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uncertainty principle
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{{Use American English|date=January 2019}}{{short description|Foundational principle in quantum physics}}{{Other uses}}{{Quantum mechanics}}In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle (also known as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle) is any of a variety of mathematical inequalitiesJOURNAL, Sen, D., The Uncertainty relations in quantum mechanics,weblink Current Science, 107, 2, 2014, 203â€“218, asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, known as complementary variables or canonically conjugate variables such as position x and momentum p, can be known.Introduced first in 1927, by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, it states that the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa.{{Citation |first=W. |last=Heisenberg |title=Ãœber den anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinematik und Mechanik |language=de|journal=Zeitschrift fÃ¼r Physik |volume=43 |issue=3â€“4 |year=1927 |pages=172â€“198 |doi=10.1007/BF01397280 |postscript=. |bibcode = 1927ZPhy...43..172H }}.Annotated pre-publication proof sheet of Ãœber den anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinematik und Mechanik, March 21, 1927. The formal inequality relating the standard deviation of position Ïƒx and the standard deviation of momentum Ïƒp was derived by Earle Hesse Kennard{{Citation |first=E. H. |last=Kennard |title=Zur Quantenmechanik einfacher Bewegungstypen |language=de|journal=Zeitschrift fÃ¼r Physik |volume=44 |issue=4â€“5 |year=1927 |pages=326â€“352 |doi=10.1007/BF01391200 |postscript=. |bibcode = 1927ZPhy...44..326K }} later that year and by Hermann Weyl{{Citation|last=Weyl|first=H.|title=Gruppentheorie und Quantenmechanik|year=1928|publisher=Hirzel|location=Leipzig}} in 1928:{{Equation box 1|indent =::|equation = sigma_{x}sigma_{p} geq frac{hbar}{2} ~~|cellpadding= 6|border|border colour = #0073CF|background colour=#F5FFFA}}where {{mvar|Ä§}} is the reduced Planck constant, {{math|h/(2π}}).Historically, the uncertainty principle has been confused{{Citation|last=Furuta|first=Aya|title=One Thing Is Certain: Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle Is Not Dead|journal=Scientific American|year=2012|url=https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heisenbergs-uncertainty-principle-is-not-dead/}}{{Citation|last=Ozawa|first=Masanao|title=Universally valid reformulation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle on noise and disturbance in measurement|journal=Physical Review A|volume=67|year=2003|doi=10.1103/PhysRevA.67.042105|arxiv = quant-ph/0207121 |bibcode = 2003PhRvA..67d2105O|issue=4 |pages=42105}} with a related effect in physics, called the observer effect, which notes that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems, that is, without changing something in a system. Heisenberg utilized such an observer effect at the quantum level (see below) as a physical "explanation" of quantum uncertainty.Werner Heisenberg, The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory, p. 20 It has since become clearer, however, that the uncertainty principle is inherent in the properties of all wave-like systems,JOURNAL, Rozema, L. A., Darabi, A., Mahler, D. H., Hayat, A., Soudagar, Y., Steinberg, A. M., 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.100404, 1208.0034v2, Violation of Heisenberg's Measurementâ€“Disturbance Relationship by Weak Measurements, Physical Review Letters, 109, 10, 2012, 23005268, 2012PhRvL.109j0404R, 100404, and that it arises in quantum mechanics simply due to the matter wave nature of all quantum objects. Thus, the uncertainty principle actually states a fundamental property of quantum systems and is not a statement about the observational success of current technology.{{YouTube|TcmGYe39XG0|Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Professor V. Balakrishnan, Lecture 1 â€“ Introduction to Quantum Physics; Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, National Programme of Technology Enhanced Learning}} It must be emphasized that measurement does not mean only a process in which a physicist-observer takes part, but rather any interaction between classical and quantum objects regardless of any observer.{{refn|name=precision|group=note|N.B. on precision: If delta x and delta p are the precisions of position and momentum obtained in an individual measurement and sigma_{x}, sigma_{p} their standard deviations in an ensemble of individual measurements on similarly prepared systems, then "There are, in principle, no restrictions on the precisions of individual measurements delta x and delta p, but the standard deviations will always satisfy sigma_{x}sigma_{p} ge hbar/2".Section 3.2 of {{Citation|last=Ballentine|first=Leslie E.|title=The Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics|journal=Reviews of Modern Physics|volume=42|pages=358â€“381|year=1970|doi=10.1103/RevModPhys.42.358|issue=4|bibcode=1970RvMP...42..358B|url=http://nthur.lib.nthu.edu.tw/dspace/handle/987654321/65291}}. This fact is experimentally well-known for example in quantum optics (see e.g. chap. 2 and Fig. 2.1 {{Citation|last=Leonhardt|first=Ulf|title=Measuring the Quantum State of Light|year=1997|publisher=Cambridge University Press|location=Cambridge|isbn=0-521-49730-2}}}}Since the uncertainty principle is such a basic result in quantum mechanics, typical experiments in quantum mechanics routinely observe aspects of it. Certain experiments, however, may deliberately test a particular form of the uncertainty principle as part of their main research program. These include, for example, tests of numberâ€“phase uncertainty relations in superconducting{{Citation|last=Elion|first=W. J.|author2=M. Matters, U. GeigenmÃ¼ller & J. E. Mooij|title=Direct demonstration of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in a superconductor|journal=Nature|volume=371|pages=594â€“595|year=1994|doi=10.1038/371594a0|bibcode = 1994Natur.371..594E|issue=6498 |last3=GeigenmÃ¼ller|first3=U.|last4=Mooij|first4=J. E.}} or quantum optics{{Citation|last=Smithey|first=D. T.|author2=M. Beck, J. Cooper, M. G. Raymer|title=Measurement of numberâ€“phase uncertainty relations of optical fields|journal=Phys. Rev. A|volume=48|pages=3159â€“3167|year=1993|doi=10.1103/PhysRevA.48.3159|bibcode = 1993PhRvA..48.3159S|issue=4|pmid=9909968 |last3=Cooper|first3=J.|last4=Raymer|first4=M. G.}} systems. Applications dependent on the uncertainty principle for their operation include extremely low-noise technology such as that required in gravitational wave interferometers.{{Citation|last=Caves|first=Carlton|title=Quantum-mechanical noise in an interferometer|journal=Phys. Rev. D|volume=23|pages=1693â€“1708|year=1981|doi=10.1103/PhysRevD.23.1693|bibcode = 1981PhRvD..23.1693C|issue=8 }}- the content below is remote from Wikipedia
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Introduction
(File:Uncertainty principle.gif|360px|"360px"|right|thumb| Click to see animation. The evolution of an initially very localized gaussian wave function of a free particle in two-dimensional space, with color and intensity indicating phase and amplitude. The spreading of the wave function in all directions shows that the initial momentum has a spread of values, unmodified in time; while the spread in position increases in time: as a result, the uncertainty Î”x Î”p increases in time.)(File:Sequential superposition of plane waves.gif|360px|"360px"|right|thumb|The superposition of several plane waves to form a wave packet. This wave packet becomes increasingly localized with the addition of many waves. The Fourier transform is a mathematical operation that separates a wave packet into its individual plane waves. Note that the waves shown here are real for illustrative purposes only, whereas in quantum mechanics the wave function is generally complex.)The uncertainty principle is not readily apparent on the macroscopic scales of everyday experience.JOURNAL, Jaeger, Gregg, What in the (quantum) world is macroscopic?, American Journal of Physics, September 2014, 82, 9, 896â€“905, 10.1119/1.4878358, 2014AmJPh..82..896J, So it is helpful to demonstrate how it applies to more easily understood physical situations. Two alternative frameworks for quantum physics offer different explanations for the uncertainty principle. The wave mechanics picture of the uncertainty principle is more visually intuitive, but the more abstract matrix mechanics picture formulates it in a way that generalizes more easily.Mathematically, in wave mechanics, the uncertainty relation between position and momentum arises because the expressions of the wavefunction in the two corresponding orthonormal bases in Hilbert space are Fourier transforms of one another (i.e., position and momentum are conjugate variables). A nonzero function and its Fourier transform cannot both be sharply localized. A similar tradeoff between the variances of Fourier conjugates arises in all systems underlain by Fourier analysis, for example in sound waves: A pure tone is a sharp spike at a single frequency, while its Fourier transform gives the shape of the sound wave in the time domain, which is a completely delocalized sine wave. In quantum mechanics, the two key points are that the position of the particle takes the form of a matter wave, and momentum is its Fourier conjugate, assured by the de Broglie relation {{math|p {{=}} Ä§k}}, where {{mvar|k}} is the wavenumber.In matrix mechanics, the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, any pair of non-commuting self-adjoint operators representing observables are subject to similar uncertainty limits. An eigenstate of an observable represents the state of the wavefunction for a certain measurement value (the eigenvalue). For example, if a measurement of an observable {{mvar|A}} is performed, then the system is in a particular eigenstate {{mvar|Î¨}} of that observable. However, the particular eigenstate of the observable {{mvar|A}} need not be an eigenstate of another observable {{mvar|B}}: If so, then it does not have a unique associated measurement for it, as the system is not in an eigenstate of that observable.{{Citation|author1=Claude Cohen-Tannoudji |author2=Bernard Diu |author3=Franck LaloÃ« |title=Quantum mechanics|year=1996|publisher=Wiley|location=Wiley-Interscience|isbn=978-0-471-56952-7|pages=231â€“233}}Wave mechanics interpretation
(Ref BOOK, Lev Landau, L.D. Landau, Evgeny Lifshitz, E. M. Lifshitz
, 1977
, Quantum Mechanics: Non-Relativistic Theory
, 3rd, Vol. 3
, Pergamon Press
, 978-0-08-020940-1
, Online copy.){{multiple image| align = right| direction = vertical|We are interested in the variances of position and momentum, defined as
, 1977
, Quantum Mechanics: Non-Relativistic Theory
, 3rd, Vol. 3
, Pergamon Press
, 978-0-08-020940-1
sigma_x^2 = int_{-infty}^infty x^2 cdot |psi(x)|^2 , dx - left( int_{-infty}^infty x cdot |psi(x)|^2 , dx right)^2
sigma_p^2 = int_{-infty}^infty p^2 cdot |varphi(p)|^2 , dp - left( int_{-infty}^infty p cdot |varphi(p)|^2 , dp right)^2~.
Without loss of generality, we will assume that the means vanish, which just amounts to a shift of the origin of our coordinates. (A more general proof that does not make this assumption is given below.) This gives us the simpler form
sigma_x^2 = int_{-infty}^infty x^2 cdot |psi(x)|^2 , dx
sigma_p^2 = int_{-infty}^infty p^2 cdot |varphi(p)|^2 , dp~.
The function f(x) = x cdot psi(x) can be interpreted as a vector in a function space. We can define an inner product for a pair of functions u(x) and v(x) in this vector space:
langle u mid v rangle = int_{-infty}^infty u^*(x) cdot v(x) , dx,
where the asterisk denotes the complex conjugate.With this inner product defined, we note that the variance for position can be written as
sigma_x^2 = int_{-infty}^infty |f(x)|^2 , dx = langle f mid f rangle ~.
We can repeat this for momentum by interpreting the function tilde{g}(p)=p cdot varphi(p) as a vector, but we can also take advantage of the fact that psi(x) and varphi(p) are Fourier transforms of each other. We evaluate the inverse Fourier transform through integration by parts:
begin{align} g(x) &= frac{1}{sqrt{2 pi hbar}} cdot int_{-infty}^infty tilde{g}(p) cdot e^{ipx/hbar} , dp
&= frac{1}{sqrt{2 pi hbar}} int_{-infty}^infty p cdot varphi(p) cdot e^{ipx/hbar} , dp &= frac{1}{2 pi hbar} int_{-infty}^infty left[ p cdot int_{-infty}^infty psi(chi) e^{-ipchi/hbar} , dchi right] cdot e^{ipx/hbar} , dp &= frac{i}{2 pi} int_{-infty}^infty left[ cancel{ left. psi(chi) e^{-ipchi/hbar} right|_{-infty}^infty } - int_{-infty}^infty frac{dpsi(chi)}{dchi} e^{-ipchi/hbar} , dchi right] cdot e^{ipx/hbar} , dp &= frac{-i}{2 pi} int_{-infty}^infty int_{-infty}^infty frac{dpsi(chi)}{dchi} e^{-ipchi/hbar} , dchi , e^{ipx/hbar} , dp &= left( -i hbar frac{d}{dx} right) cdot psi(x) ,end{align}where the canceled term vanishes because the wave function vanishes at infinity. Often the term -i hbar frac{d}{dx} is called the momentum operator in position space. Applying Parseval's theorem, we see that the variance for momentum can be written as
sigma_p^2 = int_{-infty}^infty |tilde{g}(p)|^2 , dp = int_{-infty}^infty |g(x)|^2 , dx = langle g mid g rangle.
The Cauchyâ€“Schwarz inequality asserts that
sigma_x^2 sigma_p^2 = langle f mid f rangle cdot langle g mid g rangle ge |langle f mid g rangle|^2 ~.
The modulus squared of any complex number z can be expressed as
|z|^{2} = Big(text{Re}(z)Big)^{2}+Big(text{Im}(z)Big)^{2} geq Big(text{Im}(z)Big)^{2}=Big(frac{z-z^{ast}}{2i}Big)^{2}.
we let z=langle f|grangle and z^{*}=langle gmid frangle and substitute these into the equation above to get
|langle fmid grangle|^2 geq bigg(frac{langle fmid grangle-langle g mid f rangle}{2i}bigg)^2 ~.
All that remains is to evaluate these inner products.
begin{align}langle fmid grangle-langle gmid frangle = {} & int_{-infty}^infty psi^*(x) , x cdot left(-i hbar frac{d}{dx}right) , psi(x) , dx
&{} - int_{-infty}^infty psi^*(x) , left(-i hbar frac{d}{dx}right) cdot x , psi(x) , dx {} & i hbar cdot int_{-infty}^infty psi^*(x) left[ left(-x cdot frac{dpsi(x)}{dx}right) + frac{d(x psi(x))}{dx} right] , dx
{} & i hbar cdot int_{-infty}^infty psi^*(x) left[ left(-x cdot frac{dpsi(x)}{dx}right) + psi(x) + left(x cdot frac{dpsi(x)}{dx}right)right] , dx
{} & i hbar cdot int_{-infty}^infty psi^*(x) psi(x) , dx
{} & i hbar cdot int_{-infty}^infty |psi(x)|^2 , dx
{} & i hbarend{align}
Plugging this into the above inequalities, we get
sigma_x^2 sigma_p^2 ge |langle f mid g rangle|^2 ge left(frac{langle fmid grangle-langle gmid frangle}{2i}right)^2 = left(frac{i hbar}{2 i}right)^2 = frac{hbar^2}{4}
or taking the square root
sigma_x sigma_p ge frac{hbar}{2}~.
Note that the only physics involved in this proof was that psi(x) and varphi(p) are wave functions for position and momentum, which are Fourier transforms of each other. A similar result would hold for any pair of conjugate variables.matter wave>de Broglie waves in 1dâ€”real part of the complex number | amplitude is blue, imaginary part is green. The probability (shown as the colour opacity (optics)>opacity) of finding the particle at a given point x is spread out like a waveform, there is no definite position of the particle. As the amplitude increases above zero the curvature reverses sign, so the amplitude begins to decrease again, and vice versaâ€”the result is an alternating amplitude: a wave.| image1 = Propagation of a de broglie plane wave.svg| caption1 = Plane wave| width1 = 250| image2 = Propagation of a de broglie wavepacket.svg| caption2 = Wave packet| width2 = 250}}According to the de Broglie hypothesis, every object in the universe is a wave, i.e., a situation which gives rise to this phenomenon. The position of the particle is described by a wave function Psi(x,t). The time-independent wave function of a single-moded plane wave of wavenumber k0 or momentum p0 is
psi(x) propto e^{ik_0 x} = e^{ip_0 x/hbar} ~.
The Born rule states that this should be interpreted as a probability density amplitude function in the sense that the probability of finding the particle between a and b is
operatorname P [a leq X leq b] = int_a^b |psi(x)|^2 , mathrm{d}x ~.
In the case of the single-moded plane wave, |psi(x)|^2 is a uniform distribution. In other words, the particle position is extremely uncertain in the sense that it could be essentially anywhere along the wave packet. On the other hand, consider a wave function that is a sum of many waves, which we may write this as
psi(x) propto sum_n A_n e^{i p_n x/hbar}~,
where A'n represents the relative contribution of the mode p'n to the overall total. The figures to the right show how with the addition of many plane waves, the wave packet can become more localized. We may take this a step further to the continuum limit, where the wave function is an integral over all possible modes
psi(x) = frac{1}{sqrt{2 pi hbar}} int_{-infty}^infty varphi(p) cdot e^{i p x/hbar} , dp ~,
with varphi(p) representing the amplitude of these modes and is called the wave function in momentum space. In mathematical terms, we say that varphi(p) is the Fourier transform of psi(x) and that x and p are conjugate variables. Adding together all of these plane waves comes at a cost, namely the momentum has become less precise, having become a mixture of waves of many different momenta.One way to quantify the precision of the position and momentum is the standard deviation Ïƒ. Since |psi(x)|^2 is a probability density function for position, we calculate its standard deviation.The precision of the position is improved, i.e. reduced Ïƒx, by using many plane waves, thereby weakening the precision of the momentum, i.e. increased Ïƒp. Another way of stating this is that Ïƒx and Ïƒp have an inverse relationship or are at least bounded from below. This is the uncertainty principle, the exact limit of which is the Kennard bound. Click the show button below to see a semi-formal derivation of the Kennard inequality using wave mechanics.{| class="toccolours collapsible collapsed" width="60%" style="text-align:left"!Proof of the Kennard inequality using wave mechanics |
Matrix mechanics interpretation
(Ref ) In matrix mechanics, observables such as position and momentum are represented by self-adjoint operators. When considering pairs of observables, an important quantity is the commutator. For a pair of operators {{mvar|Ã‚}} and {{mvar|BÌ‚}}, one defines their commutator as
[hat{A},hat{B}]=hat{A}hat{B}-hat{B}hat{A}.
In the case of position and momentum, the commutator is the canonical commutation relation
[hat{x},hat{p}]=i hbar.
The physical meaning of the non-commutativity can be understood by considering the effect of the commutator on position and momentum eigenstates. Let |psirangle be a right eigenstate of position with a constant eigenvalue {{math|x0}}. By definition, this means that hat{x}|psirangle = x_0 |psirangle. Applying the commutator to |psirangle yields
[hat{x},hat{p}] | psi rangle = (hat{x}hat{p}-hat{p}hat{x}) | psi rangle = (hat{x} - x_0 hat{I}) hat{p} , | psi rangle = i hbar | psi rangle,
where {{mvar|ÃŽ}} is the identity operator.Suppose, for the sake of proof by contradiction, that |psirangle is also a right eigenstate of momentum, with constant eigenvalue {{mvar|p0}}. If this were true, then one could write
(hat{x} - x_0 hat{I}) hat{p} , | psi rangle = (hat{x} - x_0 hat{I}) p_0 , | psi rangle = (x_0 hat{I} - x_0 hat{I}) p_0 , | psi rangle=0.
On the other hand, the above canonical commutation relation requires that
[hat{x},hat{p}] | psi rangle=i hbar | psi rangle ne 0.
This implies that no quantum state can simultaneously be both a position and a momentum eigenstate.When a state is measured, it is projected onto an eigenstate in the basis of the relevant observable. For example, if a particle's position is measured, then the state amounts to a position eigenstate. This means that the state is not a momentum eigenstate, however, but rather it can be represented as a sum of multiple momentum basis eigenstates. In other words, the momentum must be less precise. This precision may be quantified by the standard deviations,
sigma_x=sqrt{langle hat{x}^2 rangle-langle hat{x}rangle^2}
sigma_p=sqrt{langle hat{p}^2 rangle-langle hat{p}rangle^2}.
As in the wave mechanics interpretation above, one sees a tradeoff between the respective precisions of the two, quantified by the uncertainty principle.Robertsonâ€“SchrÃ¶dinger uncertainty relations
The most common general form of the uncertainty principle is the Robertson uncertainty relation.{{Citation|last=Robertson|first=H. P.|title=The Uncertainty Principle|journal=Phys. Rev.|year=1929|volume=34|issue=1|pages=163â€“64|bibcode = 1929PhRv...34..163R |doi = 10.1103/PhysRev.34.163 }}For an arbitrary Hermitian operator hat{mathcal{O}} we can associate a standard deviation
sigma_{mathcal{O}} = sqrt{langle hat{mathcal{O}}^2 rangle-langle hat{mathcal{O}}rangle^2},
[hat{A},hat{B}]=hat{A}hat{B}-hat{B}hat{A},
sigma_A sigma_B geq left| frac{1}{2i}langle[hat{A},hat{B}]rangle right| = frac{1}{2}left|langle[hat{A},hat{B}]rangle right|,
{hat{A},hat{B}}=hat{A}hat{B}+hat{B}hat{A}.
sigma_A^2 = langle(hat{A}-langle hat{A} rangle)Psi|(hat{A}-langle hat{A} rangle)Psirangle.
sigma_A^2 = langle fmid frangle, .
sigma_B^2 = langle(hat{B}-langle hat{B} rangle)Psi|(hat{B}-langle hat{B} rangle)Psirangle = langle gmid grangle
{{NumBlk|:| sigma_A^2sigma_B^2 = langle fmid franglelangle gmid grangle. |{{EquationRef|1}}}}
langle fmid franglelangle gmid grangle geq |langle fmid grangle|^2,
{{NumBlk|:|sigma_A^2sigma_B^2 geq |langle fmid grangle|^2.|{{EquationRef|2}}}}
{{NumBlk|:| |z|^2 = Big(operatorname{Re}(z)Big)^2+Big(operatorname{Im}(z)Big)^2 = Big(frac{z+z^ast}{2}Big)^2 +Big(frac{z-z^ast}{2i}Big)^2. |{{EquationRef|3}}}}
{{NumBlk|:||langle fmid grangle|^2 = bigg(frac{langle fmid grangle+langle gmid frangle}{2}bigg)^2 + bigg(frac{langle fmid grangle-langle gmid frangle}{2i}bigg)^2 |{{EquationRef|4}}}}
langle fmid grangle = langle(hat{A}-langle hat{A} rangle)Psi|(hat{B}-langle hat{B} rangle)Psirangle,
langle fmid grangle+langle gmid frangle = langle hat{A}hat{B}rangle-langle hat{A}ranglelangle hat{B}rangle+langle hat{B}hat{A}rangle-langle hat{A}ranglelangle hat{B}rangle = langle {hat{A},hat{B}}rangle -2langle hat{A}ranglelangle hat{B}rangle.
