually. One half of the beam will reflect. Heisenberg explained this as a disturbance caused by measurement. Heisenberg's principle was an attempt to provide a classical explanation of a quantum effect sometimes called non-locality. which encodes the probabilities of the outcomes of experiments that may be performed on the two systems. Bell's theorem is generally understood to have demonstrated that their preferred explanation was not viable. Albert Einstein and his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (known collectively as EPR) designed a thought experiment intended to reveal what they believed to be inadequacies of quantum mechanics. even though they were separated. starting in 1976 by French scientists Lamehi-Rachti and Mittig[2] at the Saclay Nuclear Research Centre. These experiments appear to show that the local realism idea is false. protesting against the view that there exists no objective physical reality other than that which is revealed through measurement interpreted in terms of quantum mechanical formalism. The EPR authors preferred the second explanation according to which that information was encoded in some 'hidden parameters'. that an effect propagated instantly. [3] . It considered two entangled particles. under some conditions a pair of quantum systems may be described by a single wave function. The routine explanation of this effect was. at that time. or components of spin measured around different axes. However. experiments analogous to the one described in the EPR paper have been carried out. across a distance.

there must exist something in the real world. Quantum theory and quantum mechanics do not provide single measurement outcomes in a deterministic way. but the electrons would be found to impact the screen at single points and would eventually form a pattern in keeping with the probabilities described by their identical wave functions.EPR Paradox 97 Quantum mechanics and its interpretation Since the early twentieth century. quantum mechanics is incomplete. an "element of reality". in other words. smothered by the formalism. Those electrons. A wave as it is understood in everyday life would paint a large area of the detection screen. it has yet to be seriously challenged. are all individually described by wave fronts that expand in all directions from the point of entry. the past). The electrons will contact the spherical detection screen in a widely dispersed manner."[8] In 1936 Einstein presented an individual account of his local realist ideas. These claims are founded on assumptions about nature that constitute what is now known as local realism. Quantum mechanics was developed with the aim of describing atoms and explaining the observed spectral lines in a measurement apparatus. it was primarily authored by Podolsky. Einstein characterized this imagined collapse in the 1927 Solvay Conference. other writers (such as John von Neumann[5] and David Bohm[6]) have suggested that consequently there would have to be 'hidden' variables responsible for random measurement results. The authors claim that given a specific experiment. In his view. According to the understanding of quantum mechanics known as the Copenhagen interpretation. They postulate that these elements of reality are local. Philosophical interpretations of quantum phenomena. measurement causes an instantaneous collapse of the wave function describing the quantum system into an eigenstate of the observable state that was measured. rather. would have preferentially selected a single point to the exclusion of all others. He presented a thought experiment in which electrons are introduced through a small hole in a sphere whose inner surface serves as a detection screen. Commenting on this. in the sense that each belongs to a certain point in spacetime. Einstein later expressed to Erwin Schrödinger that. are another matter: the question of how to interpret the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics has given rise to a variety of different answers from people of different philosophical persuasions (see Interpretations of quantum mechanics). Each element may only be influenced by events which are located in the backward light cone of its point in spacetime (i. Though the EPR paper has often been taken as an exact expression of Einstein's views. or. Einstein asks what makes each electron's wave front "collapse" at its respective location. something which was not expressly claimed in the original paper. however.[9] . "it did not come out as well as I had originally wanted. so to speak. the essential thing was. however. that determines the measurement outcome. Although disputed. in which the outcome of a measurement is known before the measurement takes place.[4] Einstein's opposition Einstein was the most prominent opponent of the Copenhagen interpretation. in multiple reproducible physics experiments. quantum theory has proved to be successful in describing accurately the physical reality of the mesoscopic and microscopic world. based on discussions at the Institute for Advanced Study with Einstein and Rosen.e. The 1935 EPR paper [7] condensed the philosophical discussion into a physical argument. Why do the electrons appear as single bright scintillations rather than as dim washes of energy across the surface? Why does any single electron appear at one point rather than some alternative point? The behavior of the electrons gives the impression of some signal having been sent to all possible points of contact that would have nullified all but one of them.

. The EPR paper says: "We are thus forced to conclude that the quantum-mechanical description of physical reality given by wave functions is not complete. Also. therefore.. EPR paper The original paper purports to describe what must happen to "two systems I and II. with the electron sent to destination A."[12] The EPR paper ends by saying: While we have thus shown that the wave function does not provide a complete description of the physical reality. This can be viewed as a quantum superposition of two states.. the exact momentum of particle B can be measured. In state I. According to quantum mechanics. that such a theory is possible. which we call state I and state II. we left open the question of whether or not such a description exists. according to Kumar. where there is an observer named Alice. Measurements on an entangled state We have a source that emits electron–positron pairs. Kumar writes: "EPR argued that they had proved that ."[10] According to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Therefore. [which] interact briefly and then move off in opposite directions. the electron has spin pointing upward along the z-axis (+z) and the positron has spin pointing downward along the z-axis (−z). after some time. [particle] B can have simultaneously exact values of position and momentum. it is impossible (without measuring) to know the definite state of spin of either particle in the spin singlet. where there is an observer named Bob." In the words of Kumar (2009). it is possible to measure the exact position of particle A.". so the exact momentum of particle A can be worked out. .[11] EPR tried to set up a paradox to question the range of true application of Quantum Mechanics: Quantum theory predicts that both values cannot be known for a particle. and yet the EPR thought experiment purports to show that they must all have determinate values. the EPR description involves "two particles. We believe." EPR appeared to have contrived a means to establish the exact values of either the momentum or the position of B due to measurements made on particle A. In state II. with the exact position of particle A known. Particle B has a position that is real and a momentum that is real. "we suppose that there is no longer any interaction between the two parts. and the positron sent to destination B.EPR Paradox 98 Description of the paradox The original EPR paradox challenges the prediction of quantum mechanics that it is impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a quantum particle. This challenge can be extended to other pairs of physical properties.. A and B. the electron has spin −z and the positron has spin +z. which we permit to interact . and.. we can arrange our source so that each emitted pair occupies a quantum state called a spin singlet. The particles are thus said to be entangled.. it is impossible to measure both the momentum and the position of particle B exactly. without the slightest possibility of particle B being physically disturbed. the exact position of particle B can be known. However.. however. By calculation.

and Bob will get −x. about a second axis—a hidden variable. as if (a) it knows that the measurement has taken place. However. the system 'collapses' into state Ia.[13] In quantum mechanics. which have been confirmed by experiment. they are always found to be opposite. Similarly. Therefore. meaning there is a Heisenberg uncertainty principle operating between them: a quantum state cannot possess a definite value for both of these variables. and hence B's z-spin calculated. it turns out that the predictions of Quantum Mechanics. Alice's electron has spin −x and Bob's positron has spin +x. instead of measuring the z-spin as well. Suppose Alice measures the z-spin and obtains +z. and becomes its opposite about that one axis—an "entanglement" argument. the quantum state of the system collapses into state I. If Alice measures −x. or (b) it has a definite spin already. Bob measures the x-spin. so that the quantum state collapses into state I. We'll call these states Ia and IIa. electrons to Alice (left) and positrons to Bob (right). if Bob subsequently measures spin along the z-axis. and Bob will get +x. You might imagine that. Alice's electron has spin +x and Bob's positron has spin −x. According to quantum mechanics. the positron's spin about the y-axis will no longer be certain. Bob's x-spin measurement will have a 50% probability of producing +x and a 50% probability of -x. of course. once the electron's spin has been measured about the x-axis (and the positron's spin about the x-axis deduced). Either they were created with a definite (opposite) spin about every axis—a "hidden variable" argument—or they are linked so that one electron "feels" which axis the other is having its spin measured along. In this case. There is. so its x-spin is uncertain. Bob's positron "knows" that Alice's electron has been measured. This is demonstrated in Bell's theorem. It is impossible to predict which outcome will appear until Bob actually performs the measurement. Suppose that Alice and Bob had decided to measure spin along the x-axis. the x-spin and z-spin are "incompatible observables". She can obtain one of two possible outcomes: +z or −z. Moreover. According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. But Bob's positron has a 50% probability of producing +x and a 50% probability of −x—so the outcome is not certain. . In state Ia. and its z-spin detected. Alice now measures the spin along the z-axis. performed with electron–positron pairs. Bob will get +z. Suppose she gets +z. since prior to this he hasn't disturbed his particle at all. when Bob measures the x-spin of his positron. This can only be explained if the particles are linked in some way. Whatever axis their spins are measured along. there is 100% probability that he will obtain −z. A source (center) sends particles toward two observers. The quantum state determines the probable outcomes of any measurement performed on the system. nothing special about choosing the z-axis: according to quantum mechanics the spin singlet state may equally well be expressed as a superposition of spin states pointing in the x direction.EPR Paradox 99 The EPR thought experiment. the system collapses into state IIa. he would get an answer with absolute certainty. In state IIa. cannot be explained by any hidden variable theory. when the system is in state I. if Alice gets −z. Here is the crux of the matter. who can perform spin measurements. Now. if the two particles have their spins measured about different axes. if Alice measures +x.

regardless of whether or not his axis is aligned with Alice's. doubt has been cast on EPR's conclusion due to developments in understanding locality and especially quantum decoherence. perform a spin measurement on each. Furthermore. quantum field theories that are "local" in this sense appear to violate the principle of locality as defined by EPR. neither the EPR experiment nor any quantum experiment demonstrates that faster-than-light signaling is possible. Causality is preserved because there is no way for Alice to transmit messages (i. how does Bob's positron know which way to point if Alice decides (based on information unavailable to Bob) to measure x (i. Podolsky and Rosen were unwilling to abandon it.e. but many types of physical quantities—referred to as "observables" in quantum mechanics—can be used. but they nevertheless do not violate locality in a more general sense. she has a 50% probability of obtaining "+" and 50% probability of obtaining "−". However. However. In recent years. which in turn is nothing more than an effect of the underlying local time evolution of the wavefunction of a system and all of its environment. Here is the paradox summed up: It is one thing to say that physical measurement of the first particle's momentum affects uncertainty in its own position. The word locality has several different meanings in physics. For example. whether real or apparent. according to quantum mechanics. 100 Locality in the EPR experiment The principle of locality states that physical processes occurring at one place should have no immediate effect on the elements of reality at another location. so there must be action at a distance (entanglement) or the positron must know more than it's supposed to (hidden variables). as outlined in the example above. faster than light. which states that information can never be transmitted faster than the speed of light without violating causality. i. Bell used spin as his example. It is generally believed that any theory which violates causality would also be internally inconsistent. The conclusion they drew was that quantum mechanics is not a complete theory. Whichever axis she uses. and look at the statistical distribution of the results. and Einstein. Einstein. there is a 50% probability of getting "+" and 50% of getting "−". which makes it impossible for him to make a million copies of the electron he receives. Experimental realisations of the EPR scenario often use photon polarization. as it seems to be a consequence of special relativity.e. Therefore. this is the "paradox". Podolsky and Rosen asked how can the second particle "know" to have precisely defined momentum but uncertain position? Since this implies that one particle is communicating with the other instantaneously across space. Einstein derided the quantum mechanical predictions as "spooky action at a distance". in the one measurement he is allowed to make. Bob is only able to perform his measurement once: there is a fundamental property of quantum mechanics. and thus useless. At first sight. however.e.EPR Paradox Put another way. this appears to be a reasonable assumption to make. because polarized photons are easy to prepare and measure. known as the "no cloning theorem". Therefore. . but to say that measuring the first particle's momentum affects the uncertainty in the position of the other is another thing altogether. Wavefunction collapse can be viewed as an epiphenomenon of quantum decoherence. since it is only supposed to know one thing at a time? The Copenhagen interpretation rules that say the wave function "collapses" at the time of measurement. Incidentally. information) to Bob by manipulating her measurement axis. It turns out that the usual rules for combining quantum mechanical and classical descriptions violate the principle of locality without violating causality. it follows that neither does the additional effect of wavefunction collapse. The EPR paper used momentum for the observable. Since the underlying behaviour doesn't violate local causality. to be the opposite of Alice's electron's spin about the x-axis) and also how to point if Alice measures z. the principle of locality appeals powerfully to physical intuition. it is fundamentally impossible for her to influence what result she gets. completely at random. in quantum field theory "locality" means that quantum fields at different points of space do not interact with one another.

For example. but realist interpretations of quantum mechanics are possible.and x-axes.EPR Paradox 101 Resolving the paradox Hidden variables There are several ways to resolve the EPR paradox. there exist scenarios in which two statistical variables are correlated in a manner inconsistent with counter-factual definiteness. as discussed above. Bell's inequality In 1964. These differences. However. taking locality as a given. Examples of such mainstream realist interpretations are the consistent histories interpretation and the transactional interpretation. Such a theory is called a hidden variable theory. However. and so forth. the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Bell's theorem does not apply to all possible philosophically realist theories. while striving also to maintain a notion of realism that nevertheless rejects counter-factual definiteness. quantum mechanics has a much stronger statistical correlation with measurement results performed on different axes than do these hidden variable theories. despite the inconsistency with counter-factual definiteness seeming 'counter-intuitive'. It is a common misconception that quantum mechanics is inconsistent with all notions of philosophical realism. +x) to Bob". Mainstream physics prefers to keep locality. the more complete theory contains variables corresponding to all the "elements of reality". i. Any theory in which these principles apply produces the inequalities. Arthur Fine subsequently showed that any theory satisfying the inequalities can be modeled by a local hidden variable theory. and a more sophisticated theory might be able to patch it up. the electron going to Bob always has spin values opposite to the electron going to Alice. There must be some unknown mechanism acting on these variables to give rise to the observed effects of "non-commuting quantum observables". if Bob's measurement axis is aligned with Alice's. +x) to Bob". All the experiments conducted to date have found behavior in line with the predictions of standard quantum mechanics theory. and that such scenarios are no more mysterious than any other. but the values are otherwise completely random. One supposes that the quantum spin-singlet states emitted by the source are actually approximate descriptions for "true" physical states possessing definite values for the z-spin and x-spin. In reality. John Bell showed that the predictions of quantum mechanics in the EPR thought experiment are significantly different from the predictions of a particular class of hidden variable theories (the local hidden variable theories). we can formulate a very simple hidden variable theory for the above thought experiment. although. After the publication of Bell's paper. so there would have to be an infinite number of independent hidden variables. a variety of experiments were devised to test Bell's inequalities (experiments which generally rely on photon polarization measurement). is actually an incomplete theory. he will get "+" and "−" with equal probability. To illustrate this idea. such a hidden variable theory is experimentally indistinguishable from quantum mechanics. Fine's work showed that. the next pair "(−z. Assuming we restrict our measurements to the z. this is not a serious problem. Therefore. he will necessarily get the opposite of whatever Alice gets. there is some yet undiscovered theory of nature to which quantum mechanics acts as a kind of statistical approximation (albeit an exceedingly successful one). despite its success in a wide variety of experimental scenarios. −x) to Alice and (+z. Later work by Eberhard showed that the key properties of local hidden variable theories which lead to Bell's inequalities are locality and counter-factual definiteness. such interpretations must reject either locality or counter-factual definiteness. the first pair emitted by the source might be "(+z.e. are in principle experimentally detectable. Roughly speaking. It turns out that there is a much more serious challenge to the idea of hidden variables. otherwise. Unlike quantum mechanics. we have formulated a very simplistic hidden variable theory. In other words. −x) to Alice and (−z. expressed using inequality relations known as "Bell's inequalities". there may be an infinite number of axes along which Alice and Bob can perform their measurements. In these "true" states. The one suggested by EPR is that quantum mechanics. .

then the Copenhagen interpretation might be an approximation to an information processing system below the Planck scale." Einstein wrote. showed that quantum mechanics and the class of hidden variable theories Einstein favored[14] would lead to different experimental results: different by a factor of 3⁄2 for certain correlations. How EPR is interpreted regarding locality depends on the interpretation of quantum mechanics one uses.EPR Paradox Violation of locality is difficult to reconcile with special relativity. Edward Fredkin in the Fredkin Finite Nature Hypothesis has suggested an informational basis for Einstein's hypothetical algebraic system. 102 Einstein's hope for a purely algebraic theory The Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics hypothesizes that the state of the universe evolves smoothly through time with no collapsing of quantum wavefunctions.g. "Acceptable theories" and the experiment According to the present view of the situation.e. From the quantum phenomena it appears to follow with certainty that a finite system of finite energy can be completely described by a finite set of numbers (quantum numbers). In the EPR paper (1935) the authors realised that quantum mechanics was inconsistent with their assumptions. If physical reality is totally finite. in 1955. However. In the Copenhagen interpretation. Some workers in the field have also attempted to formulate hidden variable theories that exploit loopholes in actual experiments. without any other change. Implications for quantum mechanics Most physicists today believe that quantum mechanics is correct. and is thought to be incompatible with the principle of causality. the view that there is no causal instantaneous effect has also been proposed within the Copenhagen interpretation: in this alternate view. But nobody knows how to find the basis for such a theory. In contrast." If time. such as the assumptions made in interpreting experimental data. variables which were. although no theory has been proposed that can reproduce all the results of quantum mechanics. space. in his 1964 paper. Examples have been suggested by David Bohm and by Lucien Hardy. He pursued these ideas for over twenty years until the end of his life. at that point. John Bell. There are many Bell test experiments. defined as one of the terms of the Schrödinger equation. since the effects of operations such as measurement affect only the state of the particle . They support the predictions of quantum mechanics rather than the class of hidden variable theories supported by Einstein. it is usually understood that instantaneous wave function collapse does occur. those of Alain Aspect and others. up to that time mainly concerning theory. and energy are secondary features derived from a substrate below the Planck scale. There are also individual EPR-like experiments that have no local hidden variables explanation. "One can give good reasons why reality cannot at all be represented by a continuous field. measurement affects our ability to define (and measure) quantities in the physical system. Einstein maintained that quantum mechanics is physically incomplete and logically unsatisfactory. In "The Meaning of Relativity. and that the EPR paradox is a "paradox" only because classical intuitions do not correspond to physical reality. to achieve an acceptable theory. but Einstein nevertheless thought that quantum mechanics might simply be augmented by hidden variables (i. One problem for the Copenhagen interpretation is to precisely define wavefunction collapse. On the other hand the Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics keeps counter-factual definiteness while introducing a conjectured non-local mechanism in form of the 'quantum potential'. finally became experimentally decidable. not the system itself. still obscure to him). In the many-worlds interpretation locality is strictly preserved. quantum mechanics flatly contradicts Einstein's philosophical postulate that any acceptable physical theory must fulfill "local realism". So the issue of "acceptability".[15] According to Karl Popper these experiments showed that the class of "hidden variables" Einstein believed in is erroneous. This does not seem to be in accordance with a continuum theory and must lead to an attempt to find a purely algebraic theory for the representation of reality. then Einstein's hypothetical algebraic system might resolve the EPR paradox (although Bell's theorem would still be valid). e.

which are still encountered in popular expositions of quantum mechanics. Technologies relying on quantum entanglement are now being developed. Bob's value of Sz (or Sx) is uniquely determined. Prior to the publication of the EPR paper. When Sz is measured. Sy. The eigenstates of Sz are represented as and the eigenstates of Sx are represented as The Hilbert space of the electron pair is singlet state is .EPR Paradox that is measured. From the above equations. entangled particles are used to transmit signals that cannot be eavesdropped upon without leaving a trace. In fact. In quantum computation. a measurement was often visualized as a physical disturbance inflicted directly upon the measured system. it can be shown that the spin singlet can also be written as where the terms on the right hand side are what we have referred to as state Ia and state IIa. entangled quantum states are used to perform computations in parallel. denoted Sx. with each quantum state corresponding to a vector in that space. In quantum cryptography. when measuring the position of an electron. are debunked by the EPR paradox. which may allow certain calculations to be performed much more quickly than they ever could be with classical computers. y. thus disturbing the electron and producing the quantum mechanical uncertainties in its position. 103 Mathematical formulation The above discussion can be expressed mathematically using the quantum mechanical formulation of spin. this means that immediately after measurement the system state undergoes an orthogonal projection of ψ onto the space of states of the form . which shows that a "measurement" can be performed on a particle without disturbing it directly. the results of the measurement are not unique—every possible result is obtained. Such explanations. This follows from the principles of measurement in quantum mechanics. one imagines shining a light on it. The EPR paradox has deepened our understanding of quantum mechanics by exposing the fundamentally non-classical characteristics of the measurement process. The spin where the two terms on the right hand side are what we have referred to as state I and state II above. can be represented using the Pauli matrices: where stands for Planck's constant divided by 2π. Yakir Aharonov and his collaborators have developed a whole theory of so-called Weak measurement. The spin degree of freedom for an electron is associated with a two-dimensional complex Hilbert space H. and therefore corresponds to an "element of physical reality". The operators corresponding to the spin along the x. However. and Sz respectively. we need to show that after Alice's measurement of Sz (or Sx). For instance. the tensor product of the two electrons' Hilbert spaces. and z direction. If the measurement result is +z. To illustrate how this leads to the violation of local realism. the system state ψ collapses into an eigenvector of Sz. by performing a measurement on a distant entangled particle.

Bell. Rowe. Hardy. Wineland. A classical interpretation of Bell's inequality. P. Phys. Annales de la Fondation Louis de Broglie 26 683 (2001). C. A. 791–794 (15 February 2001). along with the Heisenberg uncertainty relation References Selected papers • • • • • A. Nature 398 189 (1999). [21] • M. Relational EPR [22] . Experimental violation of a Bell's inequality with efficient detection. 48. "Theory for Quantum Probability". 47 777 (1935). and the Bell Inequalities. A.[20] • M.H. Joint Probability. • L.EPR Paradox For the spin singlet. Nature 409. Sackett. C. 291 (1982). Pluch. and N. the system undergoes an orthogonal projection onto which means that the new state is This implies that the measurement for Sz for Bob's electron is now determined. edited by Cushing & McMullin (University of Notre Dame Press. B. It will be −z in the first case or +z in the second case. J. Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete? [18] Phys. P. Smerlak. Fine. 1986). Eberhard. On the Einstein–Poldolsky–Rosen paradox [17]. 71 1665 (1993). Lett. Meyer. • P. C. Phys. PhD Thesis University of Klagenfurt (2006) • M. Physics 1 195-200 (1964). It remains only to show that Sx and Sz cannot simultaneously possess definite values in quantum mechanics. Bell's inequality test: more ideal than ever. Nuovo Cimento 46B 392 (1978). Bell's theorem without hidden variables. Rovelli. Nonlocality for two particles without inequalities for almost all entangled states. the new state is 104 Similarly. Rev. Fine. Kielpinski. One may show in a straightforward manner that no possible vector can be an eigenvector of both matrices. Aspect. Itano. Nuovo Cimento 38B1 75 (1977). Rev. Bell's theorem and the different concepts of locality.H. Hidden Variables. one may use the fact that the operators do not commute. Lett. More generally. Rev. Eberhard. Monroe and D. D. if Alice's measurement result is −z. W. Podolsky. A. Mizuki.[19] • A. Do Correlations need to be explained?. in Philosophical Consequences of Quantum Theory: Reflections on Bell's Theorem. [7] • A. Einstein. Rosen. M.S. [16] J. V.

Sakurai. Black Swan.1038/18296.kostic. org/ abstract/ PRL/ v48/ i5/ p291_1 [20] http:/ / prola. Quantum. Nature 398 (6724): 189–90.. [9] See "Physics and Reality. [2] Advances in atomic and molecular physics. com.47. com/ David/ EPR.. No. doi:10.niu. The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer. . 306. "[Experiments in the early 1980s] have conclusively shown that quantum mechanics is indeed orrect. What is the Question? Houghton Mifflin Company.EPR Paradox Notes [1] Einstein." [14] Clearing up mysteries: the original goal (http:/ / bayes. google. Oxford University Press. • Arthur Fine (1996) The Shaky Game: Einstein. au/ books?id=dkaCKHKLo3gC& pg=PA330& lpg=PA330& dq="Saclay"+ "Bell's+ inequality"& source=bl& ots=u-b4s3klA0& sig=1P7sX78b-I9TKtT15KvRSADgLlo& hl=en& ei=VJ7aTpn-FMW8iAeJs-jsDQ& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=2& ved=0CCEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage& q="Saclay" "Bell's inequality"& f=false) [3] Gribbin. 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall.1103/PhysRev. [11] Kumar. J. Princeton. html [22] http:/ / arxiv. from: www. Univ. In Search of Schrödinger's cat. J. pages 144–145. [6] Bohm.. p. Quantum. [13] George Greenstein and Arthur G. Princeton University Press. org/ abs/ quant-ph/ 0604064 105 Books • John S. Addison-Wesley: 174–187. M. 305–6. Icon Books. pdf).777E. pdf [18] http:/ / www.. and the meaning of quantum theory. cited by Baggott. Springer. A. Bibcode 1999Natur. 313–347. ISBN 0-7045-3071-6.. [4] http:/ / plato. [10] Kumar. on page 147. • Selleri. [12] Kumar. Zajonc. org/ abstract/ PR/ v47/ i10/ p777_1 [8] Quoted in Kaiser. [15] Aspect A (1999-03-18). 2009. p. Icon Books.398. ISBN 0-521-36869-3. David. D. J (1984). rice.. M. doi:10. Retrieved 2010-09-08. J. with the Jean Piccard translation starting p. 187 to 189. org/ abstract/ PRL/ v71/ i11/ p1665_1 [21] http:/ / www. D. . page 29. stanford. and that the EPR argument had relied upon incorrect assumptions. J. aps.edu/Physics and Reality-Albert Einstein. ISBN 0-201-53929-2. edu/ etj/ articles/ cmystery. "Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality be Considered Complete?". (1993).189A. N Rosen (1935-05-15). nature. drchinese. M. translated into English by Beyer. with different pagination. 1323—27 of Journal of the Franklin Institute. and Chapter 22 Section 19.380. pages 21. The relevant section appears on pp. aps. Berlin. Bell (1987) Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics. [7] http:/ / prola. Quantum Theory (http:/ / books. "Bringing the human actors back on stage: the personal context of the Einstein–Bohr debate. Black Swan. L. • J. Quantum. p. edu/ ~kono/ ELEC565/ Aspect_Nature. In Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik.T. com/ David/ Bell_Compact. The English translation can be downloaded. (1951)." British Journal for the History of Science 27 (1994): 129–152. Cambridge University Press. • John Gribbin (1984) In Search of Schrödinger's Cat. com. 2009. edu/ entries/ qt-epr/ [5] von Neumann. Bibcode 1935PhRv. R. 221. pdf [19] http:/ / prola." originally published in vol. of Chicago Press. B Podolsky. ISBN 978-0-552-12555-0 . The Quantum Challenge. 2009. 223–232.. and Chapter 5 section 3. p. wustl. pdf [17] http:/ / www. Icon Books. edu/ ~kono/ ELEC565/ Aspect_Nature. google. ISBN 0-306-42739-7 • Leon Lederman. com/ nature/ journal/ v409/ n6822/ full/ 409791a0.777. ISBN 0-19-852927-9. philosophy. aps. rice. (1994) Modern Quantum Mechanics. drchinese. Teresi. New York: Plenum Press. (1988) Quantum Mechanics Versus Local Realism: The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen Paradox. 305.pdf.47. Englewood Cliffs. F.J. Oxford... 371–379.. Volume 14 By David Robert Bates (http:/ / books. Physical Review 47 (10): 777–780. Realism and the Quantum Theory. [16] http:/ / www-ece. pp. pdf). (2004) Beyond Measure: Modern physics. "Bell’s inequality test: more ideal than ever" (http:/ / www-ece. au/ books?id=9DWim3RhymsC& printsec=frontcover& dq=david+ bohm+ quantum+ theory& source=bl& ots=6G-2u1wtav& sig=Q1GcoVDLFRmKOmDYFAJte6LzrZU& hl=en& ei=Pv45TNSnLYffcfnS6foO& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=7& ved=0CEEQ6AEwBg#v=onepage& q& f=false). (1932/1955).

stanford.youtube. (http://www. http://plato. These assumptions were hotly debated within the physics community.com/book/quantcos/aq/qcrypt.de) • Spooky Actions At A Distance?: Oppenheimer Lecture by Prof. • Abner Shimony (2004) " Bell’s Theorem. often interchangeably). notably with Nobel laureates Einstein on one side and Niels Bohr on the other.ucr.research.ibm. (http://plato. (http://www. (http://www.com/David/EPR_Bell_Aspect.htm) • Does Bell's Inequality Principle rule out local theories of quantum mechanics? (http://math. . he said.org/abstract/PR/v47/i10/p777_1) • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: " The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen Argument in Quantum Theory (http:// plato.html) • Effective use of EPR in cryptography. • Theoretical use of EPR in teleportation. Using their reasoning. he showed specific cases where this would be inconsistent with the predictions of QM. That a relatively simple and elegant theorem could lead to this result has led Henry Stapp to call this theorem "the most profound in science".stanford. This provided hope that a more complete (and less troubling) theory might one day be discovered. physicist John Stewart Bell presented an analogy (based on spin measurements on pairs of entangled electrons) to EPR's hypothetical paradox. the philosophical implications of the new quantum theory were troubling to many prominent physicists of the day.htm) • EPR experiment with single photons interactive.edu/entries/qt-epr/)" by Arthur Fine. When introduced in 1927. (http://prola.dhushara. In experimental tests following Bell's example. (1981) convincingly demonstrated that the predictions of QM are correct in this regard. (http://www.QuantumLab. Bell's theorem states:[1] No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics.html) From the Usenet Physics FAQ.edu/home/ baez/physics/Quantum/bells_inequality. In the vernacular of Einstein: locality meant no instantaneous ("spooky") action at a distance.2 The argument in the text.com/ watch?v=ta09WXiUqcQ) Bell's Theorem Bell's theorem is a no-go theorem famous for drawing an important line in the sand between quantum mechanics (QM) and the world as we know it classically.edu/entries/bell-theorem/)" • EPR. he and co-authors Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (collectively EPR) demonstrated by a paradox that QM was incomplete. Bell & Aspect: The Original References. now using quantum entanglement of photons instead of electrons. realism meant the moon is there even when not being observed.drchinese.com/journal/rd/481/brassard.aps. (http://www.2 • The original EPR paper.stanford. In his groundbreaking 1964 paper. a choice of measurement setting here should not affect the outcome of a measurement there (and vice versa). In its simplest form. Mermin. Alain Aspect et al.EPR Paradox 106 External links • The Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen Argument in Quantum Theory. one is forced to reject either locality or realism (or both). While this does not demonstrate QM is complete. including Albert Einstein. In a well known 1935 paper. After providing a mathematical formulation of locality and realism based on this. "On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox". But that conclusion rested on the seemingly reasonable assumptions of locality and realism (together called "local realism" or "local hidden variables".edu/entries/qt-epr/#1. 1.

