Quantum logic

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In quantum mechanics, quantum logic is a set of rules for reasoning about propositions that takes the principles of quantum theory into account. This research area and its name originated in a 1936 paper [1] by Garrett Birkhoff and John von Neumann, who were attempting to reconcile the apparent inconsistency of classical logic with the facts concerning the measurement of complementary variables in quantum mechanics, such as position and momentum.


Quantum logic can be formulated either as a modified version of propositional logic or as a noncommutative and non-associative many-valued (MV) logic. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Quantum logic has been proposed as the correct logic for propositional inference generally, most notably by the philosopher Hilary Putnam, at least at one point in his career. This thesis was an important ingredient in Putnam's 1968 paper "Is Logic Empirical?" in which he analysed the epistemological status of the rules of propositional logic. Putnam attributes the idea that anomalies associated to quantum measurements originate with anomalies in the logic of physics itself to the physicist David Finkelstein. However, this idea had been around for some time and had been revived several years earlier by George Mackey's work on group representations and symmetry.

The more common view regarding quantum logic, however, is that it provides a formalism for relating observables, system preparation filters and states.[ citation needed ] In this view, the quantum logic approach resembles more closely the C*-algebraic approach to quantum mechanics. The similarities of the quantum logic formalism to a system of deductive logic may then be regarded more as a curiosity than as a fact of fundamental philosophical importance. A more modern approach to the structure of quantum logic is to assume that it is a diagram—in the sense of category theory—of classical logics (see David Edwards).

Differences with classical logic

Quantum logic has some properties that clearly distinguish it from classical logic, most notably, the failure of the distributive law of propositional logic: [7]

p and (q or r) = (p and q) or (p and r),

where the symbols p, q and r are propositional variables. To illustrate why the distributive law fails, consider a particle moving on a line and (using some system of units where the reduced Planck's constant is 1) let [Note 1]

p = "the particle has momentum in the interval [0, +1/6]"
q = "the particle is in the interval [−1, 1]"
r = "the particle is in the interval [1, 3]"

We might observe that:

p and (q or r) = true

in other words, that the particle's momentum is between 0 and +1/6, and its position is between −1 and +3. On the other hand, the propositions "p and q" and "p and r" are both false, since they assert tighter restrictions on simultaneous values of position and momentum than is allowed by the uncertainty principle (they each have uncertainty 1/3, which is less than the allowed minimum of 1/2). So,

(p and q) or (p and r) = false

Thus the distributive law fails.

History and connection with lattice theory

In his classic 1932 treatise Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics , John von Neumann noted that projections on a Hilbert space can be viewed as propositions about physical observables. The set of principles for manipulating these quantum propositions was called quantum logic by von Neumann and Birkhoff in their 1936 paper. George Mackey, in his 1963 book (also called Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics), attempted to provide a set of axioms for this propositional system as an orthocomplemented lattice . Mackey viewed elements of this set as potential yes or no questions an observer might ask about the state of a physical system, questions that would be settled by some measurement. Moreover, Mackey defined a physical observable in terms of these basic questions. Mackey's axiom system is somewhat unsatisfactory though, since it assumes that the partially ordered set is actually given as the orthocomplemented closed subspace lattice of a separable Hilbert space. Constantin Piron, Günther Ludwig and others have attempted to give axiomatizations that do not require such explicit relations to the lattice of subspaces.

The axioms of an orthocomplemented lattice are most commonly stated as algebraic equations concerning the poset and its operations.[ citation needed ] A set of axioms using instead disjunction (denoted as ) and negation (denoted as ) is as follows: [8]

An orthomodular lattice satisfies the above axioms, and additionally the following one:

Alternative formulations[ clarification needed ] include sequent calculi, [9] [10] [11] and tableaux systems. [12]

The remainder of this article assumes the reader is familiar with the spectral theory of self-adjoint operators on a Hilbert space. However, the main ideas can be understood using the finite-dimensional spectral theorem.

Quantum logic as the logic of observables

One semantics of quantum logic is that quantum logic is the logic of boolean observables in quantum mechanics, where an observable p is associated with the set of quantum states for which p (when measured) is true with probability 1 (this completely characterizes the observable). From there,

Thus, expressions in quantum logic describe observables using a syntax that resembles classical logic. However, unlike classical logic, the distributive law a ∧ (bc) = (ab) ∨ (ac) fails when dealing with noncommuting observables, such as position and momentum. This occurs because measurement affects the system, and measurement of whether a disjunction holds does not measure which of the disjuncts is true.

