- Art Gallery -

Quantum foundations is a discipline of science that seeks to understand the most counter-intuitive aspects of quantum theory, reformulate it and even propose new generalizations thereof. Contrary to other physical theories, such as general relativity, the defining axioms of quantum theory are quite ad hoc, with no obvious physical intuition. While they lead to the right experimental predictions, they do not come with a mental picture of the world where they fit.

There exist different approaches to resolve this conceptual gap:

First, one can put quantum physics in contraposition with classical physics: by identifying scenarios, such as Bell experiments, where quantum theory radically deviates from classical predictions, one hopes to gain physical insights on the structure of quantum physics.
Second, one can attempt to find a re-derivation of the quantum formalism in terms of operational axioms.
Third, one can search for a full correspondence between the mathematical elements of the quantum framework and physical phenomena: any such correspondence is called an interpretation.
Fourth, one can renounce quantum theory altogether and propose a different model of the world.

Research in quantum foundations is structured along these roads.

Non-classical features of quantum theory
Quantum nonlocality
Main article: Quantum nonlocality

Two or more separate parties conducting measurements over a quantum state can observe correlations which cannot be explained with any local hidden variable theory.[1][2] Whether this should be regarded as proving that the physical world itself is "nonlocal" is a topic of debate,[3][4] but the terminology of "quantum nonlocality" is commonplace. Nonlocality research efforts in quantum foundations focus on determining the exact limits that classical or quantum physics enforces on the correlations observed in a Bell experiment or more complex causal scenarios.[5] This research program has so far provided a generalization of Bell’s theorem that allows falsifying all classical theories with a superluminal, yet finite, hidden influence.[6]
Quantum contextuality
Main article: Quantum contextuality

Nonlocality can be understood as an instance of quantum contextuality. A situation is contextual when the value of an observable depends on the context in which it is measured (namely, on which other observables are being measured as well). The original definition of measurement contextuality can be extended to state preparations and even general physical transformations.[7]
Epistemic models for the quantum wave-function

A physical property is epistemic when it represents our knowledge or beliefs on the value of a second, more fundamental feature. The probability of an event to occur is an example of an epistemic property. In contrast, a non-epistemic or ontic variable captures the notion of a “real” property of the system under consideration.

There is an on-going debate on whether the wave-function represents the epistemic state of a yet to be discovered ontic variable or, on the contrary, it is a fundamental entity.[8] Under some physical assumptions, the Pusey–Barrett–Rudolph (PBR) theorem demonstrates the inconsistency of quantum states as epistemic states, in the sense above.[9] Note that, in QBism[10] and Copenhagen-type[11] views, quantum states are still regarded as epistemic, not with respect to some ontic variable, but to one’s expectations about future experimental outcomes. The PBR theorem does not exclude such epistemic views on quantum states.
Axiomatic reconstructions

Some of the counter-intuitive aspects of quantum theory, as well as the difficulty to extend it, follow from the fact that its defining axioms lack a physical motivation. An active area of research in quantum foundations is therefore to find alternative formulations of quantum theory which rely on physically compelling principles. Those efforts come in two flavors, depending on the desired level of description of the theory: the so called Generalized Probabilistic Theories approach and the Black boxes approach.
The framework of Generalized Probabilistic Theories
Main article: Generalized probabilistic theories

Generalized Probabilistic Theories (GPTs) are a general framework to describe the operational features of arbitrary physical theories. Essentially, they provide a statistical description of any experiment combining state preparations, transformations and measurements. The framework of GPTs can accommodate classical and quantum physics, as well as hypothetical non-quantum physical theories which nonetheless possess quantum theory’s most remarkable features, such as entanglement or teleportation.[12] Notably, a small set of physically motivated axioms is enough to single out the GPT representation of quantum theory.[13]

L. Hardy introduced the concept of GPT in 2001, in an attempt to re-derive quantum theory from basic physical principles.[13] Although Hardy’s work was very influential (see the follow-ups below), one of his axioms was regarded as unsatisfactory: it stipulated that, of all the physical theories compatible with the rest of the axioms, one should choose the simplest one.[14] The work of Dakic and Brukner eliminated this “axiom of simplicity” and provided a reconstruction of quantum theory based on three physical principles.[14] This was followed by the more rigorous reconstruction of Masanes and Müller.[15]

Axioms common to these three reconstructions are:

The subspace axiom: systems which can store the same amount of information are physically equivalent.
Local tomography: to characterize the state of a composite system it is enough to conduct measurements at each part.
Reversibility: for any two extremal states [i.e., states which are not statistical mixtures of other states], there exists a reversible physical transformation that maps one into the other.

An alternative GPT reconstruction proposed by Chiribella et al.[16][17] around the same time is also based on the

Purification axiom: for any state \( S_{A} \) of a physical system A there exists a bipartite physical system A-B and an extremal state (or purification) \( {\displaystyle T_{AB}} \) such that \( S_{A} \) is the restriction of \( {\displaystyle T_{AB}} \) to system A. In addition, any two such purifications \( {\displaystyle T_{AB},T_{AB}^{\prime }} \) of \( S_{A} \) can be mapped into one another via a reversible physical transformation on system B.

The use of purification to characterize quantum theory has been criticized on the grounds that it also applies in the Spekkens toy model.[18]

To the success of the GPT approach, it can be countered that all such works just recover finite dimensional quantum theory. In addition, none of the previous axioms can be experimentally falsified unless the measurement apparatuses are assumed to be tomographically complete.
The framework of black boxes
Main article: Quantum nonlocality

In the black box or device-independent framework, an experiment is regarded as a black box where the experimentalist introduces an input (the type of experiment) and obtains an output (the outcome of the experiment). Experiments conducted by two or more parties in separate labs are hence described by their statistical correlations alone.

From Bell's theorem, we know that classical and quantum physics predict different sets of allowed correlations. It is expected, therefore, that far-from-quantum physical theories should predict correlations beyond the quantum set. In fact, there exist instances of theoretical non-quantum correlations which, a priori, do not seem physically implausible.[19][20][21] The aim of device-independent reconstructions is to show that all such supra-quantum examples are precluded by a reasonable physical principle.

The physical principles proposed so far include no-signalling,[21] Non-Trivial Communication Complexity,[22] No-Advantage for Nonlocal computation,[23] Information Causality,[24] Macroscopic Locality,[25] and Local Orthogonality.[26] All these principles limit the set of possible correlations in non-trivial ways. Moreover, they are all device-independent: this means that they can be falsified under the assumption that we can decide if two or more events are space-like separated. The drawback of the device-independent approach is that, even when taken together, all the afore-mentioned physical principles do not suffice to single out the set of quantum correlations.[27] In other words: all such reconstructions are partial.
Interpretations of quantum theory
Main article: Interpretations of quantum mechanics

An interpretation of quantum theory is a correspondence between the elements of its mathematical formalism and physical phenomena. For instance, in the pilot wave theory, the quantum wave function is interpreted as a field that guides the particle trajectory and evolves with it via a system of coupled differential equations. Most interpretations of quantum theory stem from the desire to solve the quantum measurement problem.
Extensions of quantum theory

In an attempt to reconcile quantum and classical physics, or to identify non-classical models with a dynamical causal structure, some modifications of quantum theory have been proposed.
Collapse models

Collapse models posit the existence of natural processes which periodically localize the wave-function.[28] Such theories provide an explanation to the nonexistence of superpositions of macroscopic objects, at the cost of abandoning unitarity and exact energy conservation.
Quantum Measure Theory

In Sorkin's quantum measure theory (QMT), physical systems are not modeled via unitary rays and Hermitian operators, but through a single matrix-like object, the decoherence functional.[29] The entries of the decoherence functional determine the feasibility to experimentally discriminate between two or more different sets of classical histories, as well as the probabilities of each experimental outcome. In some models of QMT the decoherence functional is further constrained to be positive semidefinite (strong positivity). Even under the assumption of strong positivity, there exist models of QMT which generate stronger-than-quantum Bell correlations.[30]
Acausal quantum processes

The formalism of process matrices starts from the observation that, given the structure of quantum states, the set of feasible quantum operations follows from positivity considerations. Namely, for any linear map from states to probabilities one can find a physical system where this map corresponds to a physical measurement. Likewise, any linear transformation that maps composite states to states corresponds to a valid operation in some physical system. In view of this trend, it is reasonable to postulate that any high-order map from quantum instruments (namely, measurement processes) to probabilities should also be physically realizable.[31] Any such map is termed a process matrix. As shown by Oreshkov et al.,[31] some process matrices describe situations where the notion of global causality breaks.

The starting point of this claim is the following mental experiment: two parties, Alice and Bob, enter a building and end up in separate rooms. The rooms have ingoing and outgoing channels from which a quantum system periodically enters and leaves the room. While those systems are in the lab, Alice and Bob are able to interact with them in any way; in particular, they can measure some of their properties.