. Because numerous experiments agree with the predictions of quantum mechanical theory. Bell's theorem thus applies only to the statistical results from many trials of the experiment. at which measurements of spin are performed. A source produces a singlet argument[3][4]). according to Bell. The theorem applies to any quantum system of two entangled qubits. the experimental results have been taken by many as refuting the concept of local realism as an explanation of the physical phenomena under test. 0° Bob. along axes that are independently chosen. Each measurement yields a result of either spin-up (+) or spin-down (−). yields predictions that disagree with those of quantum mechanical theory. These basic cases are illustrated in the table below. 90° Correlation ( + − +1 − − -1 + + -1 − + +1 … − … − … −1 )/n=0 (50% identical) . one particle is sent to one location. Symbolically. While measuring the spin of these entangled particles along parallel axes will always result in opposite (i. one-half particles formed somehow in the singlet spin state and moving freely in opposite directions. the correlation between results for a single pair can be represented as either "+1" for a match (opposite spins). The most common examples concern systems of particles that are entangled in spin or polarization. if Bell's conditions are correct.Bell's Theorem 107 Overview Bell’s theorem states that the concept of local realism."[3] The two particles travel away from each other to two distant locations. depending on the relative angles at which the two spin measurements are made. greater than could be explained by local hidden variables.. Following the argument in the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen (EPR) paradox paper (but using the example of spin. favoured by Einstein[2]. will have a 50% probability of an uncorrelated result). then the results which are in agreement with quantum mechanical theory appear to evidence superluminal effects. and is subject to some uncertainty for all relative angles other than perfectly parallel alignments (0° or 180°).e. in contradiction to the principle of locality. The probability of the same result being obtained at the two locations varies. as in David Bohm's version of the EPR Illustration of Bell test for particles such as photons. A experiment in which there are "a pair of spin measurement of the entangled property is performed at various angles at each location. and the other is sent to another location. perfectly anticorrelated) results.e. Bell considered an pair. 0° Bob. 0° Correlation: ( Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3 Pair 4 … Pair n + +1 − + +1 − + +1 + +1 … + … … +1 ) / n = +1 (100% identical) Orthogonal axes Pair 1 Pair 2 Pair 3 Pair 4 … Pair n Alice. For a hidden variable theory. or "−1" for a non-match. Same axis Alice. measurement at perpendicular directions will have a 50% chance of matching (i. and show correlations that are.

on the assumption that the theory is correct. —[3] Over the years. there must be a mechanism whereby the setting of one measuring device can influence the reading of another instrument. Bell concluded: In a theory in which parameters are added to quantum mechanics to determine the results of individual measurements.Bell's Theorem 108 With the measurements oriented at intermediate angles between these basic cases. The quantum mechanical prediction is the dotted assumptions about the specific form of the (cosine) curve. but no experiment to date has simultaneously fully addressed all of them. Bell's theorem is generally regarded as supported by a substantial body of evidence and is treated as a fundamental principle of physics in mainstream quantum mechanics textbooks. derived in his seminal 1964 paper titled On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox. Experimental results match the curve predicted by quantum mechanics. Podolsky and Rosen[13] that challenged the completeness of quantum mechanics.[6] However.[8][9] Importance of the theorem Bell's theorem. Bell The local realist prediction (solid lines) for quantum correlation for spin (assuming claimed that. without changing the statistical predictions. observed experimentally. the correlation varies as the cosine of the angle.[10] Perhaps of equal importance is Bell's deliberate effort to encourage and bring legitimacy to work on the completeness issues. without making any 100% detector efficiency). it is generally considered unreasonable that such an experiment. Moreover. Bell started from the same two assumptions as did EPR."[12] The title of Bell's seminal article refers to the famous paper by Einstein. so that a theory could not be Lorentz invariant. Bell expressed his hope that such work would "continue to inspire those who suspect that what is proved by the impossibility proofs is lack of imagination. later. the existence of local hidden variables would imply a linear variation in the correlation. to maintain a local hidden variable theory in the face of the existing experiments would appear to require belief in a very peculiar conspiracy of nature. according to quantum mechanical theory. which had fallen into disrepute. Bell's theorem has undergone a wide variety of experimental tests. Anthony Leggett has commented: [While] no single existing experiment has simultaneously blocked all of the so-called ‘‘loopholes’’. however remote. the signal involved must propagate instantaneously. theory beyond requirements of basic consistency. would give results that are inconsistent with the prior experiments. namely .[11] Later in his life. Bell's theorem appears to rule out local hidden variables as a viable explanation of quantum mechanics (though it still leaves the door open for non-local hidden variables).[7] To date.[6] Over the years experiments have been gradually improved to better address these loopholes.[5] Bell achieved his breakthrough by first deriving the results that he posits local realism would necessarily yield.[3] has been called. However. "the most profound in science". Thus. various common deficiencies in the testing of the theorem have been identified. if conducted. However. the mathematical inequality he discovered was clearly at odds with the results (described above) predicted by quantum mechanics and. For example. each one of those loopholes has been blocked in at least one experiment. In his paper. including the detection loophole[6] and the communication loophole. If correct.

thus. however. 2. If such a hidden variables theory exists. Objects have a definite state that determines the values of all other measurable properties. By a simple argument based on classical probability. then because the hidden variables are not described by QM the latter would be an incomplete theory. The tests are. Bob's measurement in that direction is determined with certainty. such as a hidden variables theory. The Bell test experiments have been interpreted as showing that the Bell inequalities are violated in favour of QM. and that QM's weakness is its inability to predict those values precisely. such as measurements. Existence of these variables is called the assumption of realism. now commonly referred to as Alice and Bob. Bell was able to derive from those two assumptions an important result. quantum mechanics was in an unsatisfactory position: either it was incomplete. the probability that an electron will be detected in a particular place. or it violated the principle of a finite propagation speed of physical effects. In a modified version of the EPR thought experiment.g. such as position and momentum. or the assumption of counterfactual definiteness. liable to be experimentally tested. two hypothetical observers. namely Bell's inequality. perform independent measurements of spin on a pair of electrons. Two assumptions drove the desire to find a local realist theory: 1. After the EPR paper. Bell's theorem was later generalized to stochastic theories[14] as well. or the effects travel from Alice to Bob instantly. prepared at a source in a special state called a spin singlet state. if the theorem is correct. In QM. either the spin in each direction is an element of physical reality. whereas immediately before Alice's measurement Bob's outcome was only statistically determined (i. and Bell's inequality was. thus raising the possibility of testing the local realism hypothesis. It took many years and many improvements in technology to perform tests along the lines Bell envisaged. In the form of local realism used by Bell. The tests are not capable of determining whether Bell has accurately described all local hidden variable theories. a measurement made by one can have no effect on a measurement made by the other. The possibility existed that some unknown theory. Effects of local actions.. in theory.[3] to determine which of them is correct. The paper noted that "it requires little imagination to envisage the experiments involved actually being made". the predictions of the theory result from the application of classical probability theory to an underlying parameter space. in the sense that it failed to account for some elements of physical reality. was only a probability. while at the same time also being in complete agreement with the probabilities predicted by QM. implying that at least one of the assumptions must be false.e. Limitations on such tests to date are noted below. he showed that correlations between measurements are bounded in a way that is violated by QM. as they are mutually exclusive.Bell's Theorem (i) reality (that microscopic objects have real properties determining the outcomes of quantum mechanical measurements). and it was also realised[15] that the theorem is not so much about hidden variables as about the outcomes of measurements which could have been done instead of the one actually performed. The idea persisted. This is because. in part. that the electron in fact has a definite position and spin. Thus if observers are sufficiently far apart. it considered more hidden variables than merely the element of physical reality in the EPR paper. predictions are formulated in terms of probabilities — for example. not a certainty). The no-communication theorem shows that the observers cannot use the effect to communicate (classical) 109 . then either quantum mechanics or local realism is wrong. cannot travel faster than the speed of light (in consequence of special relativity). as being the opposite outcome to that of Alice. In two respects Bell's 1964 paper was a step forward compared to the EPR paper: firstly. Bell's theorem seemed to put an end to local realism. on the x axis). capable of showing whether local hidden variable theories as envisaged by Bell accurately predict experimental results. Whereas Bell's paper deals only with deterministic hidden variable theories. might be able to predict those quantities exactly. It is the conclusion of EPR that once Alice measures spin in one direction (e. or the probability that its spin is up or down. and (ii) locality (that reality in one location is not influenced by measurements performed simultaneously at a distant location).

which is for me the chief motivation of the study of the so-called "hidden variable" possibility. These well-defined states are typically called hidden variables. which seem almost to cry out for a hidden variable interpretation. then the "tests" of Bell's theory to date do not show anything either way about the local or non-local nature of the phenomena. This is the famous argument of Einstein. (…) Now nobody knows just where the boundary between the classical and the quantum domain is situated.Bell's Theorem information to each other faster than the speed of light. According to quantum mechanics they are entangled. (…) A third motivation is in the peculiar character of some quantum-mechanical predictions. In Bell's experiment. Once the incompleteness of the wave function description is suspected. but solely from Bell's theory that the correctness of the quantum predictions necessarily precludes any local hidden-variable theory. it can be conjectured that random statistical fluctuations are determined by the extra "hidden" variables — "hidden" because at this stage we can only conjecture their existence and certainly cannot control them. allowing their state to be well defined only after a measurement is made on either particle. but the ‘fair sampling’ and ‘no enhancement’ assumptions require more careful consideration (below). but the Bell inequalities say that if the correlation stems from local random variables. The wave functions would prove to be a provisional or incomplete description of the quantum-mechanical part. The latter we describe only subjectively. the properties that Einstein posited when he stated his famous objection to quantum mechanics: "God does not play dice. Alice can choose a detector setting to measure either or and Bob can choose a detector setting to measure either or . It is this possibility. 110 Bell inequalities Bell inequalities concern measurements made by observers on pairs of particles that have interacted and then separated. looking out into a quantum-mechanical world. In Bell's words: Theoretical physicists live in a classical world. That restriction agrees with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. If that theoretical contention is not correct. by trying to approximate as well as possible the idealized situations in which local hidden variables and quantum mechanics cannot agree. Podolsky and Rosen. Measurements of Alice and Bob may be somehow correlated with each other. (…) We will find. of a homogeneous account of the world. The inequalities assume that each quantum-level object has a well-defined state that accounts for all its measurable properties and that distant objects do not exchange information faster than the speed of light. in fact." Bell showed that under quantum mechanics. the mathematics of which contains no local hidden variables. That interpretation follows not from any clear demonstration of super-luminal communication in the tests themselves. repeated measurements of system properties can be regarded as repeated sampling of random variables. the Bell inequalities can nevertheless be violated: the properties of a particle are not clear. . but may be correlated with those of another particle due to quantum entanglement. while local realism would limit the correlation of subsequent measurements of the particles. All Bell inequalities describe experiments in which the predicted result from quantum entanglement differs from that flowing from local realism. there is a limit to the amount of correlation one might expect to see. a fundamental concept in quantum mechanics.[16] In probability theory. This opens the possibility of bringing the question into the experimental domain. (…) A second motivation is connected with the statistical character of quantum-mechanical predictions. and these are here collectively termed Bell inequalities. that no local deterministic hidden-variable theory can reproduce all the experimental predictions of quantum mechanics. (…) More plausible to me is that we will find that there is no boundary. in terms of procedures and results in our classical domain. Different authors subsequently derived inequalities similar to Bell´s original inequality.

It is safe to conclude that any hidden variables that determine the A. anti-correlated but for this argument that is equivalent). the correlation between them is 99%. and C be the values of the spin of two entangled particles measured relative to some axis at 0 degrees. If B is measured on one and C on the other. the overlap of the wavefunction between the different angles is proportional to . Michael Horne. Choosing the angle so that . Abner Shimony and R. For another. and C measurements in the two particles are 100% correlated and can be used interchangeably. where is proportional to θ. The number of mismatches between A and B (1/100) plus the number of mismatches between B and C (1/100) are together the maximum possible number of mismatches between A and C (a simple Boole–Fréchet inequality). If the result of three different statistical coin-flips A. Imagine that two entangled particles in a spin singlet are shot out to two distant locations. and C have the property that: 1. B. the correlation is 99%. Y is defined as Where represents the expected or average value of This is a non-normalized form of the correlation coefficient considered in statistics (see Quantum correlation). and 2θ degrees respectively. which is a contradiction. the results are only 96% correlated. B and C are the same 99% of the time then A and C are the same at least 98% of the time. Holt. The same is true if both spins are measured in directions B or C.[3] the form given by John Clauser. it applies only to a very restricted set of hidden variable theories. and the spins of both are measured in the direction A. To formulate Bell's theorem.[17] as it gives classical limits to the expected correlation for the above experiment conducted by Alice and Bob: where C denotes correlation. But A and C are the same 1 − (2ε)2 of the time. by letting A. not for the "three-outcome" ones (with possible outcomes of zero as well as +1 and −1) encountered in real experiments. b and c settings of the apparatus. A simple limit of Bell's inequality has the virtue of being completely intuitive. The spins are 100% correlated (actually. we formalize local realism as follows: . A and B are the same (both heads or both tails) 99% of the time 2.[17] (the CHSH form) is especially important. in agreement with the quantum mechanical prediction. θ degrees. it is true only for genuinely "two-outcome" systems. For one thing. while the small-angle limit is emphasized in Bell's original article. A and B are 99% correlated. Correlation of observables X. If A is measured on one particle and B on the other. B. The intuitive formulation is due to David Mermin. The probability that A and B give the same answer is . In quantum mechanics.Bell's Theorem 111 Original Bell's inequality The original inequality that Bell derived was:[3] where C is the "correlation" of the particle pairs and a.B. This is also the probability that B and C give the same answer. A. This allows us to conclude that the hidden variables determining A and B are 99% correlated and B and C are 99% correlated. But if A is measured in one particle and C in the other. B and C are 99% correlated and A and C are only 96% correlated. This inequality is not used in practice. namely those for which the outcomes on both sides of the experiment are always exactly anticorrelated when the analysers are parallel. CHSH inequality In addition to Bell's original inequality.

Let . Thus and therefore Remark 1 The correlation inequality (1) still holds if the variables . let us first assume the observed values are +1 or −1. Bell's inequality. we remove this assumption in Remark 1 below. Thus • Value observed by Alice with detector setting is • Value observed by Bob with detector setting is Implicit in assumption 1) above. The CHSH inequality (1) holds under the hidden variables assumptions above. For simplicity. 2.Bell's Theorem 1. we can assume that In that case . the relevant idea is that each summand in the above average is bounded above by 2. Indeed. This is easily seen as true in the more general case: To justify the upper bound 2 asserted in the last inequality. The values observed by Alice or Bob are functions of the local detector settings and the hidden parameter only. Then at least one of is 0. are allowed to take on any real values between −1 and +1. without loss of generality. the hidden parameter space random variable X on with respect to is written has a probability measure and the expectation of a where for accessibility of notation we assume that the probability measure has a density. There is a probability space and the observed outcomes by both Alice and Bob result by random sampling of 112 the parameter .

these settings correspond to measurement of spin along the z or the x axis. . The derivations were given in terms of the averages of the outcomes over the local detector variables. the observables X and Y are represented as self-adjoint operators on a Hilbert space. The formalisation of local realism was thus effectively changed. The von Neumann measurement postulate states: a series of measurements of an observable X on a series of identical systems in state produces a distribution of real values. This argument was used by Bell in 1971. Alice can choose between two detector settings labelled a and a′. with the extension proved in Remark 1. Bob can choose between two detector settings labelled b and b′. this distribution is discrete. It was henceforth restricted (in most theoretical work) to mean only those components that were associated with the source. these correspond to measurement of spin along the z′ or x′ axis. The system state immediately after the measurement is From this. However. By the assumption that observables are finite matrices. In that case. CHSH inequality still holds even if the instruments themselves contain hidden variables. we denote the eigenvectors of Sx by Let be the spin singlet state for a pair of electrons discussed in the EPR paradox. As is customary. This is a specially constructed state described by the following vector in the tensor product Now let us apply the CHSH formalism to the measurements that can be performed by Alice and Bob. assume that X and Y are represented by matrices in a finite dimensional space and that X and Y commute. averaging over the instrument hidden variables gives new variables: 113 on . To compute the correlation. and again by Clauser and Horne in 1974. we can show that the correlation of commuting observables X and Y in a pure state is We apply this fact in the context of the EPR paradox. there may be others that are associated with the separate detectors.[14] to justify a generalisation of the theorem forced on them by the real experiments. which still have values in the range [−1. where the x′ – z′ coordinate system is rotated 135° relative to the x – z coordinate system. these others being conditionally independent given the first. in which detectors were never 100% efficient. −1. The probability of observing λ is non-zero if and only if λ is an eigenvalue of the matrix X and moreover the probability is where EX (λ) is the projector corresponding to the eigenvalue λ. replacing A and B by averages and retaining the symbol but with a slightly different meaning. +1] to which we can apply the previous result. and with conditional probability distributions only depending on the corresponding local setting (if dependent on the settings at all). The spin observables are represented by the 2 × 2 self-adjoint matrices: These are the Pauli spin matrices normalized so that the corresponding eigenvalues are +1. The measurements performed by Alice and Bob are spin measurements on electrons. this special case suffices for our purposes below. Bell inequalities are violated by quantum mechanical predictions In the usual quantum mechanical formalism.Bell's Theorem Remark 2 Though the important component of the hidden parameter in Bell's original proof is associated with the source and is shared by Alice and Bob.

The operators . Source produces spin singlet pairs. .Bell's Theorem 114 Illustration of Bell test for spin 1/2 particles. Note that the A operators commute with the B operators. a straightforward calculation shows that and so that Bell's Theorem: If the quantum mechanical formalism is correct. Each performs one of the two spin measurements. In this case. In fact. we can show that the CHSH inequality fails. one particle of each pair is sent to Alice and the other to Bob. Note that is indeed the upper bound for quantum mechanics called Tsirelson's bound. then the system consisting of a pair of entangled electrons cannot satisfy the principle of local realism. correspond to Bob's spin measurements along x′ and z′. so we can apply our calculation for the correlation. The operators giving this maximal value are always isomorphic to the Pauli matrices.

recognize the possibility or actuality that the emitted atomic light signals have a range of amplitudes and. that the amplitudes are modified when the signal passes through analyzing devices such as polarizers and beam splitters. Freedman and Clauser[21] used fair sampling in the form of the Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt (CHSH[17]) hypothesis. in particular. However. Nobody needed to perform the experiment. shortly afterwards Clauser and Horne[14] made the important distinction between inhomogeneous (IBI) and homogeneous (HBI) Bell inequalities. It follows that not all signals have the same detection probability. Those who maintain the concept of duality.' The latter has been nearly decisively blocked by a recent experiment and there is a good prospect for blocking the former. So.[20] Two classes of Bell inequalities The fair sampling problem was faced openly in the 1970s. The setting (orientations) of the analysers are selected by the Scheme of a "two-channel" Bell test The source S produces pairs of "photons". moreover.[18] Of the thirteen experiments listed. according to the same source. but he is mistaken". Nevertheless. sent in opposite directions. but not decisively because of the 'detection loopholes' or the 'communication loophole. a table of Bell test experiments performed prior to 1986 is given in 4.5 of Redhead. because singles rates with all detectors in the 1970s were at least ten times all the coincidence rates. or simply of light being a wave. Max Planck's description. +− and −+) counted by the coincidence monitor. Emerging signals from each channel are detected and coincidences of four types (++. We must remember the cautionary words of Albert Einstein[19] shortly before he died: "Nowadays every Tom. when the experiments were repeated. Each photon encounters a two-channel polariser whose orientation (a or b) can be set by the experimenter. analysed with respect to some key property such as polarisation direction. In early designs of their 1973 experiment. Pairs of particles are emitted as a result of a quantum process. Testing an IBI requires that we compare certain coincidence rates in two separated detectors with the singles rates of the two detectors. "the discrepancies with QM could not be reproduced". taking into account . The assumption excludes a large family of local realist theories. According to Shimony's 2004 Stanford Encyclopedia overview article:[6] Most of the dozens of experiments performed so far have favored Quantum Mechanics. the issue is not conclusively settled. Such a fair sampling assumption generally goes unacknowledged. experimenter. only two reached results contradictory to quantum mechanics. furthermore. 1987. direction and polarization are identical" so that photodetectors treat all incident photons on an equal basis. Bell test experiments to date overwhelmingly violate Bell's inequality.Bell's Theorem 115 Practical experiments testing Bell's theorem Experimental tests can determine whether the Bell inequalities required by local realism hold up to the empirical evidence. The standard assumption in Quantum Optics is that "all photons of given frequency. Indeed. Bell's inequalities are tested by "coincidence counts" from a Bell test experiment such as the optical one shown in the diagram. then detected. yet it effectively limits the range of local theories to those that conceive of the light field as corpuscular. −−. Dick and Harry ('jeder Kerl' in German original) thinks he knows what a photon is. To explore the 'detection loophole'. one must distinguish the classes of homogeneous and inhomogeneous Bell inequality.

which interprets the statistical emergence of a quantum history as a gradual coming to agreement between histories that go both forward and backward in time. locality in physical space (not outcome space) places no restrictions on how the split observers can meet up. This is perhaps not surprising. the detection probability cannot increase. rather than showing a breakdown of realism or locality. because it is not clear which copy of the observer B observer A will see when going to compare notes. If reality includes all the different outcomes. if a polarizer is interposed between the cascade and the detector. but it does show that the word loophole is biased. Given this assumption. The Bell inequality violations are no longer counterintuitive. has a certain probability of activating a detector. So the no-enhancement hypothesis cannot be true in a local hidden variables model. this is unattractive. in the presence of a threshold. it can communicate the necessary correlations to the other particle. Then. The Freedman-Clauser experiment reveals that local hidden variables imply the new phenomenon of signal enhancement: In the total set of signals from an atomic cascade there is a subset whose detection probability increases as a result of passing through a linear polarizer. One cannot conclude that this is the only local-realist alternative to Quantum Optics. They are ready to give up locality. Once one particle is measured. Bell's inequality can easily be violated. the QM prediction actually satisfied the IBI. there is a Bell inequality between the coincidence rates with polarizers and coincidence rates without polarizers. The experiment was performed by Freedman and Clauser. help reveal hidden signals (this property is known[23] as stochastic resonance). originating in an atomic cascade for example. quoted in the preceding section. in which the particles exchange information about their states. but have very low dark rate and short dead and resolving times. the analysis leads us to recognize that the Bell-inequality experiments. For example.[25] A few advocates of deterministic models have not given up on local hidden variables.[21] who found that the Bell's inequality was violated. Theoretical challenges Most advocates of the hidden variables idea believe that experiments have ruled out local hidden variables. explaining the violation of Bell's inequality by means of a non-local hidden variable theory.Bell's Theorem this low detector efficiency. 116 Practical challenges Because detectors don't detect a large fraction of all photons. They introduced the No Enhancement Hypothesis (NEH): A light signal. This is the idea behind a transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics. This is the basis of the Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this view. Clauser and Horne[14] recognized that testing Bell's inequality requires some extra assumptions. Gerard 't Hooft has argued that the superdeterminism loophole cannot be dismissed. which requires that all particles in the universe be able to instantaneously exchange information with all others. as it is known that adding noise to data can. are capable of revealing important new phenomena. two distant observers both split into superpositions when measuring a spin. To arrive at an experimental design in which the QM prediction violates IBI we require detectors whose efficiency exceeds 82% for singlet states. Since in relativity the notion of simultaneity is not absolute. Such an approach is called a many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. appears over-stated. Moreover. This is well above the 30% achievable[22] so Shimony’s optimism in the Stanford Encyclopedia. A 2007 experiment ruled out a large class of non-Bohmian non-local hidden variable theories. One idea is to replace instantaneous communication with a process that travels backwards in time along the past Light cone.[26][27] The quantum mechanical wavefunction can also provide a local realistic description.[24] If the hidden variables can communicate with each other faster than light. if the wavefunction values are interpreted as the fundamental quantities that describe reality. .

Many worlds interpretations are not only counterfactually indefinite. Causes cannot travel faster than light or backward in time. The possibility of wavefunction collapse is now seen as one possible problematic ingredient of some interpretations. [31] . there is a quantity that determines what the outcome would have been even if you don't do the experiment. Y exerted a causal inference on X in reality. What is powerful about Bell's theorem is that it doesn't refer to any particular physical theory. just provide the definite demonstration of something that was already strongly suspected. is called counterfactual definiteness. such as quantum cryptography. due to quantum entanglement. In fact. T. No combination of local deterministic and local random variables can reproduce the phenomena predicted by quantum mechanics and repeatedly observed in experiments. though some believe that detectors give a biased sample of photons. Complementarity is now seen not as an independent ingredient of the quantum picture but rather as a direct consequence of the Quantum decoherence expected from the quantum formalism itself. This states that if the results of an experiment are always observed to be definite. e. In well-defined Bell experiments (see the paragraph on "test experiments") one can now falsify either quantum mechanics or Einstein's quasi-classical assumptions: currently many experiments of this kind have been performed. that quantum physics cannot be represented by any version of the classical picture of physics. which is the foundation for present-day applications of quantum physics.[30] The EPR paper "pinpointed" the unusual properties of the entangled states. According to him: 1.Bell's Theorem This implies that there is a subtle assumption in the argument that realism is incompatible with quantum mechanics and locality. The assumption. However Jaynes later admitted that he had misunderstood Bell's argument. because the standard interpretation could easily do away with action-at-a-distance by simply assigning to each particle definite spin-states. one application involves the measurement of quantum entanglement as a physical source of bits for Rabin's oblivious transfer protocol. in its weakest form. the above-mentioned singlet state. E. Bell interpreted conditional probability P(X|Y) as a causal inference. Bell's theorem showed that the "entangledness" prediction of quantum mechanics has a degree of non-locality that cannot be explained away by any local theory. The results of all experiments. However. P(X|Y) actually only means logical inference (deduction). The Bell violations show that no resolution of such issues can avoid the ultimate strangeness of quantum behavior. and the experimental results support quantum mechanics. 2. rather than as an essential part of quantum mechanics.e.[29] Some earlier elements that had seemed incompatible with classical pictures included apparent complementarity and (hypothesized) wavefunction collapse. Bell's inequality does not apply to some possible hidden variable theories. it might have just missed the kind of hidden variable theories that Einstein is most interested in. even ones that have been performed. they are factually indefinite. This strange non-locality was originally supposed to be a Reductio ad absurdum. What makes Bell's theorem unique and powerful is that it shows that nature violates the most general assumptions behind classical pictures. not just details of some particular models. i. 117 Final remarks The violations of Bell's inequalities.g. Jaynes[28] pointed out two hidden assumptions in Bell Inequality that could limit its generality. but deduction can. are not uniquely determined. so that until nearly every photon pair generated is observed there will be loopholes. It only applies to a certain class of local hidden variable theories.

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ISBN 0-385-23569-0) D. Podolsky and Rosen Paradox (Plenum Press. The Meaning of Quantum Theory (Oxford University Press. American Journal of Physics 49 (10): 940. 2004. New York. Mermin. The Fabric of the Cosmos (Vintage.49. A.youtube. Afriat and F. 1987. 1992) N.ipod. 38–47.12594.uk/reality/reality_entangled.inr. Anton Wilson. Louisa Gilder. Knopf. Prometheus Rising (New Falcon Publications.com/ watch?v=ta09WXiUqcQ) • Quantum Entanglement (http://www. doi:10.com/groups/ profile?hl=en&show=more&enc_user=8YcXCQ4AAABUc-oUoA1Uy7yFEaUY6YXQ&group=sci.ac. 2001). Aczel.google. • Bell's theorem on arXiv. New York and London.ru/x-bin/theme3. Boston 1995) R. "Bringing home the atomic world: Quantum mysteries for anybody".py?level=2&index1=369244) • Interactive experiments with single photons: entanglement and Bell´s theorem (http://www. pp. 2001. Entanglement: The greatest mystery in physics (Four Walls Eight Windows..html). • Mermin: Spooky Actions At A Distance? Oppenheimer Lecture (http://www. • • • • • • • • • • Amir D. D. uni-erlangen. Mermin's article.org.Bell's Theorem 120 Further reading The following are intended for general audiences. 2008) Brian Greene. The Einstein.edu/felder-public/kenny/papers/bell. Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics (Anchor.asp) Includes a simple explanation of Bell's Inequality. David Mermin. N.de/quantumlab/english/index. Selleri. based on N. Baggott.physics) . D. ISBN 0-375-72720-5) Nick Herbert. (1981).ncsu. "Is the moon there when nobody looks? Reality and the quantum theory". Bibcode 1981AmJPh. The infamous boundary: seven decades of controversy in quantum physics (Birkhauser.940M. The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn (New York: Alfred A. ISBN 1-56184-056-4) Gary Zukav "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" (Perennial Classics. 1997.html) • Bell's Inequalities: Obscurantist Obfuscation or Condign Confabulation? (http://groups.1119/1. in Physics Today. 1999) J.org (http://xstructure. ISBN 0-06-095968-1) External links • An explanation of Bell's Theorem (http://www.physik. April 1985.didaktik. Wick..

when we look in the box. depending on an earlier random event. releasing the poison that kills the cat. the flask is imaginary. discussions of the interpretations of quantum mechanics. which is a characteristic of a quantum state that is a combination of the states of two systems (for example. the paradox is a classic reductio ad absurdum. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i. There is a supposed fifty-percent chance researched and used in practical of this happening. a single atom decaying). similar principles have been shattered.e. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while. quite the reverse. wherein the cat's life or death depended on the state of a subatomic particle. The scenario presents a cat that might be alive or dead. Schrödinger's Cat: A cat. He proposed a scenario with a cat in a sealed box. in the course of which Einstein pointed out that the state of an unstable keg of gunpowder will. The Copenhagen interpretation implies that the state of the two systems undergoes collapse into a definite state when one of the systems is measured. that once interacted but were then separated and are not each in a definite state. not both alive and dead. Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility. Schrödinger describes how one could. contain a superposition of both exploded and unexploded states. Intended as a critique of just the Copenhagen interpretation (the prevailing orthodoxy in 1935). resulting in a contradiction with common sense. To further illustrate. after a while. In the course of developing this experiment. Podolsky. According to Schrödinger. Schrödinger coined the term Verschränkung (entanglement). The thought experiment is see the cat either alive or dead.[1] The EPR article highlighted the strange nature of quantum entanglement. Origin and motivation Schrödinger intended his thought experiment as a discussion of the EPR article—named after its authors Einstein. the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. the Schrödinger cat thought experiment remains a typical touchstone for limited interpretations of quantum mechanics.121 5. two subatomic particles). sometimes described as a paradox. the Copenhagen interpretation implies that the cat remains both alive and dead (to the universe outside the box) until the box is opened. This poses the question of when also often featured in theoretical exactly superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other. we applications. a flask of poison and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed Although the original "experiment" was box. Yet. devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. in principle. Schrödinger's Objections Schrödinger's Cat Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment. transpose the superposition of an atom to large-scale systems.[2] The thought experiment illustrates quantum mechanics and the mathematics necessary to describe quantum states. and Rosen—in 1935. Schrödinger and Einstein exchanged letters about Einstein's EPR article. Physicists often use the way each interpretation deals with Schrödinger's cat as a way of illustrating and comparing .

That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a "blurred model" for representing reality. In itself. in which the psi-function of the system contains both the cat alive and blown to bits. Naturwissenschaften (translated by John D.Schrödinger's Cat the particular features. so small that perhaps in the course of the hour. 122 The thought experiment Schrödinger wrote:[3][2] One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter. he wrote: You are the only contemporary physicist. or does its existence in a single well-defined classical state require another external observer? Each alternative seemed absurd to Albert Einstein. strengths. when does the actual quantum state stop being a linear combination of states. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks. and through a relay releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance. Is the cat required to be an observer. Die gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik (The present situation in quantum mechanics). which can then be resolved by direct observation. but also. the counter tube discharges. it remembers only being alive. can be such a mixture. perhaps none. refuted most elegantly by your system of radioactive atom + amplifier + charge of gunpowder + cat in a box. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber. do not always have unique classical descriptions. which uses a Geiger counter as an amplifier and hydrocyanic poison instead of gunpowder. one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. who sees that one cannot get around the assumption of reality. In a letter to Schrödinger dated 1950. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts. it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. But explanations of the EPR experiments that are consistent with standard microscopic quantum mechanics require that macroscopic objects. It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy. however. if it happens. . it seems from the thought experiment. Their interpretation is. Our intuition says that no observer can be in a mixture of states—yet the cat. who was impressed by the ability of the thought experiment to highlight these issues. one of the atoms decays. besides Laue. The thought experiment illustrates this apparent paradox. with equal probability. and apparently Einstein had carried it forward to the present discussion. such as cats and notebooks. Most of them simply do not see what sort of risky game they are playing with reality—reality as something independent of what is experimentally established. Nobody really doubts that the presence or absence of the cat is something independent of the act of observation.[4] Note that the charge of gunpowder is not mentioned in Schrödinger's setup. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour. if only one is honest. —Erwin Schrödinger. Trimmer in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society) Schrödinger's famous thought experiment poses the question. each of which resembles different classical states. The gunpowder had been mentioned in Einstein's original suggestion to Schrödinger 15 years before. and instead begins to have a unique classical description?) If the cat survives. when does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other? (More technically. and weaknesses of each interpretation.

