In physics, an operator is almost always either a square matrix or a linear mapping from one space of functions (often on $\mathbb{R}^N$ or $\mathbb{C}^N$) to the same or other like space of functions. Operators serve as *observables* and as *time evolution operators* in Quantum Mechanics. This tag ...

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Ordering of differential operators

If we write something like: $\partial_a X_{\mu} \partial^a X^{\mu}$ Does that mean the first derivative is only applied to the first X? ($\partial_a X_{\mu})( \partial^a X^{\mu}$) Or is the ...
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1answer
51 views

Is obtaining the coordinate representation of momentum operator from commutator more fundamental than generator of translation

Related post: What is the most general expression for the coordinate representation of momentum operator? There are two methods of obtaining the coordinate representation of momentum in quantum ...
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1answer
98 views

Time-Energy Uncertainty Principle and Operators

In most of examples, I notice that uncertainty principle for time & energy is given between mass & lifetime. The UP for time and energy is $$ \Delta t\,\Delta E\geq\frac h{4π} $$ where $$Δt ...
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1answer
66 views

Diagonalization of Hamiltonian

Typically, one way of understanding the physics of an interacting quantum system is by diagonalizing the Hamiltonian. In principle, can we always diagonalize a Hamiltonian, such that it is expressed ...
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1answer
65 views

Normalized Projection Operator

What is meant by normalized projection operator? What is its physical meaning in quantum mechanics? I am pretty confused regarding the physical interpretation of both projection operator and ...
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37 views

Projection operators and their subspaces (of Hilbert space)

I've been watching Susskind's lectures on Quantum Entanglement, and something he said regarding (non-)commuting projection operators confused me. Consider two subspaces {$|a>$} and {$|b>$} of ...
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60 views

Is $\langle k \vert k_1k_2\rangle=0$

Using that $$ \vert k_1k_2\rangle = a^\dagger({\bf k_1})a^\dagger({\bf k_2})\vert 0 \rangle$$ and the commutation relations $$[a({\bf k}),a^\dagger({\bf k'})]=(2\pi)^32\omega\delta^3(\bf {k}- \bf ...
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57 views

References on $C^{*}$-algerbas, $W^{*}$-algebras and Quantum Theories

I would like to know some references regarding $C^{*}$ and $W^{*}$-algebras and quantum theories. I'm interested in concrete physical applications, models and problems. Here it is the list of ...
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198 views

Nature of Microscopic space-time

I am going through the introductory chapter's of Schwinger's Source theory. He writes, It [Source Theory] is a phenomenological theory, designed to describe the observed particles. No speculations ...
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1answer
27 views

Variance of Kinetic Energy Operator

I am asked to calculate the variance of the kinetic energy in the ground state of the harmonic oscillator. That requires $\langle T^2\rangle$. This is the same as $\langle p^4\rangle$. My question ...
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1answer
78 views

The Physical Meaning behind a Commutator [duplicate]

I've just been introduced to the idea of commutators and I'm aware that it's not a trivial thing if two operators $A$ and $B$ commute, i.e. if two Hermitian operators commute then the eigenvalues of ...
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50 views

Hamiltonian Operator Interpretation of Quantum Anomaly

We can see the definition of quantum anomaly in terms of Lagrangian path integral formulation. What is the definition of quantum anomaly in terms of Hamiltonian operator approach or even more directly ...
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Why are holomorphic boundary CFT2 primary operators massless in the AdS3 bulk?

I saw a claim in this paper that holomorphic boundary CFT$_2$ primary operators correspond to massless states in the AdS$_3$ bulk. Specifically, As always, we simplify the situation by assuming ...
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65 views

Conjugate of an operator applied to a function

In section 6.3.1 of the following MIT Open Course Ware (PDF) (22-02, Introduction to Applied Nuclear Engineering), the author, Prof Paola Cappellaro, derives Heisenberg's equation using the definition ...
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44 views

Unitary transformation between complete + orthonormal bases

Suppose the complete orthonormal bases $\{|\psi_n\rangle\}$ and $\{|\psi{'}_n\rangle\}$ are related by the transformation matrix $U$: $$ |\psi{'}_n\rangle = U|\psi_n\rangle \\ \langle\psi{'}_n| = ...
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93 views

Expectation Values and Derivation of Heisenberg Equation?

Consider a system of particles with wave function $\psi$(x) (x can be understood to stand for all degrees of freedom of the system; so, if we have a system of two particles then x should represent ...
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1answer
79 views

Apply the Heisenberg Equation to the Hamiltonian [closed]

$\frac{d}{dt}$$\hat{H}$ = $\frac{i}{\hbar}$$[\hat{H},\hat{H}]$ +$\frac{\partial{\hat{H}}}{\partial{t}}$ That's as far as I've got. I do not know much about the Heisenberg equation or even what it ...
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1answer
30 views

Uncertainty Definition QM

On my introductory course in Quantum Mechanics, the uncertainty of an operator $A$ in the state $\psi$ is defined by $$(\Delta A)^2_{\psi}=\langle(A-\langle A \rangle_{\psi})^2\rangle _{\psi}$$ I'm ...
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Quantum Expectation Values

I'm having trouble understanding the motivation for the definition of the expectation of a self adjoint operator $A$: $$\langle A \rangle _\psi=\int_{\mathbb{R}}\psi^*A\hspace{0.2cm} \psi ...
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59 views

Commutator summation notation

I have the relation $ e^L M e^{-L}=\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac 1{n!} [L,M]_{(n)}$ where $L$ and $M$ are operators. What does the subscript $n$ after the commutator bracket denote?
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89 views

Non-Hermitian operator with real eigenvalues?

So we know that in Quantum Mechanics we require the operators to be Hermitian, so that their eigenvalues are real ($\in \mathbb{R}$) because they correspond to observables. What about a non-Hermitian ...
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Showing that the maximum possible uncertainty for any observable is half the difference between its maximum and minimum eigenvalues

Show that the maximum possible uncertainty for any observable is $\frac{1}{2}|x_2 - x_1|$ where $x_1$ and $x_2$ are the extreme eigenvalues of X (Maximize $\Sigma_i p_ix_i^2 - (\Sigma_i p_ix_i)^2$) ...
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64 views

Momentum and position operators in Schrödinger representation

I was going through some intro notes on path integral (for QFT), and am stuck with this equation for position and momentum in Schrödinger (position) representation, $$ \hat{1} =\int ...
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55 views

Self-adjointness

I know I have posted this question before some time ago. But no one could help so I decided to put my problem in another background. The Schrödinger equation of a free scalar field is given by ...
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32 views

Renormalizing with external momenta set to zero

I've often seen in textbooks that authors renormalize diagrams by setting external momentum to zero. Under what conditions is this justified? An example of this is done in Manohar and Wise's book on ...
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Commutators of differential and field operators

In $p+ip$ superconductivity, a term in the Hamiltonian (in polar coordinates) is $$ H=\int \mathrm{d}^2\vec{r} \left[ \left( \partial_r -\frac{i}{r} \partial_{\theta} \right) \psi^\dagger(\vec{r}) ...
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Expectation Value of a Dynamical Variable

In quantum mechanics, we generally take about "expectation values of dynamical variables". However, by the postulates of quantum mechanics, every dynamical variable in quantum theory is represented by ...
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3answers
55 views

Help understanding proof in simultaneous diagonalization

The proof is from Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Shankar. The theorem is: If $\Omega$ and $\Lambda$ are two commuting Hermitian operators, there exists (at least) a basis of common eigenvectors ...
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Commutator with Pauli spin matrices and the momentum operator

How is $\left[\vec\sigma \cdot \vec p, \vec \sigma \right]$ proportional to $\vec \sigma\times \vec p$, where $\sigma$ are the Pauli spin matrices and $p$ is the momentum operator?
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111 views

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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2answers
71 views

Momentum Operator in Quantum Mechanics

1) What is the difference between these two momentum operators: $\frac{\hbar}{i}\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$ and $-i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$? How are these two operators the same? My ...
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1answer
56 views

Comparing two infinite sets

All the linearly independent eigenfunctions of the parity operator $\mathcal{P}$ form an infinite set and all the linearly independent eigenfunctions of the unit operator $\bf 1$ also form an ...
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Matrix elements of linear operators - orthonormal basis required?

In an early linear algebra class of mine, I learnt that a linear map $\mathcal{A}$ acting on a vector space could be represented by a matrix $A_{ij}$ according to the rule: $$\mathcal{A}({e_j}) = ...
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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 ...
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Why don't we use Hamilton-Jacobi method in QM?

In classical mechanics, we usually try to find a set of coordinates by Hamilton-Jacobi method to transform the Hamiltonian to zero such that the coordinates are conservations. However, we never try ...
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Difference between expectation value and probability amplitude?

I was given a wave equation. I know that probability amplitude is the eigenvalue of an observable operating in a state. $$H| \psi\rangle = h| \psi\rangle$$ where $h$ is the probability amplitude of ...
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43 views

How does $\bar{r}\times(\bar{\nabla}\times) - \bar{\nabla}\times(\bar{r}\times)$ relate to the orbital angular momentum operator?

When I attempted to calculate the following by hand $$\bar{r}\times(\bar{\nabla}\times\bar{F}) - \bar{\nabla}\times(\bar{r}\times\bar{F}),$$ I noticed some of the terms I extracted looked similar to ...
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The formal solution of the Schrodinger equation

Let's have Schrodinger equation (or some equation in Schrodinger form) $$ \tag 1 i \partial_{0} \Psi ~=~ \hat{H} \Psi . $$ One likes to write that it has formal solution $$ \tag 2 \Psi (t) ~=~ ...
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1answer
101 views

Commutator of operator and its derivative

Is it possible to calculate in a general way the commutator of an operator which depends on some variable and the derivative of this operator with respect to that variable? $$ \hat o = \hat o(\xi)\\ ...
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Chirality and helicity

I have massless Dirac equation and chirality and helicity operators which are given as $$ \hat {P}_{ch}\Psi = \gamma_{5}\Psi, \quad \hat {P}_{h}\Psi = \frac{(\hat {\mathbf S} \cdot \mathbf ...
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1answer
71 views

Writing an arbitrary operator in bra-ket notation

An annoying fact about my physics textbook (Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics) is that it introduces bra-ket notation without telling us how to use it. So I have a two-part question for SE: ...
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1answer
73 views

How to find different operator representations in QM?

I read that any observable operator may be represented as: $$\Omega = \sum_n \omega _n | \omega _n \rangle \langle \omega_n |$$ Where the little omegas are the eigenvectors/eigenvalues of the ...
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Self-adjoint and unbounded operators in QM

An operator $A$ is said to be self-adjoint if $(\chi,A\psi)=(A\chi,\psi)$ for $\psi, \chi \in D_A$ and $D_A=D_{A^\dagger}$. But for the free particle momentum operator $\hat{p}$ these inner products ...
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2answers
58 views

How is the set of displacement operators best called?

Displacement operators $\hat D(x,p), \ \ x,p\in\mathbb{R},$ follow a composition rule $$D(x,p) D(x',p') = \exp\frac{i(px'-xp')}2 D(x+x',p+p').$$ Because of the extraneous phase factor, the set of all ...
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3answers
96 views

Position and momentum bases in quantum mechanics

I have seen the following two descriptions of the position basis: $$\tag{1}| x\rangle=\delta(x-x_0)$$ and also $$\tag{2}\langle x_0| x\rangle=\delta(x-x_0),$$ which (if either) of these is ...
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How can the product of two real linear operators be not real?

I'm puzzled about a statement from Diracs book "The principles of quantum mechanics" (§8, p.28): As a simple examples of this result, it should be noted that, if $\xi$ and $\eta$ are real, in ...
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The Holstein-Primakoff Representation (approximation)

I have a question regarding the Holstein-Primakoff representation. In the HP-representation we define the spin operators in terms of bosonic creation and annihilation operators. $$ S_j^+ = \sqrt{2S ...
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1answer
56 views

Normal ordering of the identity operator

I'm puzzled about what should be the normal ordering of the identity operator (or any proportional operator): looking at it from the "Fock space operators POV",the prescription is to move all the ...
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1answer
42 views

Electric field in a cylinder

We have electric charge density $\rho(r) = kr$ in a cylinder of infinite height and radius $a$. I'm asked to find the electric field. I'm doing it using two methods and I don't undesrtand why then ...
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Virasoro Operators commutation relations

For the commutation relation in quantising the bosonic string $\left[L_n,L_{m}\right]=(n-m)L_{n+m}+\frac{D}{12}n(n^2-1)\delta_{n+m,0}$ we can then calculate this for $m=-n$ in between the vacuum ...