Decay of the wave function.

A Timely Voyage Beyond Uncertainty.

mim Armand

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In QM ( Quantum Mechanics ), the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is a fundamental concept that states that it is impossible to simultaneously know both the exact position and the exact momentum of a particle; the more precisely one property is known, the less precisely the other can be known.

Δx ⋅ Δp ≥ ( 1/2 ℏ ​)

I was thinking about this recently and realized a loophole might exist.
Of course, this is a fundamental limitation on our ability to measure and the scope of knowledge of the real world we can ever obtain. But it applies only when we make a measurement.

Time will tell.

The loophole might let us peek into the world of quantum particles from an additional dimension that does not exist in this realm, as expressed in the Uncertainty principle: Time.

What if we don’t make any measurements and just wait?
Would the lack of measurement over time count as a measurement?
In other words, can we decay the wave function by only paying attention to it without ever interacting with the particle?

Time is knowledge.

The idea can be demonstrated in an abstract example ( which can be translated into physical experiments ):

  • Imagine we have a known number of particles (n) with varying amounts of momentum from very small (or zero) to any upper limits (unknown) with very limited knowledge of their position in a confined space ( we just know they are all inside the volume of space at the beginning of the experiment )
  • We put detectors at the perimeters of the volume ( for instance, at the six sides of a cubic space ). These detectors can count the number of particles they encounter. we do not need their position or momentum; we just know that after the detection, they do not exist in the confined space anymore.
  • After some time, we detect the majority of the particles, and as time goes by, the number of detections dwindles.
  • We, of course, have not yet made any measurements on the particles that are still inside the space, but our knowledge about…

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mim Armand

Sr Solutions Architect / Technology evangelist and Consultant / Teacher of the Full-Stack Web development courses at Washington University in st. Louis