# 07. Quantum Mechanics Basics.

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1 07. Quantum Mechanics Basics. Stern-Gerlach Experiment (Stern & Gerlach 1922) magnets splotches sliver atoms detection screen Suggests: Electrons possess 2-valued "spin" properties. (Goudsmit & Uhlenbeck 1925) With respect to a given direction (axis), an electron can possess either the value "spin-up" or the value "spin-down". There are as many of these spin properties as there are possible axes! For simplicity: Call two such spin properties "Color" (with values "white" and "black") and "Hardness" (with values "hard" and "soft"). spin-up along n axis spin-up along m axis spin-down along n axis spin-down along m axis

2 Experimental Result #1: There is no correlation between Color and Hardness: half black half hard all hard (or all soft) Color half white all white (or all black) Hardness half soft

3 Experimental Result #2: Hardness measurements "disrupt" Color measurements, and vice-versa: black half hard half black a bunch of Color white Hardness half soft Color half white Can we build a Hardness measuring box that doesn't "disrupt" Color values? - All evidence suggests "No"! Can we determine which get their Color values "disrupted" by a Hardness measurement? - All evidence suggests "No"! Thus: All evidence suggests Hardness and Color cannot be simultaneously measured.

4 Experimental Result #3: The "2-Path" Experiment: Exit mirror h 100% white out h s hard white in Hardness soft s mirror Feed white into the device and measure their Color as they exit. From previous experiments, we should expect 50% white and 50% black... But: Experimentally, 100% are white!

5 Experimental Result #3: The "2-Path" Experiment: Exit mirror h 50% white 50% black h s hard barrier white in Hardness soft s mirror Now insert a barrier along the s path. 50% less register at the Exit. And: Experimentally, of these 50% are white and 50% are black.

6 Experimental Result #3: The "2-Path" Experiment: Exit mirror h 100% white out h s hard white in Hardness soft s mirror What path does an individual electron take without the barrier present? Not h. The Color statistics of hard is 50/50. Not s. The Color statistics of soft is 50/50. Not both. Place detectors along the paths and only one will register. Not neither. Block both paths and no register at Exit.

7 Experimental Result #3: The "2-Path" Experiment: Exit mirror h 100% white out h s hard white in Hardness soft s mirror What path does an individual electron take without the barrier present? Not h. Not s. Not both. Not neither. Suggests that white have no determinate value of Hardness.

8 How to Describe Physical Phenomena: 5 Basic Notions (a) Physical system. Classical example: baseball Quantum example: electron (b) Property of a physical system. Quantifiable characteristic of a physical system. Classical examples: Quantum examples: - momentum - Hardness (spin along a given direction) - position - Color (spin along another direction) - energy - momentum - position - energy (c) State of a physical system. Description of system at an instant in time in terms of its properties. Classical example Quantum example - baseball moving at 95mph, 5 ft from batter. - white electron entering a Hardness box. (d) State space. The collection of all possible states of a system. (e) Dynamics. A description of how the states of a system evolve in time.

9 Mathematical Description of Classical Physical System (Baseball example) (i) A state of the baseball: Specified by momentum (3 numbers p 1, p 2, p 3 ) and position (3 numbers q 1, q 2, q 3 ). (Baseball has 6 "degrees of freedom".) (ii) The state space of the baseball: Represented by a 6-dim set of points (phase space): Each point has 6 numbers associated with it and represents a state of the baseball. (iii) Properties of the baseball: Represented by functions on the phase space. These functions are in-principle always well-defined for any point in phase space. Ex: baseball's energy = E(p i, q i ) = (p p p 32 )/2m (iv) Dynamics of the baseball: Provided by Newton's equations of motion (in their Hamiltonian form).

10 Will this mathematical description work for? No: Experiments suggest the "spin" properties of Hardness and Color are not always well-defined. So: We can't represent them mathematically as functions on a set of points. physical concept mathematical representation Classical mechanics Quantum mechanics state: point vector state space: set of points (phase space) vector space property: function on points operator on vectors

11 2-State Quantum Systems. Restrict attention to quantum properties with only two values (like Hardness and Color). Associated state vectors are 2-dimensional: 1. States as vectors component of Q along 1 1 Q Q = a 0 + b 1 Require state vector Q to have unit length: a 2 + b 2 = 1 0 component of Q along 0 Set of all vectors decomposible in basis { 0, 1 } forms a vector space H.

12 Why this is supposed to help: Recall: White appear to have no determinate value of Hardness. Let's represent the values of Color and Hardness as basis vectors. Let's suppose the Hardness basis { hard, soft } is rotated by 45 with respect to the Color basis { white, black }: soft Then: white = 1 2 hard soft black white hard An electron in a white state is in a "superposition" of hard and soft states. Let's assume: "Eigenvalue-eigenvector Rule": A quantum system possesses the value of a property if and only if it is in a state associated with that value. Upshot: Since an electron in the state white cannot be in either of the states hard, soft, it cannot be said to possess values of Hardness.