Copenhagen interpretation The most commonly held interpretation of quantum mechanics is the Copenhagen interpretation. so "observer states" corresponding to the cat's being alive and dead are formed. the system simultaneously exists in a superposition of the states "decayed nucleus/dead cat" and "undecayed nucleus/living cat. which does not single out observation as a special process. never had in mind the observer-induced collapse of the wave function. but are decoherent from each other. In contrast. Niels Bohr. But since the dead and alive states are decoherent. the observer and the already-dead cat split into an observer looking at a box with a dead cat. The quantum-mechanical "Schrödinger's cat" paradox according to the many-worlds interpretation. The same mechanism of quantum decoherence is also important for the interpretation in terms of consistent histories. Many-worlds interpretation and consistent histories In 1957. The cat is both alive and dead—regardless of whether the box is opened—but the "alive" and "dead" cats are in different branches of the universe that are equally real but cannot interact with each other. However. and an observer looking at a box with a live cat. Only the "dead cat" or "alive cat" can be a part of a consistent history in this interpretation. The experiment can be interpreted to mean that while the box is closed. other interpretations of quantum mechanics have been proposed that give different answers to the questions posed by Schrödinger's cat of how long superpositions last and when (or whether) they collapse. there is no effective communication or interaction between them. In the many-worlds interpretation.[6] Analysis of an actual experiment found that measurement alone (for example by a Geiger counter) is sufficient to collapse a quantum wave function before there is any conscious observation of the measurement. the many worlds approach denies that collapse ever occurs. one of the main scientists associated with the Copenhagen interpretation. is not well-defined in this interpretation." and that only when the box is opened and an observation performed does the wave function collapse into one of the two states. When opening the box. when the box is opened. In this interpretation. The cat would be either dead or alive long before the box is opened by a conscious observer. a system stops being a superposition of states and becomes either one or the other when an observation takes place.Schrödinger's Cat 123 Interpretations of the experiment Since Schrödinger's time. The thought experiment requires an "unconscious observation" by the detector in order for magnification to occur. or observation. both alive and dead states of the cat persist after the box is opened. This experiment makes apparent the fact that the nature of measurement. Quantum decoherence ensures that the different outcomes have no interaction with each other. Hugh Everett formulated the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. so that Schrödinger's Cat did not pose any riddle to him. every event is a branch point. .[5] In the Copenhagen interpretation. the observer becomes entangled with the cat.[7] The view that the "observation" is taken when a particle from the nucleus hits the detector can be developed into objective collapse theories. each observer state is entangled or linked with the cat so that the "observation of the cat's state" and the "cat's state" correspond with each other. In other words.

Objective collapse theories According to objective collapse theories. . This could loosely be phrased as "the cat observes itself.[11] The cat can be considered an observer of the apparatus. Not until the box is opened. has information about the state of the apparatus (the atom has either decayed or not decayed).Schrödinger's Cat Roger Penrose criticises this: "I wish to make it clear that. The state vector would not apply to individual cat experiments. 124 Ensemble interpretation The ensemble interpretation states that superpositions are nothing but subensembles of a larger statistical ensemble. This interpretation serves to discard the idea that a single physical system in quantum mechanics has a mathematical description that corresponds to it in any way. It examines the Schrödinger's Cat experiment from the point of view of the cat. meanwhile. to the experimenter." Objective collapse theories require a modification of standard quantum mechanics to allow superpositions to be destroyed by the process of time evolution. known as the quantum suicide machine. Relational interpretation The relational interpretation makes no fundamental distinction between the human experimenter. Thus. the two observers simultaneously have different accounts of the situation: To the cat. or between animate and inanimate systems. the experimenter can be considered another observer of the system in the box (the cat plus the apparatus). and argues that by using this approach. and all may be considered "observers.[9][10] A variant of the Schrödinger's Cat experiment. or the apparatus. For there is nothing in the formalism of quantum mechanics that demands that a state of consciousness cannot involve the simultaneous perception of a live and a dead cat". irreversibility. the mainstream view (without necessarily endorsing many-worlds) is that decoherence is the mechanism that forbids such simultaneous perception. and both observers have the same information about what happened. temperature." or "the environment observes the cat. etc. by nature of it being alive or dead. superpositions are destroyed spontaneously (irrespective of external observation) when some objective physical threshold (of time. but the experimenter does not have information about the state of the box contents.[8] However. has been proposed by cosmologist Max Tegmark. a cat that is either alive or dead." But the relational interpretation allows that different observers can give different accounts of the same series of events. one may be able to distinguish between the Copenhagen interpretation and many-worlds. the wavefunction of the apparatus has appeared to "collapse". but only to the statistics of many similarly prepared cat experiments. do both system states appear to "collapse" into the same definite result. Proponents of this interpretation state that this makes the Schrödinger's Cat paradox a trivial non-issue. Before the box is opened. the cat. the cat would be expected to have settled into a definite state long before the box is opened. In this way. as it stands.) is reached. mass. this is far from a resolution of the cat paradox. depending on the information they have about the system. the contents of the box appear to be in superposition. all are quantum systems governed by the same rules of wavefunction evolution. the cat.

The Road to Reality.1007/BF02302261. doi:10. "The death of Schroedinger's Cat and of consciousness-based wave-function collapse" (http:/ / web. fr/ aflb/ AFLB-311/ aflb311m387. google. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 2. [7] Carpenter RHS. ensmp. However. prominent physicists have gone so far as to suggest that astronomers observing dark energy in the universe in 1998 may have "reduced its life expectancy" through a pseudo-Schrödinger's Cat scenario. 44. . stanford. archive. International Journal of Theoretical Physics 35: 1637–1678. ensmp. e. World Scientific.[18][19] References [1] EPR article: Can Quantum-Mechanical Description Reality Be Considered Complete? (http:/ / prola. . einselection. . Annales de la Fondation Louis de Broglie (http:/ / web. Carlo (1996). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.. org/ abs/ quant-ph/ 0105127) [10] Wojciech H. pdf) on 2006-11-30. fr/ aflb/ AFLB-Web/ en-annales-index. "Decoherence and the transition from quantum to classical". Naturwissenschaften. ISBN 978-981-02-1010-6.[17] In quantum computing the phrase "cat state" often refers to the special entanglement of qubits wherein the qubits are in an equal superposition of all being 0 and all being 1. Retrieved 9 May 2011. pdf). The Metaphysics Research Lab Center for the Study of Language and Information.[13] • A beryllium ion has been trapped in a superposed state. which can be placed into a superposition of vibrating and non vibrating states. Quantum physics & observed reality: a critical interpretation of quantum mechanics (http:/ / books. Bibcode 1996IJTP. J (2008-01-24).1637R. and the machine proposed is not known to have been constructed. superpositions of relatively large (by the standards of quantum physics) objects have been performed.[12] These experiments do not show that a cat-sized object can be superposed. 715 or (http:/ / arxiv. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. or only when the second observer is informed of the first observer's observations? In another extension. "Die gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik (The present situation in quantum mechanics)". [9] Wojciech H. Zurek.[15] • A piezoelectric "tuning fork" has been constructed. Superconducting electrons move en masse. 75. R. Anderson AJ (2006). org/ pss/ 687649) [5] Hermann Wimmel (1992).". fr/ aflb/ AFLB-311/ aflb311m387.g. org/ abstract/ PR/ v47/ i10/ p777_1) [2] Schrödinger. htm) 31 (1): 45–52. • A "cat state" has been achieved with photons.g. aps. [8] Penrose. but the known upper limit on "cat states" has been pushed upwards by them. p. does the wave function "collapse" when the first observer opens the box. org/ web/ 20080618174026/ http:/ / www. Reviews of Modern Physics 2003.[14] • An experiment involving a superconducting quantum interference device ("SQUID") has been linked to theme of the thought experiment: " The superposition state does not correspond to a billion electrons flowing one way and a billion others flowing the other way. All the superconducting electrons in the SQUID flow both ways around the loop at once when they are in the Schrödinger’s cat state. Decoherence. "Relational Quantum Mechanics".. ensmp. pp 36–44 (1991) [11] Rovelli. p 807. Extensions Wigner's friend is a variant on the experiment with two external observers: the first opens and inspects the box and then communicates his observations to a second observer. jstor.Schrödinger's Cat 125 Applications and tests The experiment as described is a purely theoretical one. although this is a controversial viewpoint. The issue here is. The resonator comprises about 10 trillion atoms. [3] Schroedinger: "The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics" (http:/ / www. even when cooled to near absolute zero. successful experiments involving similar principles. de/ rzt/ rzt/ it/ QM/ cat. archive. "Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" (http:/ / plato. Stanford University. Erwin (November 1935).[16] • An experiment involving a flu virus has been proposed. edu/ entries/ qm-copenhagen/ ). and the quantum origins of the classical. Zurek. [6] Faye. tu-harburg. e. Retrieved 2010-09-10.. In many cases the state is short-lived.35. . Physics Today. arXiv:quant-ph/9609002. html#sect5) [4] Pay link to Einstein letter (http:/ / www. org/ web/ 20061130173850/ http:/ / www. com/ books?id=-4sJ_fgyZJEC& pg=PA2).

cfm?id=quantum-microphone) [17] How to Create Quantum Superpositions of Living Things (http:/ / www.. stackexchange. scientificamerican. 800-has-observing-the-universe-hastened-its-end.informationphilosopher. "Has observing the universe hastened its end?" (http:/ / www. Lawrence M.Schrödinger's Cat [12] What is the World's Biggest Schrodinger Cat? (http:/ / physics. doi:10. [19] Krauss. pdf) [15] Physics World: Schrodinger's cat comes into view (http:/ / physicsworld. Physics World.de/rzt/ rzt/it/QM/cat. technologyreview.com/solutions/ experiments/schrodingerscat/) More diagrams and an information creation explanation. Lett. • A YouTube video explaining Schrödingers cat (http://www.com/siftpodcast/schr-dingers-cat) produced by Sift (http:// siftpodcast.html) • The EPR paper (http://prola.100q1301K.tu-harburg. A “Schrodinger Cat” Superposition State of an Atom (http:/ / www. Rev. (US: APS) 100 (17). com/ questions/ 3309/ what-is-the-worlds-biggest-schrodinger-cat) [13] Schr%C%B6dingers Cat Now Made of Light (http:/ / www.html).171301. New Scientist. science20. et. com/ blog/ arxiv/ 24101/ )> [18] Chown. Retrieved 2007-11-25. quantumsciencephilippines.com/) • Erwin Schrödinger.youtube. 2000) New life for Schrödinger's cat.aps.com/watch?v=CrxqTtiWxs4) . com/ seminar/ seminar-topics/ SchrodingerCatAtom.100.straightdope. UK (http://physicsworld. Bibcode 2008PhRvL. arXiv:0711. 2008). com/ cws/ article/ news/ 2815) [16] Scientific American : Macro-Weirdness: "Quantum Microphone" Puts Naked-Eye Object in 2 Places at Once: A new device tests the limits of Schrödinger's cat (http:/ / www.com/cws/ article/print/525) Experiments at two universities claim to observe superposition in large scale systems • Information Philosopher on Schrödinger's cat (http://www. com/ news_articles/ schrödingers_cat_now_made_light) [14] C. Marcus (2007-11-22). com/ article. al.com/story/viennese-meow/) • The story of Schroedinger's cat (an epic poem) (http://www. James Dent (April 30. 126 External links • Schrödinger's cat in audio (http://soundcloud. com/ channel/ fundamentals/ mg19626313. 1. html). . "Late Time Behavior of False Vacuum Decay: Possible Implications for Cosmology and Metastable Inflating States".short story) (http://primastoria.com/classics/a1_122.1821. Monroe. Phys. newscientist. The Straight Dope • Tom Leggett (Aug. The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics (Translation) (http://www.org/abstract/PR/v47/i10/p777_1) • Viennese Meow (the cat's perspective .1103/PhysRevLett.

observer. the act of measurement is simply an interaction between quantum entities. but also the information about the position of the particle(s). Any future evolution is based on the state the system was discovered to be in when the measurement was made. Erich Joos and Heinz-Dieter Zeh claim that the latter approach was put on firm ground in the 1980s by the phenomenon of quantum decoherence. electron/positron etc. a "superposition"). why can we not predict precise results for measurements. meaning that the measurement "did something" to the process under examination.g. but only probabilities? As a general question: How can one establish a correspondence between quantum and classical reality?[3] Example The best known is the "paradox" of the Schrödinger's cat: a cat is apparently evolving into a linear superposition of basis vectors that can be characterized as an "alive cat" and states that can be described as a "dead cat". The wavefunction in quantum mechanics evolves deterministically according to the Schrödinger equation as a linear superposition of different states. Measurement Problems The Measurement Problem The measurement problem in quantum mechanics is the unresolved problem of how (or if) wavefunction collapse occurs. interaction with the environment during a measurement procedure separates the wave packets in configuration space which is where apparent wavefunction collapse comes from even though there is no actual collapse. the Schrödinger wave equation determines the wavefunction at any later time. but actual measurements always find the physical system in a definite state. To express matters differently (to paraphrase Steven Weinberg [1][2]). which entangle to form a single larger entity. The inability to observe this process directly has given rise to different interpretations of quantum mechanics. After the measurement the cat is definitively alive or dead. or a dead cat. If observers and their measuring apparatus are themselves described by a deterministic wave function. However. for instance living cat/happy scientist. the cat seems to be in some kind of "combination" state (specifically.127 6. measuring instrument. The role of the wavefunction is to generate the velocity field for the particles.[4] Zeh further claims that decoherence makes it possible to identify the fuzzy . and it never collapses—so there is no measurement problem. The question is: How are the probabilities converted into an actual. These velocities are such that the probability distribution for the particle remains consistent with the predictions of the orthodox quantum mechanics. e. Each of these possibilities is associated with a specific nonzero probability amplitude. sharply well-defined outcome? Interpretations Hugh Everett's many-worlds interpretation attempts to solve the problem by suggesting there is only one wavefunction. Instead. and poses a key set of questions that each interpretation must answer. work later extended by Bryce DeWitt. De Broglie–Bohm theory tries to solve the measurement problem very differently: this interpretation contains not only the wavefunction. a single. According to de Broglie–Bohm theory. Whatever that "something" may be does not appear to be explained by the basic theory. particular observation of the cat does not measure the probabilities: it always finds either a living cat. Everett also attempted to demonstrate the way that in measurements the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics would appear. the superposition of the entire universe.

Issue 1. and H. p. . Buniy. . clemson. Quantum decoherence does not describe the actual process of the wavefunction collapse.com/en/physicslectures/quantummeasurement) Two presentations: a non-technical and a more technical presentation. 26.uoregon. Domenico Giulini. Stamatescu (editors) ed.. H.. doi:10.76. Thus classical concepts are to be understood as locally emergent in a relative-state sense and should no longer claim a fundamental role in the physical theory. Zeh. Bibcode 2004RvMP. [many papers by Bohr insist upon] the fundamental role of classical concepts. [2] Steven Weinberg: Einstein's Mistakes (http:/ / scitation. edu/~hsu/talks/probability_qm. doi:10. google.1016/S0079-6727(00)00011-2. Pages 112-149 (http:/ / www.. decoherence. Decoherence and the Appearance of a Classical World in Quantum Theory (http:/ / books. Springer-Verlag. E. P.1103/RevModPhys. google. and the quantum origins of the classical Reviews of Modern Physics. but it explains the conversion of the quantum probabilities (that exhibit interference effects) to the ordinary classical probabilities. "Decoherence. citebase.76.[3] Zeh[5] and Schlosshauer. [6] V. See.pdf) External links • The Quantum Measurement Problem (http://www. Foundations of Physics 24 (5): 685–714. [8] Maximilian Schlosshauer (2005). [9] M Schlosshauer: Experimental motivation and empirical consistency in minimal no-collapse quantum mechanics.1267S.. as described in a recent paper by Schlosshauer as follows:[9] Several decoherence-unrelated proposals have been put forward in the past to elucidate the meaning of probabilities and arrive at the Born rule … It is fair to say that no decisive conclusion appears to have been reached as to the success of these derivations. D. "Nondemolition principle of quantum measurement theory".M1) (2nd Edition. doi:10. "The emergence of classical properties through interaction with the environment" (1985). Mod. Kupsch. bits and jumps: uncertainties. . 76 (4): 1267–1305. Zee On the origin of probability in quantum mechanics (2006) (http://duende. org:quant-ph/ 0506199) Further reading • R. org/ fulltext?format=application/ pdf& identifier=oai:arXiv. arXiv:quant-ph/0512208. pdf) [4] Joos. edu/ ~daw/ D_PHYS455/ RevModPhys.The Measurement Problem boundary between the quantum microworld and the world where the classical intuition is applicable. org/ journals/ doc/ PHTOAD-ft/ vol_58/ iss_11/ 31_1. J.1007/BF02054669. aip.). … As it is well known. Progress in Quantum Electronics 25 (1): 1–53. C. and interpretations of quantum mechanics". The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century (http:/ / books. "Quantum noise. arXiv:quant-ph/0512188. Oxford University Press. v75p715y03. (2003). B 59. for example. but it has also become an important part of some modern updates of the Copenhagen interpretation based on consistent histories. ISBN 0-19-820428-0. Vol. editors ed. Z. Phys. 75. Volume 321. P. com/ ?id=uYTW5ZWrwWAC& pg=PA22& dq=observer+ measurement+ "S+ Weinberg") (Michael Howard & William Roger Louis.[8] The present situation is slowly clarifying. see subsection "Contra quantum mechanics" [3] Wojciech Hubert Zurek Decoherence. Zurek.. 223.. O. July 2003 (http:/ / hubcap. [5] H D Zeh (http:/ / arxiv. measurements and filtering". Belavkin (2001). arXiv:quant-ph/0312059. Hsu and A. Phys. Chapter 2. Kiefer.1267.). Belavkin (1994). Rev. [7] V. January 2006. Joos .[6] [7] . shtml) in Physics Today (2005). org/ abs/ quant-ph/ 9506020v3) in E.shantena. the measurement problem. D. 128 References and notes [1] Steven Weinberg (1998). The experimental evidence for superpositions of macroscopically distinct states on increasingly large length scales counters such a dictum. Annals of Physics.[5] Quantum decoherence was proposed in the context of the many-worlds interpretation. S. Erich Joos. einselection. com/ ?id=6eTHcxeNxdUC& printsec=frontcover& dq=isbn=3540613943#PPT21. I. Only the physical interactions between systems then determine a particular decomposition into classical states from the view of each particular system. Zeh. ISBN 3-540-00390-8.

for which there is currently no consensus.[2] As a result. despite the considerable philosophical differences. its position or energy). they almost universally agree on the practical question of what results from a routine quantum-physics laboratory measurement. Quantitative details The mathematical relationship between the quantum state and the probability distribution is. and has been experimentally confirmed countless times. in other interpretations the indeterminism is core and irreducible. the nature of which varies according to the interpretation adopted. after measuring some aspect of the quantum state. widely accepted among physicists. The possible outcomes of the measurement are precisely the eigenvalues of the given observable. The observable is a Hermitian (self-adjoint) operator mapping a Hilbert space (namely. however. which consists of all possible quantum states) into itself.) This is because an important aspect of measurement is wavefunction collapse. the result merely appears random and indeterministic. and it will be implicitly used in this section. Qualitative overview The quantum state of a system is a mathematical object that fully describes the quantum system. one finds the same result as the first measurement. (However. Once the quantum state has been prepared.Measurement in Quantum Mechanics 129 Measurement in Quantum Mechanics The framework of quantum mechanics requires a careful definition of measurement.) The measurement process is often said to be random and indeterministic. however. This section summarizes this relationship. some aspect of it is measured (for example. The updating of the quantum state model is called wavefunction collapse. If the experiment is repeated. the result of the measurement will often be different. so as to measure the same aspect of the same quantum state prepared in the same way.[1] (This distribution can be either discrete or continuous. it is this updating that ensures that if an immediate re-measurement is repeated without re-preparing the state. Measurement from a practical point of view Measurement is viewed in different ways in the many interpretations of quantum mechanics. there is considerable dispute over this issue. and all other interpretations are necessarily constructed so as to give the same quantitative predictions as this in almost every case. depending on what is being measured. What is universally agreed. one finds the same result as the first measurement. again. the mathematical object then reflects the setup of the apparatus. 2. One typically imagines some experimental apparatus and procedure which "prepares" this quantum state. . The issue of measurement lies at the heart of the problem of the interpretation of quantum mechanics. a simple framework to use is the Copenhagen interpretation. To describe this. The observable's eigenvalues are real. with the following properties: 1. or just an observable). Measurable quantities ("observables") as operators It is a postulate of quantum mechanics that all measurements have an associated operator (called an observable operator. the utility of this approach has been verified countless times. we normally update the quantum state to reflect the result of the measurement. in some interpretations of quantum mechanics. which is stated in terms of the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics. without re-preparing the state. the state space. is that if the measurement is repeated. The expected result of the measurement is in general described by a probability distribution that specifies the likelihoods that the various possible results will be obtained.

Then measuring can yield any of the results . Since the eigenstates of an observable form a basis (the eigenbasis). then the system's quantum state after the measurement is If the result of the measurement is so any repeated measurement of collapse. Physically. Measurement probabilities and wavefunction collapse There are a few possible ways to mathematically describe the measurement process (both the probability distribution and the collapsed wavefunction). 4. each of which is an eigenvector of both operators (this is sometimes called a simultaneous eigenbasis). Noncommuting observables are said to be incompatible and cannot in general be measured simultaneously. and suppose that it has discrete eigenstates (in bra-ket notation) for and corresponding eigenvalues Assume the system is prepared in state follows that (where . where . Discrete. as a consequence of the Robertson–Schrödinger relation. with corresponding probabilities given by Usually is assumed to be normalized. representing the total energy of the system. set of eigenvalues) of the observable.e. The most convenient description depends on the spectrum (i. nondegenerate spectrum Let be an observable. . no two of which are equal. this is the statement that any quantum state can always be represented as a superposition of the eigenstates of an observable. 130 Operators can be noncommuting. in which case this expression reduces to .) will yield the same result . Two Hermitian operators commute if (and only if) there is at least one basis of vectors.Measurement in Quantum Mechanics 3. it can be written in terms of the eigenstates as are complex numbers). For each eigenvalue there are one or more corresponding eigenvectors (which in this context are called eigenstates). (in the momentum basis). (This phenomenon is called wavefunction . which will make up the state of the system after the measurement. In fact. with the special case of the nonrelativistic Hamiltonian operator: • The momentum operator: • The position operator: . (in the position basis).. they are related by an uncertainty principle. It follows that each observable generates an orthonormal basis of eigenvectors (called an eigenbasis). Important examples of observables are: • The Hamiltonian operator. The observable has a set of eigenvectors which span the state space.

Then measuring . with probability density function . then the new density matrix will be Alternatively. For example. The result for the discrete. By considering larger and larger boxes. but not essentially different. In the discrete case. with corresponding probabilities given by denotes trace. the spectrum becomes discrete. and suppose that it has a continuous spectrum of eigenvalues filling the interval (a. nondegenerate spectrum Let be an observable. degenerate case. it is sometimes necessary to describe a quantum-mechanical system in terms of a density matrix. The probability of measuring a particular eigenvalue is the squared component of the state vector in the corresponding eigenspace. and suppose that it has discrete eigenvalues respectively. can yield any of . but by adding a "box" potential (which bounds the volume in which the particle can be found). Density matrix formulation Instead of performing quantum-mechanics computations in terms of wavefunctions (kets). Degenerate spectra If there are multiple eigenstates with the same eigenvalue (called degeneracies).Measurement in Quantum Mechanics Continuous. a result between y and z will occur with probability Again. The analysis in this case is formally slightly different. and the new state after measurement is the projection of the original state vector into the appropriate eigenspace. is often assumed to be normalized.b). .. i. it is a bit more convenient to write the Hilbert space as a direct sum of eigenspaces. then the new wave function will be Alternatively. the analysis is a bit less simple to state. but rather can be regarded as an equally valid formalism in which this problem can be analyzed. Then measuring can yield a result anywhere in the interval (a. associated with eigenspaces the results where Assume the system is prepared in the state described by the density matrix ρ. this approach need not involve any approximation. .b). and indeed this case can be derived from the wavefunction formulation above. If the result of the measurement is n. it is often possible and convenient to analyze a continuous-spectrum measurement by taking it to be the limit of a different measurement with a discrete spectrum. Let be the projection operator into the space . in which case this expression reduces to If the result of the measurement is x. instead of finding a complete eigenbasis. for example. which can be written in terms of the eigenbasis as 131 Assume further that each eigenvalue x in this range is associated with a unique eigenstate Assume the system is prepared in state (where is a complex-valued function). but the physical content is the same. an analysis of scattering involves a continuous spectrum of energies.e. for example. one can say that the measurement process results in the new density matrix . is as follows: Let be an observable.

Measurement in Quantum Mechanics where the difference is that is the density matrix describing the entire ensemble. Then the possible energy values will be measured with relative probabilities: and moreover if the measurement result is . after just two subsequent non-commuting measurements are made. the result will always certainly be . whereas . be written as a superposition of eigenstates of any . • The mean (average) value of the measurement is (see Expectation value (quantum mechanics)) . • The variance of the measurement is • The standard deviation of the measurement is These are direct consequences of the above formulas for measurement probabilities. then the wavefunction after measurement will be the position eigenstate . we have observable. In particular. and this measurement will not affect the wavefunction. So in this example. If the energy is now measured. But suppose instead that an energy measurement is immediately taken. the same position will be obtained. the result of measuring a quantum-mechanical system is described by a probability distribution. then the new state will be the energy eigenstate . a particle initially in the ground state can end up in any energy level. If the particle's position is immediately measured again. it will smoothly evolve in time according to the Schrödinger equation. As can be (where m is the . set up initially in the ground state computed from the time-independent Schrödinger equation. If we now leave this state alone. Example Suppose that we have a particle in a 1-dimensional box. using energy eigenstates. due to the process of wavefunction collapse. and the spatial wavefunction is . the energy of this state is particle's mass and L is the box length). The new wavefunction can. like any wavefunction. . on a state whose quantum state is . Some properties of this distribution are as follows: Suppose we take a measurement corresponding to observable . The position x will be measured with probability density If the measurement result was x=S. Next suppose that the particle's position is measured. is the density 132 matrix describing the sub-ensemble whose measurement result was Statistics of measurement As detailed above.

) In the last few decades. Let the quantum state be in the superposition . The final eigenstate appears randomly with a probability equal to the square of its overlap with the original state. While this theory correctly predicts the form and probability distribution of the final eigenstates. called quantum decoherence. This density operator is interpreted by von Neumann as describing an ensemble of objects being after the measurement with probability The transition in the state is often referred to as weak von Neumann projection. In order to make the measurement. The unitary evolution above is referred to as premeasurement.[1] The process of collapse has been studied in many experiments. the measured system described by described by the quantum state needs to interact with the measuring apparatus . In case the measured observable has a degenerate spectrum. During the . most famously in the double-slit experiment. where are eigenstates of the operator that needs to be measured. major advances have been made toward a theoretical understanding of the collapse process. the wave function collapse or strong von Neumann projection being thought to correspond to an additional selection of a subensemble by means of observation. The relation with wave function collapse is established by calculating the final density operator of the object from the final total wave function. For an arbitrary state described by a density operator Lüders projection is given by . so that the total wave function before the interaction is interaction of object and measuring instrument the unitary evolution is supposed to realize the following transition from the initial to the final total wave function: where are orthonormal states of the measuring apparatus. supersedes previous notions of instantaneous collapse and provides an explanation for the absence of quantum coherence after measurement. (See below. as demonstrated in the EPR paradox and later in GHZ entanglement. weak von Neumann projection is generalized to Lüders projection in which the vectors for fixed n are the degenerate eigenvectors of the measured observable. the ancestor of quantum decoherence theory. von Neumann measurement scheme The von Neumann measurement scheme.[3] as well as questions of determinism and locality. or "wavefunction collapse". it does not explain the randomness inherent in the choice of final state.Measurement in Quantum Mechanics 133 Wavefunction collapse The process in which a quantum state becomes one of the eigenstates of the operator corresponding to the measured observable is called "collapse". describes measurements by taking into account the measuring apparatus which is also treated as a quantum object. The wavefunction collapse raises serious questions regarding "the measurement problem". This new theoretical framework.

Now the problematic wavefunction collapse does not need to be understood as a process on the level of the measured system. Philosophical problems of quantum measurements What physical interaction constitutes a measurement? Until the advent of quantum decoherence theory in the late 20th century. If the set of states . on the level of the environment. a photon counter. For instance. The Bohm interpretation is held to be correct only by a small minority of physicists. there is no proof that the Bohm interpretation is inconsistent with quantum field theory. also the Stern–Gerlach [4] experiment would not function at all if it really were a measurement of the first kind. so that. thus ideally leaving the electromagnetic field in the vacuum state rather than in the state corresponding to the number of detected photons. The above is completely described by the Schrödinger equation and there are not any interpretational problems with this. or represents a set of states that do not overlap in space. They are normalized but not necessarily mutually orthogonal. a major conceptual problem of quantum mechanics and especially the Copenhagen interpretation was the lack of a distinctive criterion for a given physical interaction to qualify as "a measurement" and cause a wavefunction to collapse. . after the which is related to the phenomenon of decoherence. some even functioning correctly only as a consequence of being of the second kind. the final state of the object now being with probability Note that many present-day measurement procedures are measurements of the second kind. but can also be understood as a process or as a process on the level of the measuring apparatus.Measurement in Quantum Mechanics 134 Measurements of the second kind In a measurement of the second kind the unitary evolution during the interaction of object and measuring instrument is supposed to be given by in which the states of the object are determined by specific properties of the interaction between object and measuring instrument. Both of these are stated to predict the same probabilities for collapses to various states as the conventional interpretation by their supporters. though it does not explain the presence of randomness in the choice of final eigenstate. there remains less than universal agreement among physicists on some aspects of the question of what constitutes a measurement. and work to reconcile the two is ongoing. since there are difficulties with the generalization for use with relativistic quantum field theory. Nevertheless. However. Certain aspects of this question are now well understood in the framework of quantum decoherence theory. and quantifying what measurements or interactions are sufficient to destroy quantum coherence. Studying these processes provides considerable insight into the measurement problem by avoiding the arbitrary boundary between the quantum and classical worlds. The Everett interpretation easily accommodates relativistic quantum field theory. This is best illustrated by the Schrödinger's cat paradox. detecting a photon by absorbing and hence annihilating it. The relation with wave function collapse is analogous to that obtained for measurements of the first kind. Decoherence in quantum measurement One can also introduce the interaction with the environment interaction the total wave function takes a form . . such as an understanding of weak measurements. in a measurement of the first kind. the appearance of collapse can be generated by either the Bohm interpretation or the Everett interpretation which both deny the reality of wavefunction collapse.

