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'Measurement of Quantum Mechanical Operators' Revisited

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JournalEUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL D
DateE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2011
DatePublished (current) - Apr 2011
Issue number2
Volume62
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)297-307
Early online date25/03/11
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The Wigner-Araki-Yanase (WAY) theorem states a remarkable limitation to quantum mechanical measurements in the presence of additive conserved quantities. Discovered by Wigner in 1952, this limitation is known to induce constraints on the control of individual quantum systems in the context of information processing. It is therefore important to understand the precise conditions and scope of the WAY theorem. Here we elucidate its crucial assumptions, briefly review some generalizations, and show how a particular extension can be obtained by a simple modification of the original proofs. We also describe the evolution of the WAY theorem from a strict no-go verdict for certain, highly idealized, precise measurements into a quantitative constraint on the accuracy and approximate repeatability of imprecise measurements.

    Research areas

  • Mathematical Physics

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