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

2
votes
1answer
66 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 $$|n\rangle\langle n| =\prod_{m\ne n} \frac{A-a_m}{a_n-a_m}$$ ...
9
votes
2answers
725 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
631 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
72 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
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: ...
5
votes
2answers
140 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. ...
2
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
53 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\;=\; ...
2
votes
1answer
89 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
71 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?
3
votes
5answers
427 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: ...
2
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
122 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) ...
2
votes
3answers
116 views

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{ ...
7
votes
2answers
413 views

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.
2
votes
1answer
73 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
45 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
116 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
187 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
72 views

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: $$ ...
6
votes
5answers
796 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
230 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
35 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
329 views

Commutator with Pauli spin matrices and the momentum operator

How is $\left[\vec\sigma \cdot \vec p, \vec \sigma \right]$ proportional to $\vec \sigma\times \vec p$, where $\sigma$ are the Pauli spin matrices and $p$ is the momentum operator?
2
votes
2answers
77 views

Can we correctly define momentum operator only by means of position operator and their commutation relation?

In "J.M. Ziman. Electrons and Phonons: The Theory of Transport Phenomena in Solids" the author formally introduces the position (displacement) operator and then defines the momentum operator with the ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Observables in Quantum Mechanics

Studying on own quantum mechanics I came across: Preceeding text: A basic postulate of quantum mechanics tells us how to set up the operator corresponding to a given observable. Observables, ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

Is quantum field operator $\psi$ same as quantum field $\psi$?

So in QFT, quantum field operator $\psi$ is there. $\psi$ seems to take the role of wavefunction in QM, which now acts upon vacuum state. Then, in lagrangian of various quantum field theories, $\psi$ ...
7
votes
2answers
135 views

Dilation operator in CFT viewed as 'hamiltonian'?

From the commutation relations for the conformal Lie algebra, we may infer that the dilation operator plays the same role as the Hamiltonian in CFTs. The appropriate commutation relations are ...
1
vote
1answer
175 views

How to get the time derivative of an expectation value in quantum mechanics?

The textbook computes the time derivative of an expectation value as follows: $$\frac{d}{dt}\langle Q\rangle=\frac{d}{dt}\langle \Psi|\hat Q\Psi\rangle=\langle \frac{\partial\Psi}{\partial t}|\hat ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

Angular momentum for 3D harmonic oscillator in two different bases

I know that the energy eigenstates of the 3D quantum harmonic oscillator can be characterized by three quantum numbers: $$ | n_1,n_2,n_3\rangle$$ or, if solved in the spherical coordinate system: ...
3
votes
5answers
275 views

About the definition of expectation value in quantum mechanics

In quantum mechanics, the expectation value of a observable $A$ is defined as $$\int\Psi^*\hat A\Psi$$ But in probability theory the expectation is a property of a random variable, with respect to a ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Are operators in quantum mechanics linear transformations?

Observables in quantum mechanics correspond to self-adjoint linear operators. If $\psi$ is an eigenvector of $\hat A$, then $\hat A\psi=\alpha\psi$ where $\alpha$ is the eigenvalue of $\psi$. ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

The Eigenstate Existence Problem in Dirac's 'Principles of Quantum Mechanics'

In Chapter II of Dirac's Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Dirac explains that in general it is very difficult to know whether, for a given real linear operator, that any eigenvalues/eigenvectors exist ...
3
votes
2answers
143 views

What is the analogy of $|x\rangle$ in quantum field theory?

Let me start from path integral formulation in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. In QM, we have $$ U(x_b,x_a;T) = \langle x_b | U(T) |x_a \rangle= \int \mathcal{D}q e^{iS} \tag{1} $$ ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

What are the proper domains of the position and squared angular momentum operator?

I am looking at the position operator on a compact set $K \subset \mathbb{R}^n$ and the squared angular momentum operator (so essentially the Laplace-Beltrami operator where I just look at the angular ...
3
votes
4answers
487 views

Is the potential in Schrödinger equation an operator?

In the Schrödinger equation in the position representation $$ i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\Psi(x,t) ~=~[\frac{-\hbar^2}{2m}\nabla^2+V(x,t)]\Psi(x,t), $$ is the potential $V(x,t)$ an operator ...
6
votes
2answers
342 views

Basis in quantum mechanics

My quantum mechanics textbook (Primer of Quantum Mechanics, by Marvin Chester) says that both the