## Are you sure?

This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

007 e-mail: patrick@srb.org.in

1

Introduction

According to quantum theory, the physical state of a quantum system is represented by a normalized state-vector lying in a Hilbert space, and in the absence of any measurement performed on the system, as time passes, the state evolves unitarily in a deterministic manner, ordained by the Hamiltonian of the given system. If a measurement of an observable of the system is made at some instant, its outcome in general cannot be predicted with certainty except that it is always one of the eigenvalues of the self-adjoint operator corresponding to the measured observable. However, making use of the Born rule, the probability of ﬁnding a particular eigenvalue to be the outcome of the measurement can deﬁnitely be forecast. These aspects of quantum theory have been veriﬁed in myriads of experiments. There is a subtle diﬀerence between the roles played by observables in classical and quantum theories, other than the limitation imposed by uncertainty principle in the case of a pair of non-commuting observables in the latter. In classical mechanics, the operational deﬁnition of an observable itself suggests the manner in which one should proceed to measure it. To take an example, if one were to measure the velocity of a particle at time t, one could just measure the positions at times t and t + ∆t, for an inﬁnitesmally tiny ∆t, then take the diﬀerence and divide it by ∆t, since that is how velocity is deﬁned in the ﬁrst place. While in quantum theory, an observable has an abstract representation in the form of a hermitian operator which by itself does not suggest a way to measure it. In order to measure the self-adjoint operator, one frequently needs to invoke classical concepts and design a suitable interaction between the quantum observable (or,a related operator like its canonical conjugate etc.) and a pointer variable. To cite ˆ an example, the all too familiar spin angular momentum operator S = 1 h⃗ for an ¯σ

2

electron (σi , i=1,2,3, being the Pauli matrices) does not give us any clue as to how to measure it. For the measurement of electron spin in a Stern-Gerlach experiment like 1

set up, one relies on the classical notion that a spinning charge particle is associated with a magnetic moment ⃗ so that in the presence of an inhomogeneous magnetic µ ⃗ r), the interaction energy is ⃗ .B which leads to a coupling between the spin ﬁeld B(⃗ µ ⃗ degree of freedom and the position (‘pointer variable’) of the electron. Although from a practical point of view quantum mechanics is a very successful theory, issues related to measurements continue to perplex one since the inception of the theory. For instance, any measurement after all is a physical interaction between the system and the apparatus involving a deﬁnite interaction Hamiltonian, so that the combined system ought to evolve with time according to the Schrodinger equation in a deterministic way. But then, why are outcomes of any observation probabilistic in nature? Stated diﬀerently, from where does the Born rule come from? In the framework of Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics (QM), there have been several attempts to obtain the Born rule without invoking any probabilistic ”collapse of the state-vector to an eigenstate” during a measurement [1,2]. In another context, Hartle had described an elegant scheme of treating an ensemble of inﬁnite number of identical systems as an individual quantum system with a well-deﬁned frequency observable [3]. In the following section, we discuss the status of Born rule in Hartle’s approach.

2

Hartle’s frequency operator

We begin with a quantum system described by a Hilbert space H and an observable ˆ ˆ K deﬁned on it. For simplicity, we assume that K has a discrete spectrum so that, ˆ K = ki |i⟩, i = 1, 2, 3, ..... with, ⟨i|j⟩ = δij and,

∞ ∑ i=1

(1a)

(1b)

|i⟩ ⟨i| = 1 ,

(1c)

ˆ where ki are the eigenvalues that are observed when K is measured. A physical state of the system is described by |ψ⟩, which is an element of H, and

2

**can be linearly expanded in terms of the orthonormal basis vectors {|i⟩, i = 1, 2 . . . }, |ψ⟩ = with, ⟨ψ|ψ⟩ = 1 , and, ci = ⟨i|ψ⟩ . (2c) (2b)
**

∞ ∑ i=1

ci |i⟩ ,

(2a)

Since, predictions of QM concerning outcomes of measurements have been tested by making use of large number of identically prepared systems, we need to formulate the problem accordingly. An ensemble of N identical systems in QM is represented by the Hilbert space formed out of the tensor product of individual spaces H ×H ×· · ·×H ≡ H N . If we consider now N identical systems, each being speciﬁed by the state-vector |ψ⟩, then as an individual quantum system, the ensemble is described by an element of H N given by the direct product of |ψ⟩s, |(ψ)N ⟩ ≡ |ψ⟩1 |ψ⟩2 . . . |ψ⟩N In the limit N → ∞, the state-vector for the ensemble is given by, |(ψ)∞ ⟩ ≡ |ψ⟩1 |ψ⟩2 . . . |ψ⟩N |ψ⟩N +1 . . . (3b) (3a)

For the lth system of the ensemble, we use the notation in which |il ⟩ is an eigenstate ˆ of K with eigenvalue kil , so that {|il ⟩, il = 1, 2, . . . } is an orthonormal basis corresponding to the lth system (see eqs.(1a)-(1c)). The Hilbert space H N is therefore spanned by the orthonormal vectors {|i1 ⟩|i2 ⟩ . . . |iN ⟩, i1 , i2 , · · · = 1, 2, . . . }.

j FN

**These direct product of eigenstates can be used to construct a frequency operator ˆ for the eigenvalue kj of K as follows, ˆj FN ≡ ∑
**

i1 ,i2 ,...,iN

fj |i1 ⟩|i2 ⟩ . . . |iN ⟩⟨iN |⟨iN −1 | . . . ⟨i2 |⟨i1 | ,

(4a)

where,

N 1 ∑ fj ≡ δji N l=1 l

(4b)

is clearly the frequency of il being equal to j in {i1 , i2 , . . . , iN }. 3

j It is easy to see that |i′1 ⟩|i′2 ⟩ . . . |i′N ⟩ is an eigenstate of FN corresponding to the

eigenvalue being the frequency of i′l equal to j for l = 1, 2, . . . , N in {i′1 , i′2 , . . . , i′N }, since from eqs.(4a-b) and the orthonormality of {|il ⟩, il = 1, 2, . . . } we get, ˆj FN |i′1 ⟩|i′2 ⟩ . . . |i′N ⟩ = ∑

i1 ,i2 ,...,iN N 1 ∑ δji |i1 ⟩|i2 ⟩ . . . |iN ⟩δi1 i′1 δi2 i′2 . . . δiN i′N N l=1 l

(5a)

) ( N 1 ∑ ′ ′ ′ = δji′ |i ⟩|i ⟩ . . . |iN ⟩ , N l=1 l 1 2

j thus, vindicating that FN indeed is a frequency operator.

(5b)

For later purposes, it is useful to express the frequency operator as, ( ) 1 ∑ j ˆ |i1 ⟩|i2 ⟩ . . . |iN ⟩ δji1 + δji2 + · · · + δjiN ⟨iN |⟨iN −1 | . . . ⟨i2 |⟨i1 | FN = N i ,i ,...,i

1 2 N

**{ ∑ 1 = |i2 ⟩⟨i2 ||i3 ⟩⟨i3 | . . . |iN ⟩⟨iN |+ |j⟩11 ⟨j| N i2 ,i3 ,...,iN ∑ |i1 ⟩⟨i1 ||i3 ⟩⟨i3 | . . . |iN ⟩⟨iN | + · · · + +|j⟩22 ⟨j|
**

i1 ,i3 ,...,iN

+|j⟩N N ⟨j|

∑

i1 ,i2 ,...,iN −1

} |i1 ⟩⟨i1 ||i2 ⟩⟨i2 | . . . |iN −1 ⟩⟨iN −1 | (6)

{ } 1 = |j⟩11 ⟨j| + |j⟩22 ⟨j| + · · · + |j⟩N N ⟨j| N ˆj The last step follows from eq.(1c). The operation of FN on |(ψ)∞ ⟩ is deﬁned by, ˆj ˆj FN |(ψ)∞ ⟩ ≡ (FN |(ψ)N ⟩)|ψ⟩N +1 |ψ⟩N +2 . . . Using eq.(6) and eq.(2c), we obtain, { cj j N ˆ FN |(ψ) ⟩ = |j⟩1 |ψ⟩2 |ψ⟩3 . . . |ψ⟩N + |ψ⟩1 |j⟩2 |ψ⟩3 . . . |ψ⟩N + N } + · · · + |ψ⟩1 |ψ⟩2 . . . |ψ⟩N −1 |j⟩N , so that, from eq.(7a), we have, { cj j ∞ ˆ FN |(ψ) ⟩ = |j⟩1 |ψ⟩2 |ψ⟩3 . . . |ψ⟩N + |ψ⟩1 |j⟩2 |ψ⟩3 . . . |ψ⟩N + N 4

(7a)

(7b)

} + · · · + |ψ⟩1 |ψ⟩2 . . . |ψ⟩N −1 |j⟩N |ψ⟩N +1 |ψ⟩N +2 . . . (7c) ˆj Following Hartle [3], we may ask how close is the state-vector FN |(ψ)∞ ⟩ to |cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩ in the limit N → ∞? Now, ˆj ||FN |(ψ)∞ ⟩−|cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩||2 ≡ ( = ( ) ˆ j |(ψ)∞ ⟩−|cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩, F j |(ψ)∞ ⟩−|cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩ (8a) ˆ FN N (8b)

) ( ) ˆ j |(ψ)∞ ⟩, F j |(ψ)∞ ⟩ − 2|cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩, F j |(ψ)∞ ⟩ + |cj |4 ˆ ˆ FN N N

