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Quantum reference frames for general symmetry groups

Hamette, A-CDL; Galley, TD; (2020) Quantum reference frames for general symmetry groups. Quantum , 4 p. 367. 10.22331/q-2020-11-30-367. Green open access

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Abstract

A fully relational quantum theory necessarily requires an account of changes of quantum reference frames, where quantum reference frames are quantum systems relative to which other systems are described. By introducing a relational formalism which identifies coordinate systems with elements of a symmetry group $G$, we define a general operator for reversibly changing between quantum reference frames associated to a group $G$. This generalises the known operator for translations and boosts to arbitrary finite and locally compact groups, including non-Abelian groups. We show under which conditions one can uniquely assign coordinate choices to physical systems (to form reference frames) and how to reversibly transform between them, providing transformations between coordinate systems which are `in a superposition' of other coordinate systems. We obtain the change of quantum reference frame from the principles of relational physics and of coherent change of reference frame. We prove a theorem stating that the change of quantum reference frame consistent with these principles is unitary if and only if the reference systems carry the left and right regular representations of $G$. We also define irreversible changes of reference frame for classical and quantum systems in the case where the symmetry group $G$ is a semi-direct product $G = N \rtimes P$ or a direct product $G = N \times P$, providing multiple examples of both reversible and irreversible changes of quantum reference system along the way. Finally, we apply the relational formalism and changes of reference frame developed in this work to the Wigner's friend scenario, finding similar conclusions to those in relational quantum mechanics using an explicit change of reference frame as opposed to indirect reasoning using measurement operators.

Type: Article
Title: Quantum reference frames for general symmetry groups
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.22331/q-2020-11-30-367
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.22331/q-2020-11-30-367
Language: English
Additional information: Published under CC-BY 4.0.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117763
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