Quantum Superposition: Counterintuitive Consequences of Coherence, Entanglement, and Interference / Edition 1

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Coherence, entanglement, and interference arise from quantum superposition, the most distinctive and puzzling feature of quantum physics. Silverman, whose extensive experimental and theoretical work has helped elucidate these processes, presents a clear and engaging discussion of the role of quantum superposition in diverse quantum phenomena such as the wavelike nature of particle propagation, indistinguishability of identical particles, nonlocal interactions of correlated particles, topological effects of magnetic fields, and chiral asymmetry in nature. He also examines how macroscopic quantum coherence may be able to extricate physics from its most challenging quandary, the collapse of a massive degenerate star to a singularity in space in which the laws of physics break down.

Explained by a physicist with a concern for clarity and experimental achievability, the extraordinary nature of quantum superposition will fascinate the reader not only for its apparent strangeness, but also for its comprehensibility.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From a review of the author's previous but related book 'More than One Mystery'

"Speaking as one with no math background at all and no formal training in physics, I still found this book fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. Silverman is something of a polymath, with wide-ranging interests, and he succeeds in bringing together concepts from different fields of study in unexpected but very fruitful ways. He surely must be a wonderful classroom teacher; his enthusiasm for his subject matter is contagious, and to say that his use of language in his writing is masterful is an understatement. …he is always engaging, and never dry. Throughout, his descriptions are a model of clarity, and the precision of his vocabulary in the simplest nontechnical sentences is awe-inspiring in its elegance. This is not a textbook, but any serious student of physics who doesn’t own a copy is missing out on an important book."


From the reviews:

"Quantum Superposition is an extensive revision of Silverman’s More than One Mystery: Explorations in Quantum Interference … . By looking at different forms of superposition, Silverman is able to explore a wide range of phenomena, and he is not shy about addressing controversial topics. The book includes discussions of Schrödinger’s cat, Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment, and macroscopic quantum interference. … Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and up." (E. Kincanon, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (11), August, 2008)

“‘Quantum Superposition. Counterintuitive Consequences of Coherence, Entanglement, and Interference’ is a thorough, consistent and well-written book on quantum mechanics that I also consider as the remarkable attempt of the author to put the fundamentally deep order onto the quantum mechanics’ wonderland around the phenomena of quantum interference that are originated from the quantum principle of superposition in its different facets. Undoubtedly and definitely, this book must be recommended for the general audience of readers who are interested in the fundamental grounds of quantum mechanics.” (Eugene Kryachko, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1183, 2010)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783540718833
  • Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Series: Frontiers Collection Series
  • Edition description: 2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 379
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark P. Silverman is Professor of Physics at Trinity College. After earning a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University, he has pursued a wide range of research interests concerning the structure of matter, the properties of light, and the dynamics of stars and galaxies. He has held the Joliot Chair of Physics at the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielles in Paris, was Erskine Professor at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, and Chief Researcher at the Hitachi Advanced Research Laboratory (then) near Tokyo. Besides numerous articles on physics, Dr. Silverman has written of his educational experiments in "self-directed learning". For relaxation, he enjoys playing the flute and hiking in the mountains.

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Table of Contents

The Enigma of Quantum Interference     1
The Most Beautiful Experiment     1
Two-Slit Interference of Single Electron Wave Packets     3
Confined Fields and Electron Interference     11
'No-Slit' Interference of Single Photons: Superposition, Probability, and Understanding     22
Macroscale Objects in Quantum Superpositions     27
Quantum Mechanics and Relativity: The 'Wrong-Choice' Experiment     38
Correlations and Entanglements I: Fluctuations of Light and Particles     45
Ghostly Correlations of Entangled States     45
A Dance of Correlated Fluctuations. The 'Hanbury Brown Twiss'     54
Measurable Distinctions Between Quantum Ensembles     60
Correlated Emission from Coherently Excited Atoms     65
The Quantum Optical Perspective     70
Coherence of Thermal Electrons     77
Comparison of Thermal Electrons and Thermal Radiation     86
Brighter Than a Million Suns: Electron Beams from Atom-Size Sources     88
Correlations and Coincidences: Experimental Possibilities     100
Consequences of Spectral Width on Photon Correlations     106
Chemical Potential at T = 0 K     107
Probability Density of a Sum of Random Variables     108
CorrelatedFluctuations of Electrons at Two Detectors     109
Correlations and Entanglements II: Interferometry of Correlated Particles     111
Interferometry of Correlated Particles     111
The Aharonov-Bohm (AB) Effect with Entangled Electrons     112
Hanbury Brown-Twiss Correlations of Entangled Electrons     118
Correlated Particles in a Mach-Zender Interferometer     122
Quantum Boosts and Quantum Beats     135
Superposing Pathways in Time     135
Laser-Generated Quantum Beats     139
Nonlinear Effects in a Three-Level Atom     145
Quantum Beats in External Fields     155
Correlated Beats from Entangled States     159
Sympathetic Vibrations: The Atom in Resonant Fields     165
Beams, Bottles, and Resonance     165
The Two-Level Atom Looked at Two Ways     174
Oscillating Field Theory     182
Resonance and Interference: Tell-Tale Mark of a Quantum Jump     190
Quantum Interference in Separated Oscillating Fields     199
Ion Interferometry and Tests of Gauge Invariance     206
Oscillatory Field Solution to the Two-State Schrodinger Equation     214
Generalized Rotating Field Theory and Optically-Induced Ground State Coherence in a 3-State Atom      215
Symmetries and Insights: The Circulating Electron in Electromagnetic Fields     219
Broken Symmetry of the Charged Planar Rotator     219
The Planar Rotator in an Electric Field     222
The Planar Rotator in a Magnetic Field     233
The Planar Rotator in a Vector Potential Field     239
Fermions, Bosons, and Things In-Between     246
Quantum Interference in a Metal Ring     250
Magnetic Hamiltonian of the Two-Dimensional Rotator     254
Chiral Asymmetry: The Quantum Physics of Handedness     257
Optical Activity of Mirror-Image Molecules     257
Quantum Interference and Parity Conservation     262
Optical Activity of Rotating Matter     272
'Electron Activity' in a Chiral Medium     281
Longitudinal Polarization     285
Transverse Polarization     287
Chiral Light Reflection     290
Chirality in a Medium with Broken Symmetry     299
Condensates in the Cosmos: Quantum Stabilization of Degenerate Stars     307
Stellar End States     307
Quantum Properties of a Self-Gravitating Condensate     311
Quantum Properties of a Self-Gravitating System of Degenerate Fermions     314
Fermion Condensation in a Degenerate Star     320
Fermicon Stars vs Black Holes     333
Can Ultra-Strong Magnetic Fields Prevent Collapse?     335
Gravitationally-Induced Particle Resorption into the Vacuum     340
Gravitational Binding Energy of a Uniform Sphere of Matter     346
Stability in a Self-Gravitating System with Negative Pressure     347
Quark Deconfinement in a Neutron Star     349
Energy Balance in the Creation of the Universe     353
Particle Resorption in a Schwarzschild Geometry     355
References     361
Index     375
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