DISCLAIMER: This article is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at last review, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information.
Quantum uncertainty in macroscopic measurements
Purdy, Thomas P. JILA and Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
- Heisenberg microscope
- Optomechanical systems
- Continuous position measurement
- Gravitational wave detectors
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The effects of quantum mechanics should be present in objects of all size scales. However, we rarely encounter quantum superposition (such as an object existing in two places at once) or quantum uncertainty (an intrinsic spread in the location of an object like that represented by the orbitals of electrons in an atom) in objects on the scale of our everyday experience. These more exotic quantum properties are absent in systems that are strongly coupled to their environments. Quantum superpositions exist only as long as they remain unobserved. If enough information to determine the position of an object is available in the surrounding environment, then quantum superpositions collapse. Similarly, quantum position uncertainty, while always present, is easily obscured by motion induced from thermal vibrations or collisions with air molecules amongst other sources. However, recent experiments with specially designed objects, many of which are macroscopic, or visible to the unaided eye, are able to explore quantum effects on larger size scales.
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information