Distributions are generalized functions, such as, e.g., the Dirac delta function. DO NOT USE THIS TAG for statistical probability distributions, profiles, graphs, plots, etc.

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Resources for theory of distributions (Generalized functions) for physicists

I am looking for tutorials, articles or books containing theory of distributions in context of mathematical physics. Please suggest.
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Where does this delta of zero come from?

It is common when evaluating the partition function for a $O(N)$ non-linear sigma model to enforce the confinement to the $N$-sphere with a delta functional, so that $$ Z ~=~ \int d[\pi] d[\sigma] ~ ...
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A rigorous treatment of distributions in quantum mechanics

In many introductory courses to quantum mechanics, we see $\delta$-functions all over the place. For example when expressing an arbitrary wave function $\psi(x)$ in the basis of eigenfunctions of the ...
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Reference on electrodynamics with tempered distributions

Back in my undergrad I had a course on classical electrodynamics where the fields had values in the space of tempered distributions. In this way one could correctly treat self-interaction and ...
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Basis in quantum mechanics

My quantum mechanics textbook (Primer of Quantum Mechanics, by Marvin Chester) says that both the momentum space and the position space are basis spaces. It also says that the momentum space is ...
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Divergence of a field and its interpretation

The divergence of an electric field due to a point charge (according to Coulomb's law) is zero. In literature the divergence of a field indicates presence/absence of a sink/source for the field. ...
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Derivation of (2.45) in Peskin and Schroeder

I'm having trouble understanding the step $$\left[\pi (\vec{x},t),\int d^{3}y ~(\frac{1}{2} \pi (\vec{y},t)^{2}+\frac{1}{2}\phi (\vec{y},t)(-\nabla^{2} +m^{2})\phi (\vec{y},t)) \right]$$ $$ =\int ...
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Hamiltonian with Dirac Delta function

I've to compute this expression $$ \hat{H} ~=~\frac{1}{4}g_2\int d^3R\int d^3r\ \bar{\Psi}(\vec{R}+\frac{\vec{r}}{2})\bar{\Psi}(\vec{R}-\frac{\vec{r}}{2}) $$$$ \times \left[ ...
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Divergence of conservative electric field

I have a little doubt about the following: according Gauss law in the form of Maxwell's equation, we know that: $$ {\rm div} (D)~=~ \rho(v) $$ This just tells us that the electric field has nonzero ...
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George Green's definition of Green's function

This is a curious question about the way George Green could have defined his Green's function. All the definitions I see have only Dirac-delta $\delta(x−x′)$ function as their source on the RHS. But ...
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Simple question regarding the Green's function for the diffusion equation

The differential operator for diffusion in three dimensions is given by $\partial_t - k \nabla^2$ where $k$ is a constant. The Green's function is (according to Wikipedia) $$\theta(t)\left( ...
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Application of Poisson summation Formula to Casimir Effect

I'm studying the Casimir Effect at finite temperature. To calculate the Helmoltz free energy in the canonical ensemble I need to sum a particular series. In some scientific papers it is suggested to ...
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Delta Dirac Charge Density question

I have to write an expression for the charge density $\rho(\vec{r})$ of a point charge $q$ at $\vec{r}^{\prime}$, ensuring that the volume integral equals $q$. The only place any charge exists is at ...
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Principal value of 1/x and few questions about complex analysis in Peskin's QFT textbook

When I learn QFT, I am bothered by many problems in complex analysis. 1) $$\frac{1}{x-x_0+i\epsilon}=P\frac{1}{x-x_0}-i\pi\delta(x-x_0)$$ I can't understand why $1/x$ can have a principal value ...
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Schrodinger equation in term of Fokker-Planck equation

From Wikipedia on the Fokker-Planck equation: $$\tag{1}\frac{\partial }{\partial t}f\left( x^{\prime },t\right) ~=~\int_{-\infty}^\infty dx\left( \left[ D_{1}\left( x,t\right) \frac{\partial ...
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Can the expectation value of the square of momentum be negative?

I've been solving a problem in quantum mechanics, and I was deriving the standard deviation of $P$, knowing that $\langle P\rangle=0$. Because $\Delta P=\sqrt{\langle P^2 \rangle - \langle P \rangle ...
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Picture of supports

This questions stems from Axiomatic Quantum Field Theory and is mathematical in nature. However, I feel that an answer from physicists is more in line with what I will be asking. Let $\phi$ be a ...
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Infinite well particle subject to additional time dep. potential

I am asked to find the wavefunction of the particle in a well subject to an additional potential $$V(x,t)=\frac{\pi x \hbar}{L}\delta(t).$$ I have already solved that ...
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Multivariable Dirac Delta and Faddeev-Popov Determinant

From this mathstack page and in particular Qmechanic's answer: There exists an $n$-dimensional generalization $$\tag{1} \delta^n({\bf f}({\bf x})) ~=~\sum_{{\bf x}_{(0)}}^{{\bf f}({\bf ...
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Hilbert space of a free particle: Countable or Uncountable?

This is obviously a follow on question to the Phys.SE post Hilbert space of harmonic oscillator: Countable vs uncountable? So I thought that the Hilbert space of a bound electron is countable, but ...
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Is this a valid proof that the four-current is conserved?

The four-current of a particle moving along a worldine $X^\nu(s)$ is defined as $$j^\mu(x^\nu) = ec \int u^\mu(s)\, \delta^4(x^\nu - X^\nu(s)) \, ds$$ So here's my proof that this is conserved: ...
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Particle in a higher-dimensional box with an attractive delta potential

Suppose you have a particle in the box $[0,L]^d$, with an attractive Dirac delta potential $-\delta_{\vec w}(x)$ at $\vec w$. How do you solve the Schroedinger equation for this system? In the case ...
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Detecting the presence of a delta potential

Suppose you have a particle in a box, and there may or may not be a Dirac delta potential somewhere in the box. How could one detect whether or not the potential is present? Furthermore: If there's ...
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Calculate 2D density of states from 3D density of states

I have a 3D DOS which is calculated by this formula: $$D(E) = \sum_n\int\frac{\mathrm d^3k}{(2π)^3}\delta(E−\epsilon_n(k)) $$ I do not have any analytical expression for kinetic energy. Is there any ...
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Distributions (e.g., Dirac Delta): confused and unhappy [closed]

I am sorry that the following set of questions is very fuzzy and ill informed. I am a trained mathematician and now studying an undergraduate theoretical physics course. We use distributions. I have ...
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Using $\frac{1}{A+i\epsilon} = PV\frac{1}{A}-i\pi\delta(A)$ in Feynman Integrals

Are the following operations O.K.? This is related to the Feynman parameter trick. $$F:= \int_0^1 \mathrm{d}x\int_0^{1-x}\mathrm{d}y \frac{1}{f(x,y)+\mathrm{i}\epsilon}.$$ Now using ...
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Could two different bases of a Hilbert space have different cardinality? [duplicate]

Here is a quote from http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_space#Hilbert_dimension (accessed: Nov. 22, 2013) : As a consequence of Zorn's lemma, every Hilbert space admits an orthonormal basis; ...
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Free path distribution

I'm studying statistical mechanics, and I'm trying to resolve some problem known from my thermodynamics course. So I want to calculate mean free path for particles with a concentration $n$ and ...
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How does that Boltzmann distribution interact with entropy?

In an ideal gas, the Boltzmann distribution predicts a distribution of particle energies $E_i$ proportional to $ge^{-E_i/k_bT}$. But, doesn't entropy dictate that the system will always progress ...
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The virial theorem and a delta function potential

So the virial theorem tells us that: $2\langle T\rangle = \langle \textbf{r}\cdot\nabla V\rangle$. Now I was wondering what would happen if V has te form: $V(\textbf{r}-\textbf{r}') = ...
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Units INSIDE of a Dirac Delta function

I know that the units of a Dirac Delta function are inverse of it's argument, for example the units of $\delta(x)$ if $x$ is measured in meters is $\frac{1}{meters}$. But, my question is what are ...
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Don't understand the integral over the square of the Dirac delta function

In Griffiths' Intro to QM [1] he gives the eigenfunctions of the Hermitian operator $\hat{x}=x$ as being $$g_{\lambda}\left(x\right)~=~B_{\lambda}\delta\left(x-\lambda\right)$$ (cf. last formula on ...
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Open problem? Square of the wave function $\Psi(x)_{x_o} = \delta(x-x_0)$ of a particle localized at a point $x_0$?

Does anybody know the status of the problem to define the wave function (non-relativistic Quantum Mechanics) of a particle localized at a definite point? Landau-Lifshitz says in chapter 1 that this ...
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Delta functional in path integral

I've recently encountered a path integral of the form $$\int \delta[a\phi+b\phi']\,L(\phi,\phi')\;\mathcal D\phi\mathcal D\phi'$$ (where $a$, $b$ are integers) and would like to eliminate one of the ...
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The magnetic field of a magnetic monopole

Let us define the magnetic field $$\vec{B} = g\frac{\vec{r}}{r^3}$$ for some constant $g$. How can we show that the divergence of this field correspond to the charge distribution of a single magnetic ...
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Justification for smeared fields in the Wightman axioms?

I just started reading PCT, Spin and Statistics, and All That. Can someone explain why we use operator valued distributions to describe fields? I read somewhere that it would take infinite energy to ...
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What is the most general expression for the coordinate representation of momentum operator?

I have a question about deriving the coordinate representation of momentum operator from the commutation relation, $[x,p]= i$. One derivation (ref W. Greiner's Quantum Mechanics: An Introduction, 4th ...
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Crazy Dirac Deltas

I'm not expecting any rigor in the following and the answers...since we're dealing with Dirac deltas in the context of QFT. Consider the integral $$ \int d^4q\ \Theta(q_0)\Theta(p_{3,0}+q_0)\ ...
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Infinite Potential Well Energy for Piece-wise Constant Wave Function

I'm trying to compute the expectation value of energy for a certain state in an infinite potential well but I'm getting contradictory answers. The well has potential \begin{align} V(x) = \left\{ ...
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Hilbert space of harmonic oscillator: Countable vs uncountable?

Hm, this just occurred to me while answering another question: If I write the Hamiltonian for a harmonic oscillator as $$H = \frac{p^2}{2m} + \frac{1}{2} m \omega^2 x^2$$ then wouldn't one set of ...
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Translator Operator

In Modern Quantum Mechanics by Sakurai, at page 46 while deriving commutator of translator operator with position operator, he uses $$\left| x+dx\right\rangle \simeq \left| x \right\rangle.$$ But for ...
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Getting rid of double delta function in Feynman rules

[1] A very simple example of feynman rule for scalar fields. After computing the diagram i have got the following: $$ -i(2\pi)^4g^2\int d^4q \frac{i}{q^2 -m^2c^2}\delta^{(4)}(p_1 - p_3 -q) ...
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What is the most natural value of Heaviside step function at zero argument?

In many physical applications, the Heaviside step fuction is defined as $$H(x) = \left\{\begin{eqnarray} 1, \quad x>0 \\ 0, \quad x<0 \end{eqnarray}\right.$$ The value $H(0)$ is left undefined. ...
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The definition of Density of States

The density of states (DOS) is generally defined as $D(E)=\frac{d\Omega(E)}{dE}$, where $\Omega(E)$ is the number of states. But why DOS can also be defined using delta function, as ...
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Is the momentum operator diagonal in position representation?

The matrix elements of the momentum operator in position representation are: $$\langle x | \hat{p} | x' \rangle = -i \hbar \frac{\partial \delta(x-x')}{\partial x}$$ Does this imply that $\langle x ...
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Possible ambiguity in using the Dirac Delta function

When doing integration over several variables with a constraint on the variables, one may (at least in some physics books) insert a $\delta\text{-function}$ term in the integral to account for this ...
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Laplacian of $1/r^2$ (context: electromagnetism and poisson equation)

We know that a point charge $q$ located at the origin $r=0$ produces a potential $\sim \frac{q}{r}$, and this is consistent with the fact that the Laplacian of $\frac{q}{r}$ is ...
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Matrix elements of momentum operator in position representation

I have two related questions on the representation of the momentum operator in the position basis. The action of the momentum operator on a wave function is to derive it: $$\hat{p} ...
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Differentiation and delta function

Need help doing this simple differentiation. Consider 4 d Euclidean(or Minkowskian) spacetime. \begin{equation} \partial_{\mu}\frac{(a-x)_\mu}{(a-x)^4}= ? \end{equation} where $a_\mu$ is a constant ...
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Limit of Lorentzian is Dirac Delta

I have a quick question that just came up in my research and I could not find an answer anywhere so I thought I'd try here. So one of the definitions of the Dirac Delta is the limit of the Lorentzian ...