A unitary linear operator which resolves a function on $\mathbb{R}^N$ into a linear superposition of "plane wave functions". Most often used in physics for calcalating the response of a time shift invariant linear system as the sum of its response to time harmonic excitation or for transforming a ...

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28
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6answers
4k views

Fourier transformation in nature/natural physics?

I just came from a class on Fourier Transformations as applied to signal processing and sound. It all seems pretty abstract to me, so I was wondering if there were any physical systems that would ...
18
votes
1answer
577 views

Why do quasicrystals have well-defined Fourier transforms?

I was recently reading about quasicrystals, and I was really surprised to learn that even though they do not have a periodic structure, and only have long range order in a very different sense to the ...
12
votes
4answers
495 views

Reconstruction of “wavefunction” phases from $|\psi(x)|$ and $|\tilde \psi(p)|$

Consider a "wavefunction" $\psi(x)$, which has a Fourier transform $\tilde \psi(p)$ Suppose that we know, for each $x$, $|\psi(x)|^2$, and that we know, for each $p$, $|\tilde \psi(p)|^2$. Have we ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Fourier Transforming the Klein Gordon Equation

Starting with the Klein Gordon in position space, \begin{align*} \left(\frac{\partial^2}{\partial t^2} - \nabla^2+m^2\right)\phi(\mathbf{x},t) = 0 \end{align*} And using the Fourier Transform: ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Evaluating propagator without the epsilon trick

Consider the Klein–Gordon equation and its propagator: $$G(x,y) = \frac{1}{(2\pi)^4}\int d^4 p \frac{e^{-i p.(x-y)}}{p^2 - m^2} \; .$$ I'd like to see a method of evaluating explicit form of $G$ ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Optics of the eye - do we see Fourier transforms?

I've recently been learning about Fourier optics, specifically, that a thin lens can produce the Fourier transform of an object on a screen located in the focal plane. With this in mind, does the ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What does the Canonical Commutation Relation (CCR) tell me about the overlap between Position and Momentum bases?

I'm curious whether I can find the overlap $\langle q | p \rangle$ knowing only the following: $|q\rangle$ is an eigenvector of an operator $Q$ with eigenvalue $q$. $|p\rangle$ is an eigenvector of ...
9
votes
1answer
371 views

Fourier Methods in General Relativity

I am looking for some references which discuss Fourier transform methods in GR. Specifically supposing you have a metric $g_{\mu \nu}(x)$ and its Fourier transform $\tilde{g}_{\mu \nu}(k)$, what does ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why use Fourier expansion in Quantum Field Theory?

I have just begun studying quantum field theory and am following the book by Peskin and Schroeder for that. So while quantising the Klein Gordon field, we Fourier expand the field and then work only ...
8
votes
1answer
223 views

Why is there $1/2\pi$ in $\int\frac{dp}{2\pi}|p\rangle\langle p|$?

I'm reading Richard MacKenzie's lectures on path integrals and on page 7 he derives the propagator for the free particle as follows: $$ \begin{align} K &= \langle q'|e^{-iHT}|q\rangle \\ &= ...
8
votes
2answers
637 views

Was uncertainty principle inferred by Fourier analysis?

I would like to know: did Heisenberg chance upon his Uncertainty Principle by performing Fourier analysis of wavepackets, after assuming that electrons can be treated as wavepackets?
8
votes
2answers
315 views

Does light have timbre?

Timbre is a property associated with the shape of a sound wave, that is, the coefficients of the discrete Fourier transform of the corresponding signal. This is why a violin and a piano can each play ...
8
votes
2answers
309 views

The poles of Feynman propagator in position space

This question maybe related to Feynman Propagator in Position Space through Schwinger Parameter. The Feynman propagator is defined as: $$ G_F(x,y) = \lim_{\epsilon \to 0} \frac{1}{(2 \pi)^4} \int d^4p ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How to distinguish female and male voices via Fourier analysis?

What makes one, without looking, be able to identify the gender of the talker as male or female? I mean if we Fourier analysed the voice of males and females, how the 2 spectrums are different which ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Intuitive explanation of why momentum is the Fourier transform variable of position?

