Partial Measurements and the Realization of Quantum-Mechanical Counterfactuals

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    16 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We propose partial measurements as a conceptual tool to understand how to operate with counterfactual claims in quantum physics. Indeed, unlike standard von Neumann measurements, partial measurements can be reversed probabilistically. We first analyze the consequences of this rather unusual feature for the principle of superposition, for the complementarity principle, and for the issue of hidden variables. Then we move on to exploring non-local contexts, by reformulating the EPR paradox, the quantum teleportation experiment, and the entanglement-swapping protocol for the situation in which one uses partial measurements followed by their stochastic reversal. This leads to a number of counter-intuitive results, which are shown to be resolved if we give up the idea of attributing reality to the wavefunction of a single quantum system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1214-1235
    Number of pages22
    JournalFoundations of Physics
    Volume41
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Keywords

    • Complementarity
    • Entanglement swapping
    • Partial measurements
    • Quantum measurements
    • Quantum teleportation
    • Wavefunction

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