Measurement of time of arrival in quantum mechanics

Y Aharonov, J Oppenheim, S Popescu, B Reznik, W G Unruh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

It is argued that the time of arrival cannot be precisely defined and measured in quantum mechanics. By constructing explicit toy models of a measurement, we show that for a free particle it cannot be measured more accurately then Delta t(A) similar to 1/E-k, where E-k is the initial kinetic energy of the particle. With a better accuracy, particles reflect off the measuring device, and the resulting probability distribution becomes distorted. It is shown that: a time-of-arrival operator cannot exist, and that approximate time-of-arrival operators do not correspond to the measurements considered here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4130-4139
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Volume57
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

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