. then it is nonlocal (i. Foundations of Physics 17: 575–583. Nature 446 (871).). The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research On The Foundations Of Quantum Mechanics (http:/ / books. and after measurement the state is definitely what was measured. Lamb. Is the measurement process random or deterministic? As described above. pdf). Nevertheless. Braginsky and Farid Ya. But according to the many-worlds interpretation. ISBN 0-691-08316-9. • George S. "On the theory of the Stern–Gerlach apparatus" (http:/ / www. Greenstein and Arthur G. or merely "emergent" randomness resulting from underlying hidden variables which deterministically cause measurement results to happen a certain way each time. or both. Nevertheless. p. Does the measurement process violate locality? In physics. Sakurai (1994). . org/ 10. Retrieved 9 November 2012. in the sense that all experimental results yet uncovered can be predicted and understood in the framework of quantum mechanics measurements being fundamentally random.). in most versions of the Copenhagen interpretation. fundamental randomness. Khalili (1992). Quantum Measurement. Retrieved 9 November 2012.). Further reading • John A. Cambridge University Press. Gröblacher et al. which is related to the EPR paradox) that if quantum mechanics is deterministic (due to hidden variables. Greenstein and Arthur G. [3] George S. Retrieved 9 November 2012. • Vladimir B.E. ISBN 0201539292.O. as described above). W.Measurement in Quantum Mechanics 135 Does measurement actually determine the state? The question of whether (and in what sense) a measurement actually determines the state is one which differs among the different interpretations of quantum mechanics. p. Quantum Theory and Measurement. "An experimental test of non-local realism" (http:/ / dx. and the other possible states still exist. doi.) For example. A. they would have to be "nonlocal". springerlink.M1) (2nd ed. Zajonc (2006).[6] If there are hidden variables. eds.). Wheeler and Wojciech Hubert Zurek. . ISBN 0201539292. Scully. "Quantum mechanics: Myths and facts" (http:/ / arxiv. J. com/ content/ t4266804k832p42p/ fulltext. 25. Zajonc (2006). . measurement determines the state in a more restricted sense: In other "worlds". Modern Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed. The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research On The Foundations Of Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed. the Principle of locality is the concept that information cannot travel faster than the speed of light (also see special relativity). it is not settled[5] whether this is true. Foundation of Physics 37: 1563-1611. 24. other measurement results were obtained. Princeton University Press. com/ books?id=5t0tm0FB1CsC& pg=PA215& lpg=PA215& dq=wave+ function+ collapse& source=bl& ots=a7iUGurRDC& sig=o1ddjY7lQrj4EQdvS49xcceWq2M& hl=en& ei=RfgtSsDNL4WgM8u-rf4J& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=7#PPA215. .[5] References [1] J. ISBN 076372470X. Sakurai (1994). google. 1038/ nature05677). Modern Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed. ISBN 076372470X. (2007). This continues to be an area of active research. Barut (1987). the measurement determines the state. It is known experimentally (see Bell's theorem. (1983). org/ pdf/ quant-ph/ 0609163). there is not universal agreement among physicists on whether quantum mechanics is nondeterministic.e. [2] J. J. nonlocal. [6] S. there is universal agreement that quantum mechanics appears random. [5] Hrvoje Nikolić (2007). ISBN 0-521-41928-X. (It is also closely related to the understanding of wavefunction collapse. violates the principle of locality). [4] M.

(physicsweb.org/pdf/0810. 1919) • Quantum behavior of measurement apparatus (http://arxiv.stanford. the measurement problem.org) • " Measurement in Quantum Mechanics (http://plato.org/abs/quant-ph/0505070) • The conditions for discrimination between quantum states with minimum error (http://arxiv.edu/entries/qt-measurement/)" Henry Krips in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy • Decoherence. and interpretations of quantum mechanics (http://arxiv.Measurement in Quantum Mechanics 136 External links • " The Double Slit Experiment (http://physicsweb.org/abs/ quant-ph/0312059) • Measurements and Decoherence (http://arxiv.org/article/world/15/9/1)".org/abs/1001.3032) .

but other possibilities include angular momentum. ms. in caesium (Cs). Any quantum system can have one or more quantum numbers.g. Advanced Concepts Quantum Number Quantum numbers describe values of conserved quantities in the dynamics of the quantum system. but the most prominent system of nomenclature spawned from the Hund-Mulliken molecular orbital theory of Friedrich Hund. there is more than one way to choose a set of independent operators. given below. spin. or energy level. magnetic moment and spin. Traditional nomenclatures Many different models have been proposed throughout the history of quantum mechanics. one must find the answer for a full analysis of the system.. These are all the quantum numbers that the system can have. hence for each system. . the eigenvalue of the Hamiltonian. For example. Spatial and angular momentum numbers To completely describe an electron in an atom. . The value of n ranges from 1 to the shell containing the outermost electron of that atom.e. i.[3] n = 1. Perhaps the most peculiar aspect of quantum mechanics is the quantization of observable quantities. Robert S. mℓ. It is also the common nomenclature in the classical description of nuclear particle states (e. 1. Often. E with the contribution due to angular . The principal quantum number: n The first describes the electron shell. the outermost valence electron is in the shell with energy level 6.e. it is thus difficult to list all possible quantum numbers. of an atom. There is also one quantum number for each operator O that commutes with the Hamiltonian (i.[2] This model describes electrons using four quantum numbers. This system of nomenclature incorporated Bohr energy levels. i. A quantized system requires at least one quantum number. Slater and John Lennard-Jones. There is one quantum number of the system corresponding to the energy. This is distinguished from classical mechanics where the values can range continuously. i. Note that the operators O defining the quantum numbers should be independent of each other. 2. and contributions from Schrödinger.. it also labels the nth eigenvalue of Hamiltonian (H). protons and neutrons). angular momentum. For particles in a time-independent potential (see Schrödinger equation). The dynamics of any quantum system are described by a quantum Hamiltonian.e. Quantum numbers often describe specifically the energies of electrons in atoms. so an electron in caesium can have an n value from 1 to 6.[1] How many quantum numbers? The question of how many quantum numbers are needed to describe any given system has no universal answer. etc. Molecular orbitals require different quantum numbers. satisfies the relation HO = OH)..137 7. Hund-Mulliken orbital theory. H. Mulliken.e. four quantum numbers are needed: energy. ℓ. in different situations different sets of quantum numbers may be used for the description of the same system. and observations on electron spin based on spectroscopy and Hund's rules. the energy. since quantum numbers are discrete sets of integers or half-integers. Consequently. because the Hamiltonian and its symmetries are quite different. n.

. the orbital occupied by the first electron in a p subshell could be described as mℓ = −1 or mℓ = 0. this quantum number is very important. The values of mℓ range from −ℓ to ℓ. 2. 2. and gives the magnitude of the orbital angular momentum through the relation L2 = ħ2 ℓ (ℓ + 1). The d subshell (ℓ = 2) contains five orbitals. the radial coordinate. These rules are summarized as follows: Sz = ms ħ. corresponding with "spin" and "opposite spin. an intrinsic property of particles:[6] An electron has spin s = ½. "ℓ = 1" a p orbital.. and the mℓ assigned to electrons in other orbitals must be different). −s + 1. −1.. "ℓ = 0" is called an s orbital. or 1. 3. and so on:[4] 138 ℓ = 0. there is no universal fixed value for mℓ and ms values. Therefore. In chemistry. 0. or mℓ = 1. n − 1. The spin projection quantum number: ms The fourth describes the spin (intrinsic angular momentum) of the electron within that orbital.. s − 1. and "ℓ = 3" an f orbital. the values of ms range from −s to s. with integer steps between them:[5] The s subshell (ℓ = 0) contains only one orbital. 1. depicted as three "dumbbell-shaped" clouds). where s is the spin quantum number. 4. Note that. but the mℓ value of the other electron in that orbital must be the same. 0.g.. In chemistry and spectroscopy. with mℓ values of −2. . "ℓ = 2" a d orbital. −s + 2. The azimuthal quantum number: ℓ The second (also known as the angular quantum number or orbital quantum number) describes the subshell.. 0." Each electron in any individual orbital must have different spins because of the Pauli exclusion principle.. so the mℓ of an electron in a p subshell will be −1. s. therefore an orbital never contains more than two electrons. and yields the projection of the orbital angular momentum along a specified axis: Lz = mℓ ħ. because the first p orbital (ℓ = 1) appears in the second electron shell (n = 2). r).Quantum Number momentum (the term involving J2) left out. the mℓ and ms values are defined somewhat arbitrarily. ms = −s. 1. The value of ℓ ranges from 0 to n − 1. The magnetic quantum number: mℓ The third describes the specific orbital (or "cloud") within that subshell. since atoms and electrons are in a state of constant motion. since it specifies the shape of an atomic orbital and strongly influences chemical bonds and bond angles.s − 2. The only requirement is that the naming schematic used within a particular set of calculations or descriptions must be consistent (e. consequently ms will be ±½. This number therefore has a dependence only on the distance between the electron and the nucleus (i. The average distance increases with n.e.. … describes an electron in the s orbital of the third electron shell of an atom. and therefore the mℓ of an electron in an s subshell will always be 0.. The p subshell (ℓ = 1) contains three orbitals (in some systems. the first d orbital (ℓ = 2) appears in the third shell (n = 3). and hence quantum states with different principal quantum numbers are said to belong to different shells. A quantum number beginning in 3. and gives the projection of the spin angular momentum S along the specified axis: Analogously. and 2.

3. so ms = −½. j − 1. −j + 2. 0. −1.. n = 2 (2nd electron shell). and is given by P = (−1)ℓ.. 1. ½ magnetic quantum number. Total angular momenta numbers Total momentum of a particle When one takes the spin-orbit interaction into consideration.Quantum Number 139 Name Symbol Orbital meaning Range of values 1≤n 0≤ℓ≤n−1 Value examples principal quantum number azimuthal quantum number (angular momentum) n ℓ shell subshell (s orbital is listed as 0. j mj = mℓ + ms and |mℓ + ms| ≤ j. This set includes[7][8] 1.j − 2. and satisfies mj = −j. Parity This is the eigenvalue under reflection. are. and their eigenvalues therefore change over time. However two electrons can never have the same exact quantum state nor the same set of quantum numbers according to Hund's Rules. 2. 2.. 1. ms = ½ (parallel spins). the L and S operators no longer commute with the Hamiltonian. which are located in the 2p atomic orbital. A fourth quantum number with two possible values was added as an ad hoc assumption to resolve the conflict. … for n = 3: ℓ = 0. defined by their quantum numbers: . For example. 2 for an electron s = ½. p orbital as 1 etc. 0 or −1. ℓ = 1 (p orbital subshell). p. and is positive (+1) for states which came from even ℓ and negative (−1) for states which came from odd ℓ. ½ = "spin up") −s ≤ ms ≤ s Example: The quantum numbers used to refer to the outermost valence electrons of the Carbon (C) atom. The former is also known as even parity and the latter as odd parity. mℓ = 1. 3. which addresses the Pauli exclusion principle. Results from spectroscopy indicated that up to two electrons can occupy a single orbital. consider the following eight states. Thus another set of quantum numbers should be used.) energy shift (orientation of the subshell's shape) n = 1. this supposition could later be explained in detail by relativistic quantum mechanics and from the results of the renowned Stern-Gerlach experiment. The projection of the total angular momentum along a specified axis: analogous to the above.. 2 (s. The total angular momentum quantum number: j = |ℓ ± s| which gives the total angular momentum through the relation J2 = ħ2 j (j + 1). (projection of angular momentum) mℓ −ℓ ≤ mℓ ≤ ℓ spin projection quantum number ms spin of the electron (−½ = "spin down". −j + 1. d) for ℓ = 2: mℓ = −2.

. 2 1 ms ℓ + s ℓ . mj = 1/2. |jn − jp| − 2. even parity (coming from state (8) above) Nuclear angular momentum quantum numbers In nuclei. usually denoted I. examples for some isotopes of Hydrogen (H)..e. 2 1 -1 +1/2 #6. odd parity (coming from state (1) above) odd parity (coming from states (2) and (3) above) odd parity (coming from states (4) and (5) above) odd parity (coming from state (6) above) odd parity (coming from states (2) and (3) above) odd parity (coming from states (4) and (5) above) j = 3/2. each represents a state which does not mix with others over time). mj = -3/2. we should consider the following eight states: j = 3/2. 2 1 #2. |jn − jp| + 2. |jn − jp| + 1. mj = -1/2.Quantum Number 140 n ℓ mℓ #1. 2 0 0 +1/2 0 -1/2 1/2 -1/2 1/2 -1/2 The quantum states in the system can be described as linear combination of these eight states. However. if one wants to describe the same system by eight states which are eigenvectors of the Hamiltonian (i. 1/2.. j = 3/2.. Carbon (C). 2 1 -1 -1/2 #7. j = 1/2. j = 1/2.s ml + ms 3/2 3/2 3/2 3/2 3/2 3/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 3/2 1/2 1/2 -1/2 -1/2 -3/2 1/2 -1/2 1 +1/2 1 -1/2 0 +1/2 0 -1/2 #5. mj = -1/2. mj = j = 3/2. mj = 3/2. 2 0 #8. |jn − jp| − 1. 2 1 #3. mj = -1/2. in the presence of spin-orbit interaction.[9] . 2 1 #4. mj = 1/2. even parity (coming from state (7) above) j = 1/2. j = 1/2. and Sodium (Na) are. the entire assembly of protons and neutrons (nucleons) has a resultant angular momentum due to the angular momenta of each nucleon. |jn − jp| Parity with the number I is used to label nuclear angular momentum states. If the total angular momentum of a neutron is jn = ℓ + s and for a proton is jp = ℓ + s (where s for protons and neutrons happens to be ½ again) then the nuclear angular momentum quantum numbers I are given by: I = |jn − jp|.

Molecules. A. Hecht. Elementary particles Elementary particles contain many quantum numbers which are usually said to be intrinsic to them. E.A. P. Peleg.W. and the Universe. W. Physics. and MRI in nuclear medicine[11]. Beiser. even by differences of just one nucleon. 1977 Introductory Nuclear Physics. 1977. ISBN 978-0-07-162358-2 Molecular Quantum Mechanics Parts I and II: An Introduction to QUANTUM CHEMISTRY (Volume 1). Y. John Wiley & Sons. R. are multiplicative. i. some. C-parity and T-parity (related to the Poincaré symmetry of spacetime). (USA). each quantum number denotes a symmetry of the problem.pairs of nucleons have a total angular momentum of zero (just like electrons in orbitals). Solids. Atkins. Oxford University Press. P.Quantum Number 141 H11 I = (1/2)+ C69 H12 I = 1+ I = (3/2)− Na1120 I = 2+ Na1121 I = (3/2)+ C610 I = 0+ H13 I = (1/2)+ C611 I = (3/2)− Na1122 I = 3+ C612 I = 0+ Na1123 I = (3/2)+ C613 I = (1/2)− Na1124 I = 4+ C614 I = 0+ Na1125 I = (5/2)+ C615 I = (1/2)+ Na1126 I = 3+ The reason for the unusual fluctuations in I. ISBN 0-07-100144-1 Molecular Quantum Mechanics Parts I and II: An Introduction to QUANTUM CHEMISRTY (Volume 1). Pnini. Nuclei. E. Geis. Krane. 1994.. McGraw Hill (USA). ISBN 0-19-855129-0 Quantum Physics of Atoms. All multiplicative quantum numbers belong to a symmetry (like parity) in which applying the symmetry transformation twice is equivalent to doing nothing. R. It is more useful in quantum field theory to distinguish between spacetime and internal symmetries. ISBN 0-19-855129-0 Molecular Quantum Mechanics Part III: An Introduction to QUANTUM CHEMISTRY (Volume 2). ISBN 0-07-051400-3 Chemistry.W. the parity. However. Oxford University Press. Parker. Dickerson. 1985. it should be understood that the elementary particles are quantum states of the standard model of particle physics. the sum of the quantum numbers should be the same before and after the reaction. so in an elementary particle reaction. due to the nuclear magnetic moment interacting with an external magnetic field. K. Typical internal symmetries are lepton number and baryon number or the electric charge. are due to the odd/even numbers of protons and neutrons . The property of nuclear spin is an important factor for the operation of NMR spectroscopy in organic chemistry[10]. and Particles (2nd Edition). ISBN 978-0-471-87373-0 Quantum Mechanics (2nd edition).B. and hence the quantum numbers of these particles bear the same relation to the Hamiltonian of this model as the quantum numbers of the Bohr atom does to its Hamiltonian. 1987. Matter. Zaarur. Oxford University Press. Benjamin Inc. 1976. ISBN 978-0-471-80553-3 . 1977. R.) A minor but often confusing point is as follows: most conserved quantum numbers are additive. (For a full list of quantum numbers of this kind see the article on flavour. leaving an odd/even numbers of unpaired nucleons. 2010. C. Resnick.S. Eisberg. Atkins. In other words. John Wiley & Sons Inc. However.e.E. Typical quantum numbers related to spacetime symmetries are spin (related to rotational symmetry).W. McGraw-Hill (International). usually called a parity. I. These are all examples of an abstract group called Z2. R. References and external links [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] McGraw Hill Encyclopaedia of Physics (2nd Edition). Atkins. P. 1988. Schuam's Outlines. ISBN 0-19-855148-7 Concepts of Modern Physics (4th Edition). their product is conserved.

Quantum information differs from classical information in several respects. despite this. Atkins.M. However. in polynomial time) according to any known algorithm. such as unconditionally secure transmission of information. Given a statistical ensemble of quantum mechanical systems with the density matrix . called the von Neumann entropy. The ability to manipulate quantum information enables us to perform tasks that would be unachievable in a classical context. Grover's search algorithm which gives a quadratic speed-up over the best possible classical algorithm. • An arbitrary state cannot be cloned.edu/faculty/durfee/courses/Summer2009/ physics222/AtomicQuantumNumbers. However. There are certain tasks which classical computers cannot perform "efficiently" (that is. K. It is in the processing of information (quantum computation) that the differentiation occurs.byu. a two-state quantum system can actually be in a superposition of the two states at any given time. (1984). among which we note the following: • It cannot be read without the state becoming the measured value.phy-astr. and changes in quantum information. • Halzen. John Wiley & Sons. However. Alan D. Atomic physics • Quantum numbers for the hydrogen atom (http://hyperphysics.S. . Prentice Hall. Other algorithms can speed up a task less dramatically—for example. P. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed.lbl. • The state may be in a superposition of basis values. Quantum information processing is the most general field that is concerned with quantum information. ISBN 0-13-805326-X. can be quantitatively measured by using an analogue of Shannon entropy. Francis and Martin.edu/hbase/qunoh. • The particle data group (http://pdg. Paul A. (2004). Oxford University Press. quantum information is physical information that is held in the "state" of a quantum system. ISBN 0-19-852011-5. one well-known example of this is Shor's factoring algorithm.).physics. ISBN 978-0-471-80553-3 142 General principles • Dirac. (1982).html) Particle physics • Griffiths. it is given by Many of the same entropy measures in classical information theory can also be generalized to the quantum case. QUARKS AND LEPTONS: An Introductory Course in Modern Particle Physics.gov/) • Lecture notes on quantum numbers (http://www. Quantum information. a quantum computer can compute the answer to some of these problems in polynomial time. David J. Krane. ISBN 0-471-88741-2.pdf) Quantum Information In quantum mechanics.gsu.Quantum Number [10] Molecular Quantum Mechanics Part III: An Introduction to QUANTUM CHEMISTRY (Volume 2).W. 1977 [11] Introductory Nuclear Physics. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 1988. The most popular unit of quantum information is the qubit. the amount of information that can be retrieved in a single qubit is equal to one bit. unlike classical digital states (which are discrete). Principles of quantum mechanics. such as Holevo entropy [1] and the conditional quantum entropy. a two-level quantum system. Oxford University Press.

• Quantum information can be negative [12] . It is only possible to transform quantum information between quantum systems of sufficient information capacity. In its original theoretical sense. is a research institute working in conjunction with the University of Waterloo [10] and Perimeter Institute [11] on the subject of Quantum Information. this is not the case for quantum information: it is not possible. Quantiki [8] . for this reason. This is because it is always possible to efficiently transform information from one representation to another. Bennett and Peter W. The information content of a message can. Oct 1998 • Institute for Quantum Computing [9] . when quantum error correction codes and fault-tolerant quantum computation schemes were discovered. to write down on paper the previously unknown information contained in the polarisation of a photon. Vol 44. In general. The existence of Bell correlations between quantum systems cannot be converted into classical information. based in Waterloo. pp 2724–2742. is a group of researchers studying quantum information. It is very difficult to protect the remaining finite information content of analog information carriers against noise. noise limits the information content of an analog information carrier to be finite." IEEE Transactions on Information Theory.The Institute for Quantum Computing. part of Cambridge University. Charles H. in the same sense a classical binary digit can carry at most one classical bit.A wiki portal for quantum information with introductory tutorials. for example. As a consequence of the noisy-channel coding theorem.The CQC. Shor.A quantum physics wiki devoted to providing technical resources for practicing quantum information scientists. otherwise there would not be a chance for them to be useful. Journals Among the journals in this field are • International Journal of Quantum Information • Journal of Quantum Chemistry • Applied Mathematics & Information Sciences External links and references • • • • • • • • Lectures at the Institut Henri Poincaré (slides and videos) [2] Quantum Information Theory at ETH Zurich [3] Quantum Information [4] Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics Center for Quantum Computation [5] . "Quantum Information Theory. The example of classical analog information shows that quantum information processing schemes must necessarily be tolerant against noise. ON Canada. Qwiki [7] . It was a big breakthrough for the theory of quantum information. Quantum Information Group [6] The quantum information research group at the University of Nottingham. A two-level quantum system can carry at most one qubit. the term qubit is thus a measure for the amount of information. Quantum information theory aims to investigate the following question: What happens if information is stored in a state of a quantum system? One of the strengths of classical information theory is that physical representation of information can be disregarded: There is no need for an 'ink-on-paper' information theory or a 'DVD information' theory. and is a useful portal for those interested in this field. quantum mechanics does not allow us to read out the state of a quantum system with arbitrary precision. be measured in terms of the minimum number n of two-level systems which are needed to store the message: consists of n qubits. However.Quantum Information 143 Quantum information theory The theory of quantum information is a result of the effort to generalize classical information theory to the quantum world.

html [2] http:/ / www. ISBN 0-387-35725-4) The International Conference on Quantum Information (ICQI) [14] New Trends in Quantum Computation. iqc. kr/ . toshiba-europe. Stony Brook.1445 [24]. arXiv:1106. ca/ [10] http:/ / www. ch/ [4] http:/ / www. mi. 2007. quantware. uk/ user/ jono/ negative-information. org/ meetings/ topicalmeetings/ icqi/ default. uk/ quantuminformation [18] http:/ / www. com/ research/ crl/ qig/ index. caltech. 2010 [15] Institute of Quantum Information [16] Caltech Quantum Information Theory [17] Imperial College Quantum Information [18] University College London Quantum Information Technology [19] Toshiba Research International Journal of Quantum Information [20] World Scientific Quantum Information Processing [21] Springer USC Center for Quantum Information Science & Technology [22] Center for Quantum Information and Control [23] Theoretical and experimental groups from University of New Mexico and University of Arizona. aspx [15] http:/ / insti. usc. physics. cquic. ca/ research/ research-areas/ quantum-information/ more-quantum-information [5] http:/ / cam. uk/ research/ appliedmathematics/ quantuminformation/ [7] http:/ / qwiki. com/ east/ home?SGWID=5-102-22-173664707-0& changeHeader=true [14] http:/ / osa. html [13] http:/ / www. org/ [6] http:/ / www. perimeterinstitute. com/ new+ %26+ forthcoming+ titles+ %28default%29/ journal/ 11128 [22] http:/ / cqist. shtml [21] http:/ / www.Quantum Information Gregg Jaeger's book on Quantum Information [13](published by Springer. springer. ras. iqi. edu/ [17] http:/ / www3. edu/ [23] http:/ / www. qit. edu/ itp/ conf/ simons-qcomputation2/ program. html [20] http:/ / www. caltech. phys. perimeterinstitute. qubit. worldscinet. uk/ quinfo [19] http:/ / www. html [16] http:/ / www. damtp. ac. nottingham. ca [11] http:/ / www. ca/ [12] http:/ / www. ac. ethz. org/ [24] http:/ / arxiv. 1445 [25] http:/ / qubit. org [9] http:/ / www. sunysb. springer. cam. ac. theory. fr/ IHP2006/ [3] http:/ / www. edu/ [8] http:/ / www. • Mark M. ac. quantiki. Wilde. uwaterloo. org/ abs/ 1106. imperial. kyungnam. maths. ups-tlse. ac. New York. ucl. "From Classical to Quantum Shannon Theory". • Group of Quantum Information Theory [25] Kyungnam University in Korea • • • • • • • • • • • 144 References [1] http:/ / www. ru/ ~holevo/ eindex. com/ ijqi/ ijqi.

we know that the expectation of a random variable X is completely determined by its distribution DX by assuming. One can easily show: Note that if S is a pure state corresponding to the vector ψ. Also note that any density operator S can be diagonalized. Actually. Similarly. A is given by a densely defined self-adjoint operator on H. self-adjoint. we introduce the distribution of A under S which is the probability measure defined on the Borel subsets of R by Similarly. Expectation From classical probability theory. For technical reasons. which is a non-negative. that the random variable is integrable or that the random variable is non-negative. is uniquely determined by A. one needs to consider separately the positive and negative parts of A defined by the Borel functional calculus for unbounded operators. trace-class operator of trace 1 on the Hilbert space H describing the quantum system. the expected value of A is defined in terms of the probability distribution DA by Note that this expectation is relative to the mixed state S which is used in the definition of DA. One such formalism is provided by quantum logic. The spectral measure of A defined by uniquely determines A and conversely. EA is a boolean homomorphism from the Borel subsets of R into the lattice Q of self-adjoint projections of H. Von Neumann entropy Of particular significance for describing randomness of a state is the von Neumann entropy of S formally defined by . This can be shown under various mathematical formalisms for quantum mechanics.Quantum Statistical Mechanics 145 Quantum Statistical Mechanics Quantum statistical mechanics is the study of statistical ensembles of quantum mechanical systems. However. let A be an observable of a quantum mechanical system. Remark. that it can be represented in some orthonormal basis by a (possibly infinite) matrix of the form . the operator S log2 S is not necessarily trace-class. given a state S. of course. A statistical ensemble is described by a density operator S. In analogy with probability theory. if S is a non-negative self-adjoint operator not of trace class we define Tr(S) = +∞.

Theorem. H(S) = log2 n. Theorem. ∞]) and this is clearly a unitary invariant of S. In analogy with classical entropy (notice the similarity in the definitions). Gibbs canonical ensemble Consider an ensemble of systems described by a Hamiltonian H with average energy E. This value is an extended real number (that is in [0. H(S) measures the amount of randomness in the state S.Quantum Statistical Mechanics and we define 146 The convention is that . The state S is called the maximally mixed state. entropy is maximized for the states S which in diagonal form have the representation For such an S. Recall that a pure state is one of the form for ψ a vector of norm 1. The Gibbs canonical ensemble is described by the state Where β is such that the ensemble average of energy satisfies and This is called the partition function. The probability that a system chosen at random from the ensemble will be in a state . it is the quantum mechanical version of the canonical partition function of classical statistical mechanics. If H has pure-point spectrum and the eigenvalues of H go to + ∞ sufficiently fast. It is indeed possible that H(S) = +∞ for some density operator S. Entropy is a unitary invariant. H(S) = 0 if and only if S is a pure state. For a system in which the space H is finite-dimensional. In fact T be the diagonal matrix T is non-negative trace class and one can show T log2 T is not trace-class. Remark. since an event with probability zero should not contribute to the entropy. Entropy can be used as a measure of quantum entanglement. The more dispersed the eigenvalues are. the larger the system entropy. For S is a pure state if and only if its diagonal form has exactly one non-zero entry which is a 1. e-r H will be a non-negative trace-class operator for every positive r.

Princeton University Press. Statistical and Thermal Physics. References • J.Quantum Statistical Mechanics corresponding to energy eigenvalue is 147 Under certain conditions. the Gibbs canonical ensemble maximizes the von Neumann entropy of the state subject to the energy conservation requirement. • F. Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. . 1965. Reif. 1955. von Neumann. McGraw-Hill.

does not exactly reduce to James Clerk Maxwell's 1864 theory of classical electrodynamics. there is one field for each type of particle in that theory. the notion of "force mediating particle" comes from perturbation theory. The electromagnetic force between two electrons is caused by an exchange of photons. Advanced Topics Quantum Field Theory Quantum field theory (QFT) provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically represented by an infinite number of degrees of freedom. In QFT.148 8. the forces between particles are mediated by other particles. and thus does not make sense in a context of bound states. which greatly diminishes and hides their "particle-like" excitations. QFT fields generally exist in superpositions of states. Albert Einstein. that is. In addition. Originally. including the Standard Model of elementary particles and their interactions. because such detection will imply that the force is not being carried. this is now understood to be untrue. In the end. Quantum field theories are used in many contexts. etc. Fermions. and interaction terms between the fields.[1] The word "photon" was coined in 1926 by physical chemist Gilbert Newton Lewis (see also the articles photon antibunching and laser). In perturbative quantum field theory. For example. Within a theory. can also be described as ripples/excitations in a field. quantum electrodynamics. QCD has one field for each type of quark. resolves into "everything is particles". that "look like" particles. attributed "particle-like" and discrete exchanges of momenta and energy. Intermediate vector bosons mediate the weak force and gluons mediate the strong force. There are several theories using the QFT framework. like the electron. where each kind of fermion has its own field. characteristic of "field quanta". Most theories in modern particle physics. where the particle count/number may change over the course of a reaction. which then resolves into "everything is fields". The interaction terms are similar in spirit to those in Maxwell's equations. are formulated as relativistic quantum field theories. by definition. Although it is often claimed that the photoelectric and Compton effects require a quantum description of the EM field. although the "classical limit" of quantum electrodynamics has not been as widely explored as that of quantum mechanics. QED has one electron field and one photon field. but many of the proposed theories postulate the existence of a graviton particle that mediates it. These force-carrying particles are virtual particles and. and are especially vital in elementary particle physics. such as quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics. They are also used in the description of critical phenomena and quantum phase transitions. However unlike Maxwell's theory. in 1905. . In summary. Small quantum corrections due to virtual electron-positron pairs give rise to small non-linear corrections to the Maxwell equations. such as in the BCS theory of superconductivity. and proper proof of the quantum nature of radiation is now taken up into modern quantum optics as in the antibunching effect. the quantum field-theoretic description of the electromagnetic field. fields and (in a condensed matter context) many-body systems. cannot be detected while carrying the force. There is currently no complete quantum theory of the remaining fundamental force. gravity. the classical visualisation of "everything is particles and fields". or "excitations". his principal motivation was to explain the thermodynamics of radiation. to the electromagnetic field. photons are not thought of as "little billiard balls" but are rather viewed as field quanta – necessarily chunked ripples in a field. The gravitational field and the electromagnetic field are the only two fundamental fields in Nature that have infinite range and a corresponding classical low-energy limit. In the "low-energy limit". particles are regarded as excited states of a field (field quanta). It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and condensed matter physics. being interactions between fields. in quantum field theory.

Indeed. This in turn led to the grand synthesis of theoretical physics which unified theories of particle and condensed matter physics through quantum field theory.[5] The latter of these is pursued in this article. David Gross and David Politzer. the as yet unknown correct quantum field-theoretic treatment of the gravitational field will become and "look exactly like" Einstein's general theory of relativity in the "low-energy limit". the fundamental observables associated with the motion of a single quantum mechanical particle are the position and momentum operators and . was carried on by Martinus Veltman and a host of others during the 1960s and completed by the 1970s through the work of Gerard 't Hooft. Bogolyubov.[2] Two physical phenomena which are described by classical fields are Newtonian gravitation.[2] Classical field theory does not. This involved the work of Michael Fisher and Leo Kadanoff in the 1970s which led to the seminal reformulation of quantum field theory by Kenneth G. Field theory. Wilson. they are said to have infinite degrees of freedom. however. since quantum mechanics has a structure very unlike a field theory. where the observables represent physically observable quantities and the state space represents the possible states of the system under study. account for the quantum-mechanical aspects of such physical phenomena. Compare in this context the article effective field theory. treats x as a way to index the field rather than as an operator. t).[3] For instance.Quantum Field Theory Presumably. quantum field theory itself is possibly the low-energy-effective-field-theory limit of a more fundamental theory such as the highly speculative superstring theory. In its most general formulation. in contrast. or. It is not immediately clear how to write down such a quantum field. This phase of development culminated with the construction of the theory of quantum electrodynamics in the 1950s. Gauge theory Gauge theory was formulated and quantized. Grand synthesis Parallel developments in the understanding of phase transitions in condensed matter physics led to the study of the renormalization group. Because such fields can in principle take on distinct values at each point in space. and classical electromagnetism. Fock. like a classical field. Frank Wilczek. described by the electric and magnetic fields E(x. t) and B(x. Principles Classical and quantum fields A classical field is a function defined over some region of space and time. but which also accommodates the observations of quantum mechanics. The business of quantum field theory is to write down a field that is. Heisenberg. This is a quantum field. it is known from quantum mechanics that certain aspects of electromagnetism involve discrete particles—photons—rather than continuous fields. described by Newtonian gravitational field g(x. t). This effort started in the 1950s with the work of Yang and Mills. quantum mechanics is a theory of abstract operators (observables) acting on an abstract state space (Hilbert space). like the Einstein-Yang-Mills-Dirac System. a function defined over space and time. . 149 History Foundations The early development of the field involved Dirac. Pauli. leading to the unification of forces embodied in the standard model of particle physics. more generally. For instance.[4] There are two common ways of developing a quantum field: the path integral formalism and canonical quantization.

Quantum Field Theory Lagrangian formalism Quantum field theory frequently makes use of the Lagrangian formalism from classical field theory. This formalism is analogous to the Lagrangian formalism used in classical mechanics to solve for the motion of a particle under the influence of a field. In classical field theory, one writes down a Lagrangian density, , involving a field, φ(x,t), and possibly its first derivatives (∂φ/∂t and ∇φ), and then applies a field-theoretic form of the Euler–Lagrange equation. Writing coordinates (t, x) = (x0, x1, x2, x3) = xμ, this form of the Euler–Lagrange equation is[2]

150

where a sum over μ is performed according to the rules of Einstein notation. By solving this equation, one arrives at the "equations of motion" of the field.[2] For example, if one begins with the Lagrangian density

and then applies the Euler–Lagrange equation, one obtains the equation of motion

This equation is Newton's law of universal gravitation, expressed in differential form in terms of the gravitational potential φ(t, x) and the mass density ρ(t, x). Despite the nomenclature, the "field" under study is the gravitational potential, φ, rather than the gravitational field, g. Similarly, when classical field theory is used to study electromagnetism, the "field" of interest is the electromagnetic four-potential (V/c, A), rather than the electric and magnetic fields E and B. Quantum field theory uses this same Lagrangian procedure to determine the equations of motion for quantum fields. These equations of motion are then supplemented by commutation relations derived from the canonical quantization procedure described below, thereby incorporating quantum mechanical effects into the behavior of the field.

Single- and many-particle quantum mechanics
In quantum mechanics, a particle (such as an electron or proton) is described by a complex wavefunction, ψ(x, t), whose time-evolution is governed by the Schrödinger equation:

Here m is the particle's mass and V(x) is the applied potential. Physical information about the behavior of the particle is extracted from the wavefunction by constructing probability density functions for various quantities; for example, the p.d.f. for the particle's position is ψ*(x)ψ(x), and the p.d.f. for the particle's momentum is −iħψ*(x)∂ψ/∂t. This treatment of quantum mechanics, where a particle's wavefunction evolves against a classical background potential V(x), is sometimes called first quantization. This description of quantum mechanics can be extended to describe the behavior of multiple particles, so long as the number and the type of particles remain fixed. The particles are described by a wavefunction ψ(x1, x2, ..., xN, t) which is governed by an extended version of the Schrödinger equation. Often one is interested in the case where then N particles are all of the same type (for example, the 18 electrons orbiting a neutral argon nucleus). As described in the article on identical particles, this implies that the state of the entire system must be either symmetric (bosons) or antisymmetric (fermions) when the coordinates of its constituent particles are exchanged. These multi-particle states are rather complicated to write. For example, the general quantum state of a system of N bosons is written as

Quantum Field Theory where are the single-particle states, Nj is the number of particles occupying state j, and the sum is taken over

151

all possible permutations p acting on N elements. In general, this is a sum of N! (N factorial) distinct terms. There are several shortcomings to the above description of quantum mechanics which are addressed by quantum field theory. First, it is unclear how to extend quantum mechanics to include the effects of special relativity.[6] Attempted replacements for the Schrödinger equation, such as the Klein-Gordon equation or the Dirac equation, have many unsatisfactory qualities; for instance, they possess energy eigenvalues that extend to –∞, so that there seems to be no easy definition of a ground state. It turns out that such inconsistencies arise from relativistic wavefunctions having a probabilistic interpretation in position space, as probability conservation is not a relativistically covariant concept. The second shortcoming, related to the first, is that in quantum mechanics there is no mechanism to describe particle creation and annihilation;[7] this is crucial for describing phenomena such as pair production which result from the conversion between mass and energy according to the relativistic relation E = mc2.

Second quantization
In this section, we will describe a method for constructing a quantum field theory called second quantization. This basically involves choosing a way to index the quantum mechanical degrees of freedom in the space of multiple identical-particle states. It is based on the Hamiltonian formulation of quantum mechanics; several other approaches exist, such as the Feynman path integral,[8] which uses a Lagrangian formulation. For an overview, see the article on quantization. Bosons For simplicity, we will first discuss second quantization for bosons, which form perfectly symmetric quantum states. Let us denote the mutually orthogonal single-particle states by and so on. For example, the 3-particle state with one particle in state and two in state is

The first step in second quantization is to express such quantum states in terms of occupation numbers, by listing the number of particles occupying each of the single-particle states etc. This is simply another way of labelling the states. For instance, the above 3-particle state is denoted as The next step is to expand the N-particle state space to include the state spaces for all possible values of N. This extended state space, known as a Fock space, is composed of the state space of a system with no particles (the so-called vacuum state), plus the state space of a 1-particle system, plus the state space of a 2-particle system, and so forth. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the occupation number representation and valid boson states in the Fock space. At this point, the quantum mechanical system has become a quantum field in the sense we described above. The field's elementary degrees of freedom are the occupation numbers, and each occupation number is indexed by a number indicating which of the single-particle states it refers to:

The properties of this quantum field can be explored by defining creation and annihilation operators, which add and subtract particles. They are analogous to ladder operators in the quantum harmonic oscillator problem, which added and subtracted energy quanta. However, these operators literally create and annihilate particles of a given quantum state. The bosonic annihilation operator and creation operator have the following effects:

Quantum Field Theory It can be shown that these are operators in the usual quantum mechanical sense, i.e. linear operators acting on the Fock space. Furthermore, they are indeed Hermitian conjugates, which justifies the way we have written them. They can be shown to obey the commutation relation

152

where

stands for the Kronecker delta. These are precisely the relations obeyed by the ladder operators for an

infinite set of independent quantum harmonic oscillators, one for each single-particle state. Adding or removing bosons from each state is therefore analogous to exciting or de-exciting a quantum of energy in a harmonic oscillator. Applying an annihilation operator followed by its corresponding creation operator returns the number of particles in the kth single-particle eigenstate: The combination of operators is known as the number operator for the kth eigenstate.

The Hamiltonian operator of the quantum field (which, through the Schrödinger equation, determines its dynamics) can be written in terms of creation and annihilation operators. For instance, for a field of free (non-interacting) bosons, the total energy of the field is found by summing the energies of the bosons in each energy eigenstate. If the kth single-particle energy eigenstate has energy and there are bosons in this state, then the total energy of these bosons is . The energy in the entire field is then a sum over :

This can be turned into the Hamiltonian operator of the field by replacing operator, . This yields

with the corresponding number

Fermions It turns out that a different definition of creation and annihilation must be used for describing fermions. According to the Pauli exclusion principle, fermions cannot share quantum states, so their occupation numbers Ni can only take on the value 0 or 1. The fermionic annihilation operators c and creation operators are defined by their actions on a Fock state thus

These obey an anticommutation relation:

One may notice from this that applying a fermionic creation operator twice gives zero, so it is impossible for the particles to share single-particle states, in accordance with the exclusion principle.

Quantum Field Theory Field operators We have previously mentioned that there can be more than one way of indexing the degrees of freedom in a quantum field. Second quantization indexes the field by enumerating the single-particle quantum states. However, as we have discussed, it is more natural to think about a "field", such as the electromagnetic field, as a set of degrees of freedom indexed by position. To this end, we can define field operators that create or destroy a particle at a particular point in space. In particle physics, these operators turn out to be more convenient to work with, because they make it easier to formulate theories that satisfy the demands of relativity. Single-particle states are usually enumerated in terms of their momenta (as in the particle in a box problem.) We can construct field operators by applying the Fourier transform to the creation and annihilation operators for these states. For example, the bosonic field annihilation operator is

153

The bosonic field operators obey the commutation relation

where

stands for the Dirac delta function. As before, the fermionic relations are the same, with the

commutators replaced by anticommutators. The field operator is not the same thing as a single-particle wavefunction. The former is an operator acting on the Fock space, and the latter is a quantum-mechanical amplitude for finding a particle in some position. However, they are closely related, and are indeed commonly denoted with the same symbol. If we have a Hamiltonian with a space representation, say

where the indices i and j run over all particles, then the field theory Hamiltonian (in the non-relativistic limit and for negligible self-interactions) is

This looks remarkably like an expression for the expectation value of the energy, with

playing the role of the

wavefunction. This relationship between the field operators and wavefunctions makes it very easy to formulate field theories starting from space-projected Hamiltonians.

Implications
Unification of fields and particles The "second quantization" procedure that we have outlined in the previous section takes a set of single-particle quantum states as a starting point. Sometimes, it is impossible to define such single-particle states, and one must proceed directly to quantum field theory. For example, a quantum theory of the electromagnetic field must be a quantum field theory, because it is impossible (for various reasons) to define a wavefunction for a single photon.[9] In such situations, the quantum field theory can be constructed by examining the mechanical properties of the classical field and guessing the corresponding quantum theory. For free (non-interacting) quantum fields, the quantum field theories obtained in this way have the same properties as those obtained using second quantization, such as well-defined creation and annihilation operators obeying commutation or anticommutation relations. Quantum field theory thus provides a unified framework for describing "field-like" objects (such as the electromagnetic field, whose excitations are photons) and "particle-like" objects (such as electrons, which are treated

there is not much theoretical motivation for using symmetric (bosonic) or antisymmetric (fermionic) states. states with ill-defined particle numbers are particularly important for describing the various superfluids. so long as one can treat interactions as "perturbations" of free fields. is conserved in this case. see Haag's theorem. it is possible. (Strictly speaking. we can see that the free-boson Hamiltonian described above conserves particle number. e. to encounter quantum states that are not eigenstates of . and ck denotes the fermionic creation and annihilation operators. is conserved if it commutes with the Hamiltonian. however. As with any quantum mechanical observable. suppose we have a bosonic field whose particles can be created or destroyed by interactions with a fermionic field. Physical meaning of particle indistinguishability The second quantization procedure relies crucially on the particles being identical. We would not have been able to construct a quantum field theory from a distinguishable many-particle system. In that case. when in fact it is only the electron field that is fundamental. The number of fermions. which measures the total number of particles present.g. and the need for such states is simply regarded as an empirical fact. Particle conservation and non-conservation During second quantization. plus a "potential energy" term such as where and ak denotes the bosonic creation and annihilation operators. the quantum state is trapped in the N-particle subspace of the total Fock space. which is that quantum field theory explains what identical particles are. On the other hand. and ended with a Hamiltonian and state space for an arbitrary number of particles. Such states are difficult or impossible to handle using ordinary quantum mechanics.Quantum Field Theory as excitations of an underlying electron field). such situations are described by quantum states that are eigenstates of the number operator . In ordinary quantum mechanics. and Vq is a parameter that describes the strength of the interaction. The interaction between electrons and photons is treated in a similar way. particles are identical if and only if they are excitations of the same underlying quantum field. we started with a Hamiltonian and state space describing a fixed number of particles (N). but is a little more complicated because the role of spin must be taken into account. and indeed common. This "interaction term" describes processes in which a fermion in state k either absorbs or emits a boson. this type of Hamiltonian is used to describe interaction between conduction electrons and phonons in metals. From the point of view of quantum field theory. (In fact. Many physicists prefer to take the converse interpretation. Of course. For more on this topic. and the situation could equally well be described by ordinary N-particle quantum mechanics. thereby being kicked into a different eigenstate k+q. The Hamiltonian of the combined system would be given by the Hamiltonians of the free boson and free fermion fields. From the point of view of quantum field theory. Many of the defining characteristics of a superfluid arise from the notion that its quantum state is . in many common situations N is an important and perfectly well-defined quantity. For example. Whenever the Hamiltonian operates on a state. this is only true in the noninteracting case or in the low energy density limit of renormalized quantum field theories) For example. There are still unsolved problems relating to the more general case of interacting fields that may or may not be adequately described by perturbation theory. because there would have been no way of separating and indexing the degrees of freedom. the question "why are all electrons identical?" arises from mistakenly regarding individual electrons as fundamental objects. each particle destroyed by an annihilation operator ak is immediately put back by the creation operator .) One thing to notice here is that even if we start out with a fixed number of bosons. we will typically end up with a superposition of states with different numbers of bosons at later times. In condensed matter physics. Thus. if we are describing a gas of atoms sealed in a box. but they can be easily described in quantum field theory as quantum superpositions of states having different values of N. 154 which do not have well-defined particle numbers.

Most of the theories that could be treated with these analytic axioms were physically trivial. such as renormalizability. Important work was done in this area in the 1970s by Segal. most of the physically relevant quantum field theories. They attempted to formalize the physicists' notion of an "operator-valued field" within the context of functional analysis. Over the past several decades. Osterwalder-Schrader. such as the Standard Model. The construction of theories satisfying one of these sets of axioms falls in the field of constructive quantum field theory. we described the most general properties of quantum field theories. give infinite results. but as discovered by Weisskopf with help from Furry. The energy in a field of a spherical source diverges in both classical and quantum mechanics. Glimm. and there are infinitely many levels at short distances that each give a finite contribution. first proposed during the 1950s. This line of investigation. is associated most closely with Michael Atiyah and Graeme Segal. such as the spin-statistics theorem and the CPT theorem. and Haag-Kastler systems. a second set of axioms based on geometric ideas was proposed. Jaffe and others. and was notably expanded upon by Edward Witten. However. Associated phenomena In the previous part of the article. 155 Axiomatic approaches The preceding description of quantum field theory follows the spirit in which most physicists approach the subject. with important applications in representation theory. algebraic topology. include the Wightman. it is not mathematically rigorous. and they basically stem from the fact that many of the supposedly "intrinsic" properties of an electron are tied to the electromagnetic field that it carries around with it. The first class of axioms. going only as the logarithm of the radius of the sphere. The main impact of axiomatic topological quantum field theory has been on mathematics. such as the perturbative shift in the energy of an electron due to the presence of the electromagnetic field. The reason is that the perturbation theory for the shift in an energy involves a sum over all other energy levels. the concept of a coherent state (used to model the laser and the BCS ground state) refers to a state with an ill-defined particle number but a well-defined phase. it proved extraordinarily difficult to show that any realistic field theory. including the Standard Model. It was possible to prove that any quantum field theory satisfying these axioms satisfied certain general theorems. which restricts its attention to a particular class of quantum field theories known as topological quantum field theories.Quantum Field Theory a superposition of states with different particle numbers. and Maxim Kontsevich. satisfied these axioms. there have been many attempts to put quantum field theory on a firm mathematical footing by formulating a set of axioms for it. and enjoyed limited success. The energy carried by a single electron—its self energy—is not simply the bare value. Richard Borcherds. its attendant cloud of photons. Renormalization Early in the history of quantum field theory. being restricted to low-dimensions and lacking interesting dynamics. gauge symmetry. During the 1980s. These attempts fall into two broad classes. but also includes the energy contained in its electromagnetic field. These are described in the following sections. are not topological quantum field theories. and supersymmetry. . Unfortunately. However. Many of these problems are related to failures in classical electrodynamics that were identified but unsolved in the 19th century. the quantum field theory of the fractional quantum Hall effect is a notable exception. Some of the quantum field theories studied in various fields of theoretical physics possess additional special properties. One of the Millennium Prize Problems—proving the existence of a mass gap in Yang-Mills theory—is linked to this issue. and differential geometry. Finding the proper axioms for quantum field theory is still an open and difficult problem in mathematics. it was found that many seemingly innocuous calculations. in quantum mechanics the divergence is much milder. In addition.

The continuum limit is then well defined in perturbation theory. that is – one may shift the phase of all wave functions so that the shift may be different at every point in space-time. The technique of renormalization recognizes that the problem is essentially purely mathematical. the gauge field. so for rigorous or numerical work people often use an actual lattice. This has the effect of replacing continuous space by a structure where very short wavelengths do not exist.Quantum Field Theory The solution to the problem. and systematically extended to all loops by Feynman and Dyson. Lattices break rotational symmetry. . in every quantum theory the global phase of the wave function is arbitrary and does not represent something physical. which also transforms in order for the local change of variables (the phase in our example) not to affect the derivative. In quantum electrodynamics this gauge field is the electromagnetic field. first place a cutoff on the fields. the theory is also invariant under a local change of phase. Hopefully. 156 Gauge freedom A gauge theory is a theory that admits a symmetry with a local parameter. In quantum electrodynamics. quantum electrodynamics is believed to not have a continuum limit. The Standard Model of particle physics is perturbatively renormalizable. everywhere). in order for a well-defined derivative operator to exist. this is a global symmetry. independently by Bethe after the crucial experiment by Lamb. or if they predict quantitative relations between the coupling constants. one must introduce a new field. the problems only show up at distance scales that are exponentially small in the inverse coupling for weak couplings. There is no known symmetrical cutoff outside of perturbation theory. and one of the crucial contributions made by Feynman. presciently suggested by Stueckelberg. Consequently. In quantum field theory the excitations of fields represent particles. as on a lattice. because once a renormalizable theory like the standard model is found to work. all the results at long distances become insensitive to the lattice. implemented at one loop by Schwinger. we make sure that the physically observable quantities like the observed electron mass stay fixed. and so are its component theories (quantum electrodynamics/electroweak theory and quantum chromodynamics). is a symmetry-preserving cutoff for perturbation theory (this process is called regularization). which means that the constants in the Lagrangian defining the theory depend on the spacing. This is a local symmetry. It is also a curse. In order to define a theory on a continuum. renormalizable theories are insensitive to the precise nature of the underlying high-energy short-distance phenomena. Pauli and Villars. every quantity is finite but depends on the spacing. which is the photon in the case of quantum electrodynamics. The renormalization procedure only works for a certain class of quantum field theories. and even if it is not fully well defined non-perturbatively. it gives very few clues to higher energy processes. defining a continuum limit. by allowing the constants to vary with the lattice spacing. The renormalization group describes how renormalizable theories emerge as the long distance low-energy effective field theory for any given high-energy theory. This is a blessing because it allows physicists to formulate low energy theories without knowing the details of high energy phenomenon. Of the three components. and modernized by 't Hooft and Veltman. while the asymptotically free SU(2) and SU(3) weak hypercharge and strong color interactions are nonperturbatively well defined. However. The only way high energy processes can be seen in the standard model is when they allow otherwise forbidden events. The particle associated with excitations of the gauge field is the gauge boson. On a lattice. the theory is invariant under a global change of phases (adding a constant to the phase of all wave functions. When taking the limit of zero spacing. For example. The change of local gauge of variables is termed gauge transformation. with converging work by Tomonaga in isolated postwar Japan. Because of this. A theory is perturbatively renormalizable when the constants in the Lagrangian only diverge at worst as logarithms of the lattice spacing for very short spacings. comes from recognizing that all the infinities in the interactions of photons and electrons can be isolated into redefining a finite number of quantities in the equations by replacing them with the observed values: specifically the electron 's mass and charge: this is called renormalization. that extremely short distances are at fault. by postulating that quanta cannot have energies above some extremely high value. called renormalizable quantum field theories.

making the theory non-unitary and again inconsistent (see optical theorem). It was introduced in order to solve the so-called Hierarchy Problem. if a classical field theory has a gauge symmetry. then its quantized version (i. These are capable of changing the physical field strengths and are therefore no proper symmetry transformations. so they are equivalent to having no fluctuations at all. • The electroweak theory.e. Such fluctuations are usually called "non-physical degrees of freedom" or gauge artifacts. These transformations are together described by a mathematical object known as a gauge group.). Supersymmetry Supersymmetry assumes that every fundamental fermion has a superpartner that is a boson and vice versa. 157 Multivalued gauge transformations The gauge transformations which leave the theory invariant involve by definition only single-valued gauge functions which satisfy the Schwarz integrability criterion An interesting extension of gauge transformations arises if the gauge functions are allowed to be multivalued functions which violate the integrability criterion.e. another possibility would be for these photons to appear only in intermediate processes but not in the final products of any interaction. admits the equivalence principle.Quantum Field Theory The degrees of freedom in quantum field theory are local fluctuations of the fields. which breaks supersymmetry without ruining its helpful features). Planck. rendering the theory UV finite. The way supersymmetry protects the hierarchies is the following: since for every particle there is a superpartner with the same mass. Nevertheless. These are: • Quantum chromodynamics. in quantum electrodynamics. this would require the appearance of photons with longitudinal polarization and polarization in the time direction. The simplest models of this breaking require that the energy of the superpartners not be too high. (a direct product of U(1) and SU(2)). See the textbook by H. the corresponding quantum field theory) will have this symmetry as well. it is explicitly non-renormalizable. simply because some fluctuations of the fields can be transformed to zero by gauge transformations. a gauge symmetry cannot have a quantum anomaly. Therefore. the transformed field equations describe correctly the physical laws in the presence of the newly generated field strengths. • Gravity. Since no superpartners have yet been observed. which is a form of gauge symmetry. if supersymmetry exists it must be broken (through a so-called soft term. whose classical theory is general relativity. and they therefore have no physical meaning. whose gauge group is SU(3). All the fundamental interactions in nature are described by gauge theories. the gauge transformations of a theory consist of several different transformations. usually some of them have a negative norm.. It was soon realized that supersymmetry has other interesting properties: its gauged version is an extension of general relativity (Supergravity). However. had there been a gauge anomaly. and it is a key ingredient for the consistency of string theory. In other words. making them inadequate for a consistent theory. number of generators forming a basis). In general. The gauge bosons are eight gluons. rendering the theory inconsistent. supersymmetry is expected to be observed by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. If a gauge symmetry is anomalous (i. whose gauge group is U(1) × SU(2). Therefore the number of gauge bosons is the group dimension (i. in these cases.. which may not be commutative. not kept in the quantum theory) then the theory is non-consistent: for example. that is. to explain why particles not protected by any symmetry (like the Higgs boson) do not receive radiative corrections to its mass driving it to the larger scales (GUT. . Infinitesimal gauge transformations are the gauge group generators.e. any loop in a radiative correction is cancelled by the loop corresponding to its superpartner. The existence of a gauge symmetry reduces the number of degrees of freedom. Kleinert cited below for the applications to phenomena in physics. the latter having a negative norm.

(1998). Mark. [9] Newton. (2004) Deep Down Things.D. F.400. Zuber. MIT Press. (1982). J. uk/ user/ tong/ qft. (1980). UK.de/~kleinert/public_html/kleiner_reb11/psfiles/mvf.pdf). I to III.physik. (2000).edu (http:/ / people. ISBN 0-07-032071-3. McGraw-Hill. ac. Frampton. asp?isbn=0521864496) Cambridge Univ. R. H.. W. L. • • • • • • • Advanced texts: . Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Introduction to Field Theory (1st ed. Kane. Press.). ISBN 3-540-67672-4. (1949).). ISBN 981-02-4658-7. Shirkov. R. Wigner. World Scientific. S. Johns Hopkins Univ. World Scientific. (2000). Frontiers in Physics (2nd ed. Anthony.. p. Q is for Quantum: Particle Physics from A to Z. P. (1995). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Press.html#B6). J. Wiley. 4. Zee. Quantum Field Theory.). Zee. pp. ISBN 978-3-540-60453-2. Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell. Mark. E. html). M. F. Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (2nd ed. B. Ryder. Mandl. 61. ISBN 978-981-279-170-2. fu-berlin. damtp. Pais recounts how his astonishment at the rapidity with which Feynman could calculate using his method. uk/ user/ tong/ qft. Quantum Fields. physik. Critical Properties of φ4-Theories (http://users. Schulte-Frohlinde. D. Anthony. C. Modern Elementary Particle Physics.cambridge. (1993).P. p. ISBN 0-8053-0983-7.21.. ISBN 0-521-33859-X. Quantum Field Theory (1st ed.).1103/RevModPhys. Quantum Field Theory. cam. Gauge Theory of Weak Interactions. Kleinert. edu/ ~beckmk/ QM/ grangier/ Thorn_ajp. • Feynman. chapter 1. Peskin. "Localized states for elementary particles". Greiner. Oxford University Press.400N. Multivalued Fields in Condensed Matter. Chpt. Springer.L. Perseus Books. Itzykson. T. (1996). Vols. 19. Quantum Field Theory (1st ed. damtp. Benjamin-Cummings. Mark (2007) Quantum Field Theory. ISBN 0-691-01019-6. Princeton University Press. Srednicki.). Springer. (http://www.Quantum Field Theory 158 Notes [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] People. (2006) [1985]. Westview Press. 25–6. Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World ISBN 0-19-851997-4.. Lectures on Quantum Field Theory (http:/ / www. Zee.. (2008). David Tong. p. • Gribbin.J. G. Bruce A. Gauge Field Theories. ac. ISBN 0-201-11749-5. A. ISBN 0-262-56003-8. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-19-851155-8. The Character of Physical Law.H. H.. Princeton University Press. Srednicki.P. G. Loudon. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. (1987). Shaw.. ISBN 00471941867 .21. D.. John Wiley & Sons. (2003). pdf) David Tong.-B.. Srednicki. N. and Gravitation (http://users. cam. Verena (2001). Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (2nd ed.).H. Bibcode 1949RvMP.P. Reviews of Modern Physics 21 (3): 400–406. Ynduráin. doi:10.de/~kleinert/re. • Feynman. html). Feynman's method is now part of the standard methods for physicists. • Schumm. Abraham Pais. The Quantum Theory of Light.org/us/catalogue/catalogue. (2001) [1964]. Müller. Quantum Field Theory. An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory. Schroeder. Introductory texts: • • • • • • • Bogoliubov. References Further reading General readers: • Weinberg. whitman. ISBN 0-297-81752-3. Lectures on Quantum Field Theory (http:/ / www. Cambridge University Press. Introduction. 2000. Kleinert. ISBN 0-691-12575-9. ISBN 0-201-50397-2. Quantum Field Theory. R (1983).whitman.fu-berlin. 3. Electrodynamics. (1985).

Springer.pdf) by P.. in particular due to insights from dualities shown to relate the five theories. Articles: • Gerard 't Hooft (2007) " The Conceptual Basis of Quantum Field Theory (http://www. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Many theoretical physicists (among them Stephen Hawking. (1995). also available from arXiv:hep-th/9912205. N. ISBN 978-0-7923-0540-8."[5] Nevertheless. Part A.org/abs/hep-th/9803075)".html) A free text.nat. but rather 1-dimensional oscillating lines ("strings"). (1990).stanford.T. an eleven-dimensional theory called M-theory is believed to encompass all of the previously distinct superstring theories.. It is a contender for a theory of everything (TOE). Juan Maldacena and Leonard Susskind) believe that string theory is a step towards the correct fundamental description of nature. Reviews of Modern Physics 71: S83-S95.. Philosophy of Physics.e. Subsequent to this.1103/Rev. ed. String theories also require the existence of several extra dimensions to the universe that have been compactified into extremely small scales. a self-contained mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter. although this view developed to the superstring theory. Fields.[6] . The earliest string model. Oksak. J. incorporated only bosons. I.. agrees with general insights in quantum gravity (such as the holographic principle and black hole thermodynamics). (2001). • Weinberg. php?title=p/q076300).A. "M-theory is the only candidate for a complete theory of the universe. and John Earman. the dual resonance model (1969). ISBN 978-1-55608-010-4 • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: " Quantum Field Theory (http://plato. have criticized string theory for not providing novel experimental predictions at accessible energy scales.edu/entries/ quantum-field-theory/)". 71. and because it has passed many non-trivial checks of its internal consistency. by Meinard Kuhlmann. • Siegel. Edward Witten. Cambridge University Press.encyclopediaofmath. Todorov. Michiel. Since the mid-1990s. Warren.uu.[1][2][3][4] According to Hawking in particular. Encyclopedia of Mathematics.phys. Mod. the bosonic string.I. • Quantum Field Theory (http://www. in addition to the four known spacetime dimensions. which posits that a connection (a "supersymmetry") exists between bosons and fermions. This is because string theory allows for the consistent combination of quantum field theory and general relativity. "Quantum field theory" (http://www. Phys. such as Feynman and Glashow. A. J. 159 External links • Hazewinkel. The Quantum Theory of Fields. electrons and quarks) within an atom are not 0-dimensional objects. 2005. (http://insti.. eds.nl/~mulders/QFT-0. String theory posits that the elementary particles (i.org/index. The theory has its origins in an effort to understand the strong force.vu.pdf)" in Butterfield.nl/~thooft/ lectures/basisqft.physics.Quantum Field Theory • Bogoliubov. S. 1–3. General Principles of Quantum Field Theory. Elsevier: 661-730. A. five superstring theories were developed that incorporated fermions and possessed other properties necessary for a theory of everything. other physicists. Logunov.sunysb.edu/~siegel/errata. Also doi=10. • Frank Wilczek (1999) " Quantum field theory (http://arxiv.. Mulders String Theory String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity.

which are endpoints for strings. Among the modes of oscillation of the string is a massless. spin-two state—a graviton. These are extended objects that are charged sources for differential form generalizations of the vector potential electromagnetic field. It is not yet known whether string theory has such a solution. mass and spin. This leads many to believe that there is at least one metastable solution that is quantitatively identical with the standard model. giving the observed particles their flavor. String theory is known to contain configurations that describe all the observed fundamental forces and matter but with a zero cosmological constant and some new fields. The word brane. The endpoints of the string cannot break off the D-brane. These strings can oscillate. where they can open up into 1-dimensional lines. called branes.[9][10][11][12] The strings make closed loops unless they encounter D-branes. black p-branes and Neveu–Schwarz 5-branes. Research on this equivalence has led to new insights on quantum chromodynamics. the fundamental theory of the strong nuclear force. . many hope that it fully describes our universe. but made up of 1-dimensional strings. Since string theory is widely believed[7] to be mathematically consistent.[8] Other configurations have different values of the cosmological constant. and this identification is called Gauge-gravity duality. The existence of this graviton state and the fact that the equations describing string theory include Einstein's equations for general relativity mean that string theory is a quantum theory of gravity. containing dark matter and a plausible mechanism for cosmic inflation. Black hole-like black p-branes are identified with D-branes. with a small cosmological constant. such as D-branes.String Theory 160 Overview String theory posits that the electrons and quarks within an atom are not 0-dimensional objects. charge. but they can slide around on it. and are metastable but long-lived. String theories also include objects other than strings. refers to a variety of interrelated objects. derived from "membrane". nor how much freedom the theory allows to choose the details. These objects are related to one another by a variety of dualities. making it a theory of everything.

On distance scales larger than the string radius. this model has problems. particles which. spin and charge determined by the string's dynamics. the spectrum of particles contains only bosons. in low enough energies. The complete quantum mechanics of high dimensional branes is not easily defined. and the behavior of string theory in cosmological settings (time-dependent backgrounds) is not fully worked out. there are no string theories without closed strings. several kinds have been described. What is most significant is that the theory has a fundamental instability. String level String theory includes both open strings. The two types of string behave in slightly different ways. a mathematical relation between bosons and fermions. forming a closed string. since the scattering of strings is most straightforwardly defined by a perturbation theory. This model describes. In the absence of external interactions. like the photon. the spectrum of the theory. Fundamental strings exist in 9 dimensions and the strings can vibrate in any direction. believed to result in the decay (at least partially) of spacetime itself. meaning that the spectrum of vibrational modes is much richer. The earliest string model. which is made of fermions. in most string theories one of the closed string modes is the graviton. Because the two ends of an open string can always meet and connect. incorporated only bosonic degrees of freedom. It is also not clear as to whether there is any principle by which string theory selects its vacuum state. giving rise to the interactions between particles. which also includes (if open strings are incorporated as well) gauge fields such as the photon (or. obey particular rules of behavior. Subatomic level – Quarks 6. but not of matter. yielding two different spectra. Macroscopic level – Matter 2. either the Nambu-Goto action or the Polyakov action. The quantum mechanics of strings implies these oscillations exist in discrete vibrational modes. Splitting and recombination of strings correspond to particle emission and absorption. each oscillation mode behaves as a different species of particle. a quantum gravity theory. For example. In broad terms. Basic properties String theory can be formulated in terms of an action principle. One difference is the guitar string exists in 3 dimensions. . which combine to produce oscillations. neutrons. any gauge theory). the bosonic string. In addition. In the analogy. the spacetime configuration that determines the properties of our universe (see string theory landscape). and closed strings making a complete loop. in more general terms. as the name implies. different notes correspond to different particles. An analogy for strings' modes of vibration is a guitar string's production of multiple distinct musical notes. and electrons 4. Molecular level 3. Levels of magnification: 1. which have two distinct endpoints. Atomic level – Protons. and one of the open string modes is the photon. However. string dynamics are governed by tension and kinetic energy.String Theory 161 The full theory does not yet have a satisfactory definition in all circumstances. Investigating how a string theory may include fermions in its spectrum led to the invention of supersymmetry. Subatomic level – Electron 5. which describe how strings propagate through space and time. String theories that include fermionic vibrations are now known as superstring theories. but all are now thought to be different limits of M-theory. bosons are the constituents of radiation. with its mass. so that there are only two dimensions transverse to the string.

quantum strings have tension. in more general terms. these processes are an integral part of the theory. If a closed string splits and its two parts later reconnect. The resulting picture depicts the worldline of the particle (its 'history') in spacetime. Therefore. left to move through space without external forces. Strings can split and connect. For example. In formal terms. which keeps it "stretched". closed strings in Type I and some versions of the bosonic string). strings can split and reconnect in an opposite orientation (as in a Möbius strip or a Klein bottle). and are described by the same dynamics that controls the string modes. This is reflected by the form of their worldsheet (in more accurate terms. These theories are called unoriented. In some string theories (namely. by its topology). and the Standard Model or a world sheet swept up by closed strings in string theory other — the outgoing one). so its worldsheet will look like a strip or. 162 Worldsheet A point-like particle's motion may be described by drawing a graph of its position (in one or two dimensions of space) against time. Its tension will tend to contract it into a smaller and smaller loop.String Theory Some qualitative properties of quantum strings can be understood in a fairly simple fashion. the worldsheet looks the same everywhere. known as the worldsheet. much like regular strings made of twine. the string (a one-dimensional object — a small line — by itself) will trace out a surface (a two-dimensional manifold). Classical intuition suggests that it might shrink to a single point. a Riemann surface (a two-dimensional oriented manifold) with no boundaries (i. By analogy. a similar graph depicting the progress of a string as time passes by can be obtained. its worldsheet will look like a single pipe splitting to two and then reconnecting. so its worldsheet will look like a pipe or. The characteristic size of the string loop will be a balance between the tension force. and it is not possible to determine a single point on the worldsheet where the splitting occurs. a Riemann surface with a boundary. The tension of a quantum string is closely related to its size. . For example. in more general terms. not a local one: Locally. An open string looks like a short line.e. its worldsheet will look like a single pipe splitting (or connected) to two pipes (often referred to as a pair of pants — see drawing at right). The different string modes (representing different particles. which also looks like a torus connected to two pipes (one Interaction in the subatomic world: world lines of point-like particles in the representing the ingoing string. As a consequence. Consider a closed loop of string. but this would violate Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. the worldsheet in these theories is a non-orientable surface. Note that the process of a string splitting (or strings connecting) is a global process of the worldsheet. acting to make it small. and the uncertainty effect. such as photon or graviton) are surface waves on this manifold. if a closed string splits. this tension is considered a fundamental parameter of the theory. An open string doing the same thing will have its worldsheet looking like a ring connected to two strips. the minimum size of a string is related to the string tension. no edge). A closed string looks like a small loop..

and that theory was the one whose low energy limit. including the time direction). and the two flavors of heterotic string theory (SO(32) and E8×E8). These dualities link quantities that were also thought to be separate. It is now believed that this picture was incorrect and that the five superstring theories are connected to one another as if they are each a special case of some more fundamental theory (thought to be M-theory). These theories are related by transformations that are called dualities. heterotic. meaning right moving and left moving strings differ. meaning right moving and left moving strings differ. with both open and closed strings. to make a consistent quantum theory. the two theories are mathematically different descriptions of the same phenomena. T-duality relates the large and small distance scales between string theories. But strings can obscure the difference between large and small. group symmetry is E8×E8 I IIA 10 10 IIB 10 HO 10 HE 10 Note that in the type IIA and type IIB string theories closed strings are allowed to move everywhere throughout the ten-dimensional spacetime (called the bulk). no fermions. If two theories are related by a duality transformation. which are membranes of lower dimensionality (their dimension is odd — 1. In classical string theory the number of dimensions is not fixed by any consistency criterion. no tachyon. are quantities that have always marked very distinct limits of behavior of a physical system in both classical field theory and quantum particle physics. massless fermions are non-chiral Supersymmetry between forces and matter. 5. group symmetry is SO(32) Supersymmetry between forces and matter. string theory is required to live in a spacetime of the so-called "critical dimension": we must have 26 spacetime dimensions for the bosonic string and 10 for the superstring. String theories Type Spacetime dimensions 26 Details Bosonic Only bosons. Modern understanding indicates that there exist less-trivial ways of satisfying this criterion. Extra dimensions Number of dimensions An intriguing feature of string theory is that it predicts extra dimensions. while open strings have their ends attached to D-branes. group symmetry is SO(32) Supersymmetry between forces and matter. closed type I. Put differently. Cosmological solutions exist in a wider variety of dimensionalities. major flaw: a particle with imaginary mass. 7 or 9 — in type IIA and even — 0. called the tachyon. 6 or 8 — in type IIB. only one was the actual correct theory of everything. with ten spacetime dimensions compactified down to four. with closed strings only. no tachyon. and these different dimensions are . massless fermions are chiral Supersymmetry between forces and matter. Large and small distance scales. representing an instability in the theory. no tachyon. as well as strong and weak coupling strengths. heterotic. with closed strings only. it means that the first theory can be transformed in some way so that it ends up looking just like the second theory. The two theories are then said to be dual to one another under that kind of transformation. whereas S-duality relates strong and weak coupling strengths between string theories. U-duality links T-duality and S-duality. meaning only forces. Supersymmetry between forces and matter. and this is how these five very different theories end up being related. no matter. strong and weak. 3. with only closed strings bound to D-branes. with both open and closed strings. 4. no tachyon.[13] The thinking was that out of these five candidate theories. However.String Theory 163 Dualities Before the 1990s. closed type IIB. 2. string theorists believed there were five distinct superstring theories: open type I. no tachyon. closed type IIA. matched the physics observed in our world today. This is necessary to ensure the vanishing of the conformal anomaly of the worldsheet conformal field theory. with only closed strings bound to D-branes.

and this number is fixed and independent of potential energy. progress has been made constructing more realistic compactifications without the degree of symmetry of Calabi–Yau or G2 manifolds. This energy includes a contribution from the Casimir effect. case. a particular case (torsionless) of this being SU(3) holonomy. This can be better understood by noting that a photon included in a consistent theory (technically. But the theory also describes universes like ours. these theories require physicists to insert the number of dimensions "by both hands".. Therefore. and also cases where the position in some of the dimensions is not described by a real number.[18] When the calculation is done. but by a completely different type of mathematical quantity. these compactification spaces must be very special.e. The first is to compactify the extra dimensions. and a 7-dimensional manifold must have G2 structure.[14][15] One such theory is the 11-dimensional M-theory. which requires spacetime to have eleven dimensions. In technical terms. with four observable spacetime dimensions. in part due to the computational simplicity afforded by the assumption of Calabi–Yau manifold (3D projection) supersymmetry. The mass of the photon that is predicted by string theory depends on the energy of the string mode that represents the photon. a count of degrees of freedom that reduces to dimensionality in weakly curved regimes. the photon in flat spacetime will be massless—and the theory consistent—only for a particular number of dimensions. it is necessary to consider how these are reduced to four dimensional spacetime. the 26 dimensions come from the Polyakov equation. then string theory requires ten dimensions. String theory allows one to relate the number of dimensions to scalar potential energy. and the gauge anomaly can be counteracted by including nontrivial potential energy into equations to solve motion. A 6-dimensional manifold must have SU(3) structure. The original string theories from the 1980s describe special cases of M-theory where the eleventh dimension is a very small circle or a line.[19] Starting from any dimension greater than four. Such spaces have been studied in attempts to relate string theory to the 4-dimensional Standard Model. The subset of X is equal to the relation of photon fluctuations in a linear dimension. Compact dimensions Two ways have been proposed to resolve this apparent contradiction. making it a Calabi–Yau space. as reflected in their holonomy. the critical dimensionality is not four as one may expect (three axes of space and one of time). Furthermore. since for a larger number of dimensions there are more possible fluctuations in the string position. To retain a high degree of supersymmetry. namely from quantum fluctuations in the string. Flat space string theories are 26-dimensional in the bosonic case.[16] as opposed to the usual three spatial dimensions and the fourth dimension of time. the 6 or 7 extra dimensions are so small as to be undetectable by present-day experiments. simple.String Theory related by dynamical transitions. More recently. this happens because a gauge anomaly exists for every separate number of predicted dimensions. So the notion of spacetime dimension is not fixed in string theory: it is best thought of as different in different circumstances. i. a particle carrying a force related to an unbroken gauge symmetry) must be massless. the absence of potential energy in the "critical dimension" explains why flat spacetime solutions are possible. while superstring and M-theories turn out to involve 10 or 11 dimensions for flat solutions. with G2 holonomy again being a specific. The size of this contribution depends on the number of dimensions. 164 . The dimensions are more precisely different values of the "effective central charge". as well as universes with up to 10 flat space dimensions.[17] Nothing in Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism or Einstein's theory of relativity makes this kind of prediction. In bosonic string theories. and if these formulations are considered as fundamental.

gravity acting in the hidden dimensions affects other non-gravitational forces such as electromagnetism. Indeed. D-branes have mass. If the hose is viewed from a sufficient distance. This gauge theory is coupled to gravity (which is said to exist in the bulk). 3-dimensional volumes. These are membranes of different dimensionality (anywhere from a zero dimensional membrane—which is in fact a point—and up. If there are multiple parallel D-branes there will be multiple types of gauge bosons. Effect of the hidden dimensions In either case. containing strata of various dimensions. on which a gauge theory "lives".[21] it was not known that gravity can be properly localized to a sub-spacetime. However. D-branes are defined by the fact that worldsheet boundaries are attached to them. allowing us to inhabit the 3+1-dimensional stratum—such geometries occur naturally in Calabi–Yau compactifications. It is also possible to extract information regarding the hidden dimensions by precision tests of gravity. and — in superstring theories — charge as well. one discovers that it contains a second dimension. In principle. so that normally each of these two viewpoints is incomplete. In fact. therefore. D-branes are objects to which the ends of open strings are attached. and so on). or if one "throws in" small enough objects. or by experimenting with particles with extremely small wavelengths (of the order of the compact dimension's radius). but this is not yet a practical possibility. This "extra dimension" is only visible within a relatively close range to the hose. in any experiment we make by throwing such balls in the hose. However. D-branes are thus gravitational sources. In addition. including 2-dimensional membranes. Similarly.[20] These "exceptional sets" are ubiquitous in Calabi–Yau n-folds and may be described as subspaces without local deformations. along the hose. an ant crawling inside it would move in two dimensions (and a fly flying in it would move in three dimensions). think of a ball just small enough to enter the hose. Brane-world scenario Another possibility is that we are "stuck" in a 3+1 dimensional (three spatial dimensions plus one time dimension) subspace of the full universe.String Theory A standard analogy for this is to consider multidimensional space as a garden hose. and they give rise to gauge theories "living" on it (since one of the open string modes is a gauge boson such as the photon). which in quantum mechanics means very high energies (see wave-particle duality). as one approaches the hose. Properly localized matter and Yang-Mills gauge fields will typically exist if the sub-spacetime is an exceptional set of the larger universe. Throwing such a ball inside the hose. The open strings attached to a D-brane are said to "live" on it. hence such models are known as brane-world scenarios. its length. but so far these have only put upper limitations on the size of such hidden dimensions. it appears to have only one dimension. the neighborhood of which is markedly different from the exceptional subspace itself. it is possible to deduce the nature of those extra dimensions by requiring consistency with the standard model. its circumference. akin to a crease in a sheet of paper or a crack in a crystal. spacetime may be stratified. 165 D-branes Another key feature of string theory is the existence of D-branes. the only important movement will be one-dimensional. the extra compact dimensions are only "visible" at extremely small distances. the ball would move more or less in one dimension. In the case of one D-brane there will be one type of a gauge boson and we will have an Abelian gauge theory (with the gauge boson being the photon). because of the nature of Calabi–Yau manifolds. However. that is. no new forces appear from the small dimensions. . since they couple to open strings that describe gauge interactions. Kaluza's early work demonstrated that general relativity in five dimensions actually predicts the existence of electromagnetism. Thus. until the work of Randall and Sundrum. but their shape has a profound effect on how the forces between the strings appear in our four-dimensional universe. since they emit and absorb closed strings that describe gravitons.[22] Such sub-spacetimes are D-branes. From the point of view of open strings. giving rise to a non-Abelian gauge theory.

string theory predicts we are inside such a bubble. There should be heavier copies of all particles. The most significant is the extremely small size of the Planck length. making this prediction impossible to test with any particle accelerator in the foreseeable future.String Theory 166 Testability and experimental predictions Several major difficulties complicate efforts to test string theory. Cosmic strings Under certain circumstances. around 1014 times higher than the energies accessible in the newest particle accelerator. these expanding phases are not stable. or be detected in microgravity experiments. the LHC. The spatial curvature of the "universe" inside the bubbles that form by this process is negative.[24] Moreover. this could lead to phenomena such as the production of micro black holes at the LHC. fundamental strings produced at or near the end of inflation can be "stretched" to astronomical proportions. These collisions lead to potentially observable imprints on cosmology. Depending on the size of the dimensions. Many phases in string theory have very large. the theory predicts that most of the universe is very rapidly expanding. certain field theories also predict cosmic strings arising from topological defects in the field configuration. corresponding to higher vibrational harmonics of the string. . Since our local region of the universe is not very rapidly expanding. As such.[23] Regions of the universe that are in such a phase will inflate exponentially rapidly in a process known as eternal inflation. which might be sufficiently diverse to accommodate almost any phenomena we might observe at lower energies. and can decay via the nucleation of bubbles of lower vacuum energy. a testable prediction. Cosmology String theory as currently understood makes a series of predictions for the structure of the universe at the largest scales. In most conventional string models they would be not far below the Planck energy. in models with large extra dimensions they could potentially be produced at the LHC or at energies not far above its reach. other bubbles will eventually form in the parent vacuum outside the bubble and collide with it. which is expected to be close to the string length (the characteristic size of a string. Predictions String harmonics One unique prediction of string theory is the existence of string harmonics: at sufficiently high energies. it is possible that neither of these will be observed if the spatial curvature is too small and the collisions are too rare.[27] Strength of gravity Theories with extra dimensions predict that the strength of gravity increases much more rapidly at small distances than is the case in 3 dimensions (where it increase as r−2). the string-like nature of particles would become obvious. where strings become easily distinguishable from particles). Another issue is the huge number of metastable vacua of string theory. for instance by their gravitational lensing effects. It is not clear how high these energies are. However. positive vacuum energy. However. These cosmic strings could be observed in various ways. However.[25][26] However.

and thus we have a gravitational theory on spacetime with some background fields. AdS/CFT correspondence AdS/CFT relates string theory to gauge theory. the D-branes have two independent alternative descriptions. From the point of view of open strings. the physics of the D-branes is described by the appropriate gauge theory. thus open strings attached to the D-branes are not interacting with closed strings. it is hoped that a gravitational theory dual to quantum chromodynamics will be found. cosmological backgrounds.e. is much less controversial today than string theories of everything (although two decades ago. However. which has been quantitatively modeled by lattice QCD methods with good results.[31] The LHC will be used both for testing AdS/CFT.[28] A mathematical technique from string theory (the AdS/CFT correspondence) has been used to describe qualitative features of quark–gluon plasma behavior in relativistic heavy-ion collisions. This means that each predicted phenomenon and quantity in one theory has an analogue in the other theory. this duality has not been proven in any cases. and its study has led to new insights on quantum chromodynamics. however. but is shared by grand unified theories. which is the fundamental theory of the strong nuclear force. This type of string theory.[9][10][11][12] the physics. supersymmetry could also be considered evidence. because it was discovered in the context of string theory. it was the other way around). However. and to check if the electroweakstrong unification does happen as predicted. several models have been proposed to predict supersymmetry breaking. and all consistent string theories are supersymmetric. Such a situation is termed a decoupling limit.String Theory Quantum chromodynamics String theory was originally proposed as a theory of hadrons. so there is also disagreement among string theorists regarding how strong the duality .[23] which incorporates branes and fluxes to make a metastable compactification. which results in time-invariant spacetimes: At present. So far. A central problem for applications is that the best-understood backgrounds of string theory preserve much of the supersymmetry of the underlying theory. Therefore in such cases it is often conjectured that the gravitational theory on spacetime with the appropriate background fields is dual (i. Description of the duality In certain cases the gauge theory on the D-branes is decoupled from the gravity living in the bulk. since the energy scale at which supersymmetry is broken could be well above the accelerator's range. To this end. As discussed above.[29] Supersymmetry If confirmed experimentally. the D-branes are gravitational sources. the absence of supersymmetric particles at energies accessible to the LHC would not necessarily disprove string theory. a gauge theory. This is also a falsifiable statement. is strictly that of standard quantum chromodynamics. physically equivalent) to the gauge theory on the boundary of this spacetime (since the subspace filled by the D-branes is the boundary of this spacetime). In those cases. the most notable one being the KKLT model.[32] 167 Gauge/gravity duality Gauge/gravity duality is a conjectured duality between a quantum theory of gravity in certain cases and gauge theory in a lower number of dimensions. with a "dictionary" translating from one theory to the other. and allows contact with low energy experiments in quantum chromodynamics. but it is not restricted to string theory. string theory cannot deal well with time-dependent.[30] Coupling constant unification Grand unification natural in string theories of everything requires that the coupling constants of the four forces meet at one point under renormalization group rescaling. which describes only the strong interactions. from the point of view of closed strings.

they can still be described by closed strings. . In the gravitational theory.1 or a three-sphere with time S3 × R).e. This duality can be thought of as follows: suppose there is a spacetime with a gravitational source.[38][39][40] which are made of gauge bosons (gluons) and other gauge theory degrees of freedom. then its dual field theory will be asymptotically free. the scale of the distance between quantum fluctuations in a quantum field theory is related (inversely) to the energy scale in this theory. so it does not include the radial direction: it lives in a spacetime with one less dimension compared to the gravitational theory (in fact. one of the directions in spacetime is the radial direction.. The angle between arriving particles in the gravitational theory is related to the radial distance from the gravitational source at which the particles interact: The larger the angle the closer the particles have to get to the source to interact with each other. The on-shell states in the near-horizon gravitational theory can be thought of as describing only particles arriving from the bulk to the near-horizon region and interacting there between themselves. Let us understand how the two theories are still equivalent: The physics of the near-horizon gravitational theory involves only on-shell states (as usual in string theory). In the gauge theory. these are "projected" onto the boundary.[33][34][35][36] a name often used for Gauge / gravity duality in general. they are described by closed strings (i. going from the gravitational source and away (toward the bulk). i.[37] When particles are far away from this source. since usually there is an event horizon around (or at) the gravitational source. 168 Examples and intuition The best known example and the first one to be studied is the duality between Type IIB superstring on AdS5 × S5 (a product space of a five-dimensional Anti de Sitter space and a five-sphere) on one hand. The gauge theory lives only on the D-brane itself. the UV regime of the field theory). while large radius in the gravitational theory translates to high energy scale in the gauge theory (i. As the particles approach the gravitational source. This is known as the AdS/CFT correspondence. a gravitational theory. and the other close to the source — then the latter region can also be described by a gauge theory on D-branes.. while the field theory includes also off-shell correlation function. while particles arriving at the source from almost the same direction in space will be seen in the gauge theory as (off-shell) quantum fluctuations close to each other.. they can be described by objects similar to QCD strings. or usually supergravity). On the other hand. also.e.e. A simple example to this principle is that if in the gravitational theory there is a setup in which the dilaton field (which determines the strength of the coupling) is decreasing with the radius. so small radius in the gravitational theory translates to low energy scale in the gauge theory (i. the IR regime of the field theory).e. Thus the angle between the arriving particles in the gravitational theory translates to the distance scale between quantum fluctuations in the gauge theory. its coupling will grow weaker in high energies. and N = 4 supersymmetric Yang–Mills theory on the four-dimensional boundary of the Anti de Sitter space (either a flat four-dimensional spacetime R3.[41] So if one is able (in a decoupling limit) to describe the gravitational system as two separate regions — one (the bulk) far away from the source. so that particles that arrive at the source from different directions will be seen in the gauge theory as (off-shell) quantum fluctuations far apart from each other. This latter region (close to the source) is termed the near-horizon limit. for example an extremal black hole. it lives on a spacetime identical to the boundary of the near-horizon gravitational theory).String Theory applies to various models.

The result was widely advertised by Murray Gell-Mann. Veneziano himself discovered that for the scattering amplitude to describe the scattering of a particle that appears in the theory. the subatomic particles like the proton and neutron that feel the strong interaction. The first person to add a fifth dimension to general relativity was German mathematician Theodor Kaluza in 1919. leading Gabriele Veneziano to construct a scattering amplitude that had the property of Dolen-Horn-Schmid duality. Veneziano and Sergio Fubini introduced an operator formalism for computing the scattering amplitudes that was a forerunner of world-sheet conformal theory. While the scale was off by many orders of magnitude. but would construct their interactions from self-consistency conditions on the S-matrix. with mostly positive residues. Holger Bech Nielsen and Leonard Susskind to be the relationship expected from rotating strings. Geoffrey Chew and Steven Frautschi discovered that the mesons make families called Regge trajectories with masses related to spins in a way that was later understood by Yoichiro Nambu. Over the next years. These ideas would be revived within string theory. and had a suggestive integral representation that could be used for generalization. The S-matrix approach was started by Werner Heisenberg in the 1940s as a way of constructing a theory that did not rely on the local notions of space and time. R. which Heisenberg believed break down at the nuclear scale. In the data. one giving a continuous background contribution. and there is a special mathematical function whose poles are evenly spaced on half the real line— the Gamma function— which was widely used in Regge theory. it was clear that the peaks were stealing from the background — the authors interpreted this as saying that the t-channel contribution was dual to the s-channel one. Miguel Virasoro and Joel Shapiro found a different amplitude now understood to be that of closed strings. which obeyed duality and had the appropriate Regge scaling at high energy. Holger Bech Nielsen. Veneziano was able to find a consistent scattering amplitude with poles on straight lines. Horn and C. In 1969. the approach he advocated was ideally suited for a theory of quantum gravity. In the t-channel. Schmid[42] developed some sum rules for hadron exchange. the two particles annihilate to make temporary intermediate states that fall apart into the final state particles. the lightest particle must be a tachyon. an obvious self-consistency condition. virtual particles can be exchanged in two qualitatively different ways. and Leonard Susskind recognized that the theory could be given a description in space and time in terms of strings. By manipulating combinations of Gamma functions. the particles exchange intermediate states by emission and absorption. String theory was originally developed during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a never completely successful theory of hadrons. later renamed world-sheet duality. while Virasoro understood how to remove the poles with wrong-sign residues using a constraint on the states. meaning both described the whole amplitude and included the other. The amplitude could fit near-beam scattering data as well as other Regge type fits. and noted that there is an inconsistency unless the dimension of the theory is 26. the other giving peaks at certain energies. In field theory. on straight line trajectories. In 1926. Yoichiro Nambu. with many surprises. Claud Lovelace calculated a loop amplitude. The amplitude needed poles where the particles appear.String Theory 169 History Some of the structures reintroduced by string theory arose for the first time much earlier as part of the program of classical unification started by Albert Einstein. Peter Goddard and Richard Brower went on to prove that there are no wrong-sign propagating states in dimensions less than or equal to 26. In the 1960s. Chew advocated making a theory for the interactions of these trajectories that did not presume that they were composed of any fundamental particles. where they are demanded by consistency conditions. the Swedish physicist Oskar Klein gave a physical interpretation of the unobservable extra dimension — it is wrapped into a small circle. The scattering amplitudes were derived systematically from the . When a particle and antiparticle scatter. Charles Thorn. who noted that gravity in five dimensions describes both gravity and electromagnetism in four. while much later Brans and Dicke added a scalar component to gravity. Einstein introduced a non-symmetric metric tensor. Dolen. the two contributions add together. In the s-channel. D. hundreds of physicists worked to complete the bootstrap program for this model. Working with experimental data. while Ziro Koba and Holger Nielsen generalized Veneziano's integral representation to multiparticle scattering.

the critical dimension was 10. that the entire theory was nearly uniquely determined. Following Witten's lead. Andrew Strominger and Edward Witten found that the Calabi-Yau manifolds are the compactifications that preserve a realistic amount of supersymmetry. hundreds of physicists started to work in this field. creating the mathematical field of mirror symmetry. Tamiaki Yoneya discovered that all the known string theories included a massless spin-two particle that obeyed the correct Ward identities to be a graviton. Joseph Polchinski discovered that the theory requires higher-dimensional objects. between 1984 and 1986. During this period. not a theory of hadrons. with only a few discrete choices. Green and Schwarz discovered a contribution to the anomaly that Witten and Alvarez-Gaumé had missed. in collaboration with Luis Alvarez-Gaumé to study violations of the conservation laws in gravity theories with anomalies. which are generalizations of the Einstein equations of General Relativity. with infinitely many particle types and with fields taking values not on points. Edward Witten became convinced that string theory was truly a consistent theory of gravity. David Gross. Still. which led him to formulate a two-dimensional supersymmetry to cancel the wrong-sign states. Michio Kaku and Keiji Kikkawa gave a different formulation of the bosonic string.String Theory action principle by Peter Goddard. They reintroduced Kaluza–Klein theory as a way of making sense of the extra dimensions. David Gross and Vipul Periwal discovered that string perturbation theory was divergent. and constructed two superstring theories — IIA and IIB related by T-duality. In 1970. In 1974. but for the following decade all work on the theory was completely ignored. Edward Witten discovered that most theories of quantum gravity could not accommodate chiral fermions like the neutrino. while Lance Dixon and others worked out the physical properties of orbifolds. but on loops and curves. Joel Scherk. Jeffrey Goldstone. In the 1990s. and either copy could easily and naturally include the standard model. The resulting theory did not have a tachyon. and Ryan Rohm discovered heterotic strings. The consistency conditions had been so strong. called D-branes and identified these with the black-hole solutions of supergravity. distinctive geometrical singularities allowed in string theory. In coming to understand this calculation. and type I theories with open strings. shifting the attention of physicists and apparently leaving the bootstrap program in the dustbin of history. Daniel Friedan showed that the equations of motions of string theory. Emil Martinec and Stephen Shenker further developed the covariant quantization of the superstring using conformal field theory techniques. The gauge group of these closed strings was two copies of E8. Cumrun Vafa generalized T-duality from circles to arbitrary manifolds. giving a space-time picture to the vertex operators introduced by Veneziano and Fubini and a geometrical interpretation to the Virasoro conditions. as a string field theory. giving a two-dimensional field theoretic path-integral to generate the operator formalism. Gary Horowitz. Schwarz and Green discovered T-duality. Stanley Mandelstam formulated a world sheet conformal theory for both the bose and fermi case. emerge from the Renormalization group equations for the two-dimensional field theory. the theory continued to develop at a steady pace thanks to the work of a handful of devotees. quantum chromodynamics was recognized as the correct theory of hadrons. String theory eventually made it out of the dustbin. and was proven to have space-time supersymmetry by John Schwarz and Michael Green in 1981. and David Olive realized in 1976 that the original Ramond and Neveu Schwarz-strings were separately inconsistent and needed to be combined. and this is sometimes called the first superstring revolution. These were understood to be the new objects suggested 170 . and he became a high-profile advocate. Alexander Polyakov gave the theory a modern path integral formulation. Daniel Friedan. Ferdinando Gliozzi. and went on to develop conformal field theory extensively. In the fermion theories. which restricted the gauge group of the type I string theory to be SO(32). John Schwarz and André Neveu added another sector to the fermi theory a short time later. Claudio Rebbi. Jeffrey Harvey. In 1979. The same year. concluding that type I string theories were inconsistent. Stephen Shenker showed it diverged much faster than in field theory suggesting that new non-perturbative objects were missing. Philip Candelas. At the same time. Pierre Ramond added fermions to the model. and Charles Thorn. In the early 1980s. Emil Martinec. This led him. John Schwarz and Joel Scherk came to the same conclusion and made the bold leap to suggest that string theory was a theory of gravity.

string theory has been shown to be related to gauge theories like quantum chromodynamics and this has led to more quantitative understanding of the behavior of hadrons. Leonard Susskind had incorporated the holographic principle of Gerardus 't Hooft into string theory.String Theory by the perturbative divergences. an anti-deSitter space times a sphere with flux. It is a concrete realization of the holographic principle. In 1997. As suggested by 't Hooft. but all nearby objects too. which is called the AdS/CFT correspondence.[44][45][46][47][48][49] Notable critics include Peter Woit. M-theory was also foreshadowed in the work of Paul Townsend at approximately the same time. Philip Warren Anderson. It is an example of a gauge-gravity duality and is now understood to be a special case of the AdS/CFT correspondence. Edward Witten gave a speech on string theory that in essence united the five string theories that existed at the time. So he hypothesized that string theory on a near-horizon extreme-charged black-hole geometry. and giving birth to a new 11-dimensional theory called M-theory. which has far-reaching implications for black holes. as well as the nature of the gravitational interaction. The flurry of activity that began at this time is sometimes called the second superstring revolution. Willy Fischler. locality and information in physics. which for extreme charged black holes looks like an anti de Sitter space. and they opened up a new field with rich mathematical structure. bringing string theory back to its roots. Stephen Shenker and Leonard Susskind formulated matrix theory. the N=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory. Juan Maldacena noted that the low energy excitations of a theory near a black hole consist of objects close to the horizon. the world-sheet or world-volume theory. describes not only the degrees of freedom of the black hole. Witten noted that the effective description of the physics of D-branes at low energies is by a supersymmetric gauge theory. 3. formed the matter content of the string theories. at the annual conference of string theorists at the University of Southern California (USC). 171 Criticisms Some critics of string theory say that it is a failure as a theory of everything. Tom Banks. and it is now well-accepted. Very high energies needed to test quantum gravity. and found geometrical interpretations of mathematical structures in gauge theory that he and Nathan Seiberg had earlier discovered in terms of the location of the branes. . Lee Smolin.[53] Some common criticisms include: 1. showing that orbifolds solve the chirality problem. Andrew Strominger and Cumrun Vafa calculated the entropy of certain configurations of D-branes and found agreement with the semi-classical answer for extreme charged black holes.[43] This was the first definition of string theory that was fully non-perturbative and a concrete mathematical realization of the holographic principle. During this period. This hypothesis. Lack of uniqueness of predictions due to the large number of solutions. 2. Lack of background independence. not just strings. and by Edward Witten.[52] and Carlo Rovelli. Petr Hořava and Edward Witten found the eleven-dimensional formulation of the heterotic string theories.[50] Sheldon Glashow. It quickly became clear that D-branes and other p-branes. is equally well described by the low-energy limiting gauge theory.[51] Lawrence Krauss. the fluctuations of the black hole horizon. He noted that in this limit the gauge theory describes the string excitations near the branes. was further developed by Steven Gubser. In 1995. Igor Klebanov and Alexander Polyakov. identifying the long highly excited string states with ordinary thermal black hole states. a full holographic description of M-theory using IIA D0 branes. and the physical interpretation of the strings and branes was revealed — they are a type of black hole. Through this relationship.

