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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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 * ...
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Why is $\hat{p} \circ \hat{p}$ the operator corresponding to $p^2$?

I understand from several heuristic arguments that in one dimension, the quantum-mechanical operator $\hat{p} = -i\hbar\,\partial_x$ corresponds to the classical momentum $p$, in the sense that a ...
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37 views

Uncertainty in position and kinetic energy

How do you find the uncertainties for $x$ and $K$? Knowing that the general uncertainties = $$ \sigma_A \sigma_B \geq 1/2\int \psi ^*[\hat A,\hat B] \psi dx\, $$ I figured out the commutator, for ...
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Where Does the Exponent Come From in the Expression for the Rotation Operator

I am currently reading John S. Townsend's "A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics." In section 2.2 he introduces the $\hat J$ operator, which he refers to as "the generator of rotations." He gives the ...
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Commuting operators and Direct product spaces

Under what conditions is the common eigenspace of two commuting hermitian operators isomorphic to the direct product of their individual eigenspaces? When can an eigenket $|\lambda$1$\lambda$2$>$ ...
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168 views

Evaluate $\langle \mathbf{p} | 1/\hat{r} | \mathbf{p}' \rangle$

In Sakurai's Problem 1.27 b), we use $\langle \mathbf{r} | \mathbf{p}\rangle = e^{i\mathbf{p}\cdot\mathbf{r}/\hbar}$ to show that $$ \langle \mathbf{p} | F(\hat{r}) | \mathbf{p}' \rangle = ...
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42 views

How does Dirac conclude that $X_r(c_r)$ cannot vanish?

On page 32 of Dirac's book Principles of Quantum Mechanics, he considers the case when the linear, Hermitian$^1$ operator $\xi$ satisfies an algebraic equation $$\phi(\xi)\equiv(\xi - c_1)(\xi - ...
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42 views

How to prove that if the expectation value of $A$ in any state is real, then $A$ is Hermitian?

If the expectation value of operator $A$ in any state is real, then $A$ is Hermitian. there is an uncompleted proof: $$ \int(c_1\psi_1+c_2\psi_2)^* A (c_1\psi_1+c_2\psi_2)dx$$ ...
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60 views

Density matrix formalism and group representation

The postulates of quantum theory can be given in the density matrix formalism. States correspond to positive trace class operators with trace 1 on a Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$. Composition is defined ...
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94 views

How does Dirac form this conjugate imaginary equation?

On page 30 of Dirac's book $$\xi|P\rangle = a|P\rangle\tag{12}$$ He then says Suppose we have a solution of (12) and we form the conjugate imaginary equation, which will read $$\langle ...
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48 views

Expectation value of number operator $\hat{n}$

I'm studying for my quantum mechanics test and I've stumbled on this problem. They want the expectation value of $\hat{n}$, $\langle \hat{n} \rangle$, with this given $\psi$ at $t=0$: $$ \lvert ...
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Measuring non-commuting observable at once

Given an Hilbert space $H$ (finite dimensional for sake of clarity), and two non-commuting operators $$A = \sum_a a |a\rangle\langle a|$$ and $$B=\sum_a b |b\rangle\langle b|,$$ is it possible to find ...
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60 views

Commutativity of Position Operators

Does the position operator $q_{i}$ of one harmonic oscillator commute with the position operator $q_{j}$ of another different harmonic oscillator? In other words, is $q_{i} q_{j} = q_{j} q_{i}$ true? ...
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86 views

Time evolution of a quantum system

A quantum system has Hamiltonian $H$ with normalised eigenstates $\psi_n$ and corresponding energies $E_n$ ($n = 1,2,3...$). A linear operator $Q$ is defined by its action on these states: $$ ...
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How is it shown that the composition of two real operators is generally not real? [duplicate]

Dirac on page 28 of his QM book writes: Thus the conjugate complex of the product of two linear operators equals the product of the conjugate complexes of the factors in the reverse order. As ...
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42 views

Why does the raising and lowering operator not affect total angular momentum?

