Density matrix Explicitly, suppose a quantum system may be found in state with probability p1, or it may be found in state with probability p2, or it may be found in state with probability p3, and so on. The density operator for this system is[1] By choosing a basis (which need not be orthogonal), one may resolve the density operator into the density matrix, whose elements are[1] For an operator (which describes an observable is given by[1] In words, the expectation value of A for the mixed state is the sum of the expectation values of A for each of the pure states Mixed states arise in situations where the experimenter does not know which particular states are being manipulated. Pure and mixed states[edit] In quantum mechanics, a quantum system is represented by a state vector (or ket) . is called a pure state. and a 50% chance that the state vector is . A mixed state is different from a quantum superposition. Example: Light polarization[edit] An example of pure and mixed states is light polarization. . and . . .

Bloch sphere Bloch sphere In quantum mechanics, the Bloch sphere is a geometrical representation of the pure state space of a two-level quantum mechanical system (qubit), named after the physicist Felix Bloch.[1] Quantum mechanics is mathematically formulated in Hilbert space or projective Hilbert space. The space of pure states of a quantum system is given by the one-dimensional subspaces of the corresponding Hilbert space (or the "points" of the projective Hilbert space). The Bloch sphere is a unit 2-sphere, with each pair of antipodal points corresponding to mutually orthogonal state vectors. and Definition[edit] Given an orthonormal basis, any pure state of a two-level quantum system can be written as a superposition of the basis vectors , where the coefficient or amount of each basis vector is a complex number. to be real and non-negative. , meaning . in the following representation: with . is one of the ket vectors or the representation is unique. on the unit sphere in can be expanded using the identity

Interaction picture Equations that include operators acting at different times, which hold in the interaction picture, don't necessarily hold in the Schrödinger or the Heisenberg picture. This is because time-dependent unitary transformations relate operators in one picture to the analogous operators in the others. Definition[edit] Operators and state vectors in the interaction picture are related by a change of basis (unitary transformation) to those same operators and state vectors in the Schrödinger picture. Any possible choice of parts will yield a valid interaction picture; but in order for the interaction picture to be useful in simplifying the analysis of a problem, the parts will typically be chosen so that H0,S is well understood and exactly solvable, while H1,S contains some harder-to-analyze perturbation to this system. by the corresponding time-evolution operator in the definitions below. State vectors[edit] A state vector in the interaction picture is defined as[4] Operators[edit] References[edit]

Applications Schrödinger equation In quantum mechanics, the Schrödinger equation is a partial differential equation that describes how the quantum state of some physical system changes with time. It was formulated in late 1925, and published in 1926, by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger.[1] In classical mechanics, the equation of motion is Newton's second law, and equivalent formulations are the Euler–Lagrange equations and Hamilton's equations. All of these formulations are used to solve for the motion of a mechanical system and mathematically predict what the system will do at any time beyond the initial settings and configuration of the system. In quantum mechanics, the analogue of Newton's law is Schrödinger's equation for a quantum system (usually atoms, molecules, and subatomic particles whether free, bound, or localized). The concept of a state vector is a fundamental postulate of quantum mechanics. Equation[edit] Time-dependent equation[edit] Time-independent equation[edit] In words, the equation states:

Schrödinger picture In physics, the Schrödinger picture (also called the Schrödinger representation[1]) is a formulation of quantum mechanics in which the state vectors evolve in time, but the operators (observables and others) are constant with respect to time.[2][3] This differs from the Heisenberg picture which keeps the states constant while the observables evolve in time, and from the interaction picture in which both the states and the observables evolve in time. The Schrödinger and Heisenberg pictures are related as active and passive transformations and have the same measurement statistics. In the Schrödinger picture, the state of a system evolves with time. The evolution for a closed quantum system is brought about by a unitary operator, the time evolution operator. at time to a state vector , the time-evolution operator is commonly written , and one has where the exponent is evaluated via its Taylor series. The Schrödinger picture is useful when dealing with a time-independent Hamiltonian H; that is,

Interpretations of quantum mechanics An interpretation of quantum mechanics is a set of statements which attempt to explain how quantum mechanics informs our understanding of nature. Although quantum mechanics has held up to rigorous and thorough experimental testing, many of these experiments are open to different interpretations. There exist a number of contending schools of thought, differing over whether quantum mechanics can be understood to be deterministic, which elements of quantum mechanics can be considered "real", and other matters. This question is of special interest to philosophers of physics, as physicists continue to show a strong interest in the subject. They usually consider an interpretation of quantum mechanics as an interpretation of the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics, specifying the physical meaning of the mathematical entities of the theory. History of interpretations[edit] Main quantum mechanics interpreters Nature of interpretation[edit] Two qualities vary among interpretations:

Quantum spacetime In mathematical physics, the concept of quantum spacetime is a generalization of the usual concept of spacetime in which some variables that ordinarily commute are assumed not to commute and form a different Lie algebra. The choice of that algebra still varies from theory to theory. As a result of this change some variables that are usually continuous may become discrete. Often only such discrete variables are called "quantized"; usage varies. The idea of quantum spacetime was proposed in the early days of quantum theory by Heisenberg and Ivanenko as a way to eliminate infinities from quantum field theory. Physical reasons have been given to believe that physical spacetime is a quantum spacetime. are already noncommutative, obey the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and are continuous. Again, physical spacetime is expected to be quantum because physical coordinates are already slightly noncommutative. The Lie algebra should be semisimple (Yang, I. Bicrossproduct model spacetime[edit] .

Path integral formulation The path integral also relates quantum and stochastic processes, and this provided the basis for the grand synthesis of the 1970s which unified quantum field theory with the statistical field theory of a fluctuating field near a second-order phase transition. The Schrödinger equation is a diffusion equation with an imaginary diffusion constant, and the path integral is an analytic continuation of a method for summing up all possible random walks. For this reason path integrals were used in the study of Brownian motion and diffusion a while before they were introduced in quantum mechanics.[3] These are just three of the paths that contribute to the quantum amplitude for a particle moving from point A at some time t0 to point B at some other time t1. Quantum action principle[edit] But the Hamiltonian in classical mechanics is derived from a Lagrangian, which is a more fundamental quantity considering special relativity. and where and the partial derivative now is with respect to p at fixed q.

Quantum Physics Revealed As Non-Mysterious This is one of several shortened indices into the Quantum Physics Sequence. Hello! You may have been directed to this page because you said something along the lines of "Quantum physics shows that reality doesn't exist apart from our observation of it," or "Science has disproved the idea of an objective reality," or even just "Quantum physics is one of the great mysteries of modern science; no one understands how it works." There was a time, roughly the first half-century after quantum physics was invented, when this was more or less true. Certainly, when quantum physics was just being discovered, scientists were very confused indeed! The series of posts indexed below will show you - not just tell you - what's really going on down there. Some optional preliminaries you might want to read: Reductionism: We build models of the universe that have many different levels of description. And here's the main sequence:

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