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Weak Measurements

Dan Elton
Stony Brook University
Graduate Physics AMO Seminar


I. Historical background of the measurement problem

II. The Measurement Hamiltonian & “Two State Vector

III. Weak Measurement

IV. Experimental Realization

. in reality there is just no intermediary between exploded and not-exploded. both Einstein and Schrödinger were metaphysical realists and could not accept this description as fundamental. by Walter Isaacson .” September.. Through no art of interpretation can this psi-function be turned into an adequate description of a real state of affairs. 1935: Einstein to Schrödinger: “Your cat shows that we are in complete agreement concerning our assessment of the character of the current theory. 1935: Einstein to Schrödinger: Imagine an unstable powder keg. From Einstein: his life and universe. with a powder keg.. A psi-function that contains the living as well as the dead cat cannot be taken as a description of the real state of affairs. “After a year… the psi-function then describes a sort of blend of not-yet and already- exploded systems.. The Measurement Problem . August 8.” Indeed. 1935: Schrödinger to Einstein: “I have constructed an example very similar to your exploding powder keg.History The problem started before the cat.” September 19.

The measurement of a single observable can be made arbitrarily precise.History . . .Two consecutive measurements will yield the same result. .1926 – Compton-Simons experiment .Conclusion: A measurement causes a collapse of the wavefunction. The Measurement Problem .

What are the necessary conditions for State Reduction to occur? . The “Measurement problem” Can State Reduction be made consistent with Unitary Evolution? If not. in general. State Reduction Unitary Evolution: State Reduction: (the “Quantum Leap”) Deterministic Non-deterministic Continuous Discontinuous Time-reversible Not time-reversible* Thermodynamically reversible Not thermodynamically reversible. Unitary Evolution vs. and they are independent phenomena.

Today there are many competing interpretations of quantum mechanics. However. Von Neumann's Measurement Scheme I II III I II III Microscopic system Macroscopic measuring device The observer Von Neumann. in his famous work The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (1932). . Von Neumann came up with a description of the interaction between I and II. struggled to formalize collapse mathematically but was forced to conclude that consciousness causes collapse.

Ideal measurements are ideal! . dynamics from HI & HII are ignored. t1 . assume the system is in a pure state with eigenvalue a i ϕ (t 2 ) = exp(− gPa) ϕ (t1 ) η This is simply a translation operator – translation is proportional to quantity measured. The system is not disturbed by the measurement –. normalized to 1) P = Conjugate momentum operator of pointer variable Q A= operator for what is being measured H = H I + H II + q(t ) PA ϕ = ϕ I ⊗ ϕ II In time window of measurement. Ideal Measurement Hamiltonian H M = q (t ) PA q(t) = Coupling function (compactly supported. It collapses perfectly without further 2 it ϕ (t 2 ) = exp(− ∫ g (t ) PAdt ϕ (t1 ) ηt 1 For simplicity.

Lebowitz (1964) Measurements become time-symmetric <Φ| is the backwards traveling state vector. Post Measurement (weak measurement will occur here) Pre Measurement . It is not a bra vector! TSV = 〈Φi || Ψi〉 |ψII> is the forwards traveling state vector. Bergmann. Two State Vector Formalism Aharonov.

but “the explanation is cumbersome and involves very intricate interference effects in the measuring device.Yields the same results as conventional QM .” .Is the formalism in which weak measurement is usually defined and understood.Can describe certain things better (Hardy’s paradox. weak measurement can be explained with conventional quantum mechanics. it would have yielded ___ ) . Two State Vector Formalism .Is controversial because it often references counterfactuals. (if a measurement had been performed. According to Sandu Popescu. three-box paradox …) .

Q becomes large) Schematically: eiqPA ≅ 1 + iqPA + O(2) TSV φ eiqPA ψ ≅ φ ψ + φ iqPA ψ + O(2)  φ Aψ  = φ ψ 1 + iqp + O(2)   φψ  Weak Value . we move into the weak measurement regime. (note. Weak Measurement H M = q (t ) PA When q(t) becomes very small or P becomes very small.

all real measurements must “lie on a spectrum between weak and ideal.” Thus. .In a weak measurement.Aw becomes very large when Φand ψare nearly orthogonal. . et. the change in the position of the measuring device can be less than it's own quantum uncertainty. It is the subject of current ongoing research. real part = position of the pointer and imaginary = momentum of pointer. .The weak value is in general complex. .According to Hulet. This is called “weak value amplification” and attracted a lot of attention. Al (1997). 〈 Ψ | A | Ψ〉 . Weak Measurement Properties 〈Φ | A | Ψ〉 Aw ≡ 〈Φ | Ψ〉 . understanding weak measurements is important to understanding measurements in general.The weak measurement of a purely pre-selected system becomes regular expectation value.

