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Quantum superpositions of mixed states.

  1. Jan 20, 2009 #1
    Suppose you have a system which consists of a number of non-interacting particles in some potential trap. These particles are essentially identical; but each is in a different energy level (in a different energy eigenstate). Such a system is a completely mixed system (also called a 'mixed ensemble'). Then suppose you can envisage a second system which is similar to the first, except that the energy eigenstates which each of the particles are in, are different.
    Now finally imagine a system which is a quantum superposition of the following two systems; that is, it is a superposition of mixed states.
    How would you define such a system in the language of quantum mechanics? For example, what would the density operator for this system be?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2009 #2

    vanesch

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    There is not really something such as a "superposition of mixed states". Superposition acts in hilbert space, not in the space of density operators.
     
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