Classical, Quantum and Event-by-Event Simulation of a Stern–Gerlach Experiment with Neutrons

Hans De Raedt*, Fengping Jin, Kristel Michielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We present a comprehensive simulation study of the Newtonian and quantum model of a Stern–Gerlach experiment with cold neutrons. By solving Newton’s equation of motion and the time-dependent Pauli equation for a wide range of uniform magnetic field strengths, we scrutinize the role of the latter for drawing the conclusion that the magnetic moment of the neutron is quantized. We then demonstrate that a marginal modification of the Newtonian model suffices to construct, without invoking any concept of quantum theory, an event-based subquantum model that eliminates the shortcomings of the classical model and yields results that are in qualitative agreement with experiment and quantum theory. In this event-by-event model, the intrinsic angular momentum can take any value on the sphere, yet, for a sufficiently strong uniform magnetic field, the particle beam splits in two, exactly as in experiment and in concert with quantum theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1143
Number of pages27
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2022


  • classical mechanics
  • event-by-event simulation
  • quantum mechanics
  • Stern–Gerlach experiment

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