Quantum ergodicity and a quantum measure algebra

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19 Scopus citations


A quantum ergodic theory for finite systems (such as isolated molecules) is developed by introducing the concept of a quantum measure algebra. The basic concept in classical ergodic theory is that of a measure space. A measure space is a set M, together with a specified sigma algebra of subsets in M and a measure defined on that algebra. A sigma algebra is closed under the formation of intersections and symmetric differences. A measure is a non-negative and countably additive set function. For this to be further classified as a dynamical system, a measurable transformation is introduced. A measurable transformation is a mapping from a measure space into a measure space, such that the inverse image of every measurable set is measurable. In conservative dynamical systems, a measurable transformation is measure preserving, which is to say that the inverse image of every measurable set has the same measure as the original set. Once the measure space and the measurable transformation are defined, ergodic theory can be investigated on three levels-describable as analytic, geometric, and algebraic. The analytic level studies linear operators induced by a transformation. The geometric level is concerned directly with transformations on a measure space and the algebraic treatments substitute a measure algebra for the measure space and basically equate sets that differ only by sets of measure zero. It is this latter approach that is most directly paralleled here. A measure algebra for a quantum dynamical system is defined within which stochastic concepts in quantum mechanics can be investigated. The quantum measure algebra differs from a normal measure algebra only in that multiplication is noncommutative and addition is nonassociative. Nonetheless, the quantum measure algebra preserves the essence of a normal measure algebra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-371
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of chemical physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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