Numbers of the form $\{z= x+ i\,y:\;x,\, y\in\mathbb{R}\}$ where $i^2 = -1$. Useful especially as quantum mechanics, where system states take complex vector values.

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3
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48 views

Eigenvalue problem $−\psi''(x) − (ix)^ N \psi(x) = E\psi(x)$ in complex plane

To find the eigenvalue in the complex plane of $x$ for one dimensional Schrodinger equation $$ −ψ''(x) − (ix)^ N ψ(x) = Eψ(x). $$ where $N$ can be any real number, the boundary condition $ψ(x) → 0$ ...
1
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1answer
117 views

How to interpret the complex index of refraction?

The index of refraction which represents how much light gets refracted when entering a medium is defined as $$n = \frac{c}{v}$$ I have seen it stated in several places, such as here, that we can ...
3
votes
1answer
248 views

Integral over a product of two Green's functions

Need some help here on a frequently encountered integral in Green's function formalism. Forgive me since I am a junior student. I have an integral/summation as a product of a retarded and advanced ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Complex Conjugate of Wave Function

I've been reading through Griffiths QM book, and the only thing bugging me is they never fully described what $\Psi^* $ should be for any given function. I know it's the complex conjugate at the same ...
2
votes
1answer
390 views

Stokes' theorem in complex coordinates (CFT)

I am studying CFT, where I encounter Stokes' theorem in complex coordinates: $$ \int_R (\partial_zv^z + \partial_{\bar{z}}v^{\bar{z}})dzd\bar{z} = i \int_{\partial R}(v^{z}d\bar{z} - v^{\bar{z}}dz). ...
30
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3answers
2k views

Why treat complex scalar field and its complex conjugate as two different fields?

I am new to QFT, so I may have some of the terminology incorrect. Many QFT books provide an example of deriving equations of motion for various free theories. One example is for a complex scalar ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

Why can the bra and ket be varied independently?

Given a functional which depends on a function (ket), and its complex conjugate (bra), e.g. $$F[\varphi] = \langle \varphi|\hat{F}|\varphi\rangle = \int \varphi^{*}(\mathbf{r}) \hat{F} ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

Why complexify in order to construct Dirac representation?

Suppose we have a theory is covariant under the Spin group Spin(2n-1; 1). We consider the real vector space $V = R^{2n-1,1}$, which naturally comes with a Lorentzian inner product. On this vector ...
3
votes
3answers
104 views

What is the point of complex fields in classical field theory?

I see a lot of books/lectures about classical field theory making use of complex scalar fields. However why complex fields are used in the first place is often not really motivated. Sometimes one can ...
0
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1answer
39 views

Complex Coordinate change

I have a simple question where I must change the coordinates of a system however I am unsure whether I am correct. I am changing from Cartisian to complex coordinates. Let's say I only have $x$ and ...
1
vote
2answers
32 views

Notation of complex valued atomic orbitals

Atomic orbitals are usually labeled $1s$, $2p_x$, $2p_x$, $2p_z$ and so on. These wave functions are defined to be real valued. The original wave functions are complex valued. The $2p_x$ orbital is ...
3
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3answers
113 views

How can $F_0\cos\omega t$ change to $F_0e^{i\omega t}$ in driven oscillator equation?

I have one thing that confuses me on deriving the solution for the Linear Forced Oscillator. Suppose we have the equation as $$ma + rv + kx = F_0 \cos \omega t$$ What confuses me is when the driving ...
7
votes
3answers
235 views

Why is the Fourier transform more useful than the Hartley transform in physics?

The Hartley transform is defined as $$ H(\omega) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi}}\int_{-\infty}^\infty f(t) \, \mbox{cas}(\omega t) \mathrm{d}t, $$ with $\mbox{cas}(\omega t) = \cos(\omega t) + \sin(\omega ...
2
votes
0answers
54 views

Wronskian of complex second order linear differential equation

While studying certain analogue gravity models I came across a differential equation of the form: \begin{align} \frac{d^2y}{dz^2} + \omega^2 (z)~ y(z) = 0 \end{align} where $z$ is a complex variable ...
2
votes
3answers
120 views

How is complex permittivity measured?

Complex relative permittivity is defined as $$\epsilon_r = \frac{\epsilon(\omega)}{\epsilon_0}=\epsilon_r^{\prime}(\omega) + i\epsilon_r^{\prime\prime}(\omega) = \epsilon_r^{\prime}(\omega) + ...
1
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1answer
50 views

What is the complex dipole moment?