Examples
Since the Robertson and SchrÃ¶dinger relations are for general operators, the relations can be applied to any two observables to obtain specific uncertainty relations. A few of the most common relations found in the literature are given below.- For position and linear momentum, the canonical commutation relation [hat{x}, hat{p}] = ihbar implies the Kennard inequality from above:
sigma_x sigma_p geq frac{hbar}{2}.
- For two orthogonal components of the total angular momentum operator of an object:
sigma_{J_i} sigma_{J_j} geq frac{hbar}{2} big|langle J_kranglebig|,
where i, j, k are distinct, and J'i denotes angular momentum along the x'i axis. This relation implies that unless all three components vanish together, only a single component of a system's angular momentum can be defined with arbitrary precision, normally the component parallel to an external (magnetic or electric) field. Moreover, for [J_x, J_y] = i hbar varepsilon_{xyz} J_z, a choice hat{A} = J_x, hat{B} = J_y, in angular momentum multiplets, Ïˆ = |j, mã€‰, bounds the Casimir invariant (angular momentum squared, langle J_x^2+ J_y^2 + J_z^2 rangle) from below and thus yields useful constraints such as {{nobr|j(j + 1) â‰¥ m(m + 1)}}, and hence jÂ â‰¥Â m, among others.
- {{anchor|Timeâ€“energy uncertainty relation}} In non-relativistic mechanics, time is privileged as an independent variable. Nevertheless, in 1945, L. I. Mandelshtam and I. E. Tamm derived a non-relativistic timeâ€“energy uncertainty relation, as follows.L. I. Mandelshtam, I. E. Tamm, The uncertainty relation between energy and time in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, 1945.JOURNAL, Hilgevoord, Jan, 1996, The uncertainty principle for energy and time,weblink American Journal of Physics, 64, 12, 1451â€“1456, 10.1119/1.18410, 1996AmJPh..64.1451H, ; JOURNAL, Hilgevoord, Jan, 1998, The uncertainty principle for energy and time. II., American Journal of Physics, 66, 5, 396â€“402, 10.1119/1.18880, 1998AmJPh..66..396H, For a quantum system in a non-stationary state {{mvar|Ïˆ}} and an observable B represented by a self-adjoint operator hat B, the following formula holds:
sigma_E frac{sigma_B}{left| frac{mathrm{d}langle hat B rangle}{mathrm{d}t}right |} ge frac{hbar}{2},
where ÏƒE is the standard deviation of the energy operator (Hamiltonian) in the state {{mvar|Ïˆ}}, ÏƒB stands for the standard deviation of B. Although the second factor in the left-hand side has dimension of time, it is different from the time parameter that enters the SchrÃ¶dinger equation. It is a lifetime of the state {{mvar|Ïˆ}} with respect to the observable B: In other words, this is the time interval (Î”t) after which the expectation value langlehat Brangle changes appreciably.
An informal, heuristic meaning of the principle is the following: A state that only exists for a short time cannot have a definite energy. To have a definite energy, the frequency of the state must be defined accurately, and this requires the state to hang around for many cycles, the reciprocal of the required accuracy. For example, in spectroscopy, excited states have a finite lifetime. By the timeâ€“energy uncertainty principle, they do not have a definite energy, and, each time they decay, the energy they release is slightly different. The average energy of the outgoing photon has a peak at the theoretical energy of the state, but the distribution has a finite width called the natural linewidth. Fast-decaying states have a broad linewidth, while slow-decaying states have a narrow linewidth.The broad linewidth of fast-decaying states makes it difficult to accurately measure the energy of the state, and researchers have even used detuned microwave cavities to slow down the decay rate, to get sharper peaks. {{Citation |last=Gabrielse |first=Gerald |author2=H. Dehmelt |title=Observation of Inhibited Spontaneous Emission |journal=Physical Review Letters |volume=55 |pages=67â€“70 |year=1985 |doi=10.1103/PhysRevLett.55.67 |pmid=10031682 |issue=1 |bibcode=1985PhRvL..55...67G}}
The same linewidth effect also makes it difficult to specify the rest mass of unstable, fast-decaying particles in particle physics. The faster the particle decays (the shorter its lifetime), the less certain is its mass (the larger the particle's width).
- For the number of electrons in a superconductor and the phase of its Ginzburgâ€“Landau order parameter{{Citation |last=Likharev |first=K.Â K. |author2=A.Â B. Zorin |title=Theory of Bloch-Wave Oscillations in Small Josephson Junctions |journal=J. Low Temp. Phys. |volume=59 |issue=3/4 |pages=347â€“382 |year=1985 |doi=10.1007/BF00683782 |bibcode=1985JLTP...59..347L}}{{Citation |first=P.Â W. |last=Anderson |editor-last=Caianiello |editor-first=E.Â R. |contribution=Special Effects in Superconductivity |title=Lectures on the Many-Body Problem, Vol. 2 |year=1964 |place=New York |publisher=Academic Press}}
Delta N , Delta varphi geq 1.
A counterexample
Suppose we consider a quantum particle on a ring, where the wave function depends on an angular variable theta, which we may take to lie in the interval [0,2pi]. Define "position" and "momentum" operators hat{A} and hat{B} by
hat{A}psi(theta)=thetapsi(theta),quad thetain [0,2pi],
and
hat{B}psi=-ihbarfrac{dpsi}{dtheta},
where we impose periodic boundary conditions on hat{B}. Note that the definition of hat{A} depends on our choice to have theta range from 0 to 2pi. These operators satisfy the usual commutation relations for position and momentum operators, [hat{A},hat{B}]=ihbar.More precisely, hat{A}hat{B}psi-hat{B}hat{A}psi=ihbarpsi whenever both hat{A}hat{B}psi and hat{B}hat{A}psi are defined, and the space of such psi is a dense subspace of the quantum Hilbert space. See {{Citation | last = Hall | first = B. C. | title = Quantum Theory for Mathematicians | publisher = Springer | year = 2013 | pages = 245 }}Now let psi be any of the eigenstates of hat{B}, which are given by psi(theta)=e^{2pi intheta}. Note that these states are normalizable, unlike the eigenstates of the momentum operator on the line. Note also that the operator hat{A} is bounded, since theta ranges over a bounded interval. Thus, in the state psi, the uncertainty of B is zero and the uncertainty of A is finite, so that
sigma_Asigma_B=0.
Although this result appears to violate the Robertson uncertainty principle, the paradox is resolved when we note that psi is not in the domain of the operator hat{B}hat{A}, since multiplication by theta disrupts the periodic boundary conditions imposed on hat{B}. Thus, the derivation of the Robertson relation, which requires hat{A}hat{B}psi and hat{B}hat{A}psi to be defined, does not apply. (These also furnish an example of operators satisfying the canonical commutation relations but not the Weyl relations.{{Citation | last = Hall | first = B. C. | title = Quantum Theory for Mathematicians | publisher = Springer | year = 2013 | pages = 285 }})For the usual position and momentum operators hat{X} and hat{P} on the real line, no such counterexamples can occur. As long as sigma_x and sigma_p are defined in the state psi, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle holds, even if psi fails to be in the domain of hat{X}hat{P} or of hat{P}hat{X}.{{Citation | last = Hall | first = B. C. | title = Quantum Theory for Mathematicians | publisher = Springer | year = 2013 | pages = 246 }}Examples
(Refs )Quantum harmonic oscillator stationary states
Consider a one-dimensional quantum harmonic oscillator (QHO). It is possible to express the position and momentum operators in terms of the creation and annihilation operators:
hat x = sqrt{frac{hbar}{2momega}}(a+a^dagger)
hat p = isqrt{frac{m omegahbar}{2}}(a^dagger-a).
Using the standard rules for creation and annihilation operators on the eigenstates of the QHO,
a^{dagger}|nrangle=sqrt{n+1}|n+1rangle
a|nrangle=sqrt{n}|n-1rangle,
the variances may be computed directly,
sigma_x^2 = frac{hbar}{momega} left( n+frac{1}{2}right)
sigma_p^2 = hbar momega left( n+frac{1}{2}right), .
The product of these standard deviations is then
sigma_x sigma_p = hbar left(n+frac{1}{2}right) ge frac{hbar}{2}.~
In particular, the above Kennard bound is saturated for the ground state {{math|n{{=}}0}}, for which the probability density is just the normal distribution.Quantum harmonic oscillators with Gaussian initial condition
{{multiple image| align = right| direction = vertical| footer =Position (blue) and momentum (red) probability densities for an initial Gaussian distribution. From top to bottom, the animations show the cases Î©=Ï‰, Î©=2Ï‰, and Î©=Ï‰/2. Note the tradeoff between the widths of the distributions.| width1 = 360| image1 = Position_and_momentum_of_a_Gaussian_initial_state_for_a_QHO,_balanced.gif| width2 = 360| image2 = Position_and_momentum_of_a_Gaussian_initial_state_for_a_QHO,_narrow.gif| width3 = 360| image3 = Position_and_momentum_of_a_Gaussian_initial_state_for_a_QHO,_wide.gif}}In a quantum harmonic oscillator of characteristic angular frequency Ï‰, place a state that is offset from the bottom of the potential by some displacement x0 as
psi(x)=left(frac{m Omega}{pi hbar}right)^{1/4} exp{left( -frac{m Omega (x-x_0)^2}{2hbar}right)},
where Î© describes the width of the initial state but need not be the same as Ï‰. Through integration over the (Propagator#Basic Examples: Propagator of Free Particle and Harmonic Oscillator|propagator), we can solve for the {{Not a typo|full time}}-dependent solution. After many cancelations, the probability densities reduce to
|Psi(x,t)|^2 sim mathcal{N}left( x_0 cos{(omega t)} , frac{hbar}{2 m Omega} left( cos^2(omega t) + frac{Omega^2}{omega^2} sin^2{(omega t)} right)right)
|Phi(p,t)|^2 sim mathcal{N}left( -m x_0 omega sin(omega t), frac{hbar m Omega}{2} left( cos^2{(omega t)} + frac{omega^2}{Omega^2} sin^2{(omega t)} right)right),
where we have used the notation mathcal{N}(mu, sigma^2) to denote a normal distribution of mean Î¼ and variance Ïƒ2. Copying the variances above and applying trigonometric identities, we can write the product of the standard deviations as
frac{Omega^2}{omega^2}+frac{omega^2}{Omega^2} ge 2, quad |cos(4 omega t)| le 1,
we can conclude the following: (the right most equality holds only when Î© = Ï‰) .
sigma_x sigma_p ge frac{hbar}{4}sqrt{3+frac{1}{2} left(frac{Omega^2}{omega^2}+frac{omega^2}{Omega^2}right)-left(frac{1}{2} left(frac{Omega^2}{omega^2}+frac{omega^2}{Omega^2}right)-1right)} = frac{hbar}{2}.
