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Measurement of a Hydrogen qubit?

  1. May 27, 2015 #1
    Given a 2 state hydrogen atom in a superimposed state, how does one measure it for either of its two states?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2015 #2
    I don't think your question is well posed. In quantum mechanics the state of a system is not an "observable". The observables (the quantities that you measure in experiments) are represented by hermitian operators that act on the states of the system.
  4. May 27, 2015 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    The energy eigenfunctions of a hydrogen atom are infinite - its not a two state system.

  5. May 28, 2015 #4
    OK, let me explain a bit better. The ground and 1st excited states of an Hydrogen atom are often given as an example of a qubit for use in quantum computing. The energies of these states are definitely eigenstates of the Hamiltonian. My question has to do with an Hydrogen qubit in a superimposed state comprising both the ground and 1st excited state. If this qubit has been altered via a quantum algorithm, then one would like to measure the probabilities that it is in state |0> or state |1>. How could this be done?
    Of course this measurement would have to be re-done multiple times to arrive at an estimation of the probabilities.
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