For an example, consider a simple one-dimensional particle with position denoted by x and momentum by p, and define observables:

Now, position and momentum are Fourier transforms of each other, and the Fourier transform of a square-integrable nonzero function with a compact support is entire and hence does not have non-isolated zeroes. Therefore, there is no wave function which is both normalizable in momentum space and vanishes on precisely x ≥ 0. Thus, ab and similarly ac are false, so (ab) ∨ (ac) is false. However, a ∧ (bc) equals a and might be true.

To understand more, let p1 and p2 be the momenta for the restriction of the particle wave function to x< 0 and x ≥ 0 respectively (with the wave function zero outside of the restriction). Let be the restriction of |p| to momenta that are (in absolute value) >1.

(ab) ∨ (ac) corresponds to states with and (this holds even if we defined p differently so as to make such states possible; also, ab corresponds to and ). As an operator, , and nonzero and might interfere to produce zero . Such interference is key to the richness of quantum logic and quantum mechanics.

The propositional lattice of a classical system

The so-called Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics have three ingredients: states , observables and dynamics . In the simplest case of a single particle moving in R3, the state space is the position-momentum space R6. We will merely note here that an observable is some real-valued function f on the state space. Examples of observables are position, momentum or energy of a particle. For classical systems, the value f(x), that is the value of f for some particular system state x, is obtained by a process of measurement of f. The propositions concerning a classical system are generated from basic statements of the form

"Measurement of f yields a value in the interval [a, b] for some real numbers a, b."

It follows easily from this characterization of propositions in classical systems that the corresponding logic is identical to that of some Boolean algebra of subsets of the state space. By logic in this context we mean the rules that relate set operations and ordering relations, such as de Morgan's laws. These are analogous to the rules relating boolean conjunctives and material implication in classical propositional logic. For technical reasons, we will also assume that the algebra of subsets of the state space is that of all Borel sets. The set of propositions is ordered by the natural ordering of sets and has a complementation operation. In terms of observables, the complement of the proposition {fa} is {f < a}.

We summarize these remarks as follows: The proposition system of a classical system is a lattice with a distinguished orthocomplementation operation: The lattice operations of meet and join are respectively set intersection and set union. The orthocomplementation operation is set complement. Moreover, this lattice is sequentially complete, in the sense that any sequence {Ei}i of elements of the lattice has a least upper bound, specifically the set-theoretic union:

The propositional lattice of a quantum mechanical system

In the Hilbert space formulation of quantum mechanics as presented by von Neumann, a physical observable is represented by some (possibly unbounded) densely defined self-adjoint operator A on a Hilbert space H. A has a spectral decomposition, which is a projection-valued measure E defined on the Borel subsets of R. In particular, for any bounded Borel function f on R, the following extension of f to operators can be made:

In case f is the indicator function of an interval [a, b], the operator f(A) is a self-adjoint projection, and can be interpreted as the quantum analogue of the classical proposition

This suggests the following quantum mechanical replacement for the orthocomplemented lattice of propositions in classical mechanics. This is essentially Mackey's Axiom VII:

Q is also sequentially complete: any pairwise disjoint sequence{Vi}i of elements of Q has a least upper bound. Here disjointness of W1 and W2 means W2 is a subspace of W1. The least upper bound of {Vi}i is the closed internal direct sum.

Henceforth we identify elements of Q with self-adjoint projections on the Hilbert space H.

The structure of Q immediately points to a difference with the partial order structure of a classical proposition system. In the classical case, given a proposition p, the equations

have exactly one solution, namely the set-theoretic complement of p. In these equations I refers to the atomic proposition that is identically true and 0 the atomic proposition that is identically false. In the case of the lattice of projections there are infinitely many solutions to the above equations (any closed, algebraic complement of p solves it; it need not be the orthocomplement).

Having made these preliminary remarks, we turn everything around and attempt to define observables within the projection lattice framework and using this definition establish the correspondence between self-adjoint operators and observables: A Mackey observable is a countably additive homomorphism from the orthocomplemented lattice of the Borel subsets of R to Q. To say the mapping φ is a countably additive homomorphism means that for any sequence {Si}i of pairwise disjoint Borel subsets of R, {φ(Si)}i are pairwise orthogonal projections and

Effectively, then, a Mackey observable is a projection-valued measure on R.

