Quantum Challenge - Physics
302 2009 Recitation
This is the web site for the recitation for Physics 302 - Advanced
Quantum Mechanics. Students from Chemistry 305: Physical Chemistry II
and Physics 214: Introductory Quantum Mechanics are also invited to
participate. In these classes the goal is to introduce you to the
formalism of quantum mechanics and its power through calculation. The
interpretive approach in such courses is typically ``Shut up and
calculate!''. By contrast, in this recitation we will explicitly
discuss the interpretive problems of quantum mechanics with a focus on
the experiments in which they arise. The goal is to read a fair chunk
of the main text and many of the original experimental papers. The aim
is not to solve the interpretive problems, but to understand what they
are, and in which experiments do these interpretive issues arise.
The text for this recitation is The Quantum
Challenge: Modern Research on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics,
Greenstein and Zajonc, Second edition. This is available from Amazon here,
and the Haverford College bookstore has some copies. I will also be
assigning reading from some of the original research articles cited -
particularly those giving experimental details.
Because of the large number of students in Physics
302, and to encourage participation by students from the other classes
this recitation will meet Sundays
3-4pm in Hilles 108
I would prefer to run this recitation as an
extended discussion. The content we cover will be strongly tied to the
book, and so you should ensure that you read the assignment from that
book prior to coming to the recitation. I encourage you to read some of
the other articles also. If we run out of things to say to each other
we can resort to reading the assignments in class and trying to
understand them together. Rather than try and stick to a schedule, I
give below a list of topics we will cover. We will try to think deeply
about each topic, and so the recitation will go at its own pace.
and Reading assignments
Assignments from The Quantum Challenge are denoted TQC.
Preliminary reading to set the goals of the
pp xi - xii.
Matter behaves as waves.
Chapter 1 -
Matter Waves pp 1-21
Reading from research articles giving experimental evidence for matter
wave behavior in electrons, neutrons, atoms and Bose-Einstein
Article 1 and TQC pp 1-8 cover the creation of an electron interference
pattern using an electron biprism to mimic a double slit setup. The de
broglie wavelength of the electrons was 5 picometres. Not only were the
interference patterns produced one electron at a time, the electrons
could travel 100km in time between electrons arriving at the detector.
- A. Tonomura and J. Endo and T. Matsuda and T. Kawasaki and H.
Ezawa, Demonstration of single-electron buildup of an interference
pattern, American Journal of Physics, 1989, 57, 2 pp117-120. Journal Link.
- Roland Gahler and Anton Zeilinger, Wave-optical experiments with
very cold neutrons, American Journal of Physics, 1991, 59, 4, pp316-324. pdf
- O. Carnal, J. Mlynek, Young's double-slit experiment with
atoms: A simple atom interferometer, Phys. Rev. Lett., 66, 21, pp2689--2692, (1991) pdf
- Kasevich, Mark A., Coherence with Atoms, Science, 298, no. 5597 pp1363-1368 (2002) pdf
- Keith, David W. and Ekstrom, Christopher R. and Turchette,
Quentin A. and Pritchard, David E., An interferometer for atoms, Phys.
Rev. Lett. 66, 21,
pp2693--2696, (1991) pdf
- Andrews, M. R. and Townsend, C. G. and Miesner, H.-J. and Durfee,
D. S. and Kurn, D. M. and Ketterle, W., Observation of Interference
Between Two Bose Condensates, Science, 275, no. 5300, pp637-641, (1997)
- Wolfgang Ketterle, Nobel lecture: When atoms behave as waves:
Bose-Einstein condensation and the atom laser, Rev. Mod. Phys. 74, pp1131--1151, (2002) pdf
Article 2 and TQC p 8 cover the same experiment using first a gold and
then a boron wire to split an aperture into two slits separated by 126
microns, as well as a range of other diffraction experiments with cold
neutrons whose wavelength is around 20 angstroms. The time between
successive neutrons was such that when one neutron was being detected,
the next had not yet been produced in the nuclear reactor.
Note that the original evidence for the wave nature of electrons was
the experiments of Davisson and Germer, and these experiments were
performed independently of de Broglies theoretical proposal. Davisson
and Germer's paper is:
C. J. Davisson and L. H. Germer, Diffraction of electrons by a crystal
of nickel, Phys. Rev. 30
705-740 (1927) pdf
In fact - the electron interference experiment of Article 1 is not the
first - the history is pointed out in this
behaves as particles
2 Photons pp 23-43
Reading on photon correlation experiments.
- R. Hanbury-Brown
and R.Q. Twiss, Correlations between photons in two coherent beams of
light. Nature v 177 pp 27-29 (1956) pdf
- P. Grangier, G. Roger and A. Aspect,
Experimental evidence for a photon anticorrelation effect on a
beamsplitter, Europhysics Letters v 1 pp 173-179 (1986) pdf
Reading concerning the semi-classical treatment of the photo-electric
Reading concerning the semi-classical treatment of the Compton effect.
- Radiative Effects in Semiclassical
Theory, Crisp, M. D. and Jaynes, E. T., Phys. Rev., 179, no 5,
pp1253--1261, (1969), pdf
- Experimental distinction between the
quantum and classical field-theoretic predictions for the photoelectric
effect, Clauser, John F., Phys. Rev. D, v9 pp853--860, (1974) pdf
- J. Dodd The Compton effect - a classical treatment, European
Jurnal of Physics, v4, pp 205-211 (1983) pdf
- J. Strand, The Compton effect - Schroedingers Treatment, European
Journal of Physics v7 pp 217-221 (1986) pdf
Chapter 3 The Uncertainty principle.
The Pfleegor-Mandel experiment - One photon produced from two lasers pdf
TQC Chapter 5 pp 123-133.
The original EPR paper - Can quantum mechanical description of reality
be considered complete? pdf
Bohrs response to the EPR paper pdf