What does the lost information in the wavefunction mean?

  • Thread starter Runner 1
  • Start date
99
0
The wavefunction is defined on the domain of complex numbers. To find the probability of discovering a particle in a certain region, the amplitude of the wavefunction is integrated over that region. The problem is that you have an infinite set of complex numbers mapping to a single amplitude. What does the information that is lost when the wavefunction is "squared" represent?
 

Demystifier

Science Advisor
Insights Author
2018 Award
10,342
3,182
A complex number z can be represented by two real numbers: the absolute value |z| and the phase of z. The probability density is equivalent to the absolute value of complex wave function and does not depend on the phase. If I understood your question correctly, you ask what the phase of complex wave function corresponds to, what is the physical meaning of it?

The answer is that the phase plays a role in calculating probability densities of other observables (not positions), such as momentum or various complicated functions of both position and momentum.

An alternative answer is that, according to the Bohmian interpretation, the phase determines a deterministic (not merely probabilistic) physical property - the velocity of the particle at a given position.
 

Related Threads for: What does the lost information in the wavefunction mean?

Replies
129
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
6K
Replies
35
Views
972
Replies
1
Views
367
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
18K

Hot Threads

Top