This is a list of this week’s papers on quantum foundations published in the various journals or uploaded to the preprint servers such as arxiv.org and PhilSci Archive.

on 2015-4-25 7:50am GMT

Authors: Eliahu Cohen, Avshalom C. Elitzur

Among the (in)famous differences between classical and quantum mechanics, quantum counterfactuals seem to be the most intriguing. At the same time, they seem to underlie many quantum oddities. In this article, we propose a simple explanation for counterfactuals, on two levels. Quantum Oblivion (QO) is a fundamental type of quantum interaction that we prove to be the origin of quantum counterfactuals. It also turns out to underlie several well-known quantum effects. This phenomenon is discussed in the first part of the article, yielding some novel predictions. In the second part, a hypothesis is offered regarding the unique spacetime evolution underlying QO, termed Quantum Hesitation (QH). The hypothesis invokes advanced actions and interfering weak values, as derived first by the Two-State-Vector Formalism (TSVF). Here too, weak values are argued to underlie the familiar “strong” quantum values. With these, an event that appears to have never occurred can exert causal effects and then succumb to QO by another time-evolution involving negative weak values that eliminate them. We conclude with briefly discussing the implications of these ideas on the nature of time.

on 2015-4-23 12:00am GMT

Abstract

This paper argues for a broadly dispositionalist approach to the ontology of Bohmian mechanics (BM). It first distinguishes the ‘minimal’ and the ‘causal’ versions of Bohm’s theory, and then briefly reviews some of the claims advanced on behalf of the ‘causal’ version by its proponents. A number of ontological or interpretive accounts of the wave function in BM are then addressed in detail, including (i) configuration space, (ii) multi-field, (iii) nomological, and (iv) dispositional approaches. The main objection to each account is reviewed, namely (i) the ‘problem of perception’, (ii) the ‘problem of communication’, (iii) the ‘problem of temporal laws’, and (iv) the ‘problem of under-determination’. It is then shown that a version of dispositionalism overcomes the under-determination problem while providing neat solutions to the other three problems. A pragmatic argument is thus furnished for the use of dispositions in the interpretation of the theory more generally. The paper ends in a more speculative note by suggesting ways in which a dispositionalist interpretation of the wave function is in addition able to shed light upon some of the claims of the proponents of the causal version of BM.

Geometry and Structure of Quantum Phase Space

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-4-23 12:00am GMT

Abstract

The application of geometry to physics has provided us with new insightful information about many physical theories such as classical mechanics, general relativity, and quantum geometry (quantum gravity). The geometry also plays an important role in foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum information. In this work we discuss a geometric framework for mixed quantum states represented by density matrices, where the quantum phase space of density matrices is equipped with a symplectic structure, an almost complex structure, and a compatible Riemannian metric. This compatible triple allow us to investigate arbitrary quantum systems. We will also discuss some applications of the geometric framework.

A Stochastic Modification of the Schrodinger-Newton Equation. (arXiv:1504.05892v1 [quant-ph])

on 2015-4-23 7:50am GMT

Authors: Sayantani Bera, Ravi Mohan, Tejinder P. Singh

The Schrodinger-Newton [SN] equation describes the effect of self-gravity on the evolution of a quantum system, and it has been proposed that gravitationally induced decoherence drives the system to one of the stationary solutions of the SN equation. However, the equation by itself lacks a decoherence mechanism, because it does not possess any stochastic feature. In the present work we derive a stochastic modification of the Schrodinger-Newton equation, starting from the Einstein-Langevin equation in the theory of stochastic semiclassical gravity. We specialize this equation to the case of a single massive point particle, and by using Karolyhazy’s phase variance method, we derive the Diosi – Penrose criterion for the decoherence time. We also write down the master equation corresponding to this stochastic SN equation. Lastly, we use physical arguments to obtain expressions for the decoherence length of extended objects.

physics.hist-ph updates on arXiv.org

on 2015-4-21 12:53am GMT

Authors: Victor Romero-Rochin

Using very general and well established ideas of the statistical physics of macroscopic bodies, that is, of those composed of many degrees of freedom, we show how classical behavior of the center of mass motion arises from a fully quantum mechanical description of the dynamics of the whole body. We do not attempt to provide a rigorous proof of the latter statement, but rather, we show or, at least, indicate the hypotheses needed to obtain the purported result. Moreover, we neither attempt to deal with the “most general” physical situation and, instead, we concentrate on a stylized model of a small solid, yet macroscopic, that we shall call a “little stone”. The main hypothesis is that a macroscopic body can be decomposed into several smaller pieces, still macroscopic, that become statistically independent due to the short-range interaction nature of their constituent atoms. The ensuing main result is that the quantum distributions of extensive variables of the body become sharply-peaked. The center of mass variables are of this type and hence their dynamics is essentially classical. We point out the crucial role played by the external potential, in which the motion occurs, as the macroscopic agent that executes the “measurement” process of the center of mass.

on 2015-4-21 12:53am GMT

Authors: Hans De Raedt, Mikhail I. Katsnelson, Hylke C. Donker, Kristel Michielsen

It is shown that the Pauli equation and the concept of spin naturally emerge from logical inference applied to experiments on a charged particle under the conditions that (i) space is homogeneous (ii) the observed events are logically independent, and (iii) the observed frequency distributions are robust with respect to small changes in the conditions under which the experiment is carried out. The derivation does not take recourse to concepts of quantum theory and is based on the same principles which have already been shown to lead to e.g. the Schr\”odinger equation and the probability distributions of pairs of particles in the singlet or triplet state. Application to Stern-Gerlach experiments with chargeless, magnetic particles, provides additional support for the thesis that quantum theory follows from logical inference applied to a well-defined class of experiments.

Multiplicity in Everett’s interpretation of quantum mechanics. (arXiv:1504.04835v1 [quant-ph])

on 2015-4-21 12:53am GMT

Authors: Louis Marchildon

Everett’s interpretation of quantum mechanics was proposed to avoid problems inherent in the prevailing interpretational frame. It assumes that quantum mechanics can be applied to any system and that the state vector always evolves unitarily. It then claims that whenever an observable is measured, all possible results of the measurement exist. This notion of multiplicity has been understood in different ways by proponents of Everett’s theory. In fact the spectrum of opinions on various ontological questions raised by Everett’s approach is rather large, as we attempt to document in this critical review. We conclude that much remains to be done to clarify and specify Everett’s approach.

on 2015-4-21 12:53am GMT

Authors: Atsushi Nishizawa

In a weak measurement with post-selection, a measurement value, called the weak value, can be amplified beyond the eigenvalues of the observable. However, there are some controversies whether the weak value amplification is practically useful or not in increasing sensitivity of the measurement in which fundamental quantum noise dominates. In this paper, we investigate the sensitivity limit of an optical interferometer by properly taking account quantum shot noise and radiation pressure noise. To do so, we formulate the weak value amplification in the Heisenberg picture, which enables us to intuitively understand what happens when the measurement outcome is post-selected and the weak value is amplified. As a result, we found that the sensitivity limit is given by the standard quantum limit that is the same as in a standard interferometry. We also discuss a way to circumvent the standard quantum limit.

on 2015-4-21 12:53am GMT

Authors: Diederik Aerts, Massimiliano Sassoli de Bianchi

The extended Bloch representation of quantum mechanics was recently derived to offer a (hidden-measurement) solution to the measurement problem. In this article we use it to investigate the geometry of superposition and entangled states, explaining the interference effects, and the entanglement correlations, in terms of the different orientations that a state-vector can take within the generalized Bloch sphere. We also introduce a tensorial determination of the generators of SU(N), particularly suitable to describe multipartite systems, from the viewpoint of the sub-entities. We then use it to show that non-product states admit a general description in which the sub-entities can always remain in well-defined states, even when they are entangled. Therefore, the completed version of quantum mechanics provided by the extended Bloch representation, in which the density operators are also representative of pure states, allows to solve not only the well-known measurement problem, but also the lesser-known entanglement problem. This because we no longer need to give up the general physical principle saying that a composite entity exists, and therefore is in a pure state, if and only if its components also exist, and therefore are in well-defined pure states.

Latest Results for Foundations of Physics

on 2015-4-21 12:00am GMT

Abstract

For the probabilistic description of all the joint von Neumann measurements on a D-dimensional quantum system, we present the specific example of a context-invariant quasi hidden variable (qHV) model, proved in Loubenets (J Math Phys 56:032201, 2015) to exist for each Hilbert space. In this model, a quantum observable X is represented by a variety of random variables satisfying the functional condition required in quantum foundations but, in contrast to a contextual model, each of these random variables equivalently models X under all joint von Neumann measurements, regardless of their contexts. This, in particular, implies the specific local qHV (LqHV) model for an N-qudit state and allows us to derive the new exact upper bound on the maximal violation of 2\(\times \cdots \times \) 2-setting Bell-type inequalities of any type (either on correlation functions or on joint probabilities) under N-partite joint von Neumann measurements on an N-qudit state. For d = 2, this new upper bound coincides with the maximal violation by an N-qubit state of the Mermin–Klyshko inequality. Based on our results, we discuss the conceptual and mathematical advantages of context-invariant and local qHV modelling.