It is also suggested that the landscape is surrounded by an even more vast swampland of consistent-looking semiclassical effective field theories. which may be radically different from each other. called the string theory landscape (or the anthropic portion of string theory vacua). gauge groups. like many quantum field theories. .String Theory 172 High energies It is widely believed that any theory of quantum gravity would require extremely high energies to probe directly. which is believed to provide a full. and perhaps 10520 of these or more correspond to a universe roughly similar to ours — with four dimensions. Background independence A separate and older criticism of string theory is that it is background-dependent — string theory describes perturbative expansions about fixed spacetime backgrounds. a high planck scale. This principle is already employed to explain the existence of life on earth as the result of a life-friendly orbit around the medium-sized sun among an infinite number of possible orbits (as well as a relatively stable location in the galaxy).[23] and these vacua might be sufficiently diverse to accommodate almost any phenomena we might observe at lower energies. Some physicists believe this is a good thing. which is twenty orders of magnitude smaller than the radius of a proton.[55][56] The argument is that most universes contain values for physical constants that do not lead to habitable universes (at least for humans). and the exchange of gravitons is equivalent to a change in the background — mathematical calculations in the theory rely on preselecting a background as a starting point. or a non-perturbative treatment of string theory (such as "background independent open string field theory") will have a background-independent formulation. and so we happen to live in the "friendliest" universe. and because quantum effects are controlled by Planck's constant h. which are actually inconsistent. Some hope that M-theory. called string vacua. and high energies are required to probe small length scales. the effects of quantum gravity are extremely weak. much of string theory is still only formulated perturbatively.[23] What principle. in particular the small value of the cosmological constant. and chiral fermions. can be used to select among these vacua is an open issue. While there are no continuous parameters in the theory. there is a very large set of possible universes. As a result. a non-perturbative definition of the theory in arbitrary spacetime backgrounds is still lacking. Although the theory has some background-independence — topology change is an established process in string theory. quantum gravity is difficult to test because the gravity is much weaker than the other forces. because it may allow a natural anthropic explanation of the observed values of physical constants. Nevertheless. This criticism has been addressed to some extent by the AdS/CFT duality. if any. This is because strings themselves are expected to be only slightly larger than the Planck length. as a divergent series of approximations. is not well understood. Generally speaking. higher by orders of magnitude than those that current experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider[54] can attain. Each of these corresponds to a different possible universe. This is because. The vacuum structure of the theory. a very small quantity. with a different collection of particles and forces. non-perturbative definition of string theory in spacetimes with anti-de Sitter space asymptotics. Number of solutions String theory as it is currently understood has a huge number of solutions. String theory contains an infinite number of distinct meta-stable vacua.

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Physical Review 166 (5): 1768. jp/ ~kiasyk2/ slides/ hashimoto. doi:10. Bibcode 1968PhRv. [44] Peter Woit Not Even Wrong (http:/ / www.) (1992). arXiv:hep-th/9802150. edu/ ~woit/ testable. html). "Vortices on the worldsheet of the QCD string". Klebanov and A. 2005.1016/j. Physics Letters B428: 105–114. 244. [35] Edward Witten (1998). The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space. ph. [36] Aharony. Oz (2000). Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics 2: 253–291. "Is string theory in trouble?" (http://www. February 2003 174 Further reading Popular books and articles • Davies. arXiv:hep-th/9905111. Norton & Company. doi:10. Time. 4 January 2005 [51] "there ain't no experiment that could be done nor is there any observation that could be made that would say.166. Bibcode 1997NuPhB. pdf) INFN Rome March 2007 [50] "String theory is the first science in hundreds of years to be pursued in pre-Baconian fashion. Q C D Strings and D-branes (http:/ / www2. Erik. Arkani-Hamed. Astrophysics and Cosmology] 12 (9): 1509. arXiv:hep-th/9610043v3. 569. thetroublewithphysics. Brian (2004). • Green.th. C. Susskind.432M... kyoto-u. Is String Theory Testable? (http:/ / www. Retrieved on 2012-07-11. jp/ ~gc2007/ pdf/ yi. pdf)" [55] N.121D. Brown (Eds. "Large N Field Theories. math. Julian R.. New York: Alfred A..1103/PhysRev. pdf) [41] Piljin Yi (2007) " Story of baryons in a gravity dual of QCD (http:/ / www2. Retrieved on 2012-07-11. doi:10. W.. The Trouble With Physics (http:/ / www. [48] P. I. columbia. Dimopoulos and S.506. Shenker. "Finite-Energy Sum Rules and Their Application to πN Charge Exchange". ac. R. html). [47] John Baez weblog (http:/ / math. (2005).428. html)) [52] "String theory [is] yet to have any real successes in explaining or predicting anything measurable" New York Times. Retrieved December 19. 464. doi:10. Retrieved December 19.. New York Times. • Gefter. Brian (2003). arXiv:hep-th/0506034v1. arXiv:hep-th/0310077. ac.1768. [37] Dijkgraaf. "Gauge theory correlators from non-critical string theory". [39] Meyer. M. ucr..String Theory [33] J. L. math. p.February 2001.ac. Polyakov (1998). p. Journal of High Energy Physics 2007 (9): 036. S.nuclphysb.' The theory is safe. . Woit (Columbia University). doi:10. Scientific American.5112. Thetroublewithphysics.damtp. Koji. Horn. Math.W. edu/ category/ 2007/ 02/ this_weeks_finds_in_mathematic_7.07. and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. [40] Koji Hashimoto (2007) Cosmic Strings.. "Superstrings" (http://www.. arXiv:physics/0102051 [49] P. Hashimoto. Rept. Nuclear Physics B 724: 432. Terashima. yukawa. Robbert. arXiv:hep-th/0501082. Verlinde.columbia. Bibcode 2005NuPhB. (1968). and the Texture of Reality.001. utexas. doi:10. p.1142/S0218271803004304. the theoretical physicist who discovered that string theory is based on one-dimensional objects and now is promoting the idea of multiple universes. The Large N Limit of Superconformal Field Theories and Supergravity. pdf)" [42] Dolen.1088/1126-6708/2007/09/036.724. arXiv:hep-th/9711200 [34] S. doi:10. edu/ chapters/ s8456. [46] The n-Category Cafe (http:/ / golem. • Greene. columbia. Verlinde.2150W. Retrieved on 2012-07-11.09.uk/user/mbg15/superstrings/ superstrings. `You guys are wrong.

pdf) (PDF). D-branes. p. (Popular article. Katrin. ISBN 978-1-59257-702-6. and the Extraordinary Search for a Theory of Everything.) • Vilenkin. Paul (2004). #11. • Kaku. Schwarz (2007) String Theory and M-Theory: A Modern Introduction .edu/~witten/papers/string. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Elias (2007) String Theory in a Nutshell. and the Tenth Dimension. • Vol. Symmetry. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions. ISBN 0-521-85841-0. • Michael Green. The Great Beyond: Higher Dimensions. Cambridge University Press. The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory. Alex (2006). ISBN 0-8090-9523-8. and Cosmology. 224. Dual Resonance Models. and the Theory of Everything. Physics Today. • Vol. 235. 368. 384. Solving Quantum Field Theories via Curved Spacetimes (http://ptonline. Pierre (2007) Supersymmetry: Theory. Lisa (2005). ISBN 0-316-32975-4. The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design. p. 290. Peter (2006). Schwarz and Edward Witten (1987) Superstring theory. • Randall. p. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Indianapolis: Alpha. • Dine. ISBN 978-0-06-113032-8. ISBN 978-0-19-850954-7. Experiment. Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes. • Klebanov. • Musser. 2: Loop amplitudes. • Taubes. ISBN 0-316-01333-1.String Theory • Gribbin.. 175 Textbooks • Becker. Cambridge University Press. Juan (January 2009).sns. Hoboken. Melanie. Igor and Maldacena. Leonard (2006). p. anomalies and phenomenology. Cambridge University Press. George (2008). Parallel Universes. Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe's Missing Mass and Energy. John H. Dan (2006). London: Jonathan Cape &: New York: Basic Books. • Kiritsis. 403. • Halpern. Michio (1994). 1: Introduction. and What Comes Next. on the first superstring revolution. p. • Vol. ISBN 978-0-521-86875-4. ISBN 0-521-63303-6. p. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. p. .org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_62/iss_1/28_1. ISBN 0-521-35752-7. Lee (2006). Time Warps. • Witten. Astronomy Magazine. Not Even Wrong – The Failure of String Theory And the Search for Unity in Physical Law. Becker. Cambridge University Press. Edward (June 2002). The original textbook. Frampton (1974). New York: Hill and Wang. 1: An introduction to the bosonic string. • Paul H. p. London: Little Brown and Company. the Fall of a Science. "The Universe on a String" (http://www. Oxford University Press. • Johnson. p. New York: Ecco Press. ISBN 0-618-55105-0. John (1998). Princeton University Press. 512. Retrieved December 19. • Woit. Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. p. ISBN 0-471-46595-X. 392. Frontiers in Physics. ISBN 0-06-053108-8. ISBN 0-521-86069-5 • Binétruy. Inc. ISBN 0-19-508514-0.shtml).aip. Maurizio (2007) Elements of String Cosmology. • Susskind. 2005.. – An easy nontechnical article on the very basics of the theory. ISBN 0-521-35753-5. 326. The Search for Superstrings. The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory. Clifford (2003).ias. Gary (November 1986). ISBN 978-0-691-12230-4. 240. and John H. ISBN 0-8053-2581-6. • Hooper. ISBN 0-521-80912-6. New York: Hachette Book Group/Back Bay Books. "Everything's Now Tied to Strings" Discover Magazine vol 7. probably the first ever written. ISBN 978-0-465-09275-8. • Gasperini. Michael (2007) Supersymmetry and String Theory: Beyond the Standard Model. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Two nontechnical books that are critical of string theory: • Smolin. New York: HarperCollins.

php?storyId=6377252).blorge. – A comprehensive compilation of materials concerning string theory. Richard J. with Strings Attached" (http://www. arXiv:hep-th/0311044. – Slides and audio from an Ed Witten lecture where he introduces string theory and discusses its challenges. Retrieved December 16. arXiv:hep-ex/0008017. Peter (2002). "Lectures on String Theory". Created by an international team of students. Physics World (http://physicsworld.edu/online/ plecture/witten/). Retrieved December 16.com/Structure: /2007/01/24/ theory-of-everything-put-to-the-test/). – A criticism of string theory. Scientific American. – A guide to the string theory literature. • Woit. – Invited Lecture at COSLAB 2004.com/cws/article/indepth/30940). 2: Superstring theory and beyond. ISBN 0-521-83143-1.blorge. Retrieved September 6. "Resource Letter NSST-1: The Nature and Status of String Theory".itp. p.slate. "Stringscape" (http://physicsworld. Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. [news:tech. Edward (1998). Shakeeb.org/scriblerus/) • An Italian Website with various papers in English language concerning the mathematical connections between String Theory and Number Theory. ISBN 978-1-86094-427-7. • Veneziano.com tech.org/issues/pub/ is-string-theory-even-wrong). – A criticism of string theory.com). R. Don. • Witten. "Introduction to Superstring Theory". • Zwiebach. (Reprinted 2007) An Introduction to String Theory and D-brane Dynamics. Cambridge University Press. Gabriele (May 2004). • Chalmers. held at Ambleside. • Szabo. (2006-03-02). "The nth dimension" (http://thenthdimension. • A website dedicated to creative writing inspired by string theory.npr. 2007.com/). presented at the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Techniques and Concepts of High Energy Physics.americanscientist. (2004). and addressed to an audience of graduate students in experimental high energy physics. Cumbria.com/articles/health_and_science/ science/2005/11/theory_of_anything. The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe. National Public Radio. 2005. St. Roger (2005). Technical and critical: • Penrose. 176 Online material • David Tong. in June 2000. arXiv:0908. Spacetime and Quantum Mechanics" (http://online. John H. arXiv:astro-ph/0410073. . (http://nardelli. from 10 to 17 September 2004.it/virgiliowizard/) • George Gardner (2007-01-24). Lawrence (2005-11-23). "Duality.com/article. The lectures assume a working knowledge of quantum field theory and general relativity. 1136.org/ templates/story/story.sciam. American Scientist.html). – This is a one semester course on bosonic string theory aimed at beginning graduate students. Contact author for errata. Knopf. • Kibble. "Theory of Anything?" (http://www. Retrieved December 16.com]. cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=00042F0D-1A0E-1085-94F483414B7F0000). • Minkel.cfm?chanId=sa003&articleId=1475A684-E7F2-99DF-355B95296BE6031C). 2005. "The Myth of the Beginning of Time" (http://www.0333.String Theory • Vol. Tom. Slate (http://www. Richard (2006-11-07).blorge. • Marolf. • Harris.com).' String Theorists Accused of Nothing" (http://www. Wieland et al. • Krauss. (http://banyancollege.. Croix. Retrieved 2007-03-03. • Ajay.com/ article. Retrieved 2007-03-05. Barton (2004) A First Course in String Theory. United Kingdom. "A Prediction from String Theory. "Cosmic strings reborn?". Scientific American. Virgin Islands. ISBN 0-521-63304-4. Imperial College Press. ISBN 0-679-45443-8.ucsb. Web link (http://tech. survey basic concepts in string theory. – Four lectures. Matthew (2007-09-03).sciam. " Theory of everything put to the test (news:ID109828243)". — An up-to-date and thorough review of string theory in a popular way. 2005. • Schwarz.slate.xoom. "Is string theory even wrong?" (http://www. "Short of 'All. J.

8–9 p. • Spinning the Superweb: Essays on the History of Superstring Theory (http://www.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/) – A Three-Hour Miniseries with Brian Greene by NOVA (original PBS Broadcast Dates: October 28.ca/en/Outreach/What_We_Research/Superstring_Theory/ ) Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics • The Official String Theory Web Site (http://superstringtheory. "Early History of String Theory: A Personal Perspective" (http://online.com) – A Science Studies' approach to the history of string theory (an elementary knowledge of string theory is required).htm) at MathPages • Superstrings! String Theory Home Page (http://www. videos and animations explaining string theory.mathpages. • Superstring Theory (http://www.columbia.m.edu/ online/colloq/schwarz1/).edu/~woit/blog/) – A blog critical of string theory.pbs.phys. ISBN 0-224-07605-1 (Jonathan Cape).itp. . • Beyond String Theory (http://www. 2006.m.com/2011/03/ a-laymans-explanation-for-string-theory/).com/) • The Elegant Universe (http://www. John (2001).com/jpierre/strings/) – Online tutorial • CI.edu/~sps/) – A moderated newsgroup for discussion of string theory (a theory of quantum gravity and unification of forces) and related fields of high-energy physics. Retrieved July 17.fr/~troost/beyondstringtheory/) – A project by a string physicist explaining aspects of string theory to a broad audience. • Zidbits (2011-03-27). texts. STRINGS newsgroup (http://schwinger.physics.com/) – an introduction to string theory • Dialogue on the Foundations of String Theory (http://www. 2003). Various images.perimeterinstitute.harvard..sukidog. "A Layman's Explanation For String Theory?" (http://zidbits.math. and November 4. 2009.String Theory • Woit. 8–10 p. Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory & the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics.ucsb. ISBN 0-465-09275-6 (Basic Books) • Schwarz. 177 External links • Why String Theory (http://whystringtheory.ens.com/home/kmath632/kmath632. • Not Even Wrong (http://www.spinningthesuperweb. Peter. blogspot.

they simply quantize the gravitational field while keeping it separate from the other forces. such objects cannot be understood with current theories of quantum mechanics or general relativity. as of 2011. so strong-field effects—any effects of gravity beyond lowest nonvanishing order in φ/c2—have not been observed even in the gravitational fields of planets and main sequence stars). It is hoped that development of such a theory would unify all fundamental interactions into a single mathematical framework and describe all known observable interactions in the universe. such as singularities. This can be thought of as due to an extreme separation of mass scales at which they are important. gravity). and from experimental evidence suggesting that gravity can be made to show quantum effects. certain physical phenomena. it is referred to as a theory of everything (TOE). Motivation for quantizing gravity comes from the remarkable success of the quantum theories of the other three fundamental interactions. However. show up mainly for the "very large" bodies such as collapsed stars. for objects no larger than typical molecules. without needing both. Such a theory of quantum gravity would yield the same experimental results as ordinary quantum mechanics in conditions of weak gravity (gravitational potentials much less than c2) and the same results as Einsteinian general relativity in phenomena at scales much larger than individual molecules (action much larger than reduced Planck's constant). that is. i. .e. (Planets' gravitational fields. Quantum effects are usually important only for the "very small".Quantum Gravity 178 Quantum Gravity Quantum gravity (QG) is the field of theoretical physics which attempts to develop scientific models that unify quantum mechanics (describing three of the four known fundamental interactions) with general relativity (describing the fourth. If the theory of quantum gravity also achieves a grand unification of the other known interactions.. unless large extra dimension conjectures are correct). There is a lack of experimental evidence relating to quantum gravity. but moreover be able to predict the outcome of situations where both quantum effects and strong-field gravity are important (at the Planck scale. thus motivating the search for a quantum theory of gravity. and classical physics adequately describes the observed effects of gravity over a range of 50 orders of magnitude of mass. at both subatomic and cosmological scales. for masses of objects from about 10−23 to 1030 kg.[1][2][3] Although some quantum gravity theories such as string theory and other unified field theories (or 'theories of everything') attempt to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces. others such as loop quantum gravity make no such attempt. on the other hand. are well-described by linearized gravity except for Mercury's perihelion precession. Most observed physical phenomena can be described well by quantum mechanics or general relativity. are "very small" spatially yet are "very large" from a mass or energy perspective. General relativistic effects.

since it appears to be valid all the way up to its cutoff at the Planck scale. the most obvious way of combining the two (such as treating gravity as simply another particle field) ran quickly into what is known as the Diagram showing where quantum gravity sits in the hierarchy of physics theories renormalization problem. The "infinities" then become large but finite quantities proportional to this finite cutoff scale. . (By comparison. to any desired precision. These quantities can then be absorbed into an infinite collection of coupling constants. General relativity models gravity as a curvature within space-time that changes as a gravitational mass moves. Indeed. Effective field theories Quantum gravity can be treated as an effective field theory. gravity particles would attract each other and adding together all of the interactions results in many infinite values which cannot easily be cancelled out mathematically to yield sensible. In fact. and correspond to processes that involve very high energies near the fundamental cutoff. Quantum field theory depends on particle fields embedded in the flat space-time of special relativity. only a finite number of these coupling constants need to be measured in order to make legitimate quantum-mechanical predictions. while the series still do not converge. the Standard Model is expected to start to break down above its cutoff at the much smaller scale of around 1000 GeV. and at energies well below the fundamental cutoff of the theory.Quantum Gravity 179 Overview Much of the difficulty in meshing these theories at all energy scales comes from the different assumptions that these theories make on how the universe works. and may well require a totally new kind of model. This is in contrast with quantum electrodynamics where. Specifically. gravity is in many ways a much better quantum field theory than the Standard Model. the interactions sometimes evaluate to infinite results. beyond which we do not expect that the theory provides a good description of nature. the first quantum-mechanical corrections to graviton-scattering and Newton's law of gravitation have been explicitly computed[4] (although they are so astronomically small that we may never be able to measure them). In the old-fashioned understanding of renormalization.) While confirming that quantum mechanics and gravity are indeed consistent at reasonable energies. Effective quantum field theories come with some high-energy cutoff. This same logic works just as well for the highly successful theory of low-energy pions as for quantum gravity. the problem of combining quantum mechanics and gravity becomes an issue only at very high energies. a new model of nature will be needed. but those are few enough in number to be removable via renormalization. finite results. Historically. it is clear that near or above the fundamental cutoff of our effective quantum theory of gravity (the cutoff is generally assumed to be of the order of the Planck scale).

all assume. Supporting this theory is the observation that all fundamental forces except gravity have one or more known messenger particles. known as R=T theory[11] (as opposed to the general G=T theory) was amenable to exact solutions in terms of a generalization of the Lambert W function. and applies to large-scale structures (stars. accordingly. with quantum mechanics. it appears in string theory. This problem must be put in the proper context. superstring theory. they have dubbed these hypothetical particles gravitons. however. which describes the other three fundamental forces acting on the atomic scale. Many of the accepted notions of a unified theory of physics since the 1970s. Such a theory is required in order to understand problems involving the combination of very high energy and very small dimensions of space. More recently. one of the deepest problems in theoretical physics is harmonizing the theory of general relativity. which describes gravitation. Gravity Probe B (GP-B) has measured spacetime curvature near Earth to test related models in application of Einstein's general theory of relativity. To simplify the problem. One problem with this approach is that it is unknown whether quantum gravity will actually conform to a simple and elegant theory. one had a theory which combined gravity. Quantum mechanics and general relativity The graviton At present. and the origin of the universe. and to some degree depend upon. planets. unified theory. It was also found that the field equation governing the dilaton (derived from differential geometry) was the Schrödinger equation and consequently amenable to quantization. galaxies). including string theory. loop quantum gravity. leading researchers to believe that at least one most likely does exist. contrary to the popular claim that quantum mechanics and general relativity are fundamentally incompatible. as it should resolve the dual conundrums of special relativity with regard to the uniformity of acceleration and gravity. The dilaton The dilaton made its first appearance in Kaluza–Klein theory. The impetus arose from the fact that complete analytical solutions for the metric of a covariant N-body system have proven elusive in General Relativity.Quantum Gravity 180 Quantum gravity theory for the highest energy scales The general approach to deriving a quantum gravity theory that is valid at even the highest energy scales is to assume that such a theory will be simple and elegant and.[12] Thus. to study symmetries and other clues offered by current theories that might suggest ways to combine them into a comprehensive. Generally. a five-dimensional theory that combined gravitation and electromagnetism. the existence of the graviton. This model problem. M-theory. While there is no concrete proof of the existence of gravitons. In particular. it has appeared in the lower-dimensional many-bodied gravity problem[10] based on the field theoretic approach of Roman Jackiw. such as the behavior of black holes. one can demonstrate that the structure of general relativity essentially follows inevitably from the quantum mechanics of interacting theoretical spin-2 massless particles [5][6][7][8][9] (called gravitons). Many researchers view the detection of the graviton as vital to validating their work. quantization and even . the number of dimensions was lowered to (1+1) namely one spatial dimension and one temporal dimension. and general relativity with regard to spacetime curvature. quantized theories of matter may necessitate their existence.

where all of the excitations of the string essentially manifest themselves as new symmetries. • One possibility is that normal perturbation theory is not a reliable guide to the renormalizability of the theory. which could. in principle. be set by experiment. there are infinitely many independent parameters (counterterm coefficients) needed to define the theory. then every one of the infinitely many unknown parameters would begin to matter. despite the unknown choices of these infinitely many parameters. the model is indeed a predictive quantum field theory. at least in the low-energy regime. and that there really is a UV fixed point for gravity. One might expect that. It is worth noting that the outcome revealed a previously unknown and already existing natural link between general relativity and quantum mechanics. one could make sense of the theory. On the other hand.) Furthermore. Moreover. quantum gravity will reduce to the usual Einstein theory of general relativity. QG as an effective field theory In an effective field theory. Any meaningful theory of quantum gravity that makes sense and is predictive at all energy scales must have some deep principle that reduces the infinitely many unknown parameters to a finite number that can then be measured. However. • On the other hand. their coupling could potentially lead to a means of vindicating the theory. Thus. there should be a corresponding quantum field theory. is a classical field theory. gravity is perturbatively nonrenormalizable. since this approach allows for the combination of gravitational. the field equations are amenable to such generalization as shown with the inclusion of a one-graviton process[13] and yielding the correct Newtonian limit in d dimensions if a dilaton is included. like electromagnetism. However. but some people still pursue this option. electromagnetic and quantum effects.[4] (A very similar situation occurs for the very similar effective field theory of low-energy pions. we do not have a meaningful physical theory: • At low energies. in principle. This is the route taken by string theory. Since this is a question of non-perturbative quantum field theory. in quantizing gravity. in quantum electrodynamics. it must be asymptotically free or asymptotically safe. the logic of the renormalization group tells us that.Quantum Gravity the electromagnetic interaction. and we could make no predictions at all. 181 Nonrenormalizability of gravity General relativity. if we could probe very high energies where quantum effects take over. there is a way around this problem by treating QG as an effective field theory. all but the first few of the infinite set of parameters in a non-renormalizable theory are suppressed by huge energy scales and hence can be neglected when computing low-energy effects. For a given choice of those parameters. . This is further complicated by the fact that gravitons can propagate in (3+1) dimensions and consequently that would imply gravitons and dilatons exist in the real world. many theorists agree that even the Standard Model should really be regarded as an effective field theory as well. it is not yet clear what the full field equation will govern the dilaton in higher dimensions. However. As explained below. detection of the dilaton is expected to be even more elusive than the graviton.[14] For a quantum field theory to be well-defined according to this understanding of the subject. but since we can never do infinitely many experiments to fix the values of every parameter. these parameters are the charge and mass of the electron. as with electromagnetism. promising ingredients of a fundamental physical theory. • Another possibility is that there are new symmetry principles that constrain the parameters and reduce them to a finite set. it is difficult to find a reliable answer. The theory must be characterized by a choice of finitely many parameters. For example. this theory needs to be generalized in (2+1) or (3+1) dimensions although. through cosmology and perhaps even experimentally. as measured at a particular energy scale. However. with "nonrenormalizable" interactions suppressed by large energy scales and whose effects have consequently not been observed experimentally.

182 Spacetime background dependence A fundamental lesson of general relativity is that there is no fixed spacetime background. including spin networks. Background independent theories Loop quantum gravity is the fruit of an effort to formulate a background-independent quantum theory. just as in classical field theory. although the interactions among closed strings give rise to space-time in a dynamical way. Interaction in the subatomic world: world lines of point-like particles in the Standard Model or a world sheet swept up by closed strings in string theory . general relativity can be seen to be a relational theory. String theory String theory can be seen as a generalization of quantum field theory where instead of point particles. and its consequences are profound and not fully explored. gravity is a topological field theory. the spacetime geometry is dynamic. one can actually make legitimate predictions for quantum gravity. string-like objects propagate in a fixed spacetime background. In this sense. and only finitely many degrees of freedom globally. In relativistic quantum field theory. In 2+1 dimensions. and it has been successfully quantized in several different ways. even at the classical level. In the case of quantum mechanics.[15] in which the only physically relevant information is the relationship between different events in space-time. in the AdS/CFT correspondence) which is a weak form of background dependence. for example. however. this is the hardest idea to understand about general relativity. Topological quantum field theory provided an example of background-independent quantum theory. and that "condensation" of certain vibration modes of strings is equivalent to a modification of the original background. as found in Newtonian mechanics and special relativity. quantum mechanics has depended since its inception on a fixed background (non-dynamic) structure. Minkowski spacetime is the fixed background of the theory. This is inadequate to describe gravity in 3+1 dimensions which has local degrees of freedom according to general relativity. it is time that is given and not dynamic. Although string theory had its origins in the study of quark confinement and not of quantum gravity.Quantum Gravity Recent work[4] has shown that by treating general relativity as an effective field theory. An example is the well-known calculation of the tiny first-order quantum-mechanical correction to the classical Newtonian gravitational potential between two masses. just as in Newtonian classical mechanics. but with no local degrees of freedom. To a certain extent. While easy to grasp in principle. at least for low-energy phenomena. On the other hand. it was soon discovered that the string spectrum contains the graviton. string perturbation theory exhibits exactly the features one would expect of a perturbation theory that may exhibit a strong dependence on asymptotics (as seen.

for ordinary field theories such as quantum electrodynamics. In an analogous way to the development of quantum electrodynamics in the early part of the 20th century (when physicists considered quantum mechanics in classical electromagnetic fields). since under the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics its location and velocity cannot be known with certainty.[16] • Third. The resolution of these points may come from a better understanding of general relativity. the consideration of quantum field theory on a curved background has led to predictions such as black hole radiation. do not pose any difficulty when considered on a curved background (the Unruh effect occurs even in flat Minkowskian backgrounds).[21] gravity turns out to be much more problematic at higher energies.[17] Candidate theories There are a number of proposed quantum gravity theories. although there is hope for this to change as future data from cosmological observations and particle physics experiments becomes available. However. while not a full quantum theory of gravity. • First.[22] gravity turns out to be nonrenormalizable: at high energies.[19][20] String theory One suggested starting point is ordinary quantum field theories which. Phenomena such as the Unruh effect.[18] Currently. See Quantum field theory in curved spacetime for a more complete discussion. and the candidate models still need to overcome major formal and conceptual problems. applying the recipes of ordinary quantum field theory yields models that are devoid of all predictive power. are successful in describing the other three basic fundamental forces in the context of the standard model of elementary particle physics. while this leads to an acceptable effective (quantum) field theory of gravity at low energies.Quantum Gravity 183 Semi-classical quantum gravity Quantum field theory on curved (non-Minkowskian) backgrounds. as yet. in which particles exist in certain accelerating frames but not in stationary ones. and quantum mechanics becomes inconsistent with general relativity in the neighborhood of singularities (however. has shown many promising early results. a technique known as renormalization is an integral part of deriving predictions which take into account higher-energy contributions. Where. there is no way to put quantum gravity predictions to experimental tests. • Second. They also face the common problem that. Time has a different meaning in quantum mechanics and general relativity and hence there are subtle issues to resolve when trying to formulate a theory which combines the two. Points of tension There are other points of tension between quantum mechanics and general relativity. after all. The vacuum state is the state with least energy (and may or may not contain particles). there is still no complete and consistent quantum theory of gravity. one of the ways of compactifying the extra dimensions posited by string theory .[23] Projection of a Calabi-Yau manifold. there is the Problem of Time in quantum gravity. no one is certain that classical general relativity applies near singularities in the first place). it is not clear how to determine the gravitational field of a particle. classical general relativity breaks down at singularities.

it was conjectured that both string theory and a unification of general relativity and supersymmetry known as supergravity[27] form part of a hypothesized eleven-dimensional model known as M-theory. different modes of oscillation of one and the same type of fundamental string appear as particles with different (electric and other) charges. however. Sorting through this large family of solutions remains one of the major challenges. the messenger particle of gravity. with a quantum theory of one-dimensional extended objects: string theory. which some argue is ill-defined. but. crucially. and which features are modified. however. Starting with the initial-value-formulation of general relativity (cf. string theory admits a very large number (10500 by some estimates) of consistent vacua. In this way. the section on evolution equations. which would constitute a uniquely defined and consistent theory of quantum gravity.[30] A major break-through came with the introduction of what are now known as Ashtekar variables. • Path-integral based models of quantum cosmology[42] . these strings are indistinguishable from point-like particles. the result is an analogue of the Schrödinger equation: the Wheeler–DeWitt equation. comprising the so-called "string landscape". in which space is represented by a network structure called a spin network. which represent geometric gravity using mathematical analogues of electric and magnetic fields.Quantum Gravity One attempt to overcome these limitations is to replace ordinary quantum field theory. above). evolving over time in discrete steps. which is based on the classical concept of a point particle.[28][29] As presently understood. the price to pay are unusual features such as six extra dimensions of space in addition to the usual three for space and one for time.[26] In what is called the second superstring revolution.[24] At the energies reached in current experiments.[37][38] Examples include: • • • • • • • Acoustic metric and other analog models of gravity Algebraic Graviton Quantizing Asymptotic safety Causal Dynamical Triangulation[39] Causal sets[40] Group field theory[41] MacDowell–Mansouri action • Noncommutative geometry. The approaches differ depending on which features of general relativity and quantum theory are accepted unchanged.[25] The theory is successful in that one mode will always correspond to a graviton.[31][32] The resulting candidate for a theory of quantum gravity is Loop quantum gravity.[33][34][35][36] Simple spin network of the type used in loop quantum gravity Other approaches There are a number of other approaches to quantum gravity. string theory promises to be a unified description of all particles and interactions. 184 Loop quantum gravity Another approach to quantum gravity starts with the canonical quantization procedures of quantum theory.