Coherent states
A coherent state is a right eigenstate of the annihilation operator,
hat{a}|alpharangle=alpha|alpharangle,
which may be represented in terms of Fock states as
|alpharangle =e^{-{|alpha|^2over2}} sum_{n=0}^infty {alpha^n over sqrt{n!}}|nrangle
In the picture where the coherent state is a massive particle in a QHO, the position and momentum operators may be expressed in terms of the annihilation operators in the same formulas above and used to calculate the variances,
sigma_x^2 = frac{hbar}{2 m omega},
sigma_p^2 = frac{hbar m omega}{2}.
Therefore, every coherent state saturates the Kennard bound
sigma_x sigma_p = sqrt{frac{hbar}{2 m omega}} , sqrt{frac{hbar m omega}{2}} = frac{hbar}{2}.
with position and momentum each contributing an amount sqrt{hbar/2} in a "balanced" way. Moreover, every squeezed coherent state also saturates the Kennard bound although the individual contributions of position and momentum need not be balanced in general.Particle in a box
Consider a particle in a one-dimensional box of length L. The eigenfunctions in position and momentum space are
psi_n(x,t) =
begin{cases}A sin(k_n x)mathrm{e}^{-mathrm{i}omega_n t}, & 0 < x < L,end{cases}and
varphi_n(p,t)=sqrt{frac{pi L}{hbar}},,frac{nleft(1-(-1)^ne^{-ikL} right) e^{-i omega_n t}}{pi ^2 n^2-k^2 L^2},
where omega_n=frac{pi^2 hbar n^2}{8 L^2 m} and we have used the de Broglie relation p=hbar k. The variances of x and p can be calculated explicitly:
sigma_x^2=frac{L^2}{12}left(1-frac{6}{n^2pi^2}right)
sigma_p^2=left(frac{hbar npi}{L}right)^2.
The product of the standard deviations is therefore
sigma_x sigma_p = frac{hbar}{2} sqrt{frac{n^2pi^2}{3}-2}.
For all n=1, , 2, , 3,, ldots, the quantity sqrt{frac{n^2pi^2}{3}-2} is greater than 1, so the uncertainty principle is never violated. For numerical concreteness, the smallest value occurs when n=1, in which case
sigma_x sigma_p = frac{hbar}{2} sqrt{frac{pi^2}{3}-2} approx 0.568 hbar > frac{hbar}{2}.
Constant momentum
(File:Guassian Dispersion.gif|360 px|thumb|right|Position space probability density of an initially Gaussian state moving at minimally uncertain, constant momentum in free space)Assume a particle initially has a momentum space wave function described by a normal distribution around some constant momentum p0 according to
varphi(p) = left(frac{x_0}{hbar sqrt{pi}} right)^{1/2} cdot exp{left(frac{-x_0^2 (p-p_0)^2}{2hbar^2}right)},
where we have introduced a reference scale x_0=sqrt{hbar/momega_0}, with omega_0>0 describing the width of the distributionâˆ’âˆ’cf. nondimensionalization. If the state is allowed to evolve in free space, then the time-dependent momentum and position space wave functions are
Phi(p,t) = left(frac{x_0}{hbar sqrt{pi}} right)^{1/2} cdot exp{left(frac{-x_0^2 (p-p_0)^2}{2hbar^2}-frac{ip^2 t}{2mhbar}right)},
Psi(x,t) = left(frac{1}{x_0 sqrt{pi}} right)^{1/2} cdot frac{e^{-x_0^2 p_0^2 /2hbar^2}}{sqrt{1+iomega_0 t}} cdot exp{left(-frac{(x-ix_0^2 p_0/hbar)^2}{2x_0^2 (1+iomega_0 t)}right)}.
Since langle p(t) rangle = p_0 and sigma_p(t) = hbar / x_0 sqrt{2}, this can be interpreted as a particle moving along with constant momentum at arbitrarily high precision. On the other hand, the standard deviation of the position is
sigma_x = frac{x_0}{sqrt{2}} sqrt{1+omega_0^2 t^2}
such that the uncertainty product can only increase with time as
sigma_x(t) sigma_p(t) = frac{hbar}{2} sqrt{1+omega_0^2 t^2}
Additional uncertainty relations
Mixed states
The Robertsonâ€“SchrÃ¶dinger uncertainty relation may be generalized in a straightforward way to describe mixed states.WEB, Steiger, Nathan, Quantum Uncertainty and Conservation Law Restrictions on Gate Fidelity,weblink Brigham Young University, 19 June 2011,
sigma_A^2 sigma_B^2 geq left(frac{1}{2}operatorname{tr}(rho{A,B}) - operatorname{tr}(rho A)operatorname{tr}(rho B)right)^2 +left(frac{1}{2i} operatorname{tr}(rho[A,B])right)^2
The Macconeâ€“Pati uncertainty relations
The Robertsonâ€“SchrÃ¶dinger uncertainty relation can be trivial if the state of the system is chosen to be eigenstate of one of the observable. The stronger uncertainty relations proved by Maccone and Pati give non-trivial bounds on the sum of the variances for two incompatible observables.JOURNAL, Maccone, Lorenzo, Pati, Arun K., Stronger Uncertainty Relations for All Incompatible Observables, Physical Review Letters, 31 December 2014, 113, 26, 260401, 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.260401, 25615288, 1407.0338, 2014PhRvL.113z0401M, (Earlier works on uncertainty relations formulated as the sum of variances include, e.g., Ref. JOURNAL, Huang, Yichen, Variance-based uncertainty relations, Physical Review A, 10 August 2012, 86, 2, 024101, 10.1103/PhysRevA.86.024101, 2012PhRvA..86b4101H, due to Huang.) For two non-commuting observables A and B the first stronger uncertainty relation is given by
sigma_{A}^2 + sigma_{ B}^2 ge pm i langle Psimid [A, B]|Psi rangle + mid langle Psimid(A pm i B)mid{bar Psi} rangle|^2,
where sigma_{A}^2 = langle Psi |A^2 |Psi rangle - langle Psi mid A mid Psi rangle^2 , sigma_{B}^2 = langle Psi |B^2 |Psi rangle - langle Psi mid B midPsi rangle^2 , |{bar Psi} rangle is a normalized vector that is orthogonal to the state of the system |Psi rangle and one should choose the sign of pm i langle Psimid[A, B]midPsi rangle to make this real quantity a positive number.The second stronger uncertainty relation is given by
sigma_A^2 + sigma_B^2 ge frac{1}{2}| langle {bar Psi}_{A+B} mid(A + B)mid Psi rangle|^2
where | {bar Psi}_{A+B} rangle is a state orthogonal to |Psi rangle .The form of | {bar Psi}_{A+B} rangle implies that the right-hand side of the new uncertainty relation is nonzero unless | Psirangle is an eigenstate of (A + B). One may note that |Psi rangle can be an eigenstate of ( A+ B) without being an eigenstate of either
A or B . However, when |Psi rangle is an eigenstate of one of the two observables the Heisenbergâ€“SchrÃ¶dinger uncertainty relation becomes trivial. But the lower bound in the new relation is nonzero
unless |Psi rangle is an eigenstate of both.Phase space
In the phase space formulation of quantum mechanics, the Robertsonâ€“SchrÃ¶dinger relation follows from a positivity condition on a real star-square function. Given a Wigner function W(x,p) with star product â˜… and a function f, the following is generally true:JOURNAL, Curtright, T., Zachos, C., Negative Probability and Uncertainty Relations, Modern Physics Letters A, 16, 37, 2381â€“2385, 10.1142/S021773230100576X, 2001, hep-th/0105226, 2001MPLA...16.2381C,
langle f^* star f rangle =int (f^* star f) , W(x,p) , dx , dp ge 0.
Choosing f=a+bx+cp, we arrive at
langle f^* star f rangle =begin{bmatrix}a^* & b^* & c^* end{bmatrix}begin{bmatrix}1 & langle x rangle & langle p rangle langle x rangle & langle x star x rangle & langle x star p rangle langle p rangle & langle p star x rangle & langle p star p rangle end{bmatrix}begin{bmatrix}a b cend{bmatrix} ge 0.
Since this positivity condition is true for all a, b, and c, it follows that all the eigenvalues of the matrix are positive. The positive eigenvalues then imply a corresponding positivity condition on the determinant:
detbegin{bmatrix}1 & langle x rangle & langle p rangle langle x rangle & langle x star x rangle & langle x star p rangle langle p rangle & langle p star x rangle & langle p star p rangle end{bmatrix} = detbegin{bmatrix}1 & langle x rangle & langle p rangle langle x rangle & langle x^2 rangle & leftlangle xp + frac{ihbar}{2} rightrangle langle p rangle & leftlangle xp - frac{ihbar}{2} rightrangle & langle p^2 rangle end{bmatrix} ge 0,
or, explicitly, after algebraic manipulation,
sigma_x^2 sigma_p^2 = left( langle x^2 rangle - langle x rangle^2 right)left( langle p^2 rangle - langle p rangle^2 right)ge left( langle xp rangle - langle x rangle langle p rangle right)^2 + frac{hbar^2}{4} ~.
