Beyond Purity and Mixtures in Categorical Quantum Mechanics

Por • 20 feb, 2020 • Sección: Leyes

Christian de Ronde, César Massri

In a recent paper [12], we discussed the serious inconsistency present within the operational and mathematical definition(s) of the notion of pure state. Continuing this analysis, in this work we attempt to address the role of ‘purity’ and ‘mixtures’ within two different categorical approaches to QM, namely, the topos approach originally presented by Chris Isham and Jeremy Butterfield [27, 28, 29] and the more recent logos categorical approach presented by the authors of this article [10, 11, 13]. While the first approach exposes the difficulties to produce a consistent understanding of pure states and mixtures, the latter approach presents a new scheme in which their reference is erased right from the start in favor of an intensive understanding of projection operators and quantum superpositions. This new account of the theory, grounded on an intensive interpretation of the Born rule, allows us not only to avoid the orthodox interpretation of projection operators –either as referring to definite valued properties or measurement outcomes– but also to consider all matrices (of any rank) on equal footing. It is from this latter standpoint that we conclude that instead of distinguishing between pure and mixed states it would be recommendable –for a proper understanding of the theory of quanta– to return to the original matrix formulation of quantum mechanics presented by Werner Heisenberg in 1925.

 arXiv:2002.04423v1 [quant-ph]

Quantum Physics (quant-ph); History and Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph)

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