My notes define: $$ L_{\pm} = L_{x} \pm i L_{y} $$ and states: $$ [L_{z},L_{\pm}] = \pm \hbar L_{\pm} $$ I'm fine with this as it's easy to show the result with some ugly algebra. It then says: ...
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28 views

What are absolutely continuous spectrum and singularly continuous spectrum?

I am now reading some mathematical note on Anderson localization. It mentioned two types of continuous spectrum. What are absolutely continuous spectrum and singularly continuous spectrum? I only had ...
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Mapping Issues with Unbounded Operators

Consider the operator-valued generalized function $\phi^{(k)}_{l}:=\phi^{(k)}_{l}$ on space-time $\mathcal{M}$. Now, smooth the operator-valued generalized function with test function $f(x)$ ...
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What is the commutator of the exponential derivative operator and the exponential position operator?

What is the commutator of the exponential derivative operator and the exponential position operator? \begin{align} \left[\exp(\partial_x),\exp(x)\right] = \exp(\partial_x)\exp(x) - ...
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147 views

Directional derivatives in the multivariable Taylor expansion of the translation operator

Let $T_\epsilon=e^{i \mathbf{\epsilon} P/ \hbar}$ an operator. Show that $T_\epsilon\Psi(\mathbf r)=\Psi(\mathbf r + \mathbf \epsilon)$. Where $P=-i\hbar \nabla$. Here's what I've gotten: ...
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100 views

Creation and Annihilation Operators

Let $\widehat{a}^{+}_{i}$ and $\widehat{a}_{i}$ be the usual bosonic creation and annihilation operators. Consider $$\widehat{q}_{i} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{2m_{i}w_{i}}}(\widehat{a}_{i}+ ...
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How can I write a Gaussian state as a squeezed, displaced thermal state

I would like to write a Gaussian state with density matrix $\rho$ (single mode) as a squeezed, displaced thermal state: \begin{gather} \rho = \hat{S}(\zeta) \hat{D}(\alpha) \rho_{\bar{n}} ...
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64 views

Approach to expressing $|n\rangle\langle n| $ as a polynomial when eigenvalues are degenerate?

If ${|n\rangle}$ are eigenvectors of an operator $A$ then $|n\rangle\langle n| $ can be expressed in terms of a finite order polynomial $$|n\rangle\langle n| =\prod_{m\ne n} \frac{A-a_m}{a_n-a_m}$$ ...
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68 views

Different mathematical methods in quantum mechanics?

My understanding is that in quantum mechanics the wavefunction may be expressed as a function or as a ket vector (composed of many orthogonal ket vectors). I'm not too sure about the further ...
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Sums of operators in practice

Consider a one dimensional harmonic oscillator. We have: $$\hat{n} = \hat{a}^{\dagger} \hat{a} = \frac{m \omega}{2 \hbar} \hat{x}^2 + \frac{1}{2 \hbar m \omega} \hat{p}^2 - \frac{1}{2}$$ And: ...
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Motivating the ansatz for the infinitesimal translation operator

I'm reading Sakurai's Modern QM right now and in the first chapter he states a number of conditions required for a translation operator: unitarity, ...
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126 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. ...
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437 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 ...
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1answer
67 views

Does the momentum operator commute with the Pauli matrix?

I tried to calculate the effect of spin orbit coupling $H_s=\alpha(\sigma_xp_y-\sigma_yp_x)$ as in the Rashba effect. But I just found out that it is not hermitian. Some paper propose some way by ...
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48 views

How does Dirac show that $\langle B|\bar{\bar{\alpha}}|P\rangle\;=\; \overline{\langle P|{\bar{\alpha}}|B\rangle}\;=\; \langle B|{\alpha}|P\rangle$?