Weak Measurement: First example SGx Apparatus Strong B-field SGz Apparatus: Weak B-field Weak Value Post-selection: Spins in X+ direction Pre-selection: Spins in ξ direction From Aharonov. Albert & Vaidman: How the Result of a Measurement of a Component of the Spin of a Spin-1/2 Particle Can Turn Out to be 100 (1987) .

. What if we “went back in time” and measured in between along an angle theta? Sθ = S x cos(θ ) + S z sin(θ ) Sθ = (1 / 2) cos(θ ) + (1 / 2) sin(θ ) Sπ 4 = 2 / 2 One description of weak measurement is it is due to the intricate interference effects leading to a large measurement error. The other.Weak Measurement : a simple thought experiment SGx SGz Post select a particle from the blue beam. Albert and Vaidman. is that it is fully explained by TSVF. argued by Aharonov.

TSVF: An Updated Review .Outcomes with different measurement strength Strong measurement 1 P= ∆ Weak measurement 1 σ∝ N From Ahronov & Vaidman.

Albert. Theory revised by M.atomic force microscopy . Weak Measurement . G. and E.used weak measurements to measure the Spin Hall Effect for photons. Dixon et.History Theorized by Aharonov. M. Sudarshan (1989) (and other articles) Hulet. Ritchie. However.interferometry . although impressive. Duck. & Vaidman in 1987. Reducing SNR in beam-defection would benefit . many remained skeptical as to whether weak- measurements can actually be more precise than traditional measuring (2009) measured angular deflection of a light beam with the precision of a hairs breadth at the distance of the moon. Story. P. Stevenson. Hosten & Kwiat (2008) .ultra-precise position measurements . (1991) – First experimental realization. etc) .Spectroscopy (photothermal. C. Splitting of light beam ~ 1 Angstrom.

CCD is used to analyze the mode quality (an element of technical noise) in laser beam Where is the weak measurement?? Quadrant-cell detector to measure beam position. Andrew N. and John C. actuator causes a small beam deflection here. Starling. David J. . Howell (2009) Normally. P. Jordan.Optimizing the signal-to-noise ration of a beam-deflection measurement with interferometric weak values. Ben Dixon. destructive interference occurs Piezoelectric here.

It corresponds to a tiny shift in the transverse momentum of the beam. Incidentally. but it’s quite amazing there is a correspondence. PHYSICAL REVIEW A 81.The weak measurement: qualitative The thing being measured is the deflection. The “postselection” is to only look at light emerging on the dark side (darkport) or bottom of the BS. John C. The tiny shifts in momentum is coupled to how much light emerges on either side of the beam splitter. Howell. There are clockwise (CW) and counterclockwise (CCW) beams. The effect here really isn’t quantum. 033813 (2010) . Starling. they receive opposite shifts. David J. the same result obtained from the weak value theory also can be derived from classical Fourier beam optics.

Jordan. The main results Optimizing the signal- signal-to- to-noise ration of a beam- beam-deflection measurement with interferometric weak values. P. and John C. David J. Starling. Andrew N. Ben Dixon. Howell Howell (2009) .

Future prospects Laboratory applications: --SNR improvements (in particular case of large beam diameters) --Possible large increase in precision (controversial) --Quantum eavesdropping (?) Implications to foundations of QM: -.Work by Vaidman and others suggest that weak measurements could test to see if Bohmian quantum mechanics is correct. -. -. he was "too hasty".Wiseman. al. they could help answer a lot of previously unanswerable questions. argues that one can determine which path the electron goes through in the double slit using weak measurement. et.Aharonov says that when Feynman pronounced that we can never truly comprehend quantum mechanics.… you should never say never." .If weak measurements become better understood / realized. -. "I think people will remove the mystery that Feynman said could never be removed.

P.. B1410 (1964). S. L. R. S. B. Duck.. H. Kocsis. Garretson.. Rev 134. Aharonov. M. Mirin. Ritchie. and J. Selected references Y. M. Lebowitz. M. Sandu.Stevens. Lundeen. May 2010. Hulet. The Two-State Vector Formalism: an Updated Review. Measurement of a Weak Value (1997) R. J..Braverman. Rev. L. Sudarshan. C. S.K. The Reality in Bohmian Quantum Mechanics or Can You Kill with an Empty Wave Bullet? Shalm. Mir. . Phys. 32 (2009) G. Ravets. and 1. Aharonov. D. A. Vaidman. IEEE Conference proceedings. M. M. 40. M. 2112 (1989) Popescu. J. W M. Observation of Bohmian trajectories of a single photon using weak measurements. P. G. and E. Story. Bergmann. Phys.. L. W... N. Weak measurements just got stronger APS Physics 2. Mitchell.. M. G. Albert & Vaidman: How the Result of a Measurement of a Component of the Spin of a Spin-1/2 Particle Can Turn Out to be 100 (1987) Aharonov. A. Wiseman A double-slit `which-way' experiment on the complementarity--uncertainty debate Vaidman. Steinberg. P. Stevenson. Steinberg.G. J.