Theorem. There is a bijective correspondence between Mackey observables and densely defined self-adjoint operators on H.

This is the content of the spectral theorem as stated in terms of spectral measures.

Statistical structure

Imagine a forensics lab that has some apparatus to measure the speed of a bullet fired from a gun. Under carefully controlled conditions of temperature, humidity, pressure and so on the same gun is fired repeatedly and speed measurements taken. This produces some distribution of speeds. Though we will not get exactly the same value for each individual measurement, for each cluster of measurements, we would expect the experiment to lead to the same distribution of speeds. In particular, we can expect to assign probability distributions to propositions such as {a ≤ speed ≤ b}. This leads naturally to propose that under controlled conditions of preparation, the measurement of a classical system can be described by a probability measure on the state space. This same statistical structure is also present in quantum mechanics.

A quantum probability measure is a function P defined on Q with values in [0,1] such that P(0)=0, P(I)=1 and if {Ei}i is a sequence of pairwise orthogonal elements of Q then

The following highly non-trivial theorem is due to Andrew Gleason:

Theorem. Suppose Q is a separable Hilbert space of complex dimension at least 3. Then for any quantum probability measure P on Q there exists a unique trace class operator S such that

for any self-adjoint projection E in Q.

The operator S is necessarily non-negative (that is all eigenvalues are non-negative) and of trace 1. Such an operator is often called a density operator.

Physicists commonly regard a density operator as being represented by a (possibly infinite) density matrix relative to some orthonormal basis.

For more information on statistics of quantum systems, see quantum statistical mechanics.


An automorphism of Q is a bijective mapping α:QQ that preserves the orthocomplemented structure of Q, that is

for any sequence {Ei}i of pairwise orthogonal self-adjoint projections. Note that this property implies monotonicity of α. If P is a quantum probability measure on Q, then E → α(E) is also a quantum probability measure on Q. By the Gleason theorem characterizing quantum probability measures quoted above, any automorphism α induces a mapping α* on the density operators by the following formula:

The mapping α* is bijective and preserves convex combinations of density operators. This means

whenever 1 = r1 + r2 and r1, r2 are non-negative real numbers. Now we use a theorem of Richard V. Kadison:

Theorem. Suppose β is a bijective map from density operators to density operators that is convexity preserving. Then there is an operator U on the Hilbert space that is either linear or conjugate-linear, preserves the inner product and is such that

for every density operator S. In the first case we say U is unitary, in the second case U is anti-unitary.[ clarification needed ]

Remark. This note is included for technical accuracy only, and should not concern most readers. The result quoted above is not directly stated in Kadison's paper, but can be reduced to it by noting first that β extends to a positive trace preserving map on the trace class operators, then applying duality and finally applying a result of Kadison's paper.

The operator U is not quite unique; if r is a complex scalar of modulus 1, then r U will be unitary or anti-unitary if U is and will implement the same automorphism. In fact, this is the only ambiguity possible.

It follows that automorphisms of Q are in bijective correspondence to unitary or anti-unitary operators modulo multiplication by scalars of modulus 1. Moreover, we can regard automorphisms in two equivalent ways: as operating on states (represented as density operators) or as operating on Q.

Non-relativistic dynamics

In non-relativistic physical systems, there is no ambiguity in referring to time evolution since there is a global time parameter. Moreover, an isolated quantum system evolves in a deterministic way: if the system is in a state S at time t then at time s > t, the system is in a state Fs,t(S). Moreover, we assume

By Kadison's theorem, there is a 1-parameter family of unitary or anti-unitary operators {Ut}t such that

In fact,

Theorem. Under the above assumptions, there is a strongly continuous 1-parameter group of unitary operators {Ut}t such that the above equation holds.

Note that it follows easily from uniqueness from Kadison's theorem that

where σ(t,s) has modulus 1. Now the square of an anti-unitary is a unitary, so that all the Ut are unitary. The remainder of the argument shows that σ(t,s) can be chosen to be 1 (by modifying each Ut by a scalar of modulus 1.)