Since Alice and Bob’s interactions can be modeled by quantum instruments, the statistics they observe when they apply one instrument or another are given by a process matrix. As it turns out, there exist process matrices which would guarantee that the measurement statistics collected by Alice and Bob is incompatible with Alice interacting with her system at the same time, before of after Bob, or any convex combination of these three situations.[31] Such processes are called acausal.
See also

Philosophy of physics
Quantum computing
Categorical quantum mechanics
Action at a distance
Stern–Gerlach experiment

References

Bell, J. S. (1964). "On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox" (PDF). Physics Physique Физика. 1 (3): 195–200. doi:10.1103/PhysicsPhysiqueFizika.1.195.
Mermin, N. David (July 1993). "Hidden Variables and the Two Theorems of John Bell". Reviews of Modern Physics. 65 (3): 803–15.arXiv:1802.10119.
Werner, R. F. (2014). "Comment on 'What Bell did'". Journal of Physics A. 47: 424011. doi:10.1088/1751-8113/47/42/424011.
Żukowski, M.; Brukner, Č. (2014). "Quantum non-locality—it ain't necessarily so...". Journal of Physics A. 47: 424009.arXiv:1501.04618. doi:10.1088/1751-8113/47/42/424009.
Fritz, T. (2012). "Beyond Bell's Theorem: Correlation Scenarios". New Journal of Physics. 14: 103001. doi:10.1088/1367-2630/14/10/103001.
Bancal, Jean-Daniel; Pironio, Stefano; Acín, Antonio; Liang, Yeong-Cherng; Scarani, Valerio; Gisin, Nicolas (2012). "Quantum nonlocality based on finite-speed causal influences leads to superluminal signaling". Nature Physics. 8: 867. doi:10.1038/nphys2460.
Spekkens, R. W. (2005). "Contextuality for preparations, transformations, and unsharp measurements". Physical Review A. 71 (5): 052108.arXiv:quant-ph/0406166. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.71.052108.
Harrigan, N.; R. W. Spekkens (2010). "Einstein, Incompleteness, and the Epistemic View of Quantum States". Foundations of Physics. 40 (2): 125–157.arXiv:0706.2661. doi:10.1007/s10701-009-9347-0.
Pusey, M. F.; Barrett, J.; Rudolph, T. (2012). "On the reality of the quantum state". Nature Physics. 8 (6): 475–478.arXiv:1111.3328. doi:10.1038/nphys2309.
Fuchs, C. A. (2010). "QBism, the Perimeter of Quantum Bayesianism".arXiv:1003.5209.
Schlosshauer, M.; Kofler, J.; Zeilinger, A. (2013). "A snapshot of foundational attitudes toward quantum mechanics". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B. 44 (3): 222–230.arXiv:1301.1069. doi:10.1016/j.shpsb.2013.04.004.
Barnum, H.; Barrett, J.; Leifer, M.; Wilce, A. (2012). S. Abramsky and M. Mislove (ed.). Teleportation in General Probabilistic Theories. AMS Proceedings of Symposia in Applied Mathematics. American Mathematical Society, Providence.
Hardy, L. "Quantum Theory From Five Reasonable Axioms".arXiv:quant-ph/0101012.
Dakic, B.; Brukner, Č. (2011). "Quantum Theory and Beyond: Is Entanglement Special?". In H. Halvorson (ed.). Deep Beauty: Understanding the Quantum World through Mathematical Innovation. Cambridge University Press. pp. 365–392.
Masanes, L.; Müller, M. (2011). "A derivation of quantum theory from physical requirements". New Journal of Physics. 13: 063001.
Chiribella, G.; D'Ariano, G. M.; Perinotti, P. (2011). "Informational derivation of Quantum Theory". Physical Review A. 84: 012311.
D'Ariano, G. M.; Chiribella, G.; Perinotti, P. (2017). Quantum Theory from First Principles: An Informational Approach. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107338340. OCLC 972460315.
Appleby, M.; Fuchs, C. A.; Stacey, B. C.; Zhu, H. (2017). "Introducing the Qplex: a novel arena for quantum theory". European Physical Journal D. 71: 197.arXiv:1612.03234. Bibcode:2017EPJD...71..197A. doi:10.1140/epjd/e2017-80024-y.
Rastall, Peter (1985). "Locality, Bell's theorem, and quantum mechanics". Foundations of Physics. 15 (9): 963–972. doi:10.1007/bf00739036.
Khalfin, L.A.; Tsirelson, B. S. (1985). Lahti; et al. (eds.). Quantum and quasi-classical analogs of Bell inequalities. Symposium on the Foundations of Modern Physics. World Sci. Publ. pp. 441–460.
Popescu, S.; Rohrlich, D. (1994). "Nonlocality as an axiom". Foundations of Physics. 24 (3): 379–385. doi:10.1007/BF02058098.
Brassard, G; Buhrman, H; Linden, N; Methot, AA; Tapp, A; Unger, F (2006). "Limit on Nonlocality in Any World in Which Communication Complexity Is Not Trivial". Physical Review Letters. 96: 250401.arXiv:quant-ph/0508042. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.250401.
Linden, N.; Popescu, S.; Short, A. J.; Winter, A. (2007). "Quantum Nonlocality and Beyond: Limits from Nonlocal Computation". Physical Review Letters. 99 (18): 180502.arXiv:quant-ph/0610097. Bibcode:2007PhRvL..99r0502L. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.99.180502.
Pawlowski, M.; Paterek, T.; Kaszlikowski, D.; Scarani, V.; Winter, A.; Zukowski, M. (October 2009). "Information Causality as a Physical Principle". Nature. 461 (7267): 1101–1104.arXiv:0905.2292. Bibcode:2009Natur.461.1101P. doi:10.1038/nature08400. PMID 19847260.
Navascués, M.; H. Wunderlich (2009). "A Glance Beyond the Quantum Model". Proc. R. Soc. A. 466 (2115): 881–890. doi:10.1098/rspa.2009.0453.
Fritz, T.; Sainz, A. B.; Augusiak, R.; Brask, J. B.; Chaves, R.; Leverrier, A.; Acín, A. (2013). "Local orthogonality as a multipartite principle for quantum correlations". Nature Communications. 4: 2263.arXiv:1210.3018. Bibcode:2013NatCo...4.2263F. doi:10.1038/ncomms3263. PMID 23948952.
Navascués, M.; Guryanova, Y.; Hoban, M. J.; Acín, A. (2015). "Almost Quantum Correlations". Nature Communications. 6: 6288.arXiv:1403.4621. Bibcode:2015NatCo...6.6288N. doi:10.1038/ncomms7288. PMID 25697645.
Ghirardi, G. C.; A. Rimini; T. Weber (1986). "Unified dynamics for microscopic and macroscopic systems". Physical Review D. 34: 470. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.34.470.
Sorkin, R. D. (1994). "Quantum Mechanics as Quantum Measure Theory". Modern Physics Letters A. 9: 3119–3128.arXiv:gr-qc/9401003. doi:10.1142/S021773239400294X.
Dowker, F.; Henson, J.; Wallden, P. (2014). "A histories perspective on characterizing quantum non-locality". New Journal of Physics. 16. doi:10.1088/1367-2630/16/3/033033.

Oreshkov, O.; Costa, F.; Brukner, C. (2012). "Quantum correlations with no causal order". Nature Communications. 3: 1092. doi:10.1038/ncomms2076.

vte

Quantum mechanics
Background

Introduction History
timeline Glossary Classical mechanics Old quantum theory

Fundamentals

Bra–ket notation Casimir effect Coherence Coherent control Complementarity Density matrix Energy level
degenerate levels excited state ground state QED vacuum QCD vacuum Vacuum state Zero-point energy Hamiltonian Heisenberg uncertainty principle Pauli exclusion principle Measurement Observable Operator Probability distribution Quantum Qubit Qutrit Scattering theory Spin Spontaneous parametric down-conversion Symmetry Symmetry breaking
Spontaneous symmetry breaking No-go theorem No-cloning theorem Von Neumann entropy Wave interference Wave function
collapse Universal wavefunction Wave–particle duality
Matter wave Wave propagation Virtual particle

Quantum

quantum coherence annealing decoherence entanglement fluctuation foam levitation noise nonlocality number realm state superposition system tunnelling Quantum vacuum state

Mathematics
Equations

Dirac Klein–Gordon Pauli Rydberg Schrödinger

Formulations

Heisenberg Interaction Matrix mechanics Path integral formulation Phase space Schrödinger

Other

Quantum
algebra calculus
differential stochastic geometry group Q-analog
List

Interpretations

Bayesian Consistent histories Cosmological Copenhagen de Broglie–Bohm Ensemble Hidden variables Many worlds Objective collapse Quantum logic Relational Stochastic Transactional

Experiments

Afshar Bell's inequality Cold Atom Laboratory Davisson–Germer Delayed-choice quantum eraser Double-slit Elitzur–Vaidman Franck–Hertz experiment Leggett–Garg inequality Mach-Zehnder inter. Popper Quantum eraser Quantum suicide and immortality Schrödinger's cat Stern–Gerlach Wheeler's delayed choice

Science

Measurement problem QBism

Quantum

biology chemistry chaos cognition complexity theory computing
Timeline cosmology dynamics economics finance foundations game theory information nanoscience metrology mind optics probability social science spacetime

Technologies

Quantum technology
links Matrix isolation Phase qubit Quantum dot
cellular automaton display laser single-photon source solar cell Quantum well
laser

Extensions

Dirac sea Fractional quantum mechanics Quantum electrodynamics
links Quantum geometry Quantum field theory
links Quantum gravity
links Quantum information science
links Quantum statistical mechanics Relativistic quantum mechanics De Broglie–Bohm theory Stochastic electrodynamics

Related

Quantum mechanics of time travel Textbooks

Physics Encyclopedia

World

Index

Hellenica World - Scientific Library

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/"
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License