Systematic and statistical errors
The inequalities above focus on the statistical imprecision of observables as quantified by the standard deviation sigma. Heisenberg's original version, however, was dealing with the systematic error, a disturbance of the quantum system produced by the measuring apparatus, i.e., an observer effect.If we let varepsilon_A represent the error (i.e., inaccuracy) of a measurement of an observable A and eta_B the disturbance produced on a subsequent measurement of the conjugate variable B by the former measurement of A, then the inequality proposed by Ozawa â€” encompassing both systematic and statistical errors â€” holds:{{Equation box 1|indent =:: langle [hat{A},hat{B}] rangle right||cellpadding= 6|border|border colour = #0073CF|background colour=#F5FFFA}}Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, as originally described in the 1927 formulation, mentions only the first term of Ozawa inequality, regarding the systematic error. Using the notation above to describe the error/disturbance effect of sequential measurements (first A, then B), it could be written as{{Equation box 1|indent =:: langle [hat{A},hat{B}] rangle right||cellpadding= 6|border|border colour = #0073CF|background colour=#F5FFFA}}The formal derivation of the Heisenberg relation is possible but far from intuitive. It was not proposed by Heisenberg, but formulated in a mathematically consistent way only in recent years.JOURNAL, 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.160405, Proof of Heisenberg's Error-Disturbance Relation, Physical Review Letters, 111, 16, 2013, Busch, P., Lahti, P., Werner, R. F., 1306.1565, 2013PhRvL.111p0405B, 24182239, 160405, JOURNAL, 10.1103/PhysRevA.89.012129, Heisenberg uncertainty for qubit measurements, Physical Review A, 89, 1, 012129, 2014, Busch, P., Lahti, P., Werner, R. F., 1311.0837, 2014PhRvA..89a2129B, Also, it must be stressed that the Heisenberg formulation is not taking into account the intrinsic statistical errors sigma_A and sigma_B. There is increasing experimental evidenceJOURNAL, Erhart, J., Sponar, S., Sulyok, G., Badurek, G., Ozawa, M., Hasegawa, Y., Experimental demonstration of a universally valid error-disturbance uncertainty relation in spin measurements, Nature Physics, 8, 185â€“189, 2012, 10.1038/nphys2194, 1201.1833, 2012NatPh...8..185E, 3, JOURNAL, Baek, S.-Y., Kaneda, F., Ozawa, M., Edamatsu, K., Experimental violation and reformulation of the Heisenberg's error-disturbance uncertainty relation, Scientific Reports, 3, 2221, 2013, 10.1038/srep02221, 2013NatSR...3E2221B, 23860715, 3713528, JOURNAL, Ringbauer, M., Biggerstaff, D.N., Broome, M.A., Fedrizzi, A., Branciard, C., White, A.G., Experimental Joint Quantum Measurements with Minimum Uncertainty, Physical Review Letters, 112, 2, 020401, 2014, 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.020401, 1308.5688, 2014PhRvL.112b0401R, 24483993, that the total quantum uncertainty cannot be described by the Heisenberg term alone, but requires the presence of all the three terms of the Ozawa inequality.
varepsilon_A eta_B + varepsilon_A , sigma_B + sigma_A , eta_B + sigma_A sigma_B geq left|langle[hat{A},hat{B}]rangle right| .
(varepsilon_A + sigma_A) , (eta_B + sigma_B) , geq , left|langle[hat{A},hat{B}]rangle right| .
bar varepsilon_A , equiv , (varepsilon_A + sigma_A)
bar eta_B , equiv , (eta_B + sigma_B)
Quantum entropic uncertainty principle
For many distributions, the standard deviation is not a particularly natural way of quantifying the structure. For example, uncertainty relations in which one of the observables is an angle has little physical meaning for fluctuations larger than one period.{{Citation |first=D. |last=Judge |title=On the uncertainty relation for angle variables|journal=Il Nuovo Cimento|year=1964|volume=31|issue=2|pages=332â€“340|doi=10.1007/BF02733639|bibcode=1964NCim...31..332J}}{{Citation |first1= M. |last1= Bouten |first2= N. |last2= Maene last3= Van Leuvenjournal=Il Nuovo Cimentovolume=37pages=1119â€“1125bibcode=1965NCim...37.1119B}}{{Citation last=Louiselljournal=Physics Lettersvolume=7pages=60â€“61bibcode = 1963PhL.....7...60L }} Other examples include highly bimodal distributions, or unimodal distributions with divergent variance.A solution that overcomes these issues is an uncertainty based on entropic uncertainty instead of the product of variances. While formulating the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics in 1957, Hugh Everett III conjectured a stronger extension of the uncertainty principle based on entropic certainty.{{Citation |last=DeWitt |first=B. S. |last2=Graham |first2=N. |year=1973 |title=The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics |location=Princeton |publisher=Princeton University Press |pages=52â€“53 |isbn=0-691-08126-3 }} This conjecture, also studied by Hirschman{{Citation |first=I. I., Jr. |last=Hirschman |title=A note on entropy |journal=American Journal of Mathematics |year=1957 |volume=79 |issue=1 |pages=152â€“156 |doi=10.2307/2372390 |postscript=. |jstor=2372390 }} and proven in 1975 by Beckner{{Citation |first=W. |last=Beckner |title=Inequalities in Fourier analysis |journal=Annals of Mathematics |volume=102 |issue=6 |year=1975 |pages=159â€“182 |doi=10.2307/1970980 |postscript=. |jstor=1970980 }} and by Iwo Bialynicki-Birula and Jerzy Mycielski{{Citation |first=I. |last=Bialynicki-Birula|last2= Mycielski|first2=J.|title=Uncertainty Relations for Information Entropy in Wave Mechanics|journal=Communications in Mathematical Physics |volume=44 |year=1975 |pages=129â€“132 |doi=10.1007/BF01608825 |issue=2|bibcode = 1975CMaPh..44..129B }} is that, for two normalized, dimensionless Fourier transform pairs {{math|f(a)}} and {{math|g(b)}} where
f(a) = int_{-infty}^infty g(b) e^{2pi i a b},db and ,,,g(b) = int_{-infty}^infty f(a) e^{- 2pi i a b},da
the Shannon information entropies
H_a = int_{-infty}^infty f(a) log(f(a)),da,
and
H_b = int_{-infty}^infty g(b) log(g(b)),db
are subject to the following constraint,{{Equation box 1|indent =:|equation =H_a + H_b ge log (e/2)|cellpadding= 6|border|border colour = #0073CF|background colour=#F5FFFA}}where the logarithms may be in any base.The probability distribution functions associated with the position wave function {{math|ψ(x)}} and the momentum wave function {{math|φ(x)}} have dimensions of inverse length and momentum respectively, but the entropies may be rendered dimensionless by
H_x = - int |psi(x)|^2 ln (x_0,|psi(x)|^2 ) ,dx =-leftlangle ln (x_0midpsi(x)|^2 ) rightrangle
H_p = - int |varphi(p)|^2 ln (p_0,|varphi(p)|^2) ,dp =-leftlangle ln (p_0left|varphi(p)right|^2 ) rightrangle
where {{math|x0}} and {{math|p0}} are some arbitrarily chosen length and momentum respectively, which render the arguments of the logarithms dimensionless. Note that the entropies will be functions of these chosen parameters. Due to the Fourier transform relation between the position wave function {{math|ψ(x)}} and the momentum wavefunction {{math|φ(p)}}, the above constraint can be written for the corresponding entropies as{{Equation box 1|indent =:|equation = H_x + H_p ge log left(frac{e,h}{2,x_0,p_0}right)|cellpadding= 6|border|border colour = #0073CF|background colour=#F5FFFA}}where {{mvar|h}} is Planck's constant.Depending on one's choice of the {{math|x0 p0}} product, the expression may be written in many ways. If {{math|x0 p0}} is chosen to be {{mvar|h}}, then
H_x + H_p ge log left(frac{e}{2}right)
If, instead, {{math|x0 p0}} is chosen to be {{mvar|Ä§}}, then
H_x + H_p ge log (e,pi)
If {{math|x0}} and {{math|p0}} are chosen to be unity in whatever system of units are being used, then
H_x + H_p ge log left(frac{e,h }{2}right)
where {{mvar|h}} is interpreted as a dimensionless number equal to the value of Planck's constant in the chosen system of units. Note that these inequalities can be extended to multimode quantum states, or wavefunctions in more than one spatial dimension.JOURNAL, Huang, Yichen, Entropic uncertainty relations in multidimensional position and momentum spaces, Physical Review A, 24 May 2011, 83, 5, 052124, 10.1103/PhysRevA.83.052124, 2011PhRvA..83e2124H, 1101.2944, The quantum entropic uncertainty principle is more restrictive than the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. From the inverse logarithmic Sobolev inequalities{{citation |first=D. |last=ChafaÃ¯ |chapter=Gaussian maximum of entropy and reversed log-Sobolev inequality|arxiv=math/0102227 |doi=10.1007/978-3-540-36107-7_5 |year=2003 |isbn=978-3-540-00072-3 |pages=194â€“200|title=SÃ©minaire de ProbabilitÃ©s XXXVI |volume=1801 |series=Lecture Notes in Mathematics }}
H_x le frac{1}{2} log ( 2epi sigma_x^2 / x_0^2 )~,
H_p le frac{1}{2} log ( 2epi sigma_p^2 /p_0^2 )~,
(equivalently, from the fact that normal distributions maximize the entropy of all such with a given variance), it readily follows that this entropic uncertainty principle is stronger than the one based on standard deviations, because
sigma_x sigma_p ge frac{hbar}{2} expleft(H_x + H_p - log left(frac{e,h}{2,x_0,p_0}right)right) ge frac{hbar}{2}~.
In other words, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, is a consequence of the quantum entropic uncertainty principle, but not vice versa. A few remarks on these inequalities. First, the choice of base e is a matter of popular convention in physics. The logarithm can alternatively be in any base, provided that it be consistent on both sides of the inequality. Second, recall the Shannon entropy has been used, not the quantum von Neumann entropy. Finally, the normal distribution saturates the inequality, and it is the only distribution with this property, because it is the maximum entropy probability distribution among those with fixed variance (cf. here for proof).{| class="toccolours collapsible collapsed" width="70%" style="text-align:left"!Entropic uncertainty of the normal distribution|We demonstrate this method on the ground state of the QHO, which as discussed above saturates the usual uncertainty based on standard deviations. The length scale can be set to whatever is convenient, so we assign
x_0=sqrt{frac{hbar}{2momega}}
begin{align}psi(x) &= left(frac{m omega}{pi hbar}right)^{1/4} exp{left( -frac{m omega x^2}{2hbar}right)}
&= left(frac{1}{2pi x_0^2}right)^{1/4} exp{left( -frac{x^2}{4x_0^2}right)} end{align}The probability distribution is the normal distribution
|psi(x)|^2 = frac{1}{x_0 sqrt{2pi}} exp{left( -frac{x^2}{2x_0^2}right)}
with Shannon entropy
begin{align}H_x &= - int |psi(x)|^2 ln (|psi(x)|^2 cdot x_0 ) ,dx
&= -frac{1}{x_0 sqrt{2pi}} int_{-infty}^infty exp{left( -frac{x^2}{2x_0^2}right)} ln left[frac{1}{sqrt{2pi}} exp{left( -frac{x^2}{2x_0^2}right)}right] , dx &= frac{1}{sqrt{2pi}} int_{-infty}^infty exp{left( -frac{u^2}{2}right)} left[ln(sqrt{2pi}) + frac{u^2}{2}right] , du&= ln(sqrt{2pi}) + frac{1}{2}.end{align}A completely analogous calculation proceeds for the momentum distribution. Choosing a standard momentum of p_0=hbar/x_0:
varphi(p) = left(frac{2 x_0^2}{pi hbar^2}right)^{1/4} exp{left( -frac{x_0^2 p^2}{hbar^2}right)}
|varphi(p)|^2 = sqrt{frac{2 x_0^2}{pi hbar^2}} exp{left( -frac{2x_0^2 p^2}{hbar^2}right)}
begin{align}H_p &= - int |varphi(p)|^2 ln (|varphi(p)|^2 cdot hbar / x_0 ) ,dp
&= -sqrt{frac{2 x_0^2}{pi hbar^2}} int_{-infty}^infty exp{left( -frac{2x_0^2 p^2}{hbar^2}right)} ln left[sqrt{frac{2}{pi}} exp{left( -frac{2x_0^2 p^2}{hbar^2}right)}right] , dp &= sqrt{frac{2}{pi}} int_{-infty}^infty exp{left( -2v^2right)} left[lnleft(sqrt{frac{pi}{2}}right) + 2v^2 right] , dv &= lnleft(sqrt{frac{pi}{2}}right) + frac{1}{2}.end{align}The entropic uncertainty is therefore the limiting value
begin{align}H_x+H_p &= ln(sqrt{2pi}) + frac{1}{2} + lnleft(sqrt{frac{pi}{2}}right) + frac{1}{2}
&= 1 + ln pi = ln(epi).end{align}A measurement apparatus will have a finite resolution set by the discretization of its possible outputs into bins, with the probability of lying within one of the bins given by the Born rule. We will consider the most common experimental situation, in which the bins are of uniform size. Let Î´x be a measure of the spatial resolution. We take the zeroth bin to be centered near the origin, with possibly some small constant offset c. The probability of lying within the jth interval of width Î´x is
operatorname P[x_j]= int_{(j-1/2)delta x-c}^{(j+1/2)delta x-c}| psi(x)|^2 , dx
To account for this discretization, we can define the Shannon entropy of the wave function for a given measurement apparatus as
H_x=-sum_{j=-infty}^infty operatorname P[x_j] ln operatorname P[x_j].
