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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816 views

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 ...
8
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4answers
1k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
291 views

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}') = ...
6
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1answer
260 views

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 ...
5
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3answers
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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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6answers
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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 ...
5
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4answers
2k views

How do you do an integral involving the derivative of a delta function?

I got an integral in solving Schrodinger equation with delta function potential. It looks like $$\int \frac{y(x)}{x} \frac{\mathrm{d}\delta(x-x_0)}{\mathrm{d}x}$$ I'm trying to solve this by ...
5
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4answers
678 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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3answers
304 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
325 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
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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 ...
5
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1answer
109 views

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: ...
5
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3answers
371 views

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 ...
4
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3answers
396 views

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 ...
4
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4answers
305 views

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. ...
4
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2answers
106 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
282 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
4
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0answers
80 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
2k views

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} ...
3
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3answers
197 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
306 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
193 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
178 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
114 views

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[ ...
3
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1answer
63 views

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( ...
3
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1answer
301 views

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)\ ...
3
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2answers
61 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
211 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
116 views

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 ...
2
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4answers
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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 ...
2
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2answers
116 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
215 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
267 views

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. ...
2
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1answer
114 views

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] ~ ...
2
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1answer
197 views

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) ...
2
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3answers
121 views

Describing a circular current loop as delta functions

It would be really nice to see how Jackson got eqn 5.33 on his example problem for finding the vector potential of a circular current loop $$ ...
2
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1answer
72 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
356 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
216 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
145 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
105 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
37 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
102 views

When does the “norm of quasi-eigenvectors” matter in calculations? For which physical results are these even used?

Which physical system in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics is actually described by a model, where the norm of the "position eigenstate" (i.e. the delta distribution as limit of vectors in the ...
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2answers
455 views

Is the braket notation of the Dirac delta function symmetric?

I have a book saying, $\int \delta(x-x')\psi(x)dx = \psi(x')$ where $\psi(x) = \langle x\lvert\psi\rangle$, so our definition of delta function would be $\langle x'\lvert x\rangle = \delta(x-x')$. ...
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2answers
67 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
174 views

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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1answer
271 views

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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0answers
85 views

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 ...