The last term in eq.(8b) follows from the fact that ⟨(ψ)∞ |(ψ)∞ ⟩ = 1 because of eqs. (2b) and (3b). Again, eqs.(2b), (2c), (3b) and (7c) leads to, { } ) ( cj j ∞ ∞ ˆ = |cj |2 |(ψ) ⟩, FN |(ψ) ⟩ = 1 ⟨ψ|j⟩1 + 2 ⟨ψ|j⟩2 + · · · + N ⟨ψ|j⟩N N

(8c)

From eqs.(7c) and (2b), we get, ) ( { 2 ˆ j |(ψ)∞ ⟩, F j |(ψ)∞ ⟩ = |cj | 1 ⟨j|2 ⟨ψ|3 ⟨ψ| . . . N ⟨ψ|+ ˆ FN N N2 } +1 ⟨ψ|2 ⟨j|3 ⟨ψ| . . . N ⟨ψ| + · · · + 1 ⟨ψ|2 ⟨ψ|3 ⟨ψ| . . . N −1 ⟨ψ|N ⟨j| × { } × |j⟩1 |ψ⟩2 |ψ⟩3 . . . |ψ⟩N + |ψ⟩1 |j⟩2 |ψ⟩3 . . . |ψ⟩N + · · · + |ψ⟩1 |ψ⟩2 . . . |ψ⟩N −1 |j⟩N (9a) |cj |2 {N + N (N − 1)|cj |2 } N2 Hence, employing eqs.(8c) and (9b) in eq.(8b), entails, = ˆj ||FN |(ψ)∞ ⟩ − |cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩||2 = (9b)

|cj |2 {1 − |cj |2 } (9c) N ˆj From eq.(9c), it is evident that as N → ∞, we have ||FN |(ψ)∞ ⟩ − |cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩||2 → 0. This is a remarkable result in the sense that no matter what |ψ⟩ is, for every ˆ ˆj eigenvalue kj of the observable K, the distance between the state FN |(ψ)∞ ⟩ and the Born probability times |(ψ)∞ ⟩ can be made arbitrarily small by considering suﬃciently large ensemble. But this by no means implies that as N → ∞, the state-vector ˆj FN |(ψ)∞ ⟩ → |cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩. In fact, Squires’ paper demonstrates that the vanishing of ˆ the left hand side of eq.(9c) does not entail that F j |(ψ)∞ ⟩ = |cj |2 |(ψ)∞ ⟩ as N → ∞

N

[4]. As much is hinted by the expression in the right hand side of eq.(7b). The hope of obtaining the Born probabilities |cj |2 , j = 1, 2, . . . as eigenvalues of the frequency operator remains unfulﬁlled in this approach. Hence, the enigma of the Born rule continues to be wrapped in a riddle! 5

References [1] Everett, H., 1957, ”Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics”, Reviews of Modern Physics, 29: 454-462 [2] DeWitt, B. S., and N. Graham (eds.), 1973, The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Princeton: Princeton University Press. [3] Hartle, J. B., 1968, ”Quantum Mechanics of Individual Systems”, Am. Jour. Phys., 36: 704-712 [4] Squires, E. J., 1990, Phys.Lett.A, 145, 67

6

- Shape Invariance Paper From Potential Algebra
- 7626917 Introduction to Relativistic Quantum Field Theory H VanHees
- Definition of Quantum Mechanics
- Hitoshi QFT
- Postulates Of QM And Operators
- Planck-The Universe in Light of Modern Physics
- Planck, The Universe in Light of Modern Physics
- CHANG, Hasok (1995) the Quantum Counter-revolution; Internal Conflicts in Scientific Change
- ps1
- 4 - Spatial Degrees of Freedom
- (eBook - Gurdjieff - EnG) - Nicolescu, Basarab - Gurdjieff's Philosophy of Nature
- The Laws 41
- Lect4_BasisSet
- 3C26 Quantum Mechanics Lecture notes (UCL)
- SciAm_Is Time an Illusion
- Feynman Simulating
- Rationalizing the Time-Dependent Schrodinger Eqn.
- ch09
- Julian Schwinger Selected Papers on Quantum Electrodynamics 1958.pdf
- bbm%3A978-3-540-36171-8%2F1
- How Everything That Exists Could Be Related 2
- QMChapter3.pdf
- 44.x-rays
- Class11 Physics2 Bibliography NCERT TextBook EnglishEdition
- Quantum Physics and Spiritualityf
- Quantum Physics.docx
- ‘GTA 5' Rule For That PS4 Observed In The Published Xbox 360 Version Of The
- Electron Spin Resonance, Applications in Organic Electronics
- Ch40 Young Freedman1
- Fred Alan Wolf - Quantum Consciousness

Sign up to vote on this title

UsefulNot usefulClose Dialog## Are you sure?

This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

Loading