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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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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166 views

Ladder Operator killing state

So in my last question, @joshphysics showed me how to prove $K_\pm$ were ladder operators. Now I need to show that there is a lowest state, i.e $$\langle m_0|K_+=K_-|m_0\rangle=0$$ I am not ...
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191 views

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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56 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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334 views

How can (in Dirac's terminology) the product of two “real” linear operators be “not real”?

I'm puzzled about a statement from Dirac's 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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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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91 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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Is there is a specific original source where the “quantum operator ordering issue” is stated?

During my research, when the quantum operator ordering ambiguity is mentioned is deemed usually in the likes of "the well-known problem of ordering in quantum mechanics". However, could anybody point ...
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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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172 views

Is kinetic energy in QM a state-property or is it distributed?

Suppose we have a quantum mechanical system, which is well described by its wave function in r-representation $\Psi$. We are interested in the properties of an observable, say the kinetic energy $T$. ...
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410 views

What does it mean to apply an operator to a state?

Let's say I have an operator $\hat{A}$ and a state $|\psi\rangle$. What exactly is the state $\hat{A}|\psi\rangle$? Is it just another different state that I am describing using my $\hat{A}$ and ...
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29 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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654 views

Is there any operator behind probability, in quantum mechanics?

In Quantum mechanics, the probability of finding a particle at position $x$ is given by $|\psi(x)|^2$, where $\psi$ is the wave function. Wonder what is the operator which gives this probability? Is ...
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54 views

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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161 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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Translation Operator on two operators

On my last HW set, we were asked to show that the operator $$\hat T = \exp(-ic\hat p /\hbar)$$ acts as a translation operator ($\hat T^\dagger q\hat T=q+c)$. This was simple to show using commutators ...
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229 views

Quantum graph theory: complex spectra

In quantum graph theory, what are the properties of a given graph to own complex conjugated complex eigenvalues, either finite or infinite? Spectral graph theory is as far as I know a not completely ...
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108 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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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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681 views

What does the Canonical Commutation Relation (CCR) tell me about the overlap between Position and Momentum bases?

I'm curious whether I can find the overlap $\langle q | p \rangle$ knowing only the following: $|q\rangle$ is an eigenvector of an operator $Q$ with eigenvalue $q$. $|p\rangle$ is an eigenvector of ...
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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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498 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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64 views

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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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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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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74 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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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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84 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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69 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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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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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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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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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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Proof for a time-ordering equation in Negele & Orland (1998)

Let $T$ be the time-ordering operator which orders operators $A_1(t_1), A_2(t_2), \ldots$ such that the time parameter decreases from left to right: $$T[A_1(t_1) A_2(t_2)] = A_2(t_2) A_1(t_1) \text{ ...
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Proof for the completeness of eigenfunctions of a self-adjoint operator

I always heard the eigenfunctions of a self-adjoint operator form a complete basis. Where can I find a proof in infinite dimension space? Presumably readable for physicists.
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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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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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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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177 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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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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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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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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Is mass an observable in Quantum Mechanics?

One of the postulates of QM mechanics is that any observable is described mathematically by a hermitian linear operator. I suppose that an observable means a quantity that can be measured. The mass ...
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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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596 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 ...
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144 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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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 ...