Under the above definition, the entropic uncertainty relation is
H_x+H_p>lnleft(frac{e}{2}right)-lnleft(frac{delta x delta p}{h} right).
Here we note that {{math|Î´x Î´p/h}} is a typical infinitesimal phase space volume used in the calculation of a partition function. The inequality is also strict and not saturated. Efforts to improve this bound are an active area of research.{| class="toccolours collapsible collapsed" width="70%" style="text-align:left"!Normal distribution example|We demonstrate this method first on the ground state of the QHO, which as discussed above saturates the usual uncertainty based on standard deviations.
psi(x)=left(frac{m omega}{pi hbar}right)^{1/4} exp{left( -frac{m omega x^2}{2hbar}right)}
The probability of lying within one of these bins can be expressed in terms of the error function.
begin{align}operatorname P[x_j] &= sqrt{frac{m omega}{pi hbar}} int_{(j-1/2)delta x}^{(j+1/2)delta x} expleft( -frac{m omega x^2}{hbar}right) , dx
&= sqrt{frac{1}{pi}} int_{(j-1/2)delta xsqrt{m omega / hbar}}^{(j+1/2)delta xsqrt{m omega / hbar}} e^{u^2} , du &= frac{1}{2} left[ operatorname{erf} left( left(j+frac{1}{2}right)delta x cdot sqrt{frac{m omega}{hbar}}right)- operatorname {erf} left( left(j-frac{1}{2}right)delta x cdot sqrt{frac{m omega}{hbar}}right) right]end{align}The momentum probabilities are completely analogous.
operatorname P[p_j] = frac{1}{2} left[ operatorname{erf} left( left(j+frac{1}{2}right)delta p cdot frac{1}{sqrt{hbar m omega}}right)- operatorname{erf} left( left(j-frac{1}{2}right)delta x cdot frac{1}{sqrt{hbar m omega}}right) right]
For simplicity, we will set the resolutions to
delta x = sqrt{frac{h}{m omega}}
delta p = sqrt{h m omega}
so that the probabilities reduce to
operatorname P[x_j] = operatorname P[p_j] = frac{1}{2} left[ operatorname {erf} left( left(j+frac{1}{2}right) sqrt{2pi} right)- operatorname {erf} left( left(j-frac{1}{2}right) sqrt{2pi} right) right]
The Shannon entropy can be evaluated numerically.
begin{align}H_x = H_p &= -sum_{j=-infty}^infty operatorname P[x_j] ln operatorname P[x_j]
&= -sum_{j=-infty}^infty frac{1}{2} left[ operatorname {erf} left( left(j+frac{1}{2}right) sqrt{2pi} right)- operatorname {erf} left( left(j-frac{1}{2}right) sqrt{2pi} right) right] ln frac{1}{2} left[ operatorname {erf} left( left(j+frac{1}{2}right) sqrt{2pi} right)- operatorname {erf} left( left(j-frac{1}{2}right) sqrt{2pi} right) right]&approx 0.3226end{align}The entropic uncertainty is indeed larger than the limiting value.
H_x+H_p approx 0.3226 + 0.3226 = 0.6452 >lnleft(frac{e}{2}right)-ln 1 approx 0.3069
Note that despite being in the optimal case, the inequality is not saturated.{| class="toccolours collapsible collapsed" width="70%" style="text-align:left"!Sinc function example|An example of a unimodal distribution with infinite variance is the sinc function. If the wave function is the correctly normalized uniform distribution,
varphi(p)=sqrt{frac{a}{pi hbar}} cdot operatorname{sinc}left(frac{a p}{hbar}right)
which yields infinite momentum variance despite having a centralized shape. The entropic uncertainty, on the other hand, is finite. Suppose for simplicity that the spatial resolution is just a two-bin measurement, Î´x = a, and that the momentum resolution is Î´p = h/a.Partitioning the uniform spatial distribution into two equal bins is straightforward. We set the offset c = 1/2 so that the two bins span the distribution.
operatorname P[x_0] = int_{-a}^0 frac{1}{2a} , dx = frac{1}{2}
operatorname P[x_1] = int_0^a frac{1}{2a} , dx = frac{1}{2}
H_x = -sum_{j=0}^{1} operatorname P[x_j] ln operatorname P[x_j] = -frac{1}{2} ln frac{1}{2} - frac{1}{2} ln frac{1}{2} = ln 2
The bins for momentum must cover the entire real line. As done with the spatial distribution, we could apply an offset. It turns out, however, that the Shannon entropy is minimized when the zeroth bin for momentum is centered at the origin. (The reader is encouraged to try adding an offset.) The probability of lying within an arbitrary momentum bin can be expressed in terms of the sine integral.
begin{align}operatorname P[p_j] &= frac{a}{pi hbar} int_{(j-1/2)delta p}^{(j+1/2)delta p} operatorname{sinc}^2left(frac{a p}{hbar}right) , dp
&= frac{1}{pi} int_{2pi (j-1/2)}^{2pi (j+1/2)} operatorname{sinc}^2(u) , du &= frac{1}{pi} left[ operatorname {Si} ((4j+2)pi)- operatorname {Si} ((4j-2)pi) right]end{align}The Shannon entropy can be evaluated numerically.
H_p = -sum_{j=-infty}^infty operatorname P[p_j] ln operatorname P[p_j] = -operatorname P[p_0] ln operatorname P[p_0]-2 cdot sum_{j=1}^{infty} operatorname P[p_j] ln operatorname P[p_j] approx 0.53
The entropic uncertainty is indeed larger than the limiting value.
H_x+H_p approx 0.69 + 0.53 = 1.22 >lnleft(frac{e}{2}right)-ln 1 approx 0.31
Harmonic analysis
In the context of harmonic analysis, a branch of mathematics, the uncertainty principle implies that one cannot at the same time localize the value of a function and its Fourier transform. To wit, the following inequality holds,
left(int_{-infty}^infty x^2 |f(x)|^2,dxright)left(int_{-infty}^infty xi^2 |hat{f}(xi)|^2,dxiright)ge frac{|f|_2^4}{16pi^2}.
Further mathematical uncertainty inequalities, including the above entropic uncertainty, hold between a function {{mvar|f}} and its Fourier transform {{math| Æ’Ì‚}}:{{Citation|first1=V.|last1=Havin|first2= B.|last2=JÃ¶ricke|title=The Uncertainty Principle in Harmonic Analysis|publisher=Springer-Verlag|year=1994}}{{Citation| last1 = Folland| first1 = Geraldfirst2 = Alladi| title = The Uncertainty Principle: A Mathematical Survey| journal = Journal of Fourier Analysis and Applications|date=May 1997| volume = 3| issue = 3| pages = 207â€“238| doi = 10.1007/BF02649110| mr=1448337}}{{springer|title=Uncertainty principle, mathematical|id=U/u130020|first=A|last=Sitaram|year=2001}}
H_x+H_xi ge log(e/2)
Signal processing {{anchor|Gabor limit}}
In the context of signal processing, and in particular timeâ€“frequency analysis, uncertainty principles are referred to as the Gabor limit, after Dennis Gabor, or sometimes the Heisenbergâ€“Gabor limit. The basic result, which follows from "Benedicks's theorem", below, is that a function cannot be both time limited and band limited (a function and its Fourier transform cannot both have bounded domain)â€”see bandlimited versus timelimited. Thus
sigma_t cdot sigma_f ge frac{1}{4pi} approx 0.08 text{ cycles}
where sigma_t and sigma_f are the standard deviations of the time and frequency estimates respectively Matt Hall, "What is the Gabor uncertainty principle?".Stated alternatively, "One cannot simultaneously sharply localize a signal (function {{mvar|f}} ) in both the time domain and frequency domain ({{math| Æ’Ì‚}}, its Fourier transform)".When applied to filters, the result implies that one cannot achieve high temporal resolution and frequency resolution at the same time; a concrete example are the resolution issues of the short-time Fourier transformâ€”if one uses a wide window, one achieves good frequency resolution at the cost of temporal resolution, while a narrow window has the opposite trade-off.Alternate theorems give more precise quantitative results, and, in timeâ€“frequency analysis, rather than interpreting the (1-dimensional) time and frequency domains separately, one instead interprets the limit as a lower limit on the support of a function in the (2-dimensional) timeâ€“frequency plane. In practice, the Gabor limit limits the simultaneous timeâ€“frequency resolution one can achieve without interference; it is possible to achieve higher resolution, but at the cost of different components of the signal interfering with each other.DFT-Uncertainty principle
There is an uncertainty principle that uses signal sparsity (or the number of non-zero coefficients).JOURNAL, Donoho, D.L., Stark, P.B, 1989, Uncertainty principles and signal recovery, SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, 49, 3, 906â€“931, 10.1137/0149053, Let left { mathbf{ x_n } right } := x_0, x_1, ldots, x_{N-1} be a sequence of N complex numbers and left { mathbf{X_k} right } := X_0, X_1, ldots, X_{N-1}, its discrete Fourier transform.Denote by |x|_0 the number of non-zero elements in the time sequence x_0,x_1,ldots,x_{N-1} and by |X|_0 the number of non-zero elements in the frequency sequence X_0,X_1,ldots,X_{N-1}. Then,
Nleq |x|_0 cdot |X|_0.
