A mathematical construct used to study the effect of applying two operators in succession.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
1answer
39 views

Meaning of expectation value of product of non-commuting operators

Let $\hat{A}$ and $\hat{B}$ be Hermitian observables with spectra labeled by $a$ and $b$. Then we can write \begin{equation} \hat{A} = \sum_a a\, \hat{P}_a \end{equation} \begin{equation} \hat{B} = ...
2
votes
5answers
226 views

Eigenspaces of angular momentum operator and its square (Casimir operator)

The casimir operator $\textbf{L}^2$ commutates with the elements $L_i$ of the angular momentum operator $\textbf{L}$: $$ [\textbf{L}^2, L_i] = 0. $$ However, the $L_i$ do not commutate among ...
34
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the physical meaning of commutators in quantum mechanics?

This is a question I've been asked several times by students and I tend to have a hard time phrasing it in terms they can understand. This is a natural question to ask and it is not usually well ...
2
votes
2answers
148 views

What is the meaning of commuting Hamiltonians?

I have two quantum mechanical Hamiltonians such that \begin{equation} [\hat{H}_1,\hat{H}_2] = 0, \end{equation} where $\hat{H}_1$ and $\hat{H}_2$ act on the same set of states. What is there to ...
1
vote
2answers
152 views

$\hat{L}_{x}$ and $\hat{L}_{y}$ do not commute… or do they?

So $\hat{L}_{x}$ and $\hat{L}_{y}$ do not commute: $ [ \hat{L_{x}}, \hat{L_{y}}] = i\hbar \hat{L_{z}}$ But, what if we perform this operation on a state such that: $\hat{L_{z}} \phi_{l, m_{l}} = ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

What is this nested bracket notation?

The following is an excerpt from K. Varga's paper, Precise solution of few-body problems with stochastic variational method on correlated Gaussian basis: ...The function $θ_{LM_L}(\mathbf{x})$ in ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

Time-ordering and Dyson series

In Dyson series we use a time-ordered exponential by arguing that a Hamiltonian at two different instants of time does not commute. Why is it that so? Can anyone explain with example why should the ...
2
votes
1answer
151 views

What is the physical importance of the commutation relations of angular momentum?

What is the physical meaning of these commutation relations: $$[L_{z},L_{\pm}]=\pm\hbar L_{\pm}\tag{1}$$ and $$[L_{+},L_{-}]=2\hbar L_{z} ~?\tag{2}$$
0
votes
2answers
89 views

$[A_1, H] =[A_2, H] = 0$ but $[A_1, A_2] \neq 0$?

I am having a difficult time understanding this problem. Suppose $[A_1, A_2] \ne 0,$ $[A_1, H] = 0,$ $[A_2, H] = 0.$ Show that the energy eigenstates of $H$ are in general ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Commutation relations in second quantization

I know that for operators $a(\chi_1), a(\chi_2)$ of the same type (fermionic or bosonic) $$ [a(\chi_1), a(\chi_2)]_{-\xi} = [a^\dagger (\chi_1), a^\dagger (\chi_2)]_{-\xi} = 0 \tag{1}$$ where $$\xi ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Prove: $A$ and $B$ commute, therefore functions $f(A)$ and $g(B)$ will always commute with one another [closed]

How do I / can I actually prove the relationship $[a,b]=0 \Rightarrow [f(a),g(b)]=0$ for all functions $f,g$. I'm asking because the following sentence in the solution to my quantum mechanics ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Minus sign in the time ordering operator

The time ordering operator is usually defined as $$\mathcal{T} \left\{A(\tau) B(\tau')\right\} := \begin{cases} A(\tau) B(\tau') & \text{if } \tau > \tau', \\ \pm B(\tau')A(\tau) & \text{if ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Angular Momentum Operators - Commutation Relations

I was going over past PGRE exam questions, and came across this one. The components for the angular momentum operator $\mathbf{L}=(L_x,L_y,L_z)$ satisfy the following commutation relations. ...
15
votes
6answers
17k views

What is the Physical Meaning of Commutation of Two Operators?

I understand the mathematics of commutation relations and anti-commutation relations, but what does it physically mean for an observable (self-adjoint operator) to commute with another observable ...
5
votes
2answers
160 views

Commutation relations in QFT and the principle of locality

My question is, given two space-time points $x^{\mu}$ and $y^{\mu}$, if the events that occur at these points are simultaneous, i.e. $x^{0}=y^{0}$, are the two events necessarily space-like separated? ...
3
votes
5answers
908 views

Commutator algebra in exponents

Considering $X$ and $Y$ such that $[X,Y]=\lambda$, which is complex, and $\mu$ is another complex number, prove: $$e^{\mu(X+Y)}=e^{\mu X} e^{\mu Y} e^{-\mu^2\lambda/2}$$ My attempt (so far) is: ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

How is quantization related to commutation? [duplicate]

How are commutation (of observables) and quantization related? Reading about the Stone-Von Neumann Theorem, it seems that commutativity is the classical limit of quantum mechanics, and hence ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

The relation between commutation and quanta

This question discusses discretization in some sense, and this question talks about how quantization and Hilbert Spaces are related (the answer seems to to be not at all), but what I'm curious about ...
8
votes
2answers
312 views

How to replace $T$-product with retarded commutator in LSZ formula?

