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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Constructing matrix for spin in Stern-Gerlach experiment for arbitrary angle

This is a conceptual question about a problem in Sakurai. I understand how to solve the problem, but there's something about it that irks me, and it feels like I'm missing something. In the problem, ...
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109 views

Eigenvalues being physical observables

I think I'm comfortable with the PDE solutions to the Schrodinger equation. But as soon as we start putting these values in a matrix (in dirac notation), I lose my understanding and everything ...
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178 views

Grassmann number representation for fermions

How one can simultaneously represent fermionic operators and its corresponding Grassmann variables, so that all the anticommutation relations between them and also states would take place? $$ ...
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92 views

Domain of simple quantum harmonic oscillator

When discussing the spectral theory of unbounded operators, one often starts with an operator defined on a densely defined subspace of your Hilbert space, and then proves that the operator is ...
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Split property for type III algebras entails practical separability

I am reading Halvorson's thesis (http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/346/1/main-new.pdf), however I don't understand a proof at p.50 where he tries to explain why the split property allows a local agent ...
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84 views

Momentum Representation vs Position Representation

We are given an operator $g$ from $\mathcal{l}^2(\mathbb{Z})$ to $\mathcal{l}^2(\mathbb{Z})$, i.e., the space of functions that are square summable over $\mathbb{Z}$ such that ...
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Does the commutator of anything with itself not vanish?

In a quantum mechanics exam one question was to write the commutator of a couple of operators. Everybody got points taken away since they did not write $[Q_i, Q_i] = 0$ for all the operators $Q_i$ in ...
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Kraus operator rank

All quantum operations $\mathcal{E}$ on a system of Hilbert space dimension $\mathcal{d}$ can be generated by an operator-sum representation containing at most $\mathcal{d^2}$ elements. Extending ...
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How to derive $[x_i, F(\vec p)] = i \hbar \frac {\partial F(\vec p)}{\partial p_i}$

Wikipedia indicates that the following relation is "easily shown": $[x_i, F(\vec p)] = i \hbar \frac {\partial F(\vec p)}{\partial p_i}$, however I'm having some trouble showing it. I think I'm just ...
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175 views

Intuition on positive-operator valued measures (POVM)

I'm having a little trouble understanding what positive-operator valued measure (POVM) are- in particular why/how they are non-negative. For instance, if they just represent measurements, what about ...
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79 views

Determine eigeinvalue and eigenvector of two operators R and L [closed]

Question: Let H be a Hilbert space with countable-infinite orthonormal basis ${|n>}_{n \in N}$. The two operators R and L on H are defined by their action on the basis elements \begin{align} ...
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30 views

Translational operator on potential

In https://wiki.oulu.fi/download/attachments/14553161/lattice.pdf I have a problem with the translational operator: The second line under the first figure says $$\tau^\dagger(a)V(x)\tau(a)=V(x+a).$$ ...
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An Operator Identity relating to Trace [duplicate]

Suppose that $\hat H$ is an operator (typically a Hamiltonian) and $\beta$ is a positive parameter (typically $\beta=1/k_BT$). Show that $$ \mathbf{Tr}\Big(e^{-\beta\hat H}\Big) \geq ...
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67 views

Does there exist a state for which $\Delta\sigma_x^2=\Delta\sigma_y^2=0$? If not, how does one prove it?

I just realized that the uncertainty principle says that $$\Delta\sigma_x^2 \Delta\sigma_y^2 \ge \left(\overline{\hat\sigma_z}\right)^2,$$ where ...
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187 views

Classical Hamiltonian involving product of factors whose quantum analogues don't commute

Dirac remarked in his quantum mechanics book: One can usually assume that the Hamiltonian is the same function of the canonical coordinates and momenta in the quantum theory as in the ...
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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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99 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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131 views

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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247 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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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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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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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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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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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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218 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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62 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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118 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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62 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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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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48 views

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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76 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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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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127 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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74 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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46 views

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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77 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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147 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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688 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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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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433 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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93 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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74 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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458 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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78 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 ...