Pure states

A convex combination of statistical states S1 and S2 is a state of the form S = p1S1 +p2S2 where p1, p2 are non-negative and p1 + p2 =1. Considering the statistical state of system as specified by lab conditions used for its preparation, the convex combination S can be regarded as the state formed in the following way: toss a biased coin with outcome probabilities p1, p2 and depending on outcome choose system prepared to S1 or S2

Density operators form a convex set. The convex set of density operators has extreme points; these are the density operators given by a projection onto a one-dimensional space. To see that any extreme point is such a projection, note that by the spectral theorem S can be represented by a diagonal matrix; since S is non-negative all the entries are non-negative and since S has trace 1, the diagonal entries must add up to 1. Now if it happens that the diagonal matrix has more than one non-zero entry it is clear that we can express it as a convex combination of other density operators.

The extreme points of the set of density operators are called pure states. If S is the projection on the 1-dimensional space generated by a vector ψ of norm 1 then

for any E in Q. In physics jargon, if

where ψ has norm 1, then

Thus pure states can be identified with rays in the Hilbert space H.

The measurement process

Consider a quantum mechanical system with lattice Q that is in some statistical state given by a density operator S. This essentially means an ensemble of systems specified by a repeatable lab preparation process. The result of a cluster of measurements intended to determine the truth value of proposition E, is just as in the classical case, a probability distribution of truth values T and F. Say the probabilities are p for T and q = 1  p for F. By the previous section p = Tr(S E) and q = Tr(S (I  E)).

Perhaps the most fundamental difference between classical and quantum systems is the following: regardless of what process is used to determine E immediately after the measurement the system will be in one of two statistical states:

(We leave to the reader the handling of the degenerate cases in which the denominators may be 0.) We now form the convex combination of these two ensembles using the relative frequencies p and q. We thus obtain the result that the measurement process applied to a statistical ensemble in state S yields another ensemble in statistical state:

We see that a pure ensemble becomes a mixed ensemble after measurement. Measurement, as described above, is a special case of quantum operations.


Quantum logic derived from propositional logic provides a satisfactory foundation for a theory of reversible quantum processes. Examples of such processes are the covariance transformations relating two frames of reference, such as change of time parameter or the transformations of special relativity. Quantum logic also provides a satisfactory understanding of density matrices. Quantum logic can be stretched to account for some kinds of measurement processes corresponding to answering yes–no questions about the state of a quantum system. However, for more general kinds of measurement operations (that is quantum operations), a more complete theory of filtering processes is necessary. Such a theory of quantum filtering was developed in the late 1970s and 1980s by Belavkin [13] [14] (see also Bouten et al. [15] ). A similar approach is provided by the consistent histories formalism. On the other hand, quantum logics derived from many-valued logic extend its range of applicability to irreversible quantum processes or 'open' quantum systems.

In any case, these quantum logic formalisms must be generalized in order to deal with super-geometry (which is needed to handle Fermi-fields) and non-commutative geometry (which is needed in string theory and quantum gravity theory). Both of these theories use a partial algebra with an "integral" or "trace". The elements of the partial algebra are not observables; instead the "trace" yields "greens functions", which generate scattering amplitudes. One thus obtains a local S-matrix theory (see D. Edwards).

In 2004, Prakash Panangaden described how to capture the kinematics of quantum causal evolution using System BV, a deep inference logic originally developed for use in structural proof theory. [16] Alessio Guglielmi, Lutz Straßburger, and Richard Blute have also done work in this area. [17]


The approach of quantum logic has been generally seen as unsuccessful. It is far from evident that quantum logic is applicable to truth values (as opposed to switch positions), and if such an application is to be made, it must be done inside the supporting structure of customary two-valued logic. The eminent philosopher of science Tim Maudlin writes, “the horse of quantum logic has been so thrashed, whipped and pummeled, and is so thoroughly deceased that...the question is not whether the horse will rise again, it is: how in the world did this horse get here in the first place? The tale of quantum logic is not the tale of a promising idea gone bad, it is rather the tale of the unrelenting pursuit of a bad idea.” The entire mathematical complex structure of quantum mechanics is perfectly well-described and clear and understood using classical logic. While there are interpretive obstacles with quantum mechanics that have to be dealt with, none of those obstacles can be dealt with, or even ameliorated, by dismissing classical logic. [18]

See also


  1. Due to technical reasons, it is not possible to represent these propositions as quantum-mechanical operators. They are presented here because they are simple enough to enable intuition, and can be considered as limiting cases of operators that are feasible. See § Quantum logic as the logic of observables for details.

