**Are you an EPFL student looking for a semester project?**

Work with us on data science and visualisation projects, and deploy your project as an app on top of GraphSearch.

Publication# The measurement problem in quantum theory: decoherence and non-collapse interpretations

Official source

This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.

Related concepts (9)

Related publications (3)

Measurement problem

In quantum mechanics, the measurement problem is the problem of how, or whether, wave function collapse occurs. The inability to observe such a collapse directly has given rise to different interpretations of quantum mechanics and poses a key set of questions that each interpretation must answer. The wave function in quantum mechanics evolves deterministically according to the Schrödinger equation as a linear superposition of different states. However, actual measurements always find the physical system in a definite state.

Wave function collapse

In quantum mechanics, wave function collapse occurs when a wave function—initially in a superposition of several eigenstates—reduces to a single eigenstate due to interaction with the external world. This interaction is called an observation, and is the essence of a measurement in quantum mechanics, which connects the wave function with classical observables such as position and momentum. Collapse is one of the two processes by which quantum systems evolve in time; the other is the continuous evolution governed by the Schrödinger equation.

Quantum field theory

In theoretical physics, quantum field theory (QFT) is a theoretical framework that combines classical field theory, special relativity, and quantum mechanics. QFT is used in particle physics to construct physical models of subatomic particles and in condensed matter physics to construct models of quasiparticles. QFT treats particles as excited states (also called quanta) of their underlying quantum fields, which are more fundamental than the particles.

Thermal motion of a room-temperature mechanical resonator typically dominates the quantum backaction of its position measurement. This is a longstanding barrier for exploring cavity optomechanics at room temperature. In order to enter the quantum regime of the optomechanical interaction, we need to be in the "backaction-dominated" regime, where we can study the limits of quantum measurement and how to circumvent them. To create a system which can enter the quantum regime, the optomechanical transducer has to satisfy certain criteria. A quantum-enabled optomechanical system consists of an optical cavity and a mechanical resonator with ultra low quantum decoherence, which are strongly coupled to each other via the optomechanical interaction.High stress silicon nitride has enabled nanomechanical resonators with exceptionally low dissipation at room temperature via several soft-clamping techniques. Achieving high optomechanical coupling to these coherent nanobeams results in high optomechanical cooperativities, thus alleviating the thermal motion barrier for room temperature quantum optomechanics. Monolithic integration of high-Q nanobeam resonators with optical cavities has been limited to doubly-clamped nanobeams due to the complexity of the device fabrication and long device sizes required for conventional soft-clamping using phononic crystals. In addition, the previous demonstrations of such systems showed limited optomechanical couplings thus a limited single photon cooperativity.I present the design, fabrication and characterization of three different classes of nanomechanical resonators clamp-tapered, fractal-like, and polygon resonators, which support perimeter modes, with Q factors exceeding 3 billion at room temperature and their optical readout using an integrated nearfield nano-optomechanical transducer using high stress silicon nitride. Our transducer features a one-dimensional Fabry-Perot optical cavity integrated with a high-Q nanomechanical resonator. The Fabry-Perot optical cavity is formed by patterning two photonic crystal reflectors on a silicon nitride waveguide designed for high-Q optical modes. Our approach allows individual optimization of optical and mechanical resonators, while maintaining a high optomechanical coupling rate due to large optomechanical mode overlap. Our best performing devices show on-chip optomechanical transducers with single photon cooperativities as high as 123 with mechanical quality factor of 120 million at room temperature. The developed system is of great interest to the optomechanics and sensing community. In quantum optomechanics, it will serve as a platform for quantum feedback control of the nanomechanical resonators to achieve motional ground state of a macroscopic resonator and generation of squeezed light at room temperature. Owing to their record value mechanical quality factors, the room temperature force sensitivity of our highest Q perimeter modes is on par with atomic force microscopy cantilevers at millikelvin temperature.Complete documentation of a nanofabrication process is the key to its reproducibility. Process-specific details of the fabrication techniques are usually missing in journal publications. To bridge this gap, I developed NanoFab-net.org. An online open-access tool that allows sharing process-specific fabrication reports, extracting the metadata and obtaining a unique digital object identifier (DOI) for each report.

Why are classical theories often sufficient to describe the physics of our world even though everything around us is entirely composed of microscopic quantum systems? The boundary between these two fundamentally dissimilar theories remains an unsolved problem in modern physics. Position measurements of small objects allow us to probe the area where the classical approximation breaks down. In quantum mechanics, Heisenbergâs uncertainty principle dictates that any measurement of the position must be accompanied by measurement induced back-action---in this case manifested as an uncertainty in the momentum. In recent years, cavity optomechanics has become a powerful tool to perform precise position measurements and investigate their fundamental limitations. The utilization of optical micro-cavities greatly enhances the interaction between light and state-of-the-art nanomechanical oscillators. Therefore, quantum mechanical phenomena have been successfully observed in systems far beyond the microscopic world. In such a cavity optomechanical system, the fluctuations in the position of the oscillator are transduced onto the phase of the light, while fluctuations in the amplitude of the light disturb the momentum of the oscillator during the measurement. As a consequence, correlations are established between the amplitude and phase quadrature of the probe light. However, so far, observation of quantum effects has been limited exclusively to cryogenic experiments, and access to the quantum regime at room temperature has remained an elusive goal because the overwhelming amount of thermal motion masks the weak quantum effects. This thesis describes the engineering of a high-performance cavity optomechanical device and presents experimental results showing, for the first time, the broadband effects of quantum back-action at room temperature. The device strongly couples mechanical and optical modes of exceptionally high quality factors to provide a measurement sensitivity $\sim\!10^4$ times below the requirement to resolve the zero-point fluctuations of the mechanical oscillator. The quantum back-action is then observed through the correlations created between the probe light and the motion of the nanomechanical oscillator. A so-called âvariational measurementâ, which detects the transmitted light in a homodyne detector tuned close to the amplitude quadrature, resolves the quantum noise due to these correlations at the level of 10% of the thermal noise over more than an octave of Fourier frequencies around mechanical resonance. Moreover, building on this result, an additional experiment demonstrates the ability to achieve quantum enhanced metrology. In this case, the generated quantum correlations are used to cancel quantum noise in the measurement record, which then leads to an improved relative signal-to-noise ratio in measurements of an external force. In conclusion, the successful observation of broadband quantum behavior on a macroscopic object at room temperature is an important milestone in the field of cavity optomechanics. Specifically, this result heralds the rise of optomechanical systems as a platform for quantum physics at room temperature and shows promise for generation of ponderomotive squeezing in room-temperature interferometers.