On the Identification of the Parts of Compound Quantum Objects
A view of the constitution of quantum objects as reducible, in the sense of being decomposable to elementary particles, is outlined. On this view, parts of composite quantum systems are considered to be identified according to a recently introduced, specifically quantum notion of individuation (Jaeger, Found Phys 40:1396 2010). These parts can typically also be considered particles according to Wigner’s symmetry-based notion. Particles are considered elementary when they satisfy a condition of elementarity, newly introduced here, that improves on that provided by Newton and Wigner. In any given instance, the compound character of a physical object can be verified in principle by decomposition, ultimately to a set of such elementary parts, through appropriate precise quantum measurements during experimentation consistently with this principle of individuation.
KeywordsQuantum theory Reduction Composite system Object Particle
This research was supported by the DARPA QUINESS program through U.S. Army Research Office Award No. W31P4Q-12-1-0015. I would also like to thank Brigitte Falkenburg for helpful comments.
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