Does anyone have a (semi-)intuitive explanation of why momentum is the Fourier transform variable of position? (By semi-intuitive I mean, I already have intuition on Fourier transform between ...
7
votes
1answer
912 views

Calculating diffraction patterns using FFT

I'm trying to write a piece of code that calculates a diffraction pattern similar to an X-ray experiment using a FFT. From my knowledge, the diffraction pattern for point particles can be calculated ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the relation between position and momentum wavefunctions in quantum physics?

I have read in a couple of places that $\psi(p)$ and $\psi(q)$ are Fourier transforms of one another (e.g. Penrose). But isn't a Fourier transform simply a decomposition of a function into a sum or ...
6
votes
3answers
250 views

How do we know that the Fourier transform of space is momentum?

How do we know that the Fourier transform of real space $x$ is the momentum $p$ space or for energy and time, receptively? What's the mathematical process and physical logic?
6
votes
1answer
263 views

Integral in $n$−dimensional euclidean space

I've asked this question in Mathematics Stack Exchange, but unfortunately there is no answer yet. I repost it because this integral comes from QFT and maybe someone here did it before or could help ...
6
votes
2answers
205 views

Can the momentum eigenstates be non-orthogonal?

Consider the Hilbert space of a particle, whose position domain is confined to $q\in[0,1]$ (e.g. a particle in a box with unit width). Using $$ 1=\int_0 ^1 dq |q\rangle\langle q| $$ and the position ...
6
votes
1answer
915 views

What is the meaning of the Fourier transform of Feynman propagator?

I know $K(a,b,t)$ is the probability amplitude that a particle that starts at point $a$ is found at point $b$ at a time $t$ later. There is also an expression that sometimes is called green function: ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is the bispectrum not commonly used in experimental physics?

Power spectra, coherence spectra, and linear transfer functions are ubiquitous tools of experimental physics. However, our instruments often retain small nonlinear effects which can contaminate ...
6
votes
3answers
273 views

Units of a discrete Fourier transform

Normally a Fourier transform (FT) of a function of one variable is defined as $$f_k=\int^\infty_{-\infty}f(x)\exp\left(-2\pi i k x\right) dx.$$ This means that $f_k$ gets the units of $f$ times the ...
6
votes
1answer
634 views

Can one canonical conjugate variable be considered to be the “frequency” of the other one? (which could be a “wavelength”)?

So, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugate_variables#Derivatives_of_action, we have... The energy of a particle at a certain event is the negative of the derivative of the action along a ...
6
votes
1answer
772 views

Fourier Transform on a Riemannian Manifold

The question is quite simple: What would be the definition of Fourier Transform (and it's inverse) on a Riemannian Manifold? I've found that a similar question has been asked at Mathematics.SE but ...
5
votes
3answers
293 views

The ubiquitous Planewave Ansatz

In physics, the planewave ansatz (meaning: an educated solution guess) is very ubiquitously used, when solving differential equations, in different domains of physics. E.g. to solve the dispersion ...
5
votes
2answers
488 views

A four-dimensional integral in Peskin & Schroeder

The following identity is used in Peskin & Schroeder's book Eq.(19.43), page 660: ...
5
votes
3answers
457 views

Physics of a guitar

I understand that when you pluck a guitar string, then a bunch of harmonic frequencies are produced rather than just the frequency of the desired note. If this is true, why does C2 sound so different ...
5
votes
3answers
310 views

No well-defined frequency for a wave packet?

There are similar questions to mine on this site, but not quite what I am asking (I think). The de Broglie relations for energy and momentum $$ \lambda = \frac{h}{p}, \\ \nu = E/h .$$ equate a ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Physical Significance of Fourier Transform and Uncertainty Relationships

What is the physical significance of a fourier transform? I am interested in knowing exactly how it works when crossing over from momentum space to co ordinate space and also how we arrive at the ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the significance of negative frequency in Fourier transform?

What is the significance of negative frequency in Fourier transform? Why we include the band widths of the negative frequency also while calculating band width of the signal.
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Can Laplace's equation be solved using Fourier transform instead of Fourier series?

Sorry for the long text, but I am unable to make my question more compact. Any periodic function can be Fourier expanded. Usually, they say in mathematical physics books, if the function is not ...
5
votes
1answer
784 views

Finding the creation/annihilation operators

Using Minkowski signature $(+,-,-,-)$, for the Lagrangian density $${\cal L}=\partial_{\mu}\phi\partial^{\mu}\phi^{\dagger}-m^2\phi \phi^{\dagger}$$ of the complex scalar field, we have the field ...
5
votes
2answers
334 views

Modeling stochastic process with frequency-dependent power spectrum

I'm trying to model of Johnson-Nyquist noise propagation in a nonlinear circuit. An ideal (linear) resistor can be modeled very nicely by the Fokker-Planck equation (equivalently, the drift-diffusion ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the specific meaning of “Fourier frequency” (as opposed to simply “frequency”)?

