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Essential Quantum Optics by Ulf Leonhardt

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Appendix B

State reconstruction in quantum mechanics

Most laws of physics make conditional statements; they predict what happens when some idealized conditions are met. For example, dynamical laws describe how physical systems evolve in time if the initial conditions are specified at a given time. The initial conditions are not fixed: on the contrary, they specify the degrees of freedom, whereupon the evolution is governed by the dynamical laws usually formulated as differential equations. The initial conditions uniquely determine the physical properties of the system at any time and hence we may regard them as describing the state of the system. In non-relativistic quantum mechanics the dynamical law is the Schrödinger equation (1.28) or the ...

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