Related Research Articles

The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are those mathematical formalisms that permit a rigorous description of quantum mechanics. This mathematical formalism uses mainly a part of functional analysis, especially Hilbert spaces, which are a kind of linear space. Such are distinguished from mathematical formalisms for physics theories developed prior to the early 1900s by the use of abstract mathematical structures, such as infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces (L2 space mainly), and operators on these spaces. In brief, values of physical observables such as energy and momentum were no longer considered as values of functions on phase space, but as eigenvalues; more precisely as spectral values of linear operators in Hilbert space.

In quantum mechanics, a density matrix is a matrix that describes the quantum state of a physical system. It allows for the calculation of the probabilities of the outcomes of any measurement performed upon this system, using the Born rule. It is a generalization of the more usual state vectors or wavefunctions: while those can only represent pure states, density matrices can also represent mixed states. Mixed states arise in quantum mechanics in two different situations: first when the preparation of the system is not fully known, and thus one must deal with a statistical ensemble of possible preparations, and second when one wants to describe a physical system which is entangled with another, as its state can not be described by a pure state.

In quantum mechanics, wave function collapse occurs when a wave function—initially in a superposition of several eigenstates—reduces to a single eigenstate due to interaction with the external world. This interaction is called an "observation". It is the essence of a measurement in quantum mechanics which connects the wave function with classical observables like position and momentum. Collapse is one of two processes by which quantum systems evolve in time; the other is the continuous evolution via the Schrödinger equation. Collapse is a black box for a thermodynamically irreversible interaction with a classical environment. Calculations of quantum decoherence show that when a quantum system interacts with the environment, the superpositions apparently reduce to mixtures of classical alternatives. Significantly, the combined wave function of the system and environment continue to obey the Schrödinger equation. More importantly, this is not enough to explain wave function collapse, as decoherence does not reduce it to a single eigenstate.

Quantum decoherence Loss of quantum coherence

Quantum decoherence is the loss of quantum coherence. In quantum mechanics, particles such as electrons are described by a wave function, a mathematical representation of the quantum state of a system; a probabilistic interpretation of the wave function is used to explain various quantum effects. As long as there exists a definite phase relation between different states, the system is said to be coherent. A definite phase relationship is necessary to perform quantum computing on quantum information encoded in quantum states. Coherence is preserved under the laws of quantum physics.

Quantum indeterminacy is the apparent necessary incompleteness in the description of a physical system, that has become one of the characteristics of the standard description of quantum physics. Prior to quantum physics, it was thought that

In physics, an observable is a physical quantity that can be measured. Examples include position and momentum. In systems governed by classical mechanics, it is a real-valued "function" on the set of all possible system states. In quantum physics, it is an operator, or gauge, where the property of the quantum state can be determined by some sequence of operations. For example, these operations might involve submitting the system to various electromagnetic fields and eventually reading a value.

Probability amplitude Complex number whose squared absolute value is a probability

In quantum mechanics, a probability amplitude is a complex number used in describing the behaviour of systems. The modulus squared of this quantity represents a probability density.

In quantum physics, a measurement is the testing or manipulation of a physical system in order to yield a numerical result. The predictions that quantum physics makes are in general probabilistic. The mathematical tools for making predictions about what measurement outcomes may occur were developed during the 20th century and make use of linear algebra and functional analysis.

In quantum mechanics, a quantum operation is a mathematical formalism used to describe a broad class of transformations that a quantum mechanical system can undergo. This was first discussed as a general stochastic transformation for a density matrix by George Sudarshan. The quantum operation formalism describes not only unitary time evolution or symmetry transformations of isolated systems, but also the effects of measurement and transient interactions with an environment. In the context of quantum computation, a quantum operation is called a quantum channel.

In quantum information theory, a quantum circuit is a model for quantum computation in which a computation is a sequence of quantum gates, which are reversible transformations on a quantum mechanical analog of an n-bit register. This analogous structure is referred to as an n-qubit register. The graphical depiction of quantum circuit elements is described using a variant of the Penrose graphical notation.

