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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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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What's wrong with this derivation that $i\hbar = 0$?

Let $\hat{x} = x$ and $\hat{p} = -i \hbar \frac {\partial} {\partial x}$ be the position and momentum operators, respectively, and $|\psi_p\rangle$ be the eigenfunction of $\hat{p}$ and therefore $$\...
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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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991 views

Can momentum have a complex expectation value?

I'm making examples of wave functions to incorporate in a QM exam. I came up with the following wave function, which gives me some troubles: $$\psi(x,0) = \begin{cases} A(a-x), & -a \leq x \leq a\...
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What is the square root of the Dirac Delta Function?

What is the square root of the Dirac Delta Function? Is it defined for functional integrals? Can it be used to describe quantum wave functions? \begin{align} \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} f(x)\sqrt{\delta(...
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Unfamiliar Notation in Sakurai

In chapter 5 section 9 of Sakurai, 2nd edition, he uses some notation that I am unfamiliar with. This may be suited for Math.se but I figured it could be peculiar physicist notation. Anyways it is ...
12
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494 views

Bound states of the $V(x)=\pm \delta'^{(n)}(x)$ potential?

The $\delta(x)$ Dirac delta is not the only "point-supported" potential that we can integrate; in principle all their derivatives $\delta', \delta'', ...$ exist also, do they? If yes, can we look for ...
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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 ...
8
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What really is a Dirac delta function?

Yesterday a friend asked me what a Dirac delta function really is. I tried to explain it but eventually confused myself. It seems that a Dirac delta is defined as a function that satisfies these ...
8
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264 views

Maxwell Equations don't give unique Electric Field?

Consider the class of electric fields given by $$\mathbf{E}=\begin{cases} \ln (Cr)\hat{z} & 0\leq r < R\\ 0 & r> R \end{cases}$$ where $C$ is a constant and $r$ is the polar-distance ...
8
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641 views

Mathematical interpretation of Poisson Brackets

Lets say we are working in a classical scalar field theory and we have two functional $ F[\phi, \pi](x)$ and $G[\phi, \pi](x)$. In most of the references, starting with two functional the Poisson ...
8
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Deriving the expectation of $[\hat X,\hat H]$

For a free particle of mass $m$, with Hamiltonian $$\hat{H} = \frac {\hat{P}^2} {2m},$$ where $$\hat{P} = -i \hbar \frac{\partial} {\partial x}.$$ The commutative relation is given by $$[\hat{X}, \...
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How to interpret the derivative of the Dirac delta potential?

I met a Hamiltonian containing the derivative of the Dirac delta potential: In order to do it we use a method described in [9]. We define a formal Hamiltonian $$ \tag{2}\tilde{H}_{abcd}=-\frac{{\...
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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 $$\nabla^2\frac{q}{r}=...
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Mathematical understanding of Quantum Mechanics

Assuming that $\phi(r) = F (\psi(r))$ for some operator $F$ in Quantum Mechanics. Then, in our lecture today, we said that $$\phi(r) = \langle r|F |\psi\rangle = \int_{\mathbb{R}} \langle r |F| r' \...
7
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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 ...
7
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607 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}') = V_0\delta^{(D)...
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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 ...
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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. ...
6
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1answer
149 views

Question on doing the integral for Fermi golden rule

Today in the lecture, my professor did something which confused me As an example, we consider the photoelectric effect, in which an electron bound in a Coulomb potential is ionized after ...
6
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Eigenstates of a Hermitian field operator

Consider a Hermitian field operator $\phi(x)$ with eigenstates satisfying $$ \phi(x) |\alpha\rangle = \alpha(x) | \alpha \rangle $$ I'm trying to determine the inner product between the eigenstates. ...
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644 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 ...
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472 views

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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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 $$D(E)~=~\sum\...
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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 $$\frac{1}{A+i\...
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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 }{\...
6
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204 views

Functional derivatives as distributions

I have asked this on math stack exchange, due to its mostly mathemtical content, but aside from one upvote and minimal views it has not garnered any attention, so I am trying here as well. This isn't ...
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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 |...
5
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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 ...
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What is the origin of the Dirac delta term in the dipole electric field?

I am a bit lost how one has deduced the formula for electric field with electric dipole because of some inconsistency between different sources. The Wikipedia article contains a delta function in the ...
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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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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
219 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( \frac{1}{4\...
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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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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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How to make rigorous the idea of a continuous complete set?

In Quantum Mechanics, when using Dirac's formalism one of its features is the expansion of state vectors into continuous basis of eigenvectors of unbounded self-adjoint operators. Let $\mathcal{H}$ be ...
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Does regularity of distributions have anything to do with definiteness of their product?

Recently I've gone through some literature concerning causal perturbation theory (CPT). As is well known, it deals with UV divergences in QFT by defining products of (operator-valued) distributions ...
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How exactly is the propagator a Green's function for the Schrodinger equation

Sakurai mentions that the propagator is a Green's function for the Schrodinger equation because it solves $$\left(H-i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\right)K(x,t,x_0,t_0) = -i\hbar\delta^3(x-x_0)\...
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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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The Dirac-Delta function as an initial state for the quantum free particle

I want to ask if it is reasonable that I use the Dirac-Delta function as an intial state ($\Psi (x,0) $) for the free particle wavefunction and interpret it such that I say that the particle is ...
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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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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 x}_{(0)})...
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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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How is Gauss' Law (integral form) arrived at from Coulomb's Law, and how is the differential form arrived at from that?

On a similar note: when using Gauss' Law, do you even begin with Coulomb's law, or does one take it as given that flux is the surface integral of the Electric field in the direction of the normal to ...
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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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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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Heisenberg EOM for $\langle x \rangle$ in momentum eigenstate - where is my error?

Equation of motion for expectation value of a quantum particle in a momentum eigenstate: $$\frac{d}{dt} \langle x \rangle = \frac{1}{i h} \langle [x,H] \rangle$$ and since it's in a momentum ...
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268 views

Imaginary Part of the Free Energy - Sohotski Plemenj theorem

I have posted this question already on Math Stack Exchange and I hope not to annoy the community if I post it here again, looking maybe for a better suited audience. I need to understand how the ...
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443 views

Second derivative of dirac delta expression

I have come across the expression $$ \int f(x) \delta(x-a) \delta''(x-a) \mathrm dx$$ where the prime represents the derivative. Usually with derivatives of the delta distribution I'd partially ...
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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 ...