I've noticed that many journal articles (in optics) use the phrase "Fourier frequency" to describe, well, the frequency of something. Google scholar search for "Fourier frequency". Example: ...
5
votes
1answer
104 views

Physical implications of the Gibbs phenomenon for Quantum Mechanics

From Wikipedia: The Gibbs Phenomenon is the peculiar manner in which the Fourier series of a piecewise continuously differentiable periodic function behaves at a jump discontinuity. The nth ...
5
votes
2answers
844 views

What's the physical significance of using fourier transform for diffraction?

I am studying some basic idea of diffraction and there mention in far field, the diffraction pattern could be understood by Fourier transform. But I just don't understand what's the physical fact for ...
5
votes
1answer
485 views

Intuition behind Fourier transformed spaces

Intuitively I've been able to understand a Fourier transform a change-of-basis formula - you're basically moving from position to momentum basis or from time to frequency - but what does it mean that ...
5
votes
1answer
174 views

Which position and momentum distributions arise from some wave function?

Consider a particle in one dimension with wave function $\psi(x)$. The probability density function describing how likely it is to find it in a given position is given by ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Canonical Commutation Relations

Is it logically sound to accept the canonical commutation relation (CCR) $$[x,p]~=~i\hbar$$ as a postulate of quantum mechanics? Or is it more correct to derive it given some form for $p$ in the ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Does a finite wave necessarily have to be non-monochromatic in reality?

Does a finite wave necessarily have to be non-monochromatic in reality, or is that implication just a result of the mathematical analysis? I always wonder at these sort of things that come out of a ...
4
votes
4answers
687 views

Continuous Fourier transform vs. Discrete Fourier transform

Continuous Fourier transform vs. Discrete Fourier transform. Can anyone tell me what the difference is physics-wise? I know the mathematical way to do both, but when do you use the other instead of ...
4
votes
2answers
234 views

Why there is no Gibb's phenomenon in QM?

Why we don't see any Gibb's phenomenon in quantum mechanics? EDIT At sharp edges (discontinuities), we usually find ringing. This can be observed in many physical phenomenon (eg. shock waves). ...
4
votes
4answers
943 views

Uncertainty Principle for a Totally Localized Particle

If a particle is totally localized at $x=0$, its wave function $\Psi(x,t)$ should be a Dirac delta function $\delta(x)$. Accordingly, its Fourier transform $\Phi(p,t)$ would be a constant for all $p$, ...
4
votes
2answers
442 views

Position operator in QFT

My Professor in QFT did a move which I cannot follow: Given the state $$\hat\phi|0\rangle = \int \frac{d^3p}{(2\pi)^3 2 E_p} a^\dagger_p e^{- i p_\mu x^\mu}|0\rangle,$$ he wanted to show that this ...
4
votes
3answers
500 views

Very simple example of the way the Fourier transform is used in quantum mechanics?

According to a book I'm reading, the Fourier transform is widely used in quantum mechanics (QM). That came as a huge surprise to me. (Unfortunately, the book doesn't go on to give any simple examples ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Renormalization, integrating out high momenta Wilson way

In equation $(12.5)$ in Peskin and Schroeder, they write out the generating function but leave out all quadratic terms of the form $\phi\hat{\phi}$ arguing that they vanish since Fourier ...
4
votes
3answers
250 views

Fourier transform of two pulses of light

I have laser beam path that fires two pulses of light in a gaussian distribution, so the intensity graph over time is two identical gaussians separated by a distance $t_0$. In other words, a gaussian ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

How does the Fourier Transform invert units?

I don't really understand how units work under operations like derivation and integration. In particular, I am interested in understanding how the Fourier transform gives inverse units (i.e. time ...
4
votes
2answers
239 views

$2\pi$ and Feynman Rules

I notice a $2\pi$ term in the $\delta$-function when trying to construct an amplitude using the Feynman Rules. The $2\pi$ also appears as an integration measure to enforce normalisation in the phase ...