Dirac shows that the conjugate imaginary of $\langle \!P|\alpha$ is $\bar{\alpha} |P\!\rangle$ and then starts with the identity on page 27 in his book: $$\langle B|\bar{{\alpha}}|P\rangle\;=\; ...
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328 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 ...
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1answer
78 views

Operator product expansion in CFT

I'm on Polchinski's p39. Can someone please tell me the steps in the equivalence below? $$\exp\left[\frac{\alpha'}4\int d^2z_4 d^2z_5\ln|z_5-z_4|^2\frac{\delta}{\delta X^\mu(z_4,\bar ...
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68 views

Hermiticity of the quantum field

The quantum field resultant from the quantization of a real classical field is hermitian, but why the quantum field corresponding to a complex classical field should be non-hermitian?
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360 views

Commutator algebra in exponents

Considering $X$ and $Y$ such that $[X,Y]=\lambda$, which is complex, and $\mu$ is another complex number, prove: $$e^{\mu(X+Y)}=e^{\mu X} e^{\mu Y} e^{-\mu^2\lambda/2}$$ My attempt (so far) is: ...
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1answer
59 views

Measurement of observables with continuous spectrum: State of the system afterwards

Suppose my system, described by a separable Hilbert space $H$, is in the state $\Psi$ when I measure an observable that has only continuous spectrum. What is the state of the system after the ...
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107 views

Convention in physics for [],{} and operators (QM)

I got a little mixed up with the convention in physics. Usually a hat means an operator. For a given electron-ion Hamiltonian $\hat{H}_{e-n}$, what are the difference between these: 1) ...
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71 views

Making an Incomplete Set of Observables Complete

In quantum mechanics, it seems a standard procedure that if you have an incomplete set of observables, then one can make this set complete by adding more commuting observables until the set becomes ...
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40 views

Prove the solution of von Neumann equation will never stabilize if Hamiltonian and initial density matrix commutes

Given von Neumann equation $$\frac{d}{dt} \rho(t) = -i [H, \rho(t)] = -i e^{-iHt}[H, \rho(0)]e^{iHt}.$$ If we know that $[H, \rho(0)] \neq 0$, how do we prove in details the solution of von Neumann ...
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95 views

Measuring position and momentum at the same time?

In a non-relativistic quantum mechanical system in an infinite potential well. I try to measure the energy and the position of the system simultaneously. Since, the respective operators do commute ...
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175 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 ...
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Normal ordering

If I understood correctly there are two terms called normal ordering: $:c c^\dagger: = c^\dagger c \hspace{.5cm}$so shifting all creation operators to the left and all annihilation operators to the ...
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53 views

What does QM observable operator actually DO?

I know, that each observable is represented by some linear operator, while it's eigenvalues represent probability amplitudes of possible observable values. But what if I ACT with this operator on ...
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1answer
25 views

How to write “postselection” operator?

Suppose, I wish to know an operator, which eigenvalue is 1 if state is exactly F and 0 ...
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59 views

How to write QM operator if I know all of it's eigenfunctions?

Suppose I have selected enough orthogonal functions in representation of operator A and I want to derive operator B which has ...
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Symmetry and Algebra

I'm trying to get a more concrete idea how symmetry is understood in quantum theories, as broad as possible. Consider a infinitesimal transformation of states in quantum physics of the form: $$ ...
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99 views

Eigenstates of a shifted harmonic oscillator

Let's say I have a quantum harmonic oscillator $H = \omega a^\dagger a$, where $a^\dagger$ is the raising operator and $a$ is the lowering operator and $H |n\rangle = \omega n |n\rangle$. Now assume ...
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Unitary transformation behind gauge transformation

It is very well-known that for bosonic operators a Gauge transformation can always be associated with it $$a\rightarrow e^{i\phi}a.$$ Obviously this is a Unitary transformation. Something like ...
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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 ...
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Does the order of variables matter for a quantum Lagrangian in the path integral formula for quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

For a single particle or field, I can't see how the path-integral formulation depends on the order of terms in the Lagrangian. It seems that you integrate the classical Lagrangian to get the action on ...
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Differentiation operator with respect to observable acting as a function of the observable?

In his Principles of Quantum Mechanics Dirac writes: $$\int \langle \phi \frac{d}{dq}|q'\rangle dq' \psi(q')=\int \phi(q') dq' \frac{d\psi(q')}{dq'}.$$ To me it is rather strange, and it seems as if ...