This is a list of this week’s papers on quantum foundations published in various journals or uploaded to preprint servers such as arxiv.org and PhilSci Archive.
on 2016-9-03 7:27am GMT
By perceiving gauge invariance as an analytical tool in order to get insight into the states of the “generalized Landau problem” (a charged quantum particle moving inside a magnetic, and possibly electric field), and motivated by an early article that correctly warns against a naive use of gauge transformation procedures in the usual Landau problem (i.e. with the magnetic field being static and uniform), we first show how to bypass the complications pointed out in that article by solving the problem in full generality through gauge transformation techniques in a more appropriate manner. Our solution provides in simple and closed analytical forms all Landau Level-wavefunctions without the need to specify a particular vector potential. This we do by proper handling of the so-called pseudomomentum K (or of a quantity that we term pseudoangular momentum Lz), a method that is crucially different from the old warning argument, but also from standard treatments in textbooks and in research literature (where the usual Landau wavefunctions are employed – labeled with canonical momenta quantum numbers). Most importantly, we go further by showing that a similar procedure can be followed in the more difficult case of spatially-nonuniform magnetic fields: in such case we define K and Lz as plausible generalizations of the previous ordinary case, namely as appropriate line integrals of the inhomogeneous magnetic field – our method providing closed analytical expressions for all stationary state wavefunctions.. (see paper) … also provide explicit Berry’s phase calculations and their connection to probability currents and …issues in elementary Quantum Mechanics and Condensed Matter Physics. As an added feature, we also show how the possible presence of an additional electric field can be treated through a further generalization of pseudomomenta and their proper handling.
on 2016-9-03 7:27am GMT
The classical and quantum representations of thermal equilibrium are strikingly different, even for free, non-interacting particles. While the first involves particles with well-defined positions and momenta, the second usually involves energy eigenstates that are delocalized over a confining volume. In this paper, we derive convex decompositions of the density operator for non-interacting, non-relativistic particles in thermal equilibrium that allow for a connection between these two descriptions. Associated with each element of the decomposition is a many-particle wave function that involves a set of wave packets; the distribution of the average positions and momenta of the wave packets can be linked to the classical description of thermal equilibrium, while the different amplitudes in the wave function capture the statistics relevant for fermions or bosons.
on 2016-9-02 12:34pm GMT
Authors: Mark Van Raamsdonk
The AdS/CFT correspondence provides quantum theories of gravity in which spacetime and gravitational physics emerge from ordinary non-gravitational quantum systems with many degrees of freedom. Recent work in this context has uncovered fascinating connections between quantum information theory and quantum gravity, suggesting that spacetime geometry is directly related to the entanglement structure of the underlying quantum mechanical degrees of freedom and that aspects of spacetime dynamics (gravitation) can be understood from basic quantum information theoretic constraints. In these notes, we provide an elementary introduction to these developments, suitable for readers with some background in general relativity and quantum field theory. The notes are based on lectures given at the CERN Spring School 2014, the Jerusalem Winter School 2014, the TASI Summer School 2015, and the Trieste Spring School 2015.
on 2016-9-01 7:31am GMT
Theoretical achievements, as well as much controversy surround multiverse theory. Various types of multiverses, with an increasing amount of complexity, were suggested and thoroughly discussed by now. While these types are very different, they all share the same basic idea – our physical reality consists of more than just one universe. Each universe within a possibly huge multiverse might be slightly or even very different from the others. The quilted multiverse is one of these types, whose uniqueness arises from the postulate that every possible event will occur infinitely many times in infinitely many universes. In this paper we show that the quilted multiverse is not self-consistent due to the instability of entropy decrease under small perturbations. We therefore propose a modified version of the quilted multiverse which might overcome this shortcoming. It includes only those universes where the minimal entropy occurs at the same instant of (cosmological) time.
on 2016-9-01 7:31am GMT
The appearance of linear spaces, describing physical quantities by vectors and tensors, is ubiquitous in all of physics, from classical mechanics to the modern notion of local Lorentz invariance. However, as natural as this seems to the physicist, most computer scientists would argue that something like a “local linear tangent space” is not very typical and in fact a quite surprising property of any conceivable world or algorithm. In this paper, we take the perspective of the computer scientist seriously, and ask whether there could be any inherently information-theoretic reason to expect this notion of linearity to appear in physics. We give a series of simple arguments, spanning quantum information theory, group representation theory, and renormalization in quantum gravity, that supports a surprising thesis: namely, that the local linearity of space-time might ultimately be a consequence of the linearity of probabilities. While our arguments involve a fair amount of speculation, they have the virtue of being independent of any detailed assumptions on quantum gravity, and they are in harmony with several independent recent ideas on emergent space-time in high-energy physics.
on 2016-9-01 12:00am GMT
It is a frequent assumption that—via superluminal information transfers—superluminal signals capable of enabling communication are necessarily exchanged in any quantum theory that posits hidden superluminal influences. However, does the presence of hidden superluminal influences automatically imply superluminal signalling and communication? The non-signalling theorem mediates the apparent conflict between quantum mechanics and the theory of special relativity. However, as a ‘no-go’ theorem there exist two opposing interpretations of the non-signalling constraint: foundational and operational. Concerning Bell’s theorem, we argue that Bell employed both interpretations, and that he finally adopted the operational position which is associated often with ontological quantum theory, e.g., de Broglie–Bohm theory. This position we refer to as “effective non-signalling”. By contrast, associated with orthodox quantum mechanics is the foundational position referred to here as “axiomatic non-signalling”. In search of a decisive communication-theoretic criterion for differentiating between “axiomatic” and “effective” non-signalling, we employ the operational framework offered by Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication, whereby we distinguish between Shannon signals and non-Shannon signals. We find that an effective non-signalling theorem represents two sub-theorems: (1) Non-transfer-control (NTC) theorem, and (2) Non-signification-control (NSC) theorem. Employing NTC and NSC theorems, we report that effective, instead of axiomatic, non-signalling is entirely sufficient for prohibiting nonlocal communication. Effective non-signalling prevents the instantaneous, i.e., superluminal, transfer of message-encoded information through the controlled use—by a sender-receiver pair —of informationally-correlated detection events, e.g., in EPR-type experiments. An effective non-signalling theorem allows for nonlocal quantum information transfer yet—at the same time—effectively denies superluminal signalling and communication.
on 2016-8-31 12:00am GMT
Verifying quantum superpositions at metre scales
Nature 537, 7618 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature19108
Authors: D. M. Stamper-Kurn, G. E. Marti & H. Müller
ARISING FROM T. Kovachy et al. Nature528, 530–533 (2015); doi: 10.1038/nature16155Although the existence of quantum superpositions of massive particles over microscopic separations has been established since the founding of quantum mechanics, the maintenance of superposition states over macroscopic separations is
on 2016-8-29 2:00pm GMT
Author(s): Mankei Tsang, Ranjith Nair, and Xiao-Ming Lu
Quantum metrology shows that it is always possible to estimate the separation of two stars, no matter how close together they are.
[Phys. Rev. X 6, 031033] Published Mon Aug 29, 2016