Friday, August 24, 2012

1208.4724 (Andreas Doering et al.)

Self-adjoint Operators as Functions I: Lattices, Galois Connections and
Spectral Order

Andreas Doering, Barry Dewitt
Observables of a quantum system, described by self-adjoint operators in a von Neumann algebra or affiliated with it in the unbounded case, form a conditionally complete lattice when equipped with the spectral order. Using this order-theoretic structure, we develop a new perspective on quantum observables. In this first paper, we show that self-adjoint operators affiliated with a von Neumann algebra can equivalently be described as certain real-valued functions on the projection lattice of the algebra, which we call q-observable functions. Bounded self-adjoint operators correspond to q-observable functions with compact image on non-zero projections. These functions, originally defined in a similar form by de Groote, are most naturally seen as adjoints (in the categorical sense) of spectral families. We show how they relate to the daseinisation mapping from the topos approach to quantum theory. Moreover, the q-observable functions form a conditionally complete lattice which is shown to be order-isomorphic to the lattice of self-adjoint operators with respect to the spectral order. In a subsequent paper, an interpretation of q-observable functions in terms of quantum probability theory will be given, and using results from the topos approach to quantum theory, a joint sample space for all quantum observables will be provided.
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