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Unformatted text preview: 1 PROBABILTY AMPLITUDES AND “WHICH PATH” INFORMATION The following, rather qualitative discussion is adapted from Feynman’s lectures on physics Vol III, Chapter 3. It serves to give us a flavor of quantum mechanics and to motivate pictorially some of the theoretical expressions we will see formally later. The details of the analysis presented here can be most readily justified mathematically using the path integral approach to quantum mechanics pioneered by Feynman himself, however this is not usually studied until graduate level. Those who would like a reference should consult e.g. Richard MacKenzie’s article Path integral methods and applications, arXiv:quantph/00044090v1 24 Apr 2000, available on the Los Alamos preprint archive. Consider the process: a particle, let’s say a neutron, emitted from a source S arrives at the point x; you can think of x as measuring the vertical distance from some fixed point along the surface of the screen in Fig. 1. We associate a complex number called the probability amplitude with this process, and assume that the probability that the particle will arrive at x, after being let out of the source S, is...
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 Fall '10
 Kennedy
 mechanics, Neutron, Probability amplitude

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