Quantum statistical mechanics is statistical mechanics applied to quantum mechanical systems. In quantum mechanics a statistical ensemble is described by a density operator S, which is a non-negative, self-adjoint, trace-class operator of trace 1 on the Hilbert space H describing the quantum system. This can be shown under various mathematical formalisms for quantum mechanics. One such formalism is provided by quantum logic.

In quantum mechanics, the consistent histories approach is intended to give a modern interpretation of quantum mechanics, generalising the conventional Copenhagen interpretation and providing a natural interpretation of quantum cosmology. This interpretation of quantum mechanics is based on a consistency criterion that then allows probabilities to be assigned to various alternative histories of a system such that the probabilities for each history obey the rules of classical probability while being consistent with the Schrödinger equation. In contrast to some interpretations of quantum mechanics, particularly the Copenhagen interpretation, the framework does not include "wavefunction collapse" as a relevant description of any physical process, and emphasizes that measurement theory is not a fundamental ingredient of quantum mechanics.

In mathematics, particularly in functional analysis, a projection-valued measure (PVM) is a function defined on certain subsets of a fixed set and whose values are self-adjoint projections on a fixed Hilbert space. Projection-valued measures are formally similar to real-valued measures, except that their values are self-adjoint projections rather than real numbers. As in the case of ordinary measures, it is possible to integrate complex-valued functions with respect to a PVM; the result of such an integration is a linear operator on the given Hilbert space.

In physics, the no-communication theorem or no-signaling principle is a no-go theorem from quantum information theory which states that, during measurement of an entangled quantum state, it is not possible for one observer, by making a measurement of a subsystem of the total state, to communicate information to another observer. The theorem is important because, in quantum mechanics, quantum entanglement is an effect by which certain widely separated events can be correlated in ways that suggest the possibility of communication faster-than-light. The no-communication theorem gives conditions under which such transfer of information between two observers is impossible. These results can be applied to understand the so-called paradoxes in quantum mechanics, such as the EPR paradox, or violations of local realism obtained in tests of Bell's theorem. In these experiments, the no-communication theorem shows that failure of local realism does not lead to what could be referred to as "spooky communication at a distance".

In functional analysis and quantum measurement theory, a positive operator-valued measure (POVM) is a measure whose values are positive semi-definite operators on a Hilbert space. POVMs are a generalisation of projection-valued measures (PVM) and, correspondingly, quantum measurements described by POVMs are a generalisation of quantum measurement described by PVMs.

The Born rule is a key postulate of quantum mechanics which gives the probability that a measurement of a quantum system will yield a given result. In its simplest form, it states that the probability density of finding a particle at a given point, when measured, is proportional to the square of the magnitude of the particle's wavefunction at that point. It was formulated by German physicist Max Born in 1926.

In mathematical physics, Gleason's theorem shows that the rule one uses to calculate probabilities in quantum physics, the Born rule, can be derived from the usual mathematical representation of measurements in quantum physics together with the assumption of non-contextuality. Andrew M. Gleason first proved the theorem in 1957, answering a question posed by George W. Mackey, an accomplishment that was historically significant for the role it played in showing that wide classes of hidden-variable theories are inconsistent with quantum physics. Multiple variations have been proven in the years since. Gleason's theorem is of particular importance for the field of quantum logic and its attempt to find a minimal set of mathematical axioms for quantum theory.

In quantum mechanics, the expectation value is the probabilistic expected value of the result (measurement) of an experiment. It can be thought of as an average of all the possible outcomes of a measurement as weighted by their likelihood, and as such it is not the most probable value of a measurement; indeed the expectation value may have zero probability of occurring. It is a fundamental concept in all areas of quantum physics.

In quantum physics, a quantum state is a mathematical entity that provides a probability distribution for the outcomes of each possible measurement on a system. Knowledge of the quantum state together with the rules for the system's evolution in time exhausts all that can be predicted about the system's behavior. A mixture of quantum states is again a quantum state. Quantum states that cannot be written as a mixture of other states are called pure quantum states, while all other states are called mixed quantum states. A pure quantum state can be represented by a ray in a Hilbert space over the complex numbers, while mixed states are represented by density matrices, which are positive semidefinite operators that act on Hilbert spaces.

This is a glossary for the terminology often encountered in undergraduate quantum mechanics courses.


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Further reading