Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Do wave-functions pass through transparent obstacles?

  1. Apr 2, 2012 #1
    wave-function is a hypothetical/mathematical construct

    the wave-function is said to collapse when we try to detect it, say in a double slit or mach-zehnder.

    what kind of obstacles (but non-detectors) do wave-functions pass through?

    what happens if we place a razor thin obstacle (that is not a detector) in one of the paths of the photon

    1. a razor thin opaque sheet of paper
    2. a razor thin transparent sheet of cellophane
    3. air particles - we know that air particles don't effect the wave function as the double-slit and mach-zhender experiments are not necessarily conducted in a vacuum.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2012 #2

    DrChinese

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    A wave plate is a good example. It rotates the orientation of the wave that passes through it but does not cause collapse.
     
  4. Apr 2, 2012 #3
    correct...thanks

    does the amplitude of a single photon halve when it goes/emerges through a half silvered mirror? (say in a mach zehnder) on any one of the two paths/arms
     
  5. Apr 2, 2012 #4
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook