Tunnelling times, Larmor clock, and the elephant in the room
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A controversy surrounding the “tunnelling time problem” stems from the seeming inability of quantum mechanics to provide, in the usual way, a definition of the duration a particle is supposed to spend in a given region of space. For this reason, the problem is often approached from an “operational” angle. Typically, one tries to mimic, in a quantum case, an experiment which yields the desired result for a classical particle. One such approach is based on the use of a Larmor clock. We show that the difficulty with applying a non-perturbing Larmor clock in order to “time” a classically forbidden transition arises from the quantum Uncertainty Principle. We also demonstrate that for this reason a Larmor time (in fact, any Larmor time) cannot be interpreted as a physical time interval. We provide a theoretical description of the quantities measured by the clock.