Notes on nonlocal projective measurements in relativistic systems

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Abstract

In quantum mechanical bipartite systems, naive extensions of von Neumann's projective measurement to nonlocal variables can produce superluminal signals and thus violate causality. We analyze the projective quantum nondemolition state-verification in a two-spin system and see how the projection introduces nonlocality without entanglement. For the ideal measurements of "R-nonlocal" variables, we argue that causality violation can be resolved by introducing further restrictions on the post-measurement states, which makes the measurement "Q-nonlocal". After we generalize these ideas to quantum mechanical harmonic oscillators, we look into the projective measurements of the particle number of a single mode or a wave-packet of a relativistic quantum field in Minkowski space. It turns out that the causality-violating terms in the expectation values of the local operators, generated either by the ideal measurement of the "R-nonlocal" variable or the quantum nondemolition verification of a Fock state, are all suppressed by the IR and UV cutoffs of the theory. Thus relativistic quantum field theories with such projective measurements are effectively causal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-786
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Physics
Volume351
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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