I am reading Itzykson and Zuber's Quantum Field Theory book, and am unable to understand a step that is made on page 246: Here, they consider the elastic scattering of particle $A$ off particle $B$: ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Symmetric potential and the commutator of parity and Hamiltonian

In one dimension - How can one prove that the Hamiltonian and the parity operator commute in the case where the potential is symmetric (an even function)? i.e. that $[H, P] = 0$ for $V(x)=V(-x)$
5
votes
1answer
199 views

Apparent spacetime dependence of creation and annihilation operators

I'm currently going through An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory by Hartmut Wittig I've stumbled upon. Having trouble with equation (2.29), I'm asking the question: Do creation and annihilation ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Commutators and Operators [closed]

Is commutator of two operators an operator? I searched google but still got no success! I'm very curious to know the answer to this!
2
votes
2answers
85 views

Commuting observables and CSCO's

I've been looking at some basic quantum mechanics all day in an attempt to better my understanding of the subject. While going over the proof that commuting operators are compatible, I started getting ...
0
votes
2answers
99 views

Would $[\hat{Q},\hat{H}]$ correspond to an observable? [closed]

Would $[\hat{Q},\hat{H}]$ correspond to an observable? Where $\hat{Q}$ is an observable and $\hat{H}$ is the Hamiltonian. Surely that would just mean that $[\hat{Q},\hat{H}]$ would commute i.e. = 0?: ...
-1
votes
1answer
92 views
6
votes
4answers
600 views

Is uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement?

Is the uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement or is it an intrinsic concept in quantum mechanics irrelevant of any measurement? Everyone knows the thought experiment of measuring ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

commutation relation of angular momentum operator in non cartesian coordinates

The angular momentum operator $J$ in quantum mechanics with the commutation relation \begin{equation*} [J_i,J_j]=i\hbar\epsilon_{ijk}J_k \end{equation*} has the structure of a Lie-algebra. It is ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

Derivatives of Fields in E&M

In QED the field strength tensor $F_{\mu\nu}$ is given by the commutator of the covariant derivatives $$D_\mu=\partial_\mu-ieA_\mu$$ where $A_\mu$ is the gauge field. Explicitly we have ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

When trying to see what symmetries an operator generates, how do you “decide” what coordinate to apply it to?

Suppose I have $\hat{O}_{1}=-i\hbar\partial_{x}$ then \begin{eqnarray} e^{-i\gamma\hat{O}_{1}/\hbar}x\,e^{i\gamma\hat{O}_{1}/\hbar}=x+\gamma \end{eqnarray} and \begin{eqnarray} ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

Transition from 4-potential to E and B [closed]

In my lecture notes there is a step that i cannot follow: $$\frac{i}{2}[\gamma^{\mu},\gamma^{\nu}] (\partial_{\mu}A_{\nu}-\partial_{\nu}A_{\mu})=: \sigma^{\mu\nu}F_{\mu\nu}=i\vec{\alpha} ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Derivation of Pauli Hamiltonian

In my lecture notes there is a step that i cannot follow: $$\frac{i}{2}\epsilon_{ijk}\sigma_k [\pi_i,\pi_j] = -e\epsilon_{ijk}\partial_iA_j\sigma_k$$ with $\vec{\pi}=\vec{p}-e\vec{A}(x)$ When I ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

What does a left-right arrow in a tensor formula mean?

I need help with some some notation I've not seen before. Is using the left-right arrow in this formula $$[P^μ,M^{ρσ}]=i\hbar(g^{\mu\sigma}P^\rho-(\rho\leftrightarrow\sigma))$$ equivalent to writing ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Commutator and Hamiltonian [closed]

Assume that $[\hat{A},\hat{H}]_-=0$ and $[\hat{B},\hat{H}]_-=0$ but we know that $[\hat{A},\hat{B}]_-\neq 0$. Then there exists degenerate stationary states of $H$. How to prove it?
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Why is it “disconcerting” if the components of an operator do not commute?

A symmetrized operator is given by $$\hat{R}=\frac{1}{2\hat{H}}\hat{N}+\hat{N}\frac{1}{2\hat{H}}.$$ With $\hat{H}$ the Hamiltonian and $\hat{N}$ the first moment of energy. The defined $\hat{R}$ is ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Commutator of fermionic operators

The fermionic creation/annihilation operators are defined by the anti-commutation relations: $$ \{a_k^{\dagger},a_q^{\dagger}\} = 0 = \{a_k,a_q \} $$ $$ \{a_k^{\dagger},a_q\} = \delta_{kq} \, .$$ I ...
6
votes
3answers
685 views

Does it mean anything if the commutator of an operator with the Hamiltonian is equal to the Hamiltonian?

