The term "harmonic oscillator" is used to describe any system with a "linear" restoring force that tends to return the system to a equilibrium state. There is both a classical harmonic oscillator and a quantum harmonic oscillator. Both are used to as toy problems that describe many physical systems.

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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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Proof that the One-Dimensional Simple Harmonic Oscillator is Non-Degenerate?

The standard treatment of the one-dimensional quantum simple harmonic oscillator (SHO) using the raising and lowering operators arrives at the countable basis of eigenstates $\{\vert n \rangle\}_{n = ...
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Explanation: Simple Harmonic Motion

I am Math Grad student with a little bit of interest in physics. Recently i looked into the wikipedia page for Simple Harmonic Motion. Guess, I am too bad at physics to understand it. Considering me ...
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Why is the harmonic oscillator so important?

I've been wondering what makes the harmonic oscillator such an important model. What I came up with: It is a (relatively) simple system, making it a perfect example for physics students to learn ...
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How to prove that a motion is Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM)?

I would like to know how one could show and prove that a given motion is simple harmonic motion. Once given an answer, I'll apply that technique to an example I am trying to figure out. Thank you ...
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Simple Harmonic Motion - What are the units for $\omega_0$?

I'm trying to understand the units in: $$mx''+kx=0$$ And the general solution is $$x(t)=A \cos(\omega_0 t)+B \sin(\omega_0 t).$$ Let $\omega_0 =\sqrt{\frac{k}{m}}$ - the unit for the spring ...
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Definition of the quality $(Q)$ factor?

According to Wikipedia, the Q factor is defined as: $$Q=2\pi\frac{\mathrm{energy \, \, stored}}{\mathrm{energy \, \,dissipated \, \, per \, \, cycle}}$$ Here are my questions: Does the energy ...
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Effective mass in Spring-with-mass/mass system

Suppose you have a particle of mass $m$ fixed to a spring of mass $m_0$ that, in turn, is fixed to some wall. I'm trying to calculate the effective mass $m'$ that appears in the law of motion of the ...
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In what sense is a quantum field an infinite set of harmonic oscillators?

In what sense is a quantum field an infinite set of harmonic oscillators, one at each space-time point? When is it useful to think of a quantum field this way? The book I'm reading now, QFT by ...
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3D Quantum harmonic oscillator

For an isotropic 3D QHO in a potential $$V(x,y,z)={1\over 2}m\omega^2(x^2+y^2+z^2).$$ I can see by independence of the potential in the $x,y,z$ coordinates that the solution to the Schrodinger ...
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What is the physical meaning of $a_{\vec{p}} \! \mid \! 0 \rangle$

$a^\dagger_{\vec{p}} \! \mid \! 0 \rangle = \mid \! p \rangle$ is interpreted as a creation of a particle with momentum $p$ from the vacuum. $a_{\vec{p}} \! \mid \! p \rangle = \mid \! 0 \rangle$ is ...
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550 views

Pendulum Wave Period

Recently I've seen various videos showing the pendulum wave effect. All of the videos which I have found have a pattern which repeats every $60\mathrm{s}$. I am trying to work out the relationship ...
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Linear motion with variable acceleration

Consider the following problem I pull a mass m resting at x = 0 on a frictionless table connected to a spring with some k by an amount A and let it go. What will be its speed at x=0? I know how to ...
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Origin of Ladder Operator methods

Ladder operators are found in various contexts (such as calculating the spectra of the harmonic oscillator and angular momentum) in almost all introductory Quantum Mechanics textbooks. And every book ...
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Evolution operator for time-dependent Hamiltonian

When I studied QM I'm only working with time independent Hamiltonians. In this case the unitary evolution operator has the form $$\hat{U}=e^{-\frac{i}{\hbar}Ht}$$ that follows from this equation $$ ...
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Why not drop $\hbar\omega/2$ from the quantum harmonic oscillator energy?

Since energy can always be shifted by a constant value without changing anything, why do books on quantum mechanics bother carrying the term $\hbar\omega/2$ around? To be precise, why do we write $H ...
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1answer
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Why don't tuning forks have three prongs?

I was reading Why tuning forks have two prongs?. The top answer said the reason was to reduce oscillation through the hand holding the other prong. So if having 2 prongs will reduce oscillation loss, ...
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125 views

Has anyone published the procedure to generalize ladder operators for any potential in Schrodinger's equation?

I know that the ladder operator for the quantum harmonic oscillator \begin{align} H\psi_m = \left(\dfrac{p^2}{2m}+\dfrac{1}{2}m\omega^2x^2\right)\psi_m=E_m\psi_m \end{align} is \begin{align} A = ...
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Is the number-phase uncertainty relation classical?

For a harmonic oscillator in one dimension, there is an uncertainty relation between the number of quanta $n$ and the phase of the oscillation $\phi$. There are all kinds of technical complications ...
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2answers
295 views

Is uniform circular motion an SHM?

I know the projection along a diameter is an SHM but is circular motion itself an SHM? If we consider the mean position to be the center of the circle then the centripetal acceleration is proportional ...
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2answers
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How To Use Ladder Operators?

I'm studying for a test in quantum mechanics and I'm having a hard time understanding how to use ladder operators. There are no examples in my text book, only definitions that I can't understand how ...
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1answer
180 views

Why uncertainity is minimum for coherent states?

While reading for quantum damped harmonic oscillator, I came across coherent states, and I asked my prof about them and he said me it is the state at which $\Delta x\Delta y$ is minimum. I didn't ...
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I do not understand why $a_-a_+\psi_n=(n+1)\psi_n$

I do not understand why $a_-a_+\psi_n=(n+1)\psi_n$ and not $\sqrt n(n+1))\psi_n$ or how the Energy formula can help me understand this (I was told that it would). In the introduction to quantum ...
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Fluid filled harmonic oscillator

A vessel (preferably circular) filled with water is accelerating unidirectionally such that the level of water is higher on one end than the other. What I want to know is that if the vessel is ...
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Why doesn't mass of bob affect time period?

The gravitation formula says $$F = \frac{G m_1 m_2}{r^2} \, ,$$ so if the mass of a bob increases then the torque on it should also increase because the force increased. So, it should go faster and ...
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Physical reason behind having greater amplitude when driving frequency$ < $ natural frequency than that when driving frequency $>$ natural frequency

This is quoted from A.P.French's Vibrations & Waves: If the driving force is of low frequency relative to the natural frequency, we would expect the particle to move essentially with the ...
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1answer
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Meaning of “Simple” in Simple Pendulum and Simple Harmonic Motion?

I have gone through the Phys.SE question Why is simple harmonic motion called so?. From the 1st answer of this Question it seems to me that another type of "Harmonic motion" is "Damped Harmonic ...
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Relation between shm and circular motion

I recently read in a book that combination of two simple harmonic motions of equal amplitude in perpendicular directions differing in phase by pi/2 is circular motion. I don't seem to understand this ...
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How to derive the period of spring pendulum?

So I wanted to find out how to (simply, if that's possible) derive the formula for a period of spring pendulum: $T=2\pi \sqrt{\frac{m}{k}}$. However, Google doesn't help me here as all I see is the ...
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1answer
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What affects the damping of a spring?

What variables affect the damping of a spring executing simple harmonic motion? What are the independent variables, and what variables would need to be controlled in an experiment? I'm attempting to ...
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Harmonic Motion [closed]

A light elastic string is stretched between two points, one lying vertically below the other. A particle is attached to the midpoint of the string, causing it to sink a distance h. Assuming that the ...
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Is the usually taught solution to forced harmonic motion just a special solution?

Let's say we have a mass on a spring being driven by a forcing function. Given hook's law, $F = -kx$, and a forcing function of $$F(t) = F_0\sin(\omega t) .$$ We can write: $$ m\frac{d^2x}{dt^2} = ...
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Coupled quantum harmonic oscillator

Given the following Hamiltonian for two identical linear oscillators with spring constant $k$ and interaction potential $\alpha x_1x_2$; I was asked to find the expectation value $\langle ...
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544 views

What's a good reference for this classical picture Feynman's talking about?

