Protective measurement and the de Broglie-Bohm theory


We investigate the implications of protective measurement for de Broglie-Bohm theory, mainly focusing on the interpretation of the wave function. It has been argued that the de Broglie-Bohm theory gives the same predictions as quantum mechanics by means of quantum equilibrium hypothesis. However, this equivalence is based on the premise that the wave function, regarded as a Ψ-field, has no mass and charge density distributions. But this premise turns out to be wrong according to protective measurement; a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. Then in the de Broglie-Bohm theory both Ψ-field and Bohmian particle will have charge density distribution for a charged quantum system. This will result in the existence of an electrostatic self-interaction of the field and an electromagnetic interaction between the field and Bohmian particle, which not only violates the superposition principle of quantum mechanics but also contradicts experimental observations. Therefore, the de Broglie-Bohm theory as a realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics is problematic according to protective measurement. Lastly, we briefly discuss the possibility that the wave function is not a physical field but a description of some sort of ergodic motion (e.g. random discontinuous motion) of particles.

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Shan Gao
Shanxi University


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