Watching it boil: Continuous observation for the quantum zeno effect [Book Review]

Foundations of Physics 27 (12):1623-1636 (1997)
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Abstract

The quantum Zeno effect (QZE) is often associated with the ironic maxim, “a watched pot never boils”, although the notion of “watching” suggests a continuous activity at odds with the usual (pulsed measurement) presentation of the QZE. We show how continuous watching can provide the same halting of decay as the usual QZE, and, for incomplete hindrance, we provide a precise connection between the interval between projections and the response time of the continuous observer. Thus, watching closely, but not so closely as to halt the “boiling”, is equivalent to—gives the same degree of partial hindrance as—pulsed measurements with a particular pulsing rate. Our demonstration is accomplished by treating the apparatus for the continuous watching as a fully quantum object. This in turn allows us a second perspective on the QZE, in which it is the modified level structure of the combined system/apparatus Hamiltonian that slows the decay. This and other considerations favor the characterization “dominated time evolution” for the QZE

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Time's Arrows and Quantum Measurement.Huw Price - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (3):522-525.

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