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Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states
written by Tong Wan, Paul J. Emigh, and Peter S. Shaffer
Quantum states have complex probability amplitudes that are sometimes represented by positive real numbers multiplied by complex exponentials. Although the overall phase of a superposition state does not affect the probabilities, the relative phases between the component basis states can have measurable effects. A thorough grasp of relative phase is needed for students to understand various key ideas in quantum mechanics, including quantum interference and time dependence. We present preliminary results from an investigation into student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases that was conducted in sophomore- and junior-level quantum mechanics courses at the University of Washington (UW). The findings suggest that many students do not recognize that relative phases have measureable effects and tend to overlook the important role that complex numbers play in quantum mechanics.
Physics Education Research Conference 2017
Part of the PER Conference series
Cincinnati, OH: July 26-27, 2017
Pages 420-423
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Formative Assessment
Education Practices
- Instructional Material Design
= Problem/Question
Quantum Physics
- Foundations and Measurements
= Probability and Interference
- Spin and Finite Dimensional Systems
= Stern-Gerlach Experiment
- Upper Undergraduate
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
Categories Intended Users Ratings
- Pedagogy
- Educators
- Researchers
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/perc.20…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2017.pr.100
NSF Number:
1022449
Keyword:
PERC 2017
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created February 26, 2018 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
March 1, 2018 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 1, 2018
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Record Link
AIP Format
T. Wan, P. Emigh, and P. Shaffer, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2017, Cincinnati, OH, 2017, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14659&DocID=4836).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. Wan, P. Emigh, and P. Shaffer, Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2017, Cincinnati, OH, 2017, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14659&DocID=4836>.
APA Format
Wan, T., Emigh, P., & Shaffer, P. (2017, July 26-27). Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2017, Cincinnati, OH. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14659&DocID=4836
Chicago Format
Wan, T, P. Emigh, and P. Shaffer. "Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2017, Cincinnati, OH, July 26-27, 2017. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14659&DocID=4836 (accessed 16 December 2018).
MLA Format
Wan, Tong, Paul Emigh, and Peter Shaffer. "Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states." Physics Education Research Conference 2017. Cincinnati, OH: 2017. 420-423 of PER Conference. 16 Dec. 2018 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14659&DocID=4836>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Tong Wan and Paul Emigh and Peter Shaffer", Title = {Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2017}, Pages = {420-423}, Address = {Cincinnati, OH}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {July 26-27}, Year = {2017} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tong Wan
%A Paul Emigh
%A Peter Shaffer
%T Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states
%S PER Conference
%D July 26-27 2017
%P 420-423
%C Cincinnati, OH
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14659&DocID=4836
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2017
%O July 26-27
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Wan, Tong
%A Emigh, Paul
%A Shaffer, Peter
%D July 26-27 2017
%T Student understanding of the measurable effects of relative phases in superposition states
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2017
%C Cincinnati, OH
%P 420-423
%S PER Conference
%8 July 26-27
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14659&DocID=4836


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