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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Evolution operator for time-dependent Hamiltonian

When i studyed QM I'm only working with non time-dependent Hamiltonians. In this case unitary evolution operator has the form $$\hat{U}=e^{-\frac{i}{\hbar}Ht}$$ that follows from this equation $$ ...
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Some questions on observables in QM

1-In QM every observable is described mathematically by a linear Hermitian operator. Does that mean every Hermitian linear operator can represent an observable? 2-What are the criteria to say whether ...
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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 ...
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Translator Operator

In Modern Quantum Mechanics by Sakurai, at page 46 while deriving commutator of translator operator with position operator, he uses $$\left| x+dx\right\rangle \simeq \left| x \right\rangle.$$ But for ...
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Basic Question - Green's Functions in Quantum Mechanics

I am trying to learn about Green's functions as part of my graduate studies and have a rather basic question about them: In my maths textbooks and a lot of places online, the basic Greens function G ...
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Simultaneously commuting set

How does one determine the members of an simultaneously commuting set (of operators)? For example, I have read that for orbital angular momentum, the set is {$H,L^2,L_z$}. How does one know that these ...
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How do we measure $i[\hat\phi(x),\hat\phi(y)]$ in QFT?

What operational procedure is required to measure $i[\hat\phi(x),\hat\phi(y)]$ in an interacting (or non-interacting) QFT? [assume smearing by test-functions, or give an answer in Fourier space, for ...
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How to evaluate spin operators in second quantization for spin symmetry-broken Slater determinants?

Suppose we have the following Slater determinant: \begin{equation} | \Psi \rangle = \prod \limits_{i,i'} a^+_{i\alpha} a^+_{i'\beta} | \rangle \end{equation} where $a^+_{i\alpha}$ creates an electron ...
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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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Constructing the space of quantum states

I want to learn how to construct spaces of quantum states of systems. As an exercize, I tried to build the space of states and to find hamiltonian spectrum of the quantum system whose Hamiltonian is ...
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How does the momentum operator act on state kets?

I have been going through some problems in Sakurai's Modern QM and at one point have to calculate $\langle \alpha|\hat{p}|\alpha\rangle$ where all we know about the state $|\alpha\rangle$ is that ...
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Heisenberg picture of QM as a result of Hamilton formalism

Let's have formula of full time-derivative of physical value in Poisson's formalism: $$\tag{1} \frac{df}{dt} = -[H, f]_{P. br.} + \frac{\partial f}{\partial t}, $$ where $[A, B]_{P. br.}$ is Poisson's ...
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Unitary Operator as a complex valued function

A book on Quantum Mechanics by Schwinger states, "A unitary operator can be considered to be a complex valued function of a Hermitian operator." Please give a hint on how to prove this assertion.
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How to calculate the quantum expectation of frequency of a particle?

I know how to calculate the expectation of < $\Psi$|A|$\Psi$ > where the operator A is the eigenfunction of energy, momentum or position, but I'm not sure how to perform this for a pure frequency. ...
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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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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 ...
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Quantum Mechanics: Creation and Annihilation operators

Is an eigenvector/eigenstate of the creation operator an eigenvector/eigenstate of the annihilation operator too? Why?
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Math of eigenvalue problem in quantum mechanics

I learned the eigenvalue problem in linear algebra before and I just find that the quantum mechanics happen to associate the Schrodinger equation with the eigenvalue problem. In linear algebra, we ...
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Proof of Canonical Commutation Relation (CCR)

I am not sure how $QP-PQ =i\hbar$ where $P$ represent momentum and $Q$ represent position. $Q$ and $P$ are matrices. The question would be, how can $Q$ and $P$ be formulated as a matrix? Also, what is ...
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Are all scattering states un-normalizable?

I am an undergraduate studying quantum physics with the book of Griffiths. in 1-D problems, it said a free particle has un-normalizable states but normalizable states can be obtained by sum up the ...
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Proof for commutator relation $[\hat{H},\hat{a}] = - \hbar \omega \hat{a}$

I know how to derive below equations found on wikipedia and have done it myselt too: \begin{align} \hat{H} &= \hbar \omega \left(\hat{a}^\dagger\hat{a} + \frac{1}{2}\right)\\ \hat{H} &= ...
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How to prove that the symmetrisation Operator is hermitian?

Let $\mathcal{H}_N$ be the $N$ particle Hilbert space. So a quantum state $\left| \Psi \right>$ may be representated by $$\left| \Psi \right> = \left| k_1 \right>^{(1)}\left| k_2 ...
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Eigenvalues of a quantum field?

Fields in classical mechanics are observables. For example, I can measure the value of the electric field at some (x,t). In quantum field theory, the classical field is promoted to an operator-valued ...
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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} ...
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When you apply the spin operator, what exactly is does it tell you?

The example I'm trying to understand is: $ \hat{S}_{x} \begin{pmatrix} \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\\ \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} \end{pmatrix} = 1/2 \begin{pmatrix} \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\\ \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} ...
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The cleverest way to calculate $\left[\hat{a}^{M},\hat{a}^{\dagger N}\right]$ with $\left[\hat{a},\hat{a}^{\dagger}\right]=1$

Who can provide me some elegant solution for $$\left[\hat{a}^{M},\hat{a}^{\dagger N}\right]\qquad\text{with} \qquad\left[\hat{a},\hat{a}^{\dagger}\right]~=~1$$ other than brute force calculation? ...
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Index Manipulation and Angular Momentum Commutator Relations

I have been trying for hours and cannot figure it out. I am not asking anyone to do it for me, but to understand how to proceed. We have the relations $$[L_i,p_j] ~=~ i\hbar\; \epsilon_{ijk}p_k,$$ ...
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Continuity domain for momentum operator

I know this is essentially a mathematic question, but I received no answer on math SE. Moreover it has a direct application in physics, so I thought to ask this here too. The momentum operator in one ...
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Countable Matrix Representation

In my quantum mechanics class, my professor explained that the Hamiltonian along with position and momentum operators can be represented by matrices of countable dimension. This is especially usefull ...
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Eigenvalue of $L_z$

In section 4.3 of Griffths' "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics", just below Figure 4.6, the sentence begins Let $\hbar \ell$ be the eigenvalue of $L_z$ at this top rung... Why is this valid? ...
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Why is the Dirac operator so important - in both physics and mathematics?

Why is the Dirac operator considered so important - in both physics and (pure) mathematics?
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Schrödinger equation in position representation

$$ \DeclareMathOperator{\dif}{d \!} \newcommand{\ramuno}{\mathrm{i}} \newcommand{\exponent}{\mathrm{e}} \newcommand{\ket}[1]{|{#1}\rangle} \newcommand{\bra}[1]{\langle{#1}|} ...
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Associating a Unitary operator to proper Lorentz transformations?

If one reads eg page 32 of Srednicki where he says: In quantum theory, symmetries are represented by unitary (or antiunitary) operators. This means that we associate a unitary operator U(Λ) ...
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Physics Applications of Fredholm Theory:

I find Fredholm theory beautiful, especially the Liouville-Neumann series for solving Fredholm integral equations of the second kind. There seems to be a consensus that these equations are quite ...
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Chronological and normal ordering

I've realized I'm little bit confused when I want to treat elements like this $$\left<\phi_0|T\{a_p(t)a_p^+(t')V(t_1)V(t_2)\}|\phi_0\right>$$ with $$V(t)=\dfrac12 \dfrac{1}{(2\pi ...
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Algebraic formulation of QFT and unbounded operators

In AQFT one specifies the structure of the observables as a $C^*$-algebra. This seems to excludes algebras that don't have a norm, such as the Heisenberg algebra. Fortunately for this case one turns ...
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Does the Time Evolution Operator Commute with any Other Operators?

Does the time evolution operator in quantum mechanics commute with any other operators, with a commutator of zero? Also, what exactly is the utility of the time evolution operator, is it more ...
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What is the most general expression for the coordinate representation of momentum operator?

I have a question about deriving the coordinate representation of momentum operator from the commutation relation, $[x,p]= i$. One derivation (ref W. Greiner's Quantum Mechanics: An Introduction, 4th ...
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Derivatives of operators

How do derivatives of operators work? Do they act on the terms in the derivative or do they just get "added to the tail"? Is there a conceptual way to understand this? For example: say you had the ...
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Can we solve the particle in an infinite well in QM using creation and annihilation operators?

The particle in an infinite potential well in QM is usually solved by easily solving Schrodinger differential equation. On the other hand particle in the harmonic oscillator oscillator potential can ...
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Compatible Observables

My QM book says that when two observables are compatible, then the order in which we carry out measurements is irrelevant. When you carry out a measurement corresponding to an operator $A$, the ...
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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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Curved spacetime as a coherent state in string theory

I have a question about Polchinski's string theory book, volume I, p 108. When we write the Polyakov action in curved spacetime, it is said $$ S_{\sigma} = \frac{1}{4\pi\alpha'} \int_M d^2 \sigma ...
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quantum mechanics current operators

How to derive the charge current and the energy current operators in second quantized form in Quantum mechanics ? Also if you could comment in a similar way on the entropy current operator, that will ...
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Time-ordered Derivative and Equal-time Commutator

In Green, Schwarz & Witten Superstring theory, Vol. I, page 141, I don't understand how pulling the derivative inside the Time-ordered product can give an Equal-time Commutator: $$\tag{3.2.44} ...
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Holstein-Primakoff and Dyson-Maleev representation

In Holstein-Primakoff and Dyson-Maleev representation, spin operators are represented by bosonic operators. Roughly speaking, a state with $S^z=S-m$ corresponds to a state containing $m$ bosons. In ...
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The difference between projection operators and field operators in QFT?

Is there a good reference for the distinction between projection operators in QFT, with an eigenvalue spectrum of $\{1,0\}$, representing yes/no measurements, the prototype of which is the Vacuum ...
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Wick's theorem for calculating OPE

I am trying to understand a calculation using Wick's theorem. Let $T(z)$ be the analytic part of a stress-energy tensor, and $\phi(z)$ a free boson field. Now, ...
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Simple Commutator question

For some reason this is really tripping me up: $$[q_rq_sp_r,q_sp_rq_s]$$ Where $r$ and $s$ are different. Is this just zero because $p_r$ on $q_s =0$. I am trying to simplify this and I feel like 0 ...
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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 ...