I have some problems with getting the complex (time dependent) dipole moments of some dipoles in a configuration. I eventually want to get the electric and magnetic fields of the configuration, but my ...
1
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1answer
42 views

Why do $\psi_a$ and $\bar{\psi}_{\dot{\alpha}}$ represent two different degrees of freedom?

I am taking a course in QFT and I've been introduced to the concept of left-handed (undotted) and right-handed spinors (dotted). I know that left-handed spinors are associated with the irreducible ...
7
votes
2answers
225 views

Can we treat $\psi^{c}$ as a field independent from $\psi$?

When we derive the Dirac equation from the Lagrangian, $$ \mathcal{L}=\overline{\psi}i\gamma^{\mu}\partial_{\mu}\psi-m\overline{\psi}\psi, $$ we assume $\psi$ and ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Variational proof of the Hellmann-Feynman theorem

I use the following notation and definition for the (first) variation of some functional $E[\psi]$: \begin{equation} \delta E[\psi][\delta\psi] := \lim_{\varepsilon \rightarrow 0} \frac{E[\psi + ...
-1
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3answers
62 views
3
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1answer
88 views

Grassmann numbers in the dual space

I'm reading the section on Grassmann numbers in QFT for the Gifted Amateur and I'm confused by something said therein: First, they define a coherent state for fermions $\rvert \eta \rangle$ as ...
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4answers
125 views

Is there a reason why probability density is written as $\psi^*\psi$ instead of $\psi\psi^*$?

As the title states, I see $|\psi|^2$ written as $\psi^*\psi$ instead of $\psi\psi^*$. Are both correct or is there a reason behind it? As far as I'm aware, the only time I see this sort of ordering ...
2
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0answers
37 views

Two-Band k.p Model is not Hermitian for imaginary wavevectors

In E. O. Kane's original work on Zener Tunneling, he uses a two-band $k\cdot p$ model for the semiconductor bandstructure: ...
1
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1answer
51 views

Pauli Matrices & 2D Rotation Operators?

I was doing a strange calculation with my teacher the other day: find the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the 2D rotation operator. Intuitively, there should be no solution to this problem in ...
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1answer
97 views

Schrodinger equation violates mathematics?

By the Hamiltonian formalism of quantum mechanics, given a quantum system in a state $\Psi$ in a Hilbert space $\mathcal H$, the state will instantaneously evolve in time according to ...
3
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1answer
169 views

Real versus complex Hamiltonian

While a Hamiltonian must be a Hermitian matrix, it can either be real or complex. Is there a significance for having a real Hamiltonian? Does it have any additional physical symmetries? For ...
2
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2answers
59 views

Expectation value of an imaginary operator acting on a real function

In a video (http://youtu.be/r_gBQ_qhg8U?t=9m58s) it's stated that a matrix element of an imaginary operator acting on a real wave function is zero, i.e. ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Is a non-degenerate wavefunction real or complex?

In this video it is stated that: It can easily be verified that the wavefunction of a non-degenerate quantum mechanical system will be real. However the presenter does not explain why this ...
2
votes
3answers
784 views

Born Interpretation of Wave Function

I have just started Griffiths Intro to QM. I was studying Born's interpretation of Wave function and it says that the square of the modulus of the wave function is a measure of the probability of ...
2
votes
3answers
109 views

Why does Griffiths define the complex inner product differently? [closed]

I have just now noticed that Griffiths (in his book Introduction to Quantum Mechanics) defines the complex inner product as $\big<z,w\big>=\sum_{i=1}^n\overline{z}_iw_i$. In all mathematics ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Why Hamiltonian is Hermitian? [duplicate]

Everyone knows that this is needed to make eigenvalues real, but still why we enforcing such a structure at first place? An arbitrary operator can have as complex as real eigenvalues, we can simply ...
4
votes
5answers
7k views

Confused over complex representation of the wave

My quantum mechanics textbook says that the following is a representation of a wave traveling in the +$x$ direction:$$\Psi(x,t)=Ae^{i\left(kx-\omega t\right)}\tag1$$ I'm having trouble visualizing ...
3
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2answers
82 views

Complex / real representations of the Lorentz group

In Michele Maggiore's book "A Modern Introduction to QFT" he describes the spinorial representations of the Lorentz group as The representations are in general complex. I always thought the ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

How does a metric of the form $\mathrm{d}z \mathrm{d}\bar z$ work, if $z$ and $\bar z$ are not independent? [duplicate]

My question is motivated by 2D CFT where one works in "complex coordinates". The question is the following: Suppose I am in 2D flat Euclidean space, i.e. $$\mathrm{d}s^2 = \mathrm{d}x^2 + ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

What are functions of a complex variable used for in physics?

