Quantum observer 1.1

In ordinary quantum mechanics, observers or measuring devices are macroscopic. So they are classical, in the sense that each of them is always in a macroscopic-eigenstate, aka “a macrostate“. A classical object would not be in a macroscopic superposition, in the sense that there would not be in a superposition of macroscopic-eigenstates. Macroscopic reality is always definite, unless you are talking about future events.

Then, would the macroscopic reality actually be a superposition of microscopic eigenstates?

Yes, it is. That is a logical implication from quantum mechanics. However, that makes no experimental difference, since those microstates of a lot of particles constitute a single macrostate.

In conclusion, a macrostate is not a superposition of macroscopic eigenstates. And although it is a superposition of microscopic eigenstates, it makes only conceptual difference but no experimental difference even if we ignore this fact. So for a classical observer, we do not have to consider whether it is in a superposition or not.

How about the observed particle? Would it be in a superposition?

It can and probably is.

However, superposition is a logical implication only. It cannot be observed directly using a macroscopic measuring device. Also, by using a macroscopic measuring device, aka “a classical observer“, to measure or observe a microscopic event, we will always collapse the wave function of the observed system (due to the decoherence effect), yielding a definite macroscopic result (which is corresponding to one of the eigenstate components in the original microscopic superposition). 

What if I have a microscopic measuring device as a “quantum observer”?

— Me@2013-01-16 10:53:06 AM

2013.01.16 Wednesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK