Applies also to pre-Hilbert spaces, rigged Hilbert spaces, and spaces with negative norm or zero-norm states.

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7
votes
1answer
173 views

Shape of the state space under different tensor products

I am currently studying generalized probabilistic theories. Let me roughly recall how such a theory looks like (you can skip this and go to "My question" if you are familiar with this). Recall: In a ...
6
votes
5answers
795 views

Differences between probability density and expectation value of position

The expression $\int | \Psi\left(x\right)|^2dx$ gives the probability of finding a particle at a given position. If wave function gives the probabilities of positions, why do we calculate ...
6
votes
2answers
393 views

In what sense is the path integral an independent formulation of Quantum Mechanics/Field Theory?

We are all familiar with the version of Quantum Mechanics based on state space, operators, Schrodinger equation etc. This allows us to successfully compute relevant physical quantities such as ...
6
votes
2answers
497 views

Does the wave function always asymptotically approach zero?

I'm new to quantum physics (and to this site), so please bear with me. I know that quantum mechanics allows particles to appear in regions that are classically forbidden; for example, an electron ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How is quantum superposition different from mixed state?

According to Wikipedia, if a system has $50\%$ chance to be in state $\left|\psi_1\right>$ and $50\%$ to be in state $\left|\psi_2\right>$, then this is a mixed state. Now consider state ...
6
votes
2answers
137 views

Precise meaning of composition of ket and bra, e.g. $|\psi\rangle\langle\psi|$

I'm currently studying density matrices, and have been frequently coming across the construction $$|\psi\rangle\langle\psi| \,.$$ What is the formal meaning of this composition? I understand ...
6
votes
2answers
337 views

Square of the Pauli matrices and the identity matrix

The square of any of the three Pauli Spin matrices is equal to the identity. Is there any physical meaning to this? Would you expect it? Maybe in the context of the $SU(2)$ group?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we use Hermitian operators in QM?

Position, momentum, energy and other observables yield real-valued measurements. The Hilbert-space formalism accounts for this physical fact by associating observables with Hermitian ('self-adjoint') ...
6
votes
2answers
292 views

How does the proof of operator commutativity work with non-continuous operators?

In some books, a proof that if two self-adjoint operators $A$ and $B$ share a common eigenbasis $\{\phi_n\}$, then they commute is given as follows : For any $\phi_n$, $$AB\ \phi_n = a_n\ ...
6
votes
3answers
907 views

Implications of unbounded operators in quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanical observables of a system are represented by self - adjoint operators in a separable complex Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$. Now I understand a lot of operators ...
6
votes
3answers
219 views

Can eigenstates of a Hilbert space be thought of as delta functions?

Say we have an observable that describes a Hilbert space and that observable acts on state kets. Lets take the position observable for example. Then $\langle y|x\rangle = \delta(y - x)$. But can the ...
6
votes
2answers
134 views

Interpreting some domain issues of (potential) momentum operators

In the context of mathematical quantum mechanics, a well known no-go theorem known as Hellinger-Töplitz tells us that an unbounded, symmetric operator cannot be defined everywhere on the Hilbert space ...
6
votes
2answers
342 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
413 views

Why is the Haar measure times the volume of the eigenvalue simplex considered a good measure of Hilbert space volume?

In particular, why do we need both of these to find the volume? And should I be thinking of it as an actual volume or not? This Hilbert space volume is talked about in this paper. It says There ...
6
votes
1answer
479 views

Nonseparable Hilbert space

What kind of things can go wrong if we try to do quantum mechanics on a nonseparable Hilbert space? I have heard that usual mathematical manipulations that we take for granted will no longer hold. ...
6
votes
1answer
179 views

Is it always possible to express an operator in terms of creation/annihilation operators?

I'm referring to "Path integral approach to birth-death processes on a lattice", L. Peliti, J. Physique 46, 1469-1483 (1985), available at: http://people.na.infn.it/~peliti/path.pdf The article is ...
6
votes
3answers
711 views

Born's Rule, What is the Reason?

As far as I've read online, there isn't a good explanation for the Born Rule. Is this the case? Why does taking the square of the wave function give you the Probability? Naturally it removes negatives ...
5
votes
4answers
128 views

Difference between kets $\left| -x\right\rangle$ and $-\left |x\right\rangle$?

While using dirac bra-ket notation for quantum mechanics, what's the difference if the minus sign is inside or outside the ket ? I know that $\left| -x\right\rangle$ and $- \left|x \right\rangle$ ...
5
votes
3answers
437 views

Why we use $L_2$ Space In QM?

I asked this question for many people/professors without getting a sufficient answer, why in QM Lebesgue spaces of second degree are assumed to be the one that corresponds to the Hilbert vector space ...
5
votes
2answers
568 views

Bra-ket notation and linear operators

Let $H$ be a hilbert space and let $\hat{A}$ be a linear operator on $H$. My textbook states that $|\hat{A} \psi\rangle = \hat{A} |\psi\rangle$. My understanding of bra-kets is that $|\psi\rangle$ is ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

An alternative definition of the creation and annihilation operators?

Suppose we have a system of bosons represented by their occupation numbers $$\tag{1} | n_1, n_2, ..., n_\alpha, ... \rangle$$ Then we can define creation and annihilation operators $$\tag{2} ...
5
votes
2answers
222 views

Quantum Mechanical Operators in the argument of an exponential

In Quantum Optics and Quantum Mechanics, the time evolution operator $$U(t,t_i) = \exp\left[\frac{-i}{\hbar}H(t-t_i)\right]$$ is used quite a lot. Suppose $t_i =0$ for simplicity, and say the ...
5
votes
4answers
985 views

How does a state vector be projected onto an eigenspace after measurement

In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_in_quantum_mechanics#Degenerate_spectra, it is said that If there are multiple eigenstates with the same eigenvalue (called degeneracies),..., The ...
5
votes
1answer
207 views

Operator norm of creation and annihilation operators

Are the creation and the annihilation operators $a(f)$ and $a^{\dagger}(f)$ for the bosonic Fock space bounded? What is their norm? So far I did not have found any note about this in the linked ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Differences between symmetric, Hermitian, self-adjoint, and essentially self-adjoint operators

I am a physicist. I always heard physicists used the terminology "symmetric", "Hermitian", "self-adjoint", and "essentially self-adjoint" operators interchangeably. Actually what is the difference ...
5
votes
3answers
373 views

Takhatajan's mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics

So I began skimming L. Takhatajan's Quantum Mechanics For Mathematicians, and saw the mathematical formulation of QM that he uses (page 51). (The PDF file is available here.) I've only taken a basic ...
5
votes
3answers
381 views

Why is normal ordering a valid operation?

Why is normal ordering even a valid operation in the first place? I mean it can give us some nice results, but why can we do the ordering for the operators like that? Is its definition motivated by ...
5
votes
1answer
186 views

Hilbert space for Density Operators (instead of Banach spaces)

Is it possible to construct a well defined inner-product (and therefore orthonormality) within the set of self-adjoint trace-class linear operators? In the affirmative case, dynamics could be analyzed ...
5
votes
1answer
390 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
votes
2answers
130 views

Representation of indistinguishability in quantum mechanics

I was wondering that if particles are indistinguishable in quantum mechanics, then why do we still express their states $\left| \uparrow \downarrow \right\rangle$, as meaning particle 1 (in the first ...
5
votes
1answer
281 views

Self-adjoint differential operators

I'm having a hard time understanding the deal with self-adjoint differential opertors used to solve a set of two coupled 2nd order PDEs. The thing is, that the solution of the PDEs becomes ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Differences between pure/mixed/entangled/separable/superposed states

I am currently trying to establish a clear picture of pure/mixed/entangled/separable/superposed states. In the following I will always assume a basis of $|1\rangle$ and $|0\rangle$ for my quantum ...
5
votes
1answer
437 views

What do up-left orthogonality has in common with up-down and what is their relationship?

I am familiar with the true (or general) notion of orthogonality, given in the Linear Algebra and Pythagoras theorem derived from the $\vec x \cdot \vec y = 0$. I have also recently got to know that ...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking: How can the vacuum be infinitly degenerate?

In classical field theories, it is with no difficulty to imagine a system to have a continuum of ground states, but how can this be in the quantum case? Suppose a continuous symmetry with charge $Q$ ...
5
votes
1answer
304 views

Born-Oppenheimer Approximation equivalent to Tensor-product ?

If you have a wave function $\Psi$ of a system consisting of an electron and the vibrational modes of the crystal, THEN we represent the wavefunction $\Psi%$ to be in the Hilbert Space formed by the ...
5
votes
2answers
140 views

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. ...
5
votes
1answer
176 views

Motivation to introduce von Neumann algebras in addition to $C^*$algebras?

Observables are self-adjoint elements of a $C^*$algebra. As such, this structure seems sufficient to describe physics. A theorem by Gelfand and Naimark says that a $C^*$algebra can always be ...
5
votes
2answers
316 views

Kugo and Ojima's Canonical Formulation of Yang-Mills using BRST

I am trying to study the canonical formulation of Yang-Mills theories so that I have direct access to the $n$-particle of the theory (i.e. the Hilbert Space). To that end, I am following Kugo and ...
5
votes
2answers
795 views

Does the Hilbert space of the universe have to be infinite dimensional to make sense of quantum mechanics?

Does the Hilbert space of the universe have to be infinite dimensional to make sense of quantum mechanics? Otherwise, decoherence can never become exact. Does interpreting quantum mechanics require ...
5
votes
0answers
31 views

Motivating Irreducibility of Hilbert Space for Quantization Axioms

In the context of geometric quantization, we usually look for a map from the Poisson algebra of classical observables to the algebra of quantum observables (or rather, a sub-algebra of the classical ...
5
votes
3answers
101 views

Is the ground state closest to the uncertainty relation? [duplicate]

For simplicity, suppose we are only talking about discrete energy levels, ie, bound state case. The energy levels are $E_1, E_2\cdots$, and the corresponding wave functions are $\psi_1, \psi_2 ...
4
votes
2answers
838 views

These two operators commute…but their eigenvectors aren't all the same. Why?

The Hamiltonian $$H = \left[ \begin{array}{cccc} a & 0 & 0 & -b \\ 0 & 0 & -b & 0\\ 0 & -b & 0 & 0\\ -b & 0 & 0 & -a \end{array} \right] $$ commutes ...
4
votes
3answers
631 views

Intuitive meaning of the exponential form of an unitary operator in Quantum Mechanics

I'm an undergraduate student in Chemistry currently studying quantum mechanics and I have a problem with unitary transformations. Here in my book, it is stated that Every unitary operator ...
4
votes
2answers
346 views

Where to place the operator?

I believe it's standard to place the operator in between the conjugate of the wavefunction and the wavefunction itself. For instance, $$\langle p\rangle = \int_{-\infty}^{\infty}\Psi * ...
4
votes
3answers
360 views

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics?

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics for states which are not eigenstates of the Hamiltonian i.e. which do not have definite energies? Can a superposition state like ...
4
votes
3answers
915 views

Direct Sum of Hilbert spaces

I am a physicist who is not that well-versed in mathematical rigour (a shame, I know! But I'm working on it.) In Wald's book on QFT in Curved spacetimes, I found the following definitions of the ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

QFT Hilbert spaces over other rings than the complex numbers $\mathbb{C}$

I would like some help evaluating a physics theory recently proposed by a physics professor at the College of Dupage. I think the theory is utterly wrong, for very simple reasons. If an amateur ...
4
votes
1answer
154 views

After using annihilation operator on vacuum state, why it is $0$ instead of vacuum?

For bosonic systems, why $a|0\rangle=0$ and not $a|0\rangle=|0\rangle$?
4
votes
1answer
300 views

Imaginary Eigenvalue Of A Hermitian Operator

The eigenfunctions of a Hermitian operator are real. But consider a function $\psi(x)=e^{-\kappa x}$, $x\in\mathbb{R}$, where $\kappa$ is a real constant. Then, $$\hat p \psi(x)=-i\hbar ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Why Don't the Ladder Operators Commute?

I have two problems with ladder operators. The first is that I feel they should somehow result in measurable things. The asymmetry of applying the plus operator versus the minus operator is very ...