Whenever someone asks "Why are complex numbers important?" the answer, at least in the context of physics, usually includes things like quantum mechanics, oscillators and AC circuits. This is all very ...
7
votes
2answers
398 views

Complex coordinates in CFT

The Setup: Let's say we want to study a Euclidean $\mathrm{CFT}_2$ on $\mathbb R^2$ with coordinates $\sigma^1$ and $\sigma^2$ and metric $ds^2 = (d\sigma^1)^2+(d\sigma^2)^2$. It seems to me that ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Minkowski spacetime: Is there a signature (+,+,+,+)?

In history there was an attempt to reach (+, +, +, +) by replacing "ct" with "ict", still employed today in form of the "Wick rotation". Wick rotation supposes that time is imaginary. I wonder if ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Causality and response functions

Referring to David Tong's notes on Electromagnetism, page 29 (of the PDF, numbered 183), section 7.5.4; It is proved that the frequency domain response function (in this case describing the ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

What is the need of complex functions in wave analysis?

It is commonly known that waves can be express in terms of sine or cosine function. But when I study further, I seen that for analyising the waves, it is common to use complex functions in the form ...
1
vote
1answer
198 views

Concrete example of the application of complex analysis in electrostatics [closed]

I've heard complex analysis can be useful in solving electrostatics problems, but despite doing some research I was unable to find any concrete examples. Would anyone be able to provide a simple ...
2
votes
2answers
265 views

How many parameters are needed to specify a quantum state?

We have a spin state \begin{align} \ |{\Psi}\rangle=a_u|{U}\rangle+a_d|{D}\rangle \end{align} where $|U\rangle$ and $|D\rangle$ are $up$ and $down$ basis vectors, and $a_u$,$a_d$ are their complex ...
30
votes
11answers
7k views

QM without complex numbers

I am trying to understand how complex numbers made their way into QM. Can we have a theory of the same physics without complex numbers? If so, is the theory using complex numbers easier?
0
votes
0answers
70 views

Complex Space Time - Mathematical Foundations [duplicate]

I am really curious as to what the current research is in complex space time. Because in "The theory of Everything". Stephen Hawking does talk about imaginary time. Is there any mathematical ...
20
votes
5answers
13k views

The meaning of imaginary time

What is imaginary (or complex) time? I was reading about Hawking's wave function of the universe and this topic came up. If imaginary mass and similar imaginary quantities do not make sense in ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

The derivation of the irreducible representations of the Lorentz group

I took the way of classification of Lorentz group representations from Sexl, Urbantke, Relativity, groups and particles (Germ. ed. 1975). But I don't understand it as I outline in the following: In ...
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2answers
323 views

What do “ℜe” and “A*” mean?

What do "$\mathfrak{Re}$" and "A*" mean in the following equation (taken from James Binney and David Skinner's QM lecture notes, equation 1.12), \begin{align} p(S\text{ or ...
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0answers
63 views

Does Quantum Mechanics need imaginary numbers? [duplicate]

In quantum mechanics, we assume wavefunctions are complex valued, and that probability amplitudes are given by the modulus of the wavefunction squared. This formalism can correctly explain ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Are the pion fields in chiral perturbation theory complex or real fields?

The chiral perturbation theory Lagrangian is written $$\mathcal{L}_2=\frac{f_{\pi}^2}{4}Tr(D_{\mu}U^{\dagger}D^{\mu}U)$$ where $$U=e^{i\sqrt{2}\Phi/f}$$ and $$\Phi= \begin{pmatrix} ...
1
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1answer
144 views

Time-harmonic Maxwell's equations

My question is about the time-harmonic or frequency domain (differential) form of Maxwell's equations. If one solves these and obtain the complex vector field $E$, are the real and imaginary parts ...
6
votes
2answers
397 views

Why do we must initially assume that the wavefunction is complex?

The sound waves are real, and they can interfere, so corresponding apparat may be used in quantum mechanics. We also may use the time dependence in a form of orthogonal matrix multiplying the initial ...