Question says it all, really. I have $[\hat{H},\hat{O}]=-2i\hbar\hat{H}$. Does this mean that the operator $\hat{O}$ (an observable) is special in some way?
5
votes
2answers
467 views

Heisenberg picture of QM as a result of Hamilton formalism

Consider the formula for the total time-derivative of a physical value in Poisson's formalism: $$\tag{1} \frac{dA}{dt} = -\{H, A\}_{P.B.} + \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}, $$ where $\{A, B\}_{P.B.}$ is ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Spin operator: tricky proof using gamma matrices

I have not dealt with the gamma matrices extensively so I am having a bit of trouble here. Basically I want to show that the spin operator defined by $$ \mathbf{\hat{S}} = \frac{1}{2}\gamma^5 ...
0
votes
3answers
125 views

How do I prove that the del squared operator commutes with the angular momentum operator? [closed]

I need to prove in Cartesian coordinates that $[\nabla^{2},\hat{L_{z}}]= 0$ I know that the angular momentum operator is defined as: $\hat{L_{z}}=x\hat{p_{y}}-y\hat{p_{x}}$ And the del squared is ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Translation Operators

Show that if the wave function $\langle x|\psi\rangle$ is modified by a position-dependent phase $\langle x|\psi\rangle \to e^{\frac{ip_ox}{\hbar}}\langle x|\psi\rangle$ then $\langle x\rangle ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Anticommutator difference [closed]

What is the value of this difference of anticommutators $$\{x^2,p^2\}-(\{x,p\}^2)/2$$ if the commutator $$[x,p]=i\hbar ~?$$ I have tried and obtained a value $$-3\hbar^2/2 - 2i\hbar px.$$ But ...
2
votes
0answers
83 views

Prove that $e^{\frac{i\lambda}{\hbar} S_x}S_ze^{-\frac{i\lambda}{\hbar}S_x}=S_z\cos(\lambda)+S_y\sin(\lambda)$ [closed]

Prove using Hadamard's lemma that $$e^{\frac{i\lambda}{\hbar} S_x}S_ze^{-\frac{i\lambda}{\hbar}S_x}=S_z\cos(\lambda)+S_y\sin(\lambda) $$ where $\lambda$ is a complex number. I get: ...
7
votes
2answers
271 views

A question about causality and Quantum Field Theory from improper Lorentz transformation

Related post Causality and Quantum Field Theory In Peskin and Schroeder's QFT p28, the authors tried to show causality is preserved in scalar field theory. Consider commutator $$ [ \phi(x), \phi(y) ...
1
vote
0answers
75 views

Simultaneous eigenket

J. J. Sakurai states in his "Modern Quantum Mechanics", this fact as a theorem ($\pi$ is the parity operator): Suppose $$[H,\pi]=0$$ and $| n>$ is a nondegenerate eigenket of $H$ with ...
2
votes
3answers
129 views

Help understanding proof in simultaneous diagonalization

The proof is from Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Shankar. The theorem is: If $\Omega$ and $\Lambda$ are two commuting Hermitian operators, there exists (at least) a basis of common eigenvectors ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Fundamental Commutation Relations in Quantum Mechanics

I am trying to compile a list of fundamental commutation relations involving position, linear momentum, total angular momentum, orbital angular momentum, and spin angular momentum. Here is what I have ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Commutator between square position and square momentum [duplicate]

I need (as a part of one exercise) to find commutator between $\hat{x}^2$ and $\hat{p}^2$ and my derivation goes as follows: $$[\hat{x}^2,\hat{p}^2]\psi = [\hat{x}^2\hat{p}^2 - ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

Do the norms of the total and the orbital angular momentums commute? If yes, why is there a problem with 2p_{1/2}?

Question: For $\vec L$ the orbital angular momentum of an electron, $\bar S$ its spin, and $\vec J:=\vec L+\vec S$ the sum, do $\vec J^2$ and $\vec L^2$ commute? I assume it does: $[\vec J^2,\vec ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

RH side of the Uncertainty principle: when is it a number and when an expectation value?

The uncertainty principle between the position $x$ and the momentum $p$ is given by: $$ \sigma_x \sigma_p \geq \hbar/2,$$ whereas for the $x$ and $y$ components of the angular momentum is given by: ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Why is the imaginary unit conventionally put on the right hand side of commutation relations? [closed]

Commutation relations in quantum mechanics are usually written in the form $$ [x_i,p_j] = i \hbar \delta_{ij} $$ with the imaginary unit $i$ put on the right hand side of the equation. But ...