Intermediate states

What happens in the interval between the initial and final states of the interaction process?

What happens in between is everything and nothing. There is no privileged clearcut answer what happened that would be physically meaningful. It’s really the very basic point of quantum mechanics that only results of measurements are physically meaningful facts or observables; all other data are fictitious or uncertain. By the very definition of your problem, no measurement took place in the intermediate states which means that no sharp answers to any questions were generated, no answers or values became real or privileged or facts.

But unlike classical physics, quantum mechanics says that not only the probabilities of each history matter. All the relative phases matter, too.

— answered Jan 9, 2021 at 16:10

— Luboš Motl

— Physics StackExchange



2023.03.02 Thursday ACHK