Benedicks's theorem
Amreinâ€“Berthier{{Citation first1 = W.O. first2 = A.M.| year = 1977| title = On support properties of Lp-functions and their Fourier transforms| journal = Journal of Functional Analysis issue = 3 | pages = 258â€“267| doi = 10.1016/0022-1236(77)90056-8| ref = harv| postscript = .}} and Benedicks's theorem{{Citation|first=M.|last=Benedicks|authorlink=Michael Benedicks|title=On Fourier transforms of functions supported on sets of finite Lebesgue measure|journal=J. Math. Anal. Appl.|volume=106|year=1985|issue=1|pages=180â€“183|doi=10.1016/0022-247X(85)90140-4}} intuitively says that the set of points where {{mvar|f}} is non-zero and the set of points where {{math| Æ’Ì‚}} is non-zero cannot both be small.Specifically, it is impossible for a function {{mvar|f}} in {{math|L2(R)}} and its Fourier transform {{math| Æ’Ì‚}} to both be supported on sets of finite Lebesgue measure. A more quantitative version is{{Citation|first=F.|last=Nazarov|authorlink=Fedor Nazarov|title=Local estimates for exponential polynomials and their applications to inequalities of the uncertainty principle type|journal=St. Petersburg Math. J.|volume=5|year=1994|pages=663â€“717}}{{Citation|first=Ph.|last=Jaming|title=Nazarov's uncertainty principles in higher dimension|journal= J. Approx. Theory|volume=149|year=2007|issue=1|pages=30â€“41|doi=10.1016/j.jat.2007.04.005|arxiv=math/0612367}}
|f|_{L^2(mathbf{R}^d)}leq Ce^{C|S||Sigma|} bigl(|f|_{L^2(S^c)} + | hat{f} |_{L^2(Sigma^c)} bigr) ~.
One expects that the factor {{math|CeC{{!}}S{{!}}{{!}}Î£{{!}}}} may be replaced by {{math|CeC({{!}}S{{!}}{{!}}Î£{{!}})1/d}}, which is only known if either {{mvar|S}} or {{mvar|Î£}} is convex.Hardy's uncertainty principle
The mathematician G. H. Hardy formulated the following uncertainty principle:{{Citation|first=G.H.|last=Hardy|authorlink=G. H. Hardy|title=A theorem concerning Fourier transforms|journal=Journal of the London Mathematical Society|volume=8|year=1933|issue=3|pages=227â€“231|doi=10.1112/jlms/s1-8.3.227}} it is not possible for {{mvar|f}} and {{math| Æ’Ì‚}} to both be "very rapidly decreasing". Specifically, if {{mvar|f}} in L^2(mathbb{R}) is such that
|f(x)|leq C(1+|x|)^Ne^{-api x^2}
and
|hat{f}(xi)|leq C(1+|xi|)^Ne^{-bpi xi^2} (C>0,N an integer),
then, if {{math|1=ab > 1, f = 0}}, while if {{math|1=ab = 1}}, then there is a polynomial {{mvar|P}} of degree {{math| â‰¤ N}} such that
f(x)=P(x)e^{-api x^2}.
int_{mathbb{R}^d}int_{mathbb{R}^d}|f(x)||hat{f}(xi)|frac{e^{pi|langle x,xirangle|}}{(1+|x|+|xi|)^N} , dx , dxi
< +infty ~,then
f(x)=P(x)e^{-pilangle Ax,xrangle} ~,
e^{pi|x|^2}finmathcal{S} '(R^d)
and
e^{pi|xi|^2}hat finmathcal{S}'(R^d) ~,
then
f(x)=P(x)e^{-pilangle Ax,xrangle} ~,
History
Werner Heisenberg formulated the uncertainty principle at Niels Bohr's institute in Copenhagen, while working on the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics.American Physical Society online exhibit on the Uncertainty Principle(File:Heisenbergbohr.jpg|thumb|Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr)In 1925, following pioneering work with Hendrik Kramers, Heisenberg developed matrix mechanics, which replaced the ad hoc old quantum theory with modern quantum mechanics. The central premise was that the classical concept of motion does not fit at the quantum level, as electrons in an atom do not travel on sharply defined orbits. Rather, their motion is smeared out in a strange way: the Fourier transform of its time dependence only involves those frequencies that could be observed in the quantum jumps of their radiation.Heisenberg's paper did not admit any unobservable quantities like the exact position of the electron in an orbit at any time; he only allowed the theorist to talk about the Fourier components of the motion. Since the Fourier components were not defined at the classical frequencies, they could not be used to construct an exact trajectory, so that the formalism could not answer certain overly precise questions about where the electron was or how fast it was going.In March 1926, working in Bohr's institute, Heisenberg realized that the non-commutativity implies the uncertainty principle. This implication provided a clear physical interpretation for the non-commutativity, and it laid the foundation for what became known as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg showed that the commutation relation implies an uncertainty, or in Bohr's language a complementarity.{{Citation |first=Niels |last=Bohr |year=1958 |title=Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge |location=New York |publisher=Wiley |page=38 |isbn= |bibcode=1958AmJPh..26..596B |volume=26 |journal=American Journal of Physics |doi=10.1119/1.1934707 |issue=8 |last2=Noll |first2=Waldemar }} Any two variables that do not commute cannot be measured simultaneouslyâ€”the more precisely one is known, the less precisely the other can be known. Heisenberg wrote:It can be expressed in its simplest form as follows: One can never know with perfect accuracy both of those two important factors which determine the movement of one of the smallest particlesâ€”its position and its velocity. It is impossible to determine accurately both the position and the direction and speed of a particle at the same instant.Heisenberg, W., Die Physik der Atomkerne, Taylor & Francis, 1952, p. 30.In his celebrated 1927 paper, "Ãœber den anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinematik und Mechanik" ("On the Perceptual Content of Quantum Theoretical Kinematics and Mechanics"), Heisenberg established this expression as the minimum amount of unavoidable momentum disturbance caused by any position measurement, but he did not give a precise definition for the uncertainties Î”x and Î”p. Instead, he gave some plausible estimates in each case separately. In his Chicago lecture{{Citation |first=W. |last=Heisenberg |year=1930 |title=Physikalische Prinzipien der Quantentheorie |language=de|location=Leipzig |publisher=Hirzel }} English translation The Physical Principles of Quantum Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930. he refined his principle:{{NumBlk|::|Delta x , Delta pgtrsim h|1}}Kennard in 1927 first proved the modern inequality:{{NumBlk|::|sigma_xsigma_pgefrac{hbar}{2}|2}}where {{math|Ä§ {{=}} {{sfrac|h|2{{pi}}}}}}, and {{math|Ïƒx}}, {{math|Ïƒp}} are the standard deviations of position and momentum. Heisenberg only proved relation ({{EquationNote|2}}) for the special case of Gaussian states.Terminology and translation
Throughout the main body of his original 1927 paper, written in German, Heisenberg used the word, "Ungenauigkeit" ("indeterminacy"),to describe the basic theoretical principle. Only in the endnote did he switch to the word, "Unsicherheit" ("uncertainty"). When the English-language version of Heisenberg's textbook, The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory, was published in 1930, however, the translation "uncertainty" was used, and it became the more commonly used term in the English language thereafter.{{Citation |first=David |last=Cassidy |year=2009 |title=Beyond Uncertainty: Heisenberg, Quantum Physics, and the Bomb |location= New York |publisher=Bellevue Literary Press |page=185 |isbn= |bibcode=2010PhT....63a..49C |last2=Saperstein |first2=Alvin M. |volume=63 |issue=1 |journal=Physics Today |doi=10.1063/1.3293416 }}Heisenberg's microscope
File:Heisenberg gamma ray microscope.svg|thumb|200px|right|Heisenberg's gamma-ray microscope for locating an electron (shown in blue). The incoming gamma ray (shown in green) is scattered by the electron up into the microscope's aperture angle Î¸. The scattered gamma-ray is shown in red. Classical opticsopticsThe principle is quite counter-intuitive, so the early students of quantum theory had to be reassured that naive measurements to violate it were bound always to be unworkable. One way in which Heisenberg originally illustrated the intrinsic impossibility of violating the uncertainty principle is by utilizing the observer effect of an imaginary microscope as a measuring device.He imagines an experimenter trying to measure the position and momentum of an electron by shooting a photon at it.BOOK, George Greenstein, Arthur Zajonc, The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, 2006, Jones & Bartlett Learning, 978-0-7637-2470-2, {{rp|49â€“50}}
Problem 1 â€“ If the photon has a short wavelength, and therefore, a large momentum, the position can be measured accurately. But the photon scatters in a random direction, transferring a large and uncertain amount of momentum to the electron. If the photon has a long wavelength and low momentum, the collision does not disturb the electron's momentum very much, but the scattering will reveal its position only vaguely.
Problem 2 â€“ If a large aperture is used for the microscope, the electron's location can be well resolved (see Rayleigh criterion); but by the principle of conservation of momentum, the transverse momentum of the incoming photon affects the electron's beamline momentum and hence, the new momentum of the electron resolves poorly. If a small aperture is used, the accuracy of both resolutions is the other way around.
The combination of these trade-offs implies that no matter what photon wavelength and aperture size are used, the product of the uncertainty in measured position and measured momentum is greater than or equal to a lower limit, which is (up to a small numerical factor) equal to Planck's constant.{{Citation |last=Tipler |first=Paul A. |first2=Ralph A. |last2=Llewellyn |title=Modern Physics |edition=3rd |publisher=W. H. Freeman and Co. |year=1999 |isbn=1-57259-164-1 |chapter=5â€“5 }} Heisenberg did not care to formulate the uncertainty principle as an exact limit (which is elaborated below), and preferred to use it instead, as a heuristic quantitative statement, correct up to small numerical factors, which makes the radically new noncommutativity of quantum mechanics inevitable.Critical reactions
The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle were, in fact, seen as twin targets by detractors who believed in an underlying determinism and realism. According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, there is no fundamental reality that the quantum state describes, just a prescription for calculating experimental results. There is no way to say what the state of a system fundamentally is, only what the result of observations might be.Albert Einstein believed that randomness is a reflection of our ignorance of some fundamental property of reality, while Niels Bohr believed that the probability distributions are fundamental and irreducible, and depend on which measurements we choose to perform. Einstein and Bohr debated the uncertainty principle for many years.The ideal of the detached observer
Wolfgang Pauli called Einstein's fundamental objection to the uncertainty principle "the ideal of the detached observer" (phrase translated from the German):{{blockquote|"Like the moon has a definite position" Einstein said to me last winter, "whether or not we look at the moon, the same must also hold for the atomic objects, as there is no sharp distinction possible between these and macroscopic objects. Observation cannot create an element of reality like a position, there must be something contained in the complete description of physical reality which corresponds to the possibility of observing a position, already before the observation has been actually made." I hope, that I quoted Einstein correctly; it is always difficult to quote somebody out of memory with whom one does not agree. It is precisely this kind of postulate which I call the ideal of the detached observer.- Letter from Pauli to Niels Bohr, February 15, 1955BOOK, Enz, Charles P., Meyenn, Karl von, Writings on physics and philosophy by Wolfgang Pauli, Springer-Verlag, 1994, 43, ; translated by Robert Schlapp, 3-540-56859-X,weblink }}
Einstein's slit
The first of Einstein's thought experiments challenging the uncertainty principle went as follows:
Consider a particle passing through a slit of width {{mvar|d}}. The slit introduces an uncertainty in momentum of approximately {{mvar|{{sfrac|h|d}}}} because the particle passes through the wall. But let us determine the momentum of the particle by measuring the recoil of the wall. In doing so, we find the momentum of the particle to arbitrary accuracy by conservation of momentum.
Bohr's response was that the wall is quantum mechanical as well, and that to measure the recoil to accuracy {{math|Î”p}}, the momentum of the wall must be known to this accuracy before the particle passes through. This introduces an uncertainty in the position of the wall and therefore the position of the slit equal to {{math|{{sfrac|h|Î”p}}}}, and if the wall's momentum is known precisely enough to measure the recoil, the slit's position is uncertain enough to disallow a position measurement.A similar analysis with particles diffracting through multiple slits is given by Richard Feynman.Feynman lectures on Physics, vol 3, 2â€“2Einstein's box
Bohr was present when Einstein proposed the thought experiment which has become known as Einstein's box. Einstein argued that "Heisenberg's uncertainty equation implied that the uncertainty in time was related to the uncertainty in energy, the product of the two being related to Planck's constant."Gamow, G., The great physicists from Galileo to Einstein, Courier Dover, 1988, p.260. Consider, he said, an ideal box, lined with mirrors so that it can contain light indefinitely. The box could be weighed before a clockwork mechanism opened an ideal shutter at a chosen instant to allow one single photon to escape. "We now know, explained Einstein, precisely the time at which the photon left the box."Kumar, M., Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality, Icon, 2009, p. 282. "Now, weigh the box again. The change of mass tells the energy of the emitted light. In this manner, said Einstein, one could measure the energy emitted and the time it was released with any desired precision, in contradiction to the uncertainty principle."Bohr spent a sleepless night considering this argument, and eventually realized that it was flawed. He pointed out that if the box were to be weighed, say by a spring and a pointer on a scale, "since the box must move vertically with a change in its weight, there will be uncertainty in its vertical velocity and therefore an uncertainty in its height above the table. ... Furthermore, the uncertainty about the elevation above the earth's surface will result in an uncertainty in the rate of the clock,"Gamow, G., The great physicists from Galileo to Einstein, Courier Dover, 1988, p. 260â€“261. because of Einstein's own theory of gravity's effect on time."Through this chain of uncertainties, Bohr showed that Einstein's light box experiment could not simultaneously measure exactly both the energy of the photon and the time of its escape."Kumar, M., Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality, Icon, 2009, p. 287.EPR paradox for entangled particles
Bohr was compelled to modify his understanding of the uncertainty principle after another thought experiment by Einstein. In 1935, Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (see EPR paradox) published an analysis of widely separated entangled particles. Measuring one particle, Einstein realized, would alter the probability distribution of the other, yet here the other particle could not possibly be disturbed. This example led Bohr to revise his understanding of the principle, concluding that the uncertainty was not caused by a direct interaction.{{Citation |first=Walter |last=Isaacson |year=2007 |title=Einstein: His Life and Universe |location=New York |publisher=Simon & Schuster |page=452 |isbn=978-0-7432-6473-0 }}But Einstein came to much more far-reaching conclusions from the same thought experiment. He believed the "natural basic assumption" that a complete description of reality would have to predict the results of experiments from "locally changing deterministic quantities" and therefore would have to include more information than the maximum possible allowed by the uncertainty principle.In 1964, John Bell showed that this assumption can be falsified, since it would imply a certain inequality between the probabilities of different experiments. Experimental results confirm the predictions of quantum mechanics, ruling out Einstein's basic assumption that led him to the suggestion of his hidden variables. These hidden variables may be "hidden" because of an illusion that occurs during observations of objects that are too large or too small. This illusion can be likened to rotating fan blades that seem to pop in and out of existence at different locations and sometimes seem to be in the same place at the same time when observed. This same illusion manifests itself in the observation of subatomic particles. Both the fan blades and the subatomic particles are moving so fast that the illusion is seen by the observer. Therefore, it is possible that there would be predictability of the subatomic particles behavior and characteristics to a recording device capable of very high speed tracking....Ironically this fact is one of the best pieces of evidence supporting Karl Popper's philosophy of invalidation of a theory by falsification-experiments. That is to say, here Einstein's "basic assumption" became falsified by experiments based on Bell's inequalities. For the objections of Karl Popper to the Heisenberg inequality itself, see below.While it is possible to assume that quantum mechanical predictions are due to nonlocal, hidden variables, and in fact David Bohm invented such a formulation, this resolution is not satisfactory to the vast majority of physicists. The question of whether a random outcome is predetermined by a nonlocal theory can be philosophical, and it can be potentially intractable. If the hidden variables are not constrained, they could just be a list of random digits that are used to produce the measurement outcomes. To make it sensible, the assumption of nonlocal hidden variables is sometimes augmented by a second assumptionâ€”that the size of the observable universe puts a limit on the computations that these variables can do. A nonlocal theory of this sort predicts that a quantum computer would encounter fundamental obstacles when attempting to factor numbers of approximately 10,000 digits or more; a potentially achievable task in quantum mechanics.Gerardus 't Hooft has at times advocated this point of view.{{full citation needed|date=February 2017}}Popper's criticism
Karl Popper approached the problem of indeterminacy as a logician and metaphysical realist.{{Citation | last1 = Popper | first1 = Karl | authorlink1 = Karl Popper | title = The Logic of Scientific Discovery | publisher = Hutchinson & Co. | year = 1959| title-link = The Logic of Scientific Discovery }} He disagreed with the application of the uncertainty relations to individual particles rather than to ensembles of identically prepared particles, referring to them as "statistical scatter relations".{{Citation | last1 = Jarvie | first1 = Ian Charles | last2 = Milford | first2 = Karl | last3 = Miller | first3 = David W | title = Karl Popper: a centenary assessment | volume = 3 | publisher = Ashgate Publishing | year = 2006 | isbn = 978-0-7546-5712-5}} In this statistical interpretation, a particular measurement may be made to arbitrary precision without invalidating the quantum theory. This directly contrasts with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which is non-deterministic but lacks local hidden variables.In 1934, Popper published Zur Kritik der Ungenauigkeitsrelationen (Critique of the Uncertainty Relations) in Naturwissenschaften,{{Citation | title = Zur Kritik der Ungenauigkeitsrelationen (Critique of the Uncertainty Relations) | journal = Naturwissenschaften | year = 1934 | first = Karl | last = Popper | author2 = Carl Friedrich von WeizsÃ¤cker | volume = 22 | issue = 48 | pages = 807â€“808 | doi=10.1007/BF01496543|bibcode = 1934NW.....22..807P | postscript = . }} and in the same year Logik der Forschung (translated and updated by the author as The Logic of Scientific Discovery in 1959), outlining his arguments for the statistical interpretation. In 1982, he further developed his theory in Quantum theory and the schism in Physics, writing:[Heisenberg's] formulae are, beyond all doubt, derivable statistical formulae of the quantum theory. But they have been habitually misinterpreted by those quantum theorists who said that these formulae can be interpreted as determining some upper limit to the precision of our measurements. [original emphasis]Popper, K. Quantum theory and the schism in Physics, Unwin Hyman Ltd, 1982, pp. 53â€“54.Popper proposed an experiment to falsify the uncertainty relations, although he later withdrew his initial version after discussions with WeizsÃ¤cker, Heisenberg, and Einstein; this experiment may have influenced the formulation of the EPR experiment.{{Citation | last1 = Mehra | first1 = Jagdish | last2 = Rechenberg | first2 = Helmut | title = The Historical Development of Quantum Theory | publisher = Springer | year = 2001 | isbn = 978-0-387-95086-0}}Many-worlds uncertainty
The many-worlds interpretation originally outlined by Hugh Everett III in 1957 is partly meant to reconcile the differences between Einstein's and Bohr's views by replacing Bohr's wave function collapse with an ensemble of deterministic and independent universes whose distribution is governed by wave functions and the SchrÃ¶dinger equation. Thus, uncertainty in the many-worlds interpretation follows from each observer within any universe having no knowledge of what goes on in the other universes.Free will
Some scientists including Arthur ComptonJOURNAL, 10.1126/science.74.1911.172, The Uncertainty Principle and Free Will, Science, 74, 1911, 172, 1931, Compton, A. H., 17808216, 1931Sci....74..172C, and Martin HeisenbergJOURNAL, 10.1038/459164a, 19444190, Is free will an illusion?, Nature, 459, 7244, 164â€“165, 2009, Heisenberg, M., 2009Natur.459..164H, have suggested that the uncertainty principle, or at least the general probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, could be evidence for the two-stage model of free will. One critique, however, is that apart from the basic role of quantum mechanics as a foundation for chemistry, nontrivial biological mechanisms requiring quantum mechanics are unlikely, due to the rapid decoherence time of quantum systems at room temperature.JOURNAL, 10.1016/j.biosystems.2004.07.001, 15555759, Does quantum mechanics play a non-trivial role in life?, Biosystems, 78, 1â€“3, 69â€“79, 2004, Davies, P. C. W., The standard view, however, is that this decoherence is overcome by both screening and decoherence-free subspaces found in biological cells.The second law of thermodynamics
There is reason to believe that violating the uncertainty principle also strongly implies the violation of the second law of thermodynamics.E. Hanggi, S. Wehner, A violation of the uncertainty principle also implies the violation of the second law of thermodynamics; 2012, arXiv:1205.6894v1 (quant-phy).See also
{{Div col|colwidth=20em}}- Afshar experiment
- Canonical commutation relation
- Correspondence principle
- Correspondence rules
- Gromov's non-squeezing theorem
- Discrete Fourier transformUncertainty principle
- Einstein's thought experiments
- Heisenbug
- Introduction to quantum mechanics
- Operationalization
- Observer effect (information technology)
- Observer effect (physics)
- Quantum indeterminacy
- Quantum non-equilibrium
- Quantum tunnelling
- Physics and Beyond (book)
- Stronger uncertainty relations
- Weak measurement
Notes
{{reflist|group=note}}References
{{Reflist|30em}}External links
- {{springer|title=Uncertainty principle|id=p/u095100}}
- Matter as a Wave â€“ a chapter from an online textbook
- Quantum mechanics: Myths and facts
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
- Fourier Transforms and Uncertainty at MathPages
- aip.org: Quantum mechanics 1925â€“1927 â€“ The uncertainty principle
- Eric Weisstein's World of Physics â€“ Uncertainty principle
- John Baez on the timeâ€“energy uncertainty relation
- The certainty principle
- Common Interpretation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle Is Proved False
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- "uncertainty principle" does not exist on GetWiki (yet)
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- "uncertainty principle" does not exist on GetWiki (yet)
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