Back to Publications


Observing quantum trajectories: From Mott’s problem to quantum Zeno effect and back

Annals of Physics 374
de Gosson, M.Hiley, B.Cohen, E. University of Vienna,
Faculty of Mathematics (NuHAG),
Vienna, Austria

Physics Department,
University College,
London, U.K.

University of London,

Wills Physics Laboratory,
University of Bristol,
2016 Physics

The experimental results of Kocsis et al., Mahler et al. and the proposed experiments of Morley et al. show that it is possible to construct “trajectories” in interference regions in a two-slit interferometer. These results call for a theoretical re-appraisal of the notion of a “quantum trajectory” first introduced by Dirac and in the present paper we re-examine this notion from the Bohm perspective based on Hamiltonian flows.

In particular, we examine the short-time propagator and the role that the quantum potential plays in determining the form of these trajectories. These trajectories differ from those produced in a typical particle tracker and the key to this difference lies in the active suppression of the quantum potential necessary to produce Motttype trajectories. We show, using a rigorous mathematical argument, how the active suppression of this potential arises. Finally we discuss in detail how this suppression also accounts for the quantum Zeno effect.

The article was published in: Annals of Physics 374: 190-211.

Full article

This work was supported (in part) by the Fetzer Franklin Fund of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust.