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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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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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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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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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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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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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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464 views

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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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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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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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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463 views

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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1answer
159 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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4answers
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Why doesn't mass of bob affect time period?

Please correct me if I'm going wrong - By the gravitation formula: $F = \frac{G m_1 m_2}{r^2} $, So if the mass of a bob is greater then the torque on it should increase because the Force increased ...
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Physical reason behind having greater amplitude when driving frequency$ < $ 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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2answers
139 views

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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1answer
362 views

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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3answers
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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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170 views

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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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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2answers
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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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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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119 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
59 views

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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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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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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1answer
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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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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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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
404 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 ...
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784 views

Zero point fluctuation of an harmonic oscillator

In a paper, I ran into the following definition of the zero point fluctuation of our favorite toy, the harmonic oscillator: $$x_{ZPF} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{2m\Omega}} $$ where m is its mass and ...
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Using $\sin()$ or $\cos()$ for computing SHM?

In simple harmonic motion, you can use either the sin or cos form of the equation but my question is which one do you use when and why? I am having a tough time understanding this, so any help would ...
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1answer
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Schrödinger equation for a harmonic oscillator

I have came across this equation for quantum harmonic oscillator $$ W \psi = - \frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\frac{d^2\psi}{dx^2} + \frac{1}{2} m \omega^2 x^2 \psi $$ which is often remodelled by defining a new ...
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Creating an arbitrary state of the quantum simple harmonic oscillator

Suppose $\mathcal{B}=\{|0\rangle, |1\rangle, |2\rangle, ... \}$ is the energy eigen-basis of a quantum simple harmonic oscillator. I want to create the state \begin{equation} |\Psi\rangle = ...
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1answer
743 views

Does damping force affect period of oscillation?

In my physics notes, it has been given that the damping force increases the period of oscillation. I am unable to understand this part. How is this possible? The only relation I know is that as the ...
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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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Can a simple pendulum be considered a simple harmonic oscillator?

Is the motion of a simple pendulum, a simple harmonic motion? It stops vibrating after sometime.
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Damped simple harmonic oscillator problem

I'm supposed to calculate and draw the phase space trajectory for this: for the two different cases when and . I've never done this sort of question before, how are they done? I've tried ...
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1answer
218 views

Questions related to resonance/standing-waves and sound

I understand resonance for a simple harmonic oscillator but not for more complex systems like standing waves. How can I be in resonance with the normal mode in an organ pipe? I understand that the ...
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1answer
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Expectation value of total energy for the quantum harmonic oscillator [closed]

A particles unnormalized wavefunction is given as $$\psi(x)=2\psi_1+\psi_2+2\psi_3.$$ How can I find $\langle E\rangle $ without calculating $\langle T\rangle$ or $\langle V\rangle $ ...
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Time period for spring connected body

Two identical springs with spring constant $k$ are connected to identical masses of mass $M$, as shown in the figures above. The ratio of the period for the springs connected in parallel (Figure 1) ...