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 ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms

6
votes
2answers
165 views

Does the Hermitian operator $H=-\frac{d^2}{dx^2}$ have imaginary eigenvalues?

In quantum mechanics, Hermitian operators play a very important role because they possess real eigenvalues. Considering $-\frac{d^2}{dx^2}$, it is a Hermitian operator (Actually it's the simplest ...
1
vote
2answers
107 views

Is there any non-hermitian operator on Hilbert Space with all real eigenvalues?

The property of hermitian is the sufficient condition for eigenvalue being real. Is there any non-hermitian operator on Hilbert Space with all real eigenvalues? If there exist, then can all ...
1
vote
2answers
110 views

Why is quantum mechancis is not content with symmetric operators, but wants self-adjoint operators?

A symmetric operator has only real eigenvalues and different eigenvectors corresponding to different eigenvalues are orthogonal. These are exactly what we want for a physical observable. I think ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

Discrete vs Continuous spectra of operators [duplicate]

Why is it that if an operator $Q$ has a discrete spectra, that the eigenfunctions are all in Hilbert space? Why is it that if the spectrum is continuous we automatically know that the eigenfunctions ...
1
vote
2answers
295 views

Hilbert space and Hamiltonians

Assume a system described by a Hamiltonian H, and assume that the eigenstates of H, $φ_i$(r) are integrable in absolute square. We say that these states belong to a Hilbert space (they can even form a ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Hamiltonian acting on sum operator

I am following a derivation in a book. It is implementing a state $|{\psi}\rangle$ into the eigenvalue equation $\hat{H}|{\psi}\rangle=E|{\psi}\rangle$. The $|{\psi}\rangle$ term contains a ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Spin operators commutation

Why do the spin operators $ S_{x1}$ and $S_{x2}$ of two particles along the $x$-axis commute i.e $S_{1x}S_{x2}-S_{2x}S_{1x}=0 $ ?
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Physical observables and hermiticity

Is it necessary for an operator to be Hermitian in order to be a physical observable or is it just sufficient that the operator obeys the eigenvalue equation? If I were to check whether an operator is ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Projection operators in a direct product space

The things I'm pretty sure I understand: Let's say I have a single particle hamiltonian $H$ represented by a $2$x$2$ matrix, so it has two eigenstates $|\lambda_1\rangle$ and $|\lambda_2\rangle$. I ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

What is the relation between renormalization and self-adjoint extension?

What is the relation between renormalization and self-adjoint extension? It seems that a renormalization scheme can be rigorously treated mathematically using the self-adjoint extension theory. Is ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Addition of angular momenta, coefficient in the |10> state

In Griffith's text, they apply the lowering operator on the |$11\rangle$ state to get the |$10\rangle$ state. They show this result in two forms on pg. 185: $S_{-}\left(\uparrow\uparrow\right) = ...
2
votes
2answers
36 views

String Excited States / Spectrum

I am working through David Tong's lecture notes on string theory. The bit I am stuck on is page 41/42 in Chapter 2. The PDF file is here. In 2.3.2 "The First Excited States" on page 41/42, he says: ...
2
votes
1answer
67 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: ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

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, ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Eigenvalues of Angular Momentum in Quantum Mechanics

The eigenvalue equation of the $L^2$ operator is given by $$L^2f_l^m = \hbar ^2l(l+1)f_l^m$$ Side: So a determinate state for some observable $Q$ is a state where every measurement of $Q$ returns ...
0
votes
2answers
114 views

Creation and annihilation operators in Hamiltonian

If I find a Hamiltonian $H = \sum_{k} \varepsilon_k a_k^{\dagger} a_k + \sum_k V_k a_k^{\dagger} a_k$ then I was wondering: As far as I know this is many body theory and so these operators act on ...
5
votes
3answers
544 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Finding the expectation value of the annihilation operator with respect to a given state

Using dirac notation we were given a state vector $$|\Psi(t=0)\rangle = A\sum\limits_{q=0}^Q \frac{1}{(q+i)} |\phi_q\rangle$$ Where $\phi$ is part of a complete orthonormal set. I found the ...
0
votes
3answers
100 views

Question about derivation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?

I am looking at the derivation presented here. The first thing I am unsure about is where the form of $\psi_0=Ae^{\frac{-m\omega x^2}{2\hbar}}$ came from. Also, is this form for all $\psi$, or just ...
1
vote
4answers
269 views

Does the angular momentum vector operator $\hat{\vec{J}}$ have no eigenstates?

Angular momentum projection operators $\hat J_z$ and $\hat J_y$ don't commute, as don't the other combinations of different projections. But this means that there's no such state in which the whole ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Creation and annihilation operators

In our lecture today, we introduced two kinds of creation and annihilation operators. I want to restrict myself to the antisymmetric case: The first operator $a_k^{\dagger}$ creates a state ...
1
vote
2answers
90 views

Tricks at manipulating creation/annihilation operators

Manipulation of terms in algebras different from the standard one (e.g. boolean algebra) can be a bit unnatural but there are always shortcuts that can help you. I was wondering if there is a list ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

Second quantization, creation and annihilation operators

I found two notions of states for second quantization. One representation uses occupation numbers here, for example Another one creates the n+1 th particle in a collection of n existent states. see ...
2
votes
3answers
94 views

Why does the measurement of some observable $A$, the measured value is always an eigenvalue of the operator?

Explain why when we make a measurement of some observable $A$ in QM, the measured value is always an eigenvalue of the operator $A$.
0
votes
0answers
51 views

What lives in the Hilbert Space? [duplicate]

Consider the eigenvalue equation: $$\hat{Q}\Psi = q\Psi$$ where $q$ and $\Psi$ are eigenvalues and eigenfunctions of the hermitian operator $\hat{Q}$. If the spectrum of the hermitian operator is ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

Commutation relation of position and momentum using Dirac notation

This is likely a very trivial/silly question, but in following a derivation of the position and momentum commutation relation using the dirac notation, I am having trouble justifying a certain step. ...
1
vote
2answers
220 views

Angular momentum - maximum and minimum values for $m_{\ell}$

I want to work out the maximum and minimum values for $m_{\ell}$. I know that $\lambda \geq m_{\ell}$, therefore $m_{\ell}$ is bounded. In the lectures notes there is the following assumption: $$ ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

Expectation value expression Quantum Mechanics

Whilst working on a project I kept stumbeling across two different expressions for the standard deviation $\Delta{X}^2 = <(X - <X>)^2 >$ and the other $\Delta{X}^2 = <X^2> - ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

Confusion with rotation operator definition in Shankar

In Shankar quantum mechanics on page 306-307 it has the following: 12.2. Rotations in Two Dimensions Classically, the effect of a rotation $\phi_0\mathbf{k}$, i.e., by an angle $\phi_0$ about ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Unitary change of X Basis: Shankar Exercise 7.4.9 [closed]

I'm currently working through Shankar's Quantum Mechanics and am stuck on one of his exercises. In Exercise 7.4.9 Shankar would like us to show that: if $\mid x \rangle$ is changed to $\mid ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Time derivative of $\hat p$ under time varying Hamiltonian

How does one show that $$ \frac {d\hat p}{dt} = \frac 1{i\hbar}[\hat p, \hat H]$$ is valid even when Hamiltonian is time dependent explicitly? I can see that this is true when $\hat H$ is time ...
9
votes
1answer
197 views

Mathematical motivation of OPE?

In Peskin & Schroeder (and also Cheng which I have skimmed through) they motivate the Operator Product Expansion with a lot of words. Is there any way to motivate it mathematically, e.g. Taylor ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Commutator $[\hat{p},F(\hat{x})]$ of Momentum $\hat{p}$ with a Position dependent function $F(\hat{x})$?

I heard from my GSI that the commutator of momentum with a position dependent quantity is always $-i\hbar$ times the derivative of the position dependent quantity. Can someone point me towards a ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why/How is this Wick's theorem?

Let $\phi$ be a scalar field and then I see the following expression for the square of the normal ordered version of $\phi^2(x)$. $$T(:\phi^2(x)::\phi^2(0):) ~=~ 2<0|T(\phi(x)\phi(0))|0>^2 $$ ...
6
votes
2answers
157 views

Interpreting some domain issues of (potential) momentum operators

In the context of mathematical quantum mechanics, a well known no-go theorem known as Hellinger-Töplitz tells us that an unbounded, symmetric operator cannot be defined everywhere on the Hilbert space ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Proof of inability to obtain global phase

I'm curious if there's a quick proof of the inability to obtain global phase from a quantum state, since they're supposedly indistinguisable. I suppose to measure this, you would need a Hermitian ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Differences between symmetric, Hermitian, self-adjoint, and essentially self-adjoint operators

I am a physicist. I always heard physicists used the terminology "symmetric", "Hermitian", "self-adjoint", and "essentially self-adjoint" operators interchangeably. Actually what is the difference ...
6
votes
3answers
653 views

What is the commutator of an operator and its derivative?

Is it possible to calculate in a general way the commutator of an operator $O$ which depends on some variable $x$ and the derivative of this $O$ with respect to $x$? $${O}={O}(x)\\ ...
1
vote
1answer
127 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: $$ ...
4
votes
2answers
299 views

Position operator in QFT

My Professor in QFT did a move which I cannot follow: Given the state $$\hat\phi|0\rangle = \int \frac{d^3p}{(2\pi)^3 2 E_p} a^\dagger_p e^{- i p_\mu x^\mu}|0\rangle,$$ he wanted to show that this ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

What exactly is $\hat{\psi}^\dagger(x)$? An operator or a function?

I've recently read Cohen-Tannoudji on quantum mechanics to try to better understand Dirac notation. A homework problem is giving me some trouble though. I'm unsure if I've learned enough yet to ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Difficulties with bra-ket notation

I have started to study quantum mechanics. I know linear algebra,functional analysis, calculus, and so on, but at this moment I have a problem in Dirac bra-ket formalism. Namely, I have problem with ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

Is it sensible to speak of the parity operator in 4 dimensional Hilbert space?

So I'm dealing with a system of two qubits, with the hamiltonian given by $$H = \left[ \begin{array}{cccc} a & 0 & -b & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & -b\\ -b & 0 & 0 & 0\\ 0 ...
2
votes
1answer
423 views
3
votes
2answers
201 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? $$ ...
0
votes
0answers
111 views

Momentum operator in Dirac formalism

Could you derive the momentum operator as follows: Since $\mathcal{T}(\Delta x)=\exp(-ip_{x} \Delta x/ \hslash)$, if we set $\Delta x=x-0$ then it follows that $\left \langle x\right | ...
7
votes
1answer
155 views

Is there a formalism for talking about diagonality/commutativity of operators with respect to an overcomplete basis?

Consider a density matrix of a free particle in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Nice, quasi-classical particles will be well-approximated by a wavepacket or a mixture of wavepackets. The ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

Finding the spectrum of a curious hamiltonian

I wish to analyse the following hamiltonian, i.e. find its eigenvalues and eigenstates. $$H = \frac{1}{2}\epsilon(\sigma _z \otimes \mathbb{1} + 1\otimes \sigma _z) - \Delta (\sigma _x \otimes \sigma ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Where does the partial derivative come from in Sakurai's derivation of the momentum operator?

How is the momentum operator derived in Dirac formalism? I am reading Quantum Mechanics by Sakurai and he gives the following derivation. But I don't understand how he goes from the third equation to ...
2
votes
3answers
243 views

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 ...