I have a mathematics background but am trying to educate myself a little about physics. At the beginning of Feynman's QED book (not the popular one) is the following: Suppose all of the atoms in ...
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Number theoretical function applied in physics? [closed]

I have a series of number theoretic phenomena (mathematics) that I can describe exactly by the superpositions or linear combination of the below function (I know it is an inverse Fourier type). Does ...
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Simple Harmonic Motion in Special Relativity

I was trying to see what results I would get if I were to incorporate relativistic corrections into the case of a harmonic oscillator in one dimension. I thought that if the maximum velocity of the ...
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151 views

What is the time period of an oscillator with varying spring constant?

It is well known that the time period of a harmonic oscillator when mass $m$ and spring constant $k$ are constant is $T=2\pi\sqrt{m/k}$. However, I would be interested to know what the time period ...
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1answer
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Computing $\langle0|T[Q(t_2)Q(t_1)]|0\rangle$

Given Hamiltonian $H=\frac{P^2}{2}+\frac{\omega^2}{2}Q^2$, compute $\langle0|T[Q(t_2)Q(t_1)]|0\rangle$, where $T$ is the time-ordering of the product, $|0\rangle$ is the ground state. Now set ...
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Showing $K_\pm$ are raising/lowering operators

In this post, I have the following operators defined: $$K_1=\frac 14(p^2-q^2)$$ $$K_2=\frac 14 (pq+qp)$$ $$J_3 = \frac 14 (p^2+q^2)$$ I am given $ J_3|m\rangle = m|m\rangle$ and asked to show that ...
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280 views

Why does the Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization for give the exact energy-levels for a harmonic oscillator?

Why does the Bohr-Sommerfeld rule for quantization give the exact energy-levels for a simple harmonic oscillator?
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Why does the acceleration $g$ due to gravity not affect the period of a vertically mounted spring?

For a vertically mounted spring, I was looking at the formula $ T= 2\pi \sqrt{m/k}$ for a period. Why doesn't the gravitational acceleration $g$ factor in?
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Equations of motion for a pendulum in 3D?

I am trying to solve for the equations of motion to simulate a pendulum. I decided to use the spherical coordinates. The Lagrange equation is: where L = length of the rope ϕ= angle of the ...
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Number operator in quantum field theory?

The number operator, counting the number of quanta is defined as follows: $$ N = \int \frac{d^3 p}{(2\pi)^3} \hphantom{ii} a^{\dagger}_pa_p$$ with the momentum eigenstates being defined as $\lvert ...
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Average Energy of the Quantum Harmonic Oscillator

In Griffiths, the average potential energy for the quantum harmonic oscillator is given as $$\langle V\rangle~=~\frac{1}{2}\hbar \omega(n+\frac{1}{2}).$$ Is the potential energy of the quantum ...
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Oscillation with exponentially increasing period

I am trying to build a model for a certain type of oscillatory behaviour with a kind of exponential dilatation. How can I modify the function of a simple cosine oscillation $\psi(x)=A_0 \cos(2\pi\; ...
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Noise spectrum of two systems and interacting Hamiltonian

I've been discovering recently the concept of noise spectrum, defined as: $$S_{xx}[\omega] = \int dt \langle x(t)x(0)\rangle \text{e}^{-i\omega t}$$ Roughly the Fourrier transform of the two-point ...
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259 views

Pressure in Harmonic Oscillation

Classical Harmonic oscillator's energy depends on temperature as it equals $k_B$$T/2$. However, quantum harmonic oscillator energy is $(n+1/2)hf$. So, when T=0, quantum predicts motion. I have been ...
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577 views

Equations of motion for bob-on-a-string — am I missing some terms?

The dynamics of a type of physical system I am currently working on are modeled in most of the literature by replacing the moving parts of that system with an equivalent set of pendulums. Parameters ...
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Is the quantization of the harmonic oscillator unique?

To put it a little better: Is there more than one quantum system, which ends up in the classical harmonic oscillator in the classial limit? I'm specifically, but not only, interested in an ...
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1answer
435 views

Finding coefficient of proportionality

Recently in my AP Physics class I did a lab in which I measured k for a spring by setting up an oscillating system with it, and timing the period, repeating for different masses. Since ...