Experimental Test of the “Special State” Theory of Quantum Measurement
Received: 25 December 2011 / Revised: 21 March 2012 / Accepted: 26 March 2012 / Published: 2 April 2012
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An experimental test of the “special state” theory of quantum measurement is proposed. It should be feasible with present-day laboratory equipment and involves a slightly elaborated Stern–Gerlach setup. The “special state” theory is conservative with respect to quantum mechanics, but radical with
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An experimental test of the “special state” theory of quantum measurement is proposed. It should be feasible with present-day laboratory equipment and involves a slightly elaborated Stern–Gerlach setup. The “special state” theory is conservative with respect to quantum mechanics, but radical with respect to statistical mechanics, in particular regarding the arrow of time. In this article background material is given on both quantum measurement and statistical mechanics aspects. For example, it is shown that future boundary conditions would not contradict experience, indicating that the fundamental equal-a-priori-probability assumption at the foundations of statistical mechanics is far too strong (since future conditioning reduces the class of allowed states). The test is based on a feature of this theory that was found necessary in order to recover standard (Born) probabilities in quantum measurements. Specifically, certain systems should have “noise” whose amplitude follows the long-tailed Cauchy distribution. This distribution is marked by the occasional occurrence of extremely large signals as well as a non-self-averaging property. The proposed test is a variant of the Stern–Gerlach experiment in which protocols are devised, some of which will require the presence of this noise, some of which will not. The likely observational schemes would involve the distinction between detection and non-detection of that “noise”. The signal to be detected (or not) would be either single photons or electric fields (and related excitations) in the neighborhood of the ends of the magnets.