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Indistinguishable particles in quantum mechanics: an introduction

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In this article, we discuss the identity and indistinguishability of quantum systems and the consequent need to introduce an extra postulate in Quantum Mechanics to correctly describe situations involving indistinguishable particles. This is, for electrons, the Pauli Exclusion Principle, or in general, the Symmetrization Postulate. Then, we introduce fermions and bosons and the distributions respectively describing their statistical behaviour in indistinguishable situations. Following that, we discuss the spin-statistics connection, as well as alternative statistics and experimental evidence for all these results, including the use of bunching and antibunching of particles emerging from a beam splitter as a signature for some bosonic or fermionic states.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00107510500361274

Affiliations: Departamento de Matemática, ISEG, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, P-1200-781, Lisbon, Portugal

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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