. Reviews of Modern Physics 29 (3): 334–336. pp.1683. Bibcode 1996CQGra. R. Morinigo. com/ nature/ journal/ v415/ n6869/ abs/ 415297a. Bibcode 2002Natur. and decoherence induced by fluctuations in the space-time foam.8. Recent Developments in General Relativity. Bibcode 1954PhRv.1118K. R B (1991). (1995).1103/RevModPhys. "Exact solution for the metric and the motion of two bodies in (1+1)-dimensional gravity". (1970).219S.. . "Canonical reduction of two-dimensional gravity for particle dynamics". & Hatfield. arXiv:gr-qc/9512024 [gr-qc].1683G. The most widely pursued possibilities for quantum gravity phenomenology include violations of Lorentz invariance. Tadayuki. Classical and Quantum Gravity 8: 219–235.9D.Quantum Gravity • • • • • Regge calculus String-nets giving rise to gapless helicity ±2 excitations with no other gapless excitations[43] Superfluid vacuum theory a.. P. the Weinberg–Witten theorem would not be valid.415. Mann. Jason (2011-04-18).. Mann. Since the theoretical development has been slow.1088/0264-9381/13/9/022.. G. doi:10. However. F. Mann..334G. Abele. (1962). arXiv:gr-qc/9611008.a.29. T (1997).. the possibility of experimentally testing quantum gravity had not received much attention prior to the late 1990s.98.1. physicists have realized that evidence for quantum gravitational effects can guide the development of the theory. Classical and Quantum Gravity 13 (9): 2585–2602.. [13] Mann. R B.1088/0264-9381/24/18/006.. B. Nesvizhevsky et al.. uk/ news/ science-environment-13097370). Rev. Experimental Tests As was emphasized above. W. has obtained increased attention. B. General Relativity and Gravitation 1: 9–18.4723. [2] Jenke.k. "Neutrons could test Newton's gravity and string theory" (http:/ / www. imprints of quantum gravitational effects in the Cosmic Microwave Background (in particular its polarization). Retrieved 2011-04-21. "Gravitation and cosmology in (1+1) dimensions". Phys. doi:10..1007/BF00759198. Peter.334.. [4] Donoghue (1995). (1954). "Einstein's and Other Theories of Gravitation". D. Physical Review 98 (4): 1118–1122. the phenomenology of quantum gravity which studies the possibility of experimental tests. (1957)... ISBN 0-201-62734-5. [3] Palmer. H.. BBC News. nature.. the Weinberg–Witten theorem places some constraints on theories of composite gravity/emergent gravity. S. Ohta. N. References [1] Nesvizhevsky.. doi:10. [14] Feynman. . Robert (1996). 55 (8): 4723–4747.2585O. "Self-Interaction and Gauge Invariance". [12] Farrugia. Bibcode 1957RvMP. Lemmel. doi:10. Feynman lectures on gravitation. Bibcode 2011NatPh. Pergamon Press. in the past decade. "Introduction to the Effective Field Theory Description of Gravity". recent developments attempt to show that if locality is only approximate and the holographic principle is correct. S. html).468J. arXiv:gr-qc/9605004.96.. (1955).96. [9] Deser.[45][46] There is presently no confirmed experimental signature of quantum gravitational effects. Retrieved 2011-04-21.1103/PhysRevD.. html). [8] Gupta.. co. [11] Sikkema.4723M.297N.29.4647F. Bibcode 2007CQGra. . However. S..1118. Classical and Quantum Gravity 24 (18): 4647–4659. doi:10. doi:10. Bibcode 1955PhRv. [6] Gupta. bbc. doi:10. "Realization of a gravity-resonance-spectroscopy technique" (http:/ / www. R.55.55. For this reason. Physical Review 96 (6): 1683–1685. Bibcode 1991CQGra. Lemmel & Abele. Scott (2007). Geltenbort. Hartmut.1103/PhysRev. Retrieved 2011-04-21. "Quantum states of neutrons in the Earth's gravitational field" (http:/ / www. "N-body Gravity and the Schroedinger Equation". doi:10.. quantum gravitational effects are extremely weak and therefore difficult to test. N. doi:10. [7] Gupta.. N. nature.1103/PhysRev. Geltenbort.. "Special-Relativistic Derivation of Generally Covariant Gravitation Theory". 251–258. (2002-01-17). Nature 7 (6): 468–472. Wagner. "Quantum Theory of Gravitation".13.1038/415297a.1088/0264-9381/8/1/022. S. arXiv:gr-qc/0611144.7.1038/nphys1970. Hartmut (2011-04-17). Nature 415 (6869): 297–299. theory of BEC vacuum Supergravity Twistor models[44] 185 Weinberg–Witten theorem In quantum field theory.98. [5] Kraichnan. "Gravitation and Electromagnetism".. doi:10. com/ nphys/ journal/ vaop/ ncurrent/ full/ nphys1970. Bibcode 1970GReGr. Bibcode 1997PhRvD. [10] Ohta. arXiv:gr-qc/0411023. . A E.24. Addison-Wesley.

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[15] Smolin, Lee (2001). Three Roads to Quantum Gravity. Basic Books. pp. 20–25. ISBN 0-465-07835-4. Pages 220–226 are annotated references and guide for further reading. [16] Hunter Monroe (2005). "Singularity-Free Collapse through Local Inflation". arXiv:astro-ph/0506506 [astro-ph]. [17] Edward Anderson (2010). "The Problem of Time in Quantum Gravity". arXiv:1009.2157 [gr-qc]. [18] A timeline and overview can be found in Rovelli, Carlo (2000). "Notes for a brief history of quantum gravity". arXiv:gr-qc/0006061 [gr-qc]. [19] Ashtekar, Abhay (2007). "Loop Quantum Gravity: Four Recent Advances and a Dozen Frequently Asked Questions". 11th Marcel Grossmann Meeting on Recent Developments in Theoretical and Experimental General Relativity. p. 126. arXiv:0705.2222. Bibcode 2008mgm..conf..126A. doi:10.1142/9789812834300_0008. [20] Schwarz, John H. (2007). "String Theory: Progress and Problems". Progress of Theoretical Physics Supplement 170: 214–226. arXiv:hep-th/0702219. Bibcode 2007PThPS.170..214S. doi:10.1143/PTPS.170.214. [21] Donoghue, John F.(editor), (1995). "Introduction to the Effective Field Theory Description of Gravity". In Cornet, Fernando. Effective Theories: Proceedings of the Advanced School, Almunecar, Spain, 26 June–1 July 1995. Singapore: World Scientific. arXiv:gr-qc/9512024. ISBN 981-02-2908-9. [22] Weinberg, Steven (1996). "17–18". The Quantum Theory of Fields II: Modern Applications. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-55002-5. [23] Goroff, Marc H.; Sagnotti, Augusto (1985). "Quantum gravity at two loops". Physics Letters B 160: 81–86. Bibcode 1985PhLB..160...81G. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(85)91470-4. [24] An accessible introduction at the undergraduate level can be found in Zwiebach, Barton (2004). A First Course in String Theory. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83143-1., and more complete overviews in Polchinski, Joseph (1998). String Theory Vol. I: An Introduction to the Bosonic String. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63303-6. and Polchinski, Joseph (1998b). String Theory Vol. II: Superstring Theory and Beyond. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63304-4. [25] Ibanez, L. E. (2000). "The second string (phenomenology) revolution". Classical & Quantum Gravity 17 (5): 1117–1128. arXiv:hep-ph/9911499. Bibcode 2000CQGra..17.1117I. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/17/5/321. [26] For the graviton as part of the string spectrum, e.g. Green, Schwarz & Witten 1987, sec. 2.3 and 5.3; for the extra dimensions, ibid sec. 4.2. [27] Weinberg, Steven (2000). "31" (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=aYDDRKqODpUC& printsec=frontcover). The Quantum Theory of Fields II: Modern Applications. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-55002-5. . [28] Townsend, Paul K. (1996). Four Lectures on M-Theory. ICTP Series in Theoretical Physics. p. 385. arXiv:hep-th/9612121. Bibcode 1997hepcbconf..385T. [29] Duff, Michael (1996). "M-Theory (the Theory Formerly Known as Strings)". International Journal of Modern Physics A 11 (32): 5623–5642. arXiv:hep-th/9608117. Bibcode 1996IJMPA..11.5623D. doi:10.1142/S0217751X96002583. [30] Kuchař, Karel (1973). "Canonical Quantization of Gravity". In Israel, Werner. Relativity, Astrophysics and Cosmology. D. Reidel. pp. 237–288 (section 3). ISBN 90-277-0369-8. [31] Ashtekar, Abhay (1986). "New variables for classical and quantum gravity". Physical Review Letters 57 (18): 2244–2247. Bibcode 1986PhRvL..57.2244A. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.57.2244. PMID 10033673. [32] Ashtekar, Abhay (1987). "New Hamiltonian formulation of general relativity". Physical Review D 36 (6): 1587–1602. Bibcode 1987PhRvD..36.1587A. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.36.1587. [33] Thiemann, Thomas (2006). "Loop Quantum Gravity: An Inside View". Approaches to Fundamental Physics 721: 185. arXiv:hep-th/0608210. Bibcode 2007LNP...721..185T. [34] Rovelli, Carlo (1998). "Loop Quantum Gravity" (http:/ / www. livingreviews. org/ lrr-1998-1). Living Reviews in Relativity 1. . Retrieved 2008-03-13. [35] Ashtekar, Abhay; Lewandowski, Jerzy (2004). "Background Independent Quantum Gravity: A Status Report". Classical & Quantum Gravity 21 (15): R53–R152. arXiv:gr-qc/0404018. Bibcode 2004CQGra..21R..53A. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/21/15/R01. [36] Thiemann, Thomas (2003). "Lectures on Loop Quantum Gravity". Lecture Notes in Physics 631: 41–135. arXiv:gr-qc/0210094. Bibcode 2003LNP...631...41T. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-45230-0_3. [37] Isham, Christopher J. (1994). "Prima facie questions in quantum gravity". In Ehlers, Jürgen; Friedrich, Helmut. Canonical Gravity: From Classical to Quantum. Springer. arXiv:gr-qc/9310031. ISBN 3-540-58339-4. [38] Sorkin, Rafael D. (1997). "Forks in the Road, on the Way to Quantum Gravity". International Journal of Theoretical Physics 36 (12): 2759–2781. arXiv:gr-qc/9706002. Bibcode 1997IJTP...36.2759S. doi:10.1007/BF02435709. [39] Loll, Renate (1998). "Discrete Approaches to Quantum Gravity in Four Dimensions" (http:/ / www. livingreviews. org/ lrr-1998-13). Living Reviews in Relativity 1: 13. arXiv:gr-qc/9805049. Bibcode 1998LRR.....1...13L. . Retrieved 2008-03-09. [40] Sorkin, Rafael D. (2005). "Causal Sets: Discrete Gravity". In Gomberoff, Andres; Marolf, Donald. Lectures on Quantum Gravity. Springer. arXiv:gr-qc/0309009. ISBN 0-387-23995-2. [41] See Daniele Oriti and references therein. [42] Hawking, Stephen W. (1987). "Quantum cosmology". In Hawking, Stephen W.; Israel, Werner. 300 Years of Gravitation. Cambridge University Press. pp. 631–651. ISBN 0-521-37976-8. [43] Wen 2006 [44] See ch. 33 in Penrose 2004 and references therein. [45] Hossenfelder, Sabine (2011). "Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity" (https:/ / www. novapublishers. com/ catalog/ product_info. php?products_id=15903). In V. R. Frignanni. Classical and Quantum Gravity: Theory, Analysis and Applications. Chapter 5: Nova

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Publishers. ISBN 978-1-61122-957-8. . [46] "1010.3420] Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity" (http:/ / arxiv. org/ abs/ 1010. 3420). Arxiv.org. 2010-10-17. . Retrieved 2012-04-08.

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Further reading
• Ahluwalia, D. V. (2002). "Interface of Gravitational and Quantum Realms". Modern Physics Letters A 17 (15–17): 1135. arXiv:gr-qc/0205121. Bibcode 2002MPLA...17.1135A. doi:10.1142/S021773230200765X. • Ashtekar, Abhay (2005). "The winding road to quantum gravity" (http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/dec252005/ 2064.pdf). Current Science 89: 2064–2074. • Carlip, Steven (2001). "Quantum Gravity: a Progress Report". Reports on Progress in Physics 64 (8): 885–942. arXiv:gr-qc/0108040. Bibcode 2001RPPh...64..885C. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/64/8/301. • Kiefer, Claus (2007). Quantum Gravity. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-921252-X. • Kiefer, Claus (2005). "Quantum Gravity: General Introduction and Recent Developments". Annalen der Physik 15: 129–148. arXiv:gr-qc/0508120. Bibcode 2006AnP...518..129K. doi:10.1002/andp.200510175. • Lämmerzahl, Claus, ed. (2003). Quantum Gravity: From Theory to Experimental Search. Lecture Notes in Physics. Springer. ISBN 3-540-40810-X. • Rovelli, Carlo (2004). Quantum Gravity. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83733-2. • Trifonov, Vladimir (2008). "GR-friendly description of quantum systems". International Journal of Theoretical Physics 47 (2): 492–510. arXiv:math-ph/0702095. Bibcode 2008IJTP...47..492T. doi:10.1007/s10773-007-9474-3.

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Appendix
Quantum
In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be "quantized," referred to as "the hypothesis of quantization".[1] This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete values. There is a related term of quantum number. An example of an entity that is quantized is the energy transfer of elementary particles of matter (called fermions) and of photons and other bosons. A photon is a single quantum of light, and is referred to as a "light quantum". The energy of an electron bound to an atom (at rest) is said to be quantized, which results in the stability of atoms, and of matter in general. As incorporated into the theory of quantum mechanics, this is regarded by physicists as part of the fundamental framework for understanding and describing nature at the infinitesimal level. Normally quanta are considered to be discrete packets with energy stored in them. Max Planck considered these quanta to be particles that can change their form (meaning that they can be absorbed and released). This phenomenon can be observed in the case of black body radiation, when it is being heated and cooled.

Etymology and discovery
The word "quantum" comes from the Latin "quantus," for "how much." "Quanta" meaning short for "quanta of electricity" (or electron) was used in a 1902 article on the photoelectric effect by Philipp Lenard, who credited Hermann von Helmholtz for using the word in the area of electricity. However, the word quantum in general was well known before 1900.[2] It was often used by physicians, such as the term quantum satis. Both Helmholtz and Julius von Mayer were physicians as well as physicists. Helmholtz used quantum with reference to heat in his article [3] on Mayer's work, and indeed, the word quantum can be found in the formulation of the first law of thermodynamics by Mayer in his letter [4] dated July 24, 1841. Max Planck used "quanta" to mean "quanta of matter and electricity",[5] gas, and heat.[6] In 1905, in response to Planck's work and the experimental work of Lenard, who explained his results by using the term "quanta of electricity", Albert Einstein suggested that radiation existed in spatially localized packets which he called "quanta of light" ("Lightquanta").[7] The concept of quantization of radiation was discovered in 1900 by Max Planck, who had been trying to understand the emission of radiation from heated objects, known as black-body radiation. By assuming that energy can only be absorbed or released in tiny, differential, discrete packets he called "bundles" or "energy elements",[8] Planck accounted for the fact that certain objects change colour when heated.[9] On December 14, 1900, Planck reported his revolutionary findings to the German Physical Society and introduced the idea of quantization for the first time as a part of his research on black body radiation.[10] As a result of his experiments, Planck deduced the numerical value of h, known as the Planck constant, and could also report a more precise value for the Avogadro–Loschmidt number, the number of real molecules in a mole and the unit of electrical charge, to the German Physical Society. After his theory was validated, Planck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918 for his discovery.

Quantum

189

Beyond electromagnetic radiation
While quantization was first discovered in electromagnetic radiation, it describes a fundamental aspect of energy not just restricted to photons.[11] In the attempt to bring experiment into agreement with theory, Max Planck postulated that electromagnetic energy is absorbed or emitted in discrete packets, or quanta.[12]

References
[1] Wiener, N. (1966). Differential Space, Quantum Systems, and Prediction. Cambridge: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press [2] E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898. (http:/ / www. bartleby. com/ 81/ 13830. html) [3] E. Helmholtz, Robert Mayer's Priorität (http:/ / www. ub. uni-heidelberg. de/ helios/ fachinfo/ www/ math/ edd/ helmholtz/ R-Mayer. pdf)

(German)
[4] Herrmann,A. Weltreich der Physik, GNT-Verlag (1991) (http:/ / wayback. archive. org/ web/ */ http:/ / fs. math. uni-frankfurt. de/ fsmath/ misc/ RobertMayer. html) (German) [5] Planck, M. (1901). "Ueber die Elementarquanta der Materie und der Elektricität". Annalen der Physik 309 (3): 564–566. Bibcode 1901AnP...309..564P. doi:10.1002/andp.19013090311. (German) [6] Planck, Max (1883). "Ueber das thermodynamische Gleichgewicht von Gasgemengen". Annalen der Physik 255 (6): 358. Bibcode 1883AnP...255..358P. doi:10.1002/andp.18832550612. (German) [7] Einstein, A. (1905). "Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt" (http:/ / www. physik. uni-augsburg. de/ annalen/ history/ einstein-papers/ 1905_17_132-148. pdf). Annalen der Physik 17 (6): 132–148. Bibcode 1905AnP...322..132E. doi:10.1002/andp.19053220607. . (German). A partial English translation is available from Wikisource. [8] Max Planck (1901). "Ueber das Gesetz der Energieverteilung im Normalspectrum (On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spectrum)" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080418002757/ http:/ / dbhs. wvusd. k12. ca. us/ webdocs/ Chem-History/ Planck-1901/ Planck-1901. html). Annalen der Physik 309 (3): 553. Bibcode 1901AnP...309..553P. doi:10.1002/andp.19013090310. Archived from the original (http:/ / dbhs. wvusd. k12. ca. us/ webdocs/ Chem-History/ Planck-1901/ Planck-1901. html) on 2008-04-18. . [9] Brown, T., LeMay, H., Bursten, B. (2008). Chemistry: The Central Science Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education ISBN 0-13-600617-5 [10] Klein, Martin J. (1961). "Max Planck and the beginnings of the quantum theory". Archive for History of Exact Sciences 1 (5): 459. doi:10.1007/BF00327765. [11] Melville, K. (2005, February 11). Real-World Quantum Effects Demonstrated (http:/ / www. scienceagogo. com/ news/ 20050110221715data_trunc_sys. shtml) [12] Modern Applied Physics-Tippens third edition; McGraw-Hill.

Further reading
• B. Hoffmann, The Strange Story of the Quantum, Pelican 1963. • Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe, transl. from the Latin by R.E. Latham, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth 1951. There are, of course, many translations, and the translation's title varies. Some put emphasis on how things work, others on what things are found in nature. • J. Mehra and H. Rechenberg, The Historical Development of Quantum Theory, Vol.1, Part 1, Springer-Verlag New York Inc., New York 1982. • M. Planck, A Survey of Physical Theory, transl. by R. Jones and D.H. Williams, Methuen & Co., Ltd., London 1925 (Dover editions 1960 and 1993) including the Nobel lecture.

.Quantum state 190 Quantum state In quantum physics. Even in quantum theory. although these give probabilities. For example. are described by so-called density matrices. different distributions of pure states can generate equivalent (i. for every observable there are states that determine its value exactly. which is a generalization of our more usual three dimensional space. and has trace 1. The vector space for the electron's spin is therefore two-dimensional.. consider Bohm formulation of EPR experiment. there are two possible results. For a more complicated case." The above example is pure.e. A pure state is a two-dimensional complex vector . with a length of one. called the state vector. if the spin of an electron is measured in any direction. mixed as well as pure. A mixed state is a matrix that is Hermitian. a pure quantum state is represented by a state vector in a vector space. For example. A quantum state is given as a vector in a vector space. where the state vector for 2 different particles. a quantum state can be either "pure" or "mixed. Quantum states.[2] involves superposition of joint spin states . The state vector theoretically contains statistical information about the quantum system.g. That is. A mixed quantum state corresponds to a probabilistic mixture of pure states. These probability distributions arise for both mixed states and pure states: it is impossible in quantum mechanics (unlike classical mechanics) to prepare a state in which all properties of the system are fixed and certain. e. and reflects a core difference between classical and quantum physics.[1]:47-48 In a more general usage. positive-definite. with a Stern-Gerlach experiment. and the form that this distribution takes is completely determined by the quantum state and the observable describing the measurement. This is exemplified by the uncertainty principle. however. up or down.. the relevant state vector is given by the principal quantum number . physically indistinguishable) mixed states. not densities. Before a particular measurement is performed on a quantum system. when dealing with the energy spectrum of the electron in a hydrogen atom. Mathematically. quantum state refers to the state of a quantum system. the theory usually gives only a probability distribution for the outcome. however.

Statistical mixtures of states are separate from a linear combination. There is no state which is simultaneously an eigenstate for all observables. pure quantum states correspond to vectors in a vector space. The eigenvalues of the operator correspond to the possible values of the observable: For example. The coefficient which corresponds to a particular state in the linear combination is complex thus allowing interference effects between states. It is this mean and the distribution of probabilities that is predicted by physical theories. definite. Statistical mixtures represent the degree of knowledge whilst the uncertainty within quantum mechanics is fundamental. a system in a linear combination of multiple different eigenstates does in general have quantum uncertainty. On the other hand. it is possible to observe a particle with a momentum of 1 kg·m/s if and only if one of the eigenvalues of the momentum operator is 1 kg·m/s.[5] This is the content of the Heisenberg uncertainty relation. Regardless of how carefully we prepare the state ρ of the system. A statistical mixture of states occurs with a statistical ensemble of independent systems. measurement results are not repeatable in general. the result is guaranteed to be 1 kg·m/s. while each observable quantity (such as the energy or momentum of a particle) is associated with a mathematical operator. even pure states show statistical behaviour. represents the probability of a randomly selected system being in the state eigenstate. We can represent this linear combination of eigenstates as: . well-defined value of momentum of 1 kg·m/s. The coefficients are time dependent. and we must understand the expectation value of an observable A as a statistical mean. For example. How a quantum system changes in time is governed by the time evolution operator. The operator serves as a linear function which acts on the states of the system. with no quantum uncertainty. If its momentum were measured. [3][4] . . Mathematically a statistical mixture is not a combination of complex coefficients but by a combination of probabilities of different states . Unlike the linear combination case each system is in a definite In quantum theory. at least one of them will have a range of possible values.Quantum state 191 Conceptual description Quantum states In the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics. we cannot prepare a state such that both the position measurement Q(t) and the momentum measurement P(t) (at the same time t) are known exactly. The corresponding eigenvector (which physicists call an "eigenstate") with eigenvalue 1 kg·m/s would be a quantum state with a Probability densities for the electron of a hydrogen atom in different quantum states.

One can. treat the observables as fixed.or infinite-dimensional Hilbert space. and we will generally notice that the results of B are statistical. while the state σ was fixed once at the beginning of the experiment. Q(t) to be dependent on time. Any given system is identified with some finite. These entangled states lead to experimentally testable properties (Bell's theorem) that allow us to distinguish between quantum theory and alternative classical (non-quantum) models. unless the system was already in that eigenstate. the system will be in an eigenstate of A. thus the state has changed. equivalently. distinct pure states can be put in correspondence with "rays" in the Hilbert space. or equivalently points in the projective Hilbert space. In order to make such calculations more straightforward. dual spaces and Hermitian conjugation. This has some strange consequences however: Consider two observables. Bra-ket notation Calculations in quantum mechanics make frequent use of linear operators. see entanglement. Both viewpoints are used in quantum theory. both approaches are equivalent. Heisenberg picture In the discussion above. known as a "global phase factor. If we measure first A and then B in the same run of the experiment. This approach is called the Heisenberg picture. This can be . and to obviate the need (in some contexts) to fully understand the underlying linear algebra. then they will produce the same results. in contrast to classical mechanics. that is. it is unavoidable that performing a measurement on the system generally changes its state. we will not notice statistical behaviour. for example. Quantum physics allows for certain states. Thus the set of all pure states corresponds to the unit sphere in the Hilbert space. the Heisenberg picture is often preferred in a relativistic context. Although the details of this are beyond the scope of this article (see the article Bra-ket notation). Therefore. The pure states correspond to vectors of norm 1. This expresses a kind of logical consistency: If we measure A twice in the same run of the experiment. and it is important in which order they are performed. A and B. we have taken the observables P(t). Formalism in quantum physics Pure states as rays in a Hilbert space Quantum physics is most commonly formulated in terms of linear algebra. or even words). Paul Dirac invented a notation to describe quantum states. called entangled states. inner products." then they are indistinguishable. If we measure only B. numbers. that show certain statistical correlations between measurements on the two particles which cannot be explained by classical theory. an experiment with two particles rather than one. known as bra-ket notation. the measurements being directly consecutive in time. For details. for quantum field theory.Quantum state Moreover. If two unit vectors differ only by a scalar of magnitude 1. the system will transfer to an eigenstate of A after the first measurement. letters. Conceptually (and mathematically). as follows. 192 Schrödinger picture vs. choosing one of them is a matter of convention. that is known as the Schrödinger picture. Another feature of quantum states becomes relevant if we consider a physical system that consists of multiple subsystems. While non-relativistic quantum mechanics is usually formulated in terms of the Schrödinger picture. Thus: Quantum mechanical measurements influence one another.[6] Suppose that the system is in an eigenstate of B. Compare with Dirac picture. More precisely: After measuring an observable A. where A corresponds to a measurement earlier in time than B. while the state of the system depends on time. some consequences of this are: • The variable name used to denote a vector (which corresponds to a pure quantum state) is chosen to be of the form (where the " " can be replaced by any other symbols.

Electrons are fermions with S = 1/2.g. which is also said to correspond to the same physical quantum state.. It is an element of the dual space. where vectors are usually bold. or semi-integer (1/2. or letters with arrows on top. if a basis is chosen for the Hilbert space of a system. 3/2. a discrete variable m exists. Here. which is the basis consisting of eigenstates of the observable which corresponds to measuring position. This can be thought of as a kind of intrinsic angular momentum. for bosons). the variables mν assume values from the set where (in units of Planck's reduced constant ħ = 1). Symbolically. In physical terms. photons (quanta of light) are bosons with S = 1. the usual position variable r. the term ket is used synonymously. the above N-particle function must either be symmetrized (in the bosonic case) or anti-symmetrized (in the fermionic case) with respect to the particle numbers. and that observable is measured on the normalized state 2 are . if the system is a . denoted . writing as a column vector.) A particularly important example is the position basis. 193 Spin. in the case of identical particles. it does not appear at all in classical mechanics and arises from Dirac's relativistic generalization of the theory. • Inner products (also called brackets) are written so as to look like a bra and ket next to each other: (The phrase "bra-ket" is supposed to resemble "bracket". the quantum state of a system of N particles is described by a function with four variables per particle. and related to the ket by the Riesz representation theorem... Moreover. N-particle states can thus simply be obtained by tensor products of one-particle states. this is described by saying that quantum superposition of the states . • Each ket is uniquely associated with a so-called bra. any ket can be written where ci are complex numbers. 2 . Basis states of one-particle systems As with any vector space. then any ket can be expanded as a linear combination of those basis elements.) . is a row vector.. • Instead of vector. As a consequence. However.g. just take the transpose and entry-wise complex conjugate of . if the eigenstates (with eigenvalues ki) of an observable. the bra is the adjoint of the ket. 1. many-body states It is important to note that in quantum mechanics besides.. lower-case letters. If these eigenstates are nondegenerate (for example. is either a non-negative integer (0. (The normalization condition above mandates that the total sum of probabilities is equal to one. for fermions). One property worth noting is that the normalized states has been expressed as a . then the probability that the result of the measurement is ki is |ci| . e. 5/2 . corresponding to the value of the z-component of the spin vector. In particular. to which we return herewith. e. Apart from the symmetrization or anti-symmetrization.Quantum state contrasted with the usual mathematical notation. then are characterized by Expansions of this sort play an important role in measurement in quantum mechanics. Technically. In a finite-dimensional space with a chosen basis. given basis kets . If the basis kets are chosen to be orthonormal (as is often the case).

the other half of which is inaccessible to the observer. A mixed state cannot be described as a ket vector. the interference is constructive at some locations and destructive in others. criterion is that the von Neumann entropy is 0 for a pure state. usually denoted ρ. one being a quantum average over the basis kets . treating them on the same footing. For example. Instead. Depending on what that phase is. and less than 1 if the state is mixed. where the relative phase of two states varies in time due to the Schrödinger equation.Quantum state single. Superposition of pure states One aspect of quantum states. Mixed states A pure quantum state is a state which can be described by a single ket vector. mentioned above. then any ket is associated with a complex-valued function of three-dimensional space: 194 This function is called the wavefunction corresponding to . If two kets corresponding to quantum states. Another example of the importance of relative phase in quantum superposition is Rabi oscillations. However. The relative phase of those two states has a value which depends on the distance from each of the two slits. the ket is a different quantum state (possibly not normalized). but "relative" phase factors are physical and important. a mixed-quantum state on a given quantum system described by a Hilbert space naturally arises as a pure quantum state (called a purification) on a larger bipartite system .[7] Another. It is important of the pure to note that two types of averaging are occurring. as described above. for the operator A. and and are do correspond to the same physical state. creating the interference pattern. even though and (for real θ) correspond to the same physical quantum state. it is described by its associated density matrix (or density operator). The rules for measurement in quantum mechanics are particularly simple to state in terms of density matrices. and tr denotes trace. and strictly positive for a mixed state. A mixed quantum state is a statistical ensemble of pure states (see quantum statistical mechanics). The density matrix is defined as where is the fraction of the ensemble in each pure state Here. Note that density matrices can describe both mixed and pure states. is that superpositions of them can be formed. they are not interchangeable. Equivalently. since for example and do not (in general) correspond to the same physical state. The resulting superposition ends up oscillating back and forth between two different states. respectively. One example of a quantum interference phenomenon that arises from superposition is the double-slit experiment. the ensemble average (expectation value) of a measurement corresponding to an observable A is given by where are eigenkets and eigenvalues. The photon state is a superposition of two different states. This is sometimes described by saying that "global" phase factors are unphysical. one of which corresponds to the photon having passed through the left slit. In other words. Note that which quantum state it is depends on both the amplitudes and phases (arguments) of and . equivalent. spinless particle). one typically uses a one-particle formalism to describe the average behaviour of an N-particle system. for example. and the other corresponding to passage through the right slit. A simple criterion for checking whether a density matrix is describing a pure or mixed state is that the trace of ρ2 is equal to 1 if the state is pure.

3. as it is for the standard definition given in this section. Lectures on Quantum Theory: Mathematical and Structural Foundations. Occasionally a density matrix will be normalized differently. Operator Algebras and Quantum Statistical Mechanics 1. For a discussion of conceptual aspects and a comparison with classical states. Springer. 2nd edition. Derek W (1987). (1970). page 39 (http:/ / books. 358). is covered in most standard textbooks on quantum mechanics. utk. E. ISBN 978-3-540-17093-8.e. Note that this criterion works when the density matrix is normalized so that the trace of ρ is 1.358.theory. in particular the content of the section Formalism in quantum physics above.Quantum state states.edu/~preskill/ph229/) at Caltech. . Quantum Mechanics: A Modern Development (2nd. google. Ola. with t2 > t1 > 0.caltech. There. reprint ed. and the other being a statistical average with the probabilities ps of those states. With respect to these different types of averaging. 2. see Gelfand–Naimark–Segal construction. html [4] http:/ / electron6. [6] For concreteness' sake. but not in the same run of the experiment. Imperial College Press. Reviews of Modern Physics 42: 358-381. [2] Ballentine. see: • Bratteli. doi:10. For a discussion of purifications of mixed quantum states. World Scientific. ISBN 978-1-86094-001-9. see Sec. see Chapter 2 of John Preskill's lecture notes for Physics 219 (http://www. suppose that A = Q(t1) and B = P(t2) in the above example. com/ books?id=kl-pMd9Qx04C& pg=PA39). illustrated. to distinguish pure and/or mixed states.). Leslie (1998). org/ doi/ 10. phys. in which case the criterion is References Further reading The concept of quantum states. For a more detailed coverage of mathematical aspects. 42. [7] Blum. see: • Isham. chem. aps. yale. "The Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" (http:/ / link. ISBN 9789810241056. edu/ qm1/ modules/ m6/ statistical. In particular. Density matrix theory and applications. Robinson.42. [3] http:/ / xbeams. Chris J (1995).1103/RevModPhys. one often uses the expressions 'coherent' and/or 'incoherent superposition' of quantum states. htm [5] To avoid misunderstandings: Here we mean that Q(t) and P(t) are measured in the same state. 195 Notes [1] Ballentine. i. For a mathematical discussion on states as positive normalized linear functionals on a C* algebra. L. edu/ ~batista/ vaa/ node4. the same objects are described in a C*-algebraic context. 1103/ RevModPhys.

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