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While the slogan “no measurement without disturbance” has established itself under the name of the Heisenberg effect in the consciousness of the scientifically interested public, a precise statement of this fundamental feature of the quantum world has remained elusive, and serious attempts at rigorous formulations of it as a consequence of quantum theory have led to seemingly conflicting preliminary results. Here we show that despite recent claims to the contrary [L. Rozema et al, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109 100404 (2012)], Heisenberg-type inequalities can be proven that describe a tradeoff between the precision of a position measurement and the necessary resulting disturbance of momentum (and vice versa). More generally, these inequalities are instances of an uncertainty relation for the imprecisions of any joint measurement of position and momentum. Measures of error and disturbance are here defined as figures of merit characteristic of measuring devices. As such they are state independent, each giving worst-case estimates across all states, in contrast to previous work that is concerned with the relationship between error and disturbance in an individual state.
- 1 Academic