13 Recall: Experimental Result #1: There is no correlation between Hardness measurements and Color measurements.! If the Hardness of a batch of white is measured, 50% will be soft and 50% will be hard. Let's assume: "Born Rule": The probability that a quantum system in a state Q possesses the value b of a property B is given by the square of the expansion coefficient of the basis state b in the expansion of Q in the basis corresponding to all values of the property. Max Born So: The probability that a white electron has the value hard when measured for Hardness is 1/2! white = 1 2 hard soft An electron in a white state has a probability of 1/2 of being hard upon measurement for Hardness.

14 2. Properties as operators. Def. 1. A linear operator O is a map that assigns to any vector A, another vector O A, such that O(n A + m B ) = n(o A ) + m(o B ), where n, m are numbers. Matrix representations: Q = a b O = O 11 O 12 O 21 O 22 2-dim vector as 2 1 matrix Operator on 2-dim vectors as 2 2 matrix O Q = O 11 O 12 a O 21 O 22 b = O11a +O b 12 O 21 a +O 22 b Matrix multiplication encodes action of O on Q

15 Def. 2. An eigenvector of an operator O is a vector λ that does not change its direction when O acts on it: O λ = λ λ, for some number λ.! Def. 3. An eigenvalue λ of an operator O is the number that results when O acts on one of its eigenvectors. This allows the following correspondences: Let an operator O represent a property. Let its eigenvectors λ represent the value states ("eigenstates") associated with the property. Let its eigenvalues λ represent the (numerical) values of the property. The Eigenvalue-Eigenvector Rule can now be stated as: "Eigenvalue-eigenvector Rule": A quantum system possesses the value λ of a property represented by an operator O if and only if it is in an eigenstate λ of O with eigenvalue λ.

16 3. The Schrödinger Dynamics. States evolve in time via the Schrödinger equation: Plug an initial state ψ(t 1 ) into the Schrödinger equation, and it produces a unique final state ψ(t 2 ). state at time t 1 ψ(t 1 ) ### ψ(t 2 ) Schrödinger evolution state at later time t 2 Erwin Schrödinger The Schrödinger equation can be encoded in an operator S (which is a function of the Hamiltonian operator H that encodes the energy of the system). e iht 2 / A S A = A' state at time t 1 state at later time t 2 Important property: S is a linear operator. S(α A + β B ) = αs A + βs B, where α, β are numbers.

17 4. The Projection Postulate. Projection Postulate (2-state systems): When a measurement of a property represented by an operator B is made on a system in the state Q = a λ 1 + b λ 2 expanded in the eigenvector basis of B, and the result is the value λ 1, then Q collapses to the state λ 1, Q ### λ 1. collapse John von Neumann Example: Suppose we measure a white electron for Hardness. The pre-measurement state is given by: white = 1 2 hard soft Suppose: The outcome of the measurement is the value hard. Then: The post-measurement state is given by hard. Motivations: Guarantees that if we obtain the value λ 1 once, then we should get the same value λ 1 on a second measurement (provided the system is not interferred with in between). Guarantees that measurements have unique outcomes.

18 5. Entangled states. Consider state spaces H 1, H 2 for two quantum 2-state systems (, say). State space for combined system is represented by H 1 H 2. Suppose: { 0 1, 1 1 } is a basis for H 1 and { 0 2, 1 2 } is a basis for H 2. Then: { , , , } is a basis for H 1 H 2. Any 2-particle state Q in H 1 H 2 can be expanded in this basis: Q = a b c d An entangled state in H 1 H 2 is a vector whose expansion in a component basis cannot be factored into a product of two terms, one containing vectors only in H 1 and the other containing vectors only in H 2. Erwin Schrödinger

19 Examples: Entangled:! A = Suppose 0 and 1 are eigenstates of Hardness (i.e., 0 = hard and 1 = soft ). According to the Eigenvalue-Eigenvector Rule: In states Ψ + and A, both have no determinate Hardness value. In state B, electron 1 has no determinate Hardness value, but electron 2 does (i.e., hard). { } = { }{ } B = { } = { } 0 2 C = Ψ + = { } Nonentangled (Separable): In state C, both have determinate Hardness values.

20 Examples: Entangled:! { } = { }{ } A = B = { } = { } 0 2 C = Ψ + = { } Nonentangled (Separable): Suppose 0 and 1 are eigenstates of Hardness (i.e., 0 = hard and 1 = soft ). According to the Projection Postulate: In the entangled state Ψ +, when a measurement is performed on electron 1, its state collapses (to either 0 1 or 1 1 ), and this instantaneously affects the state of electron 2! In any of the separable states, a measurement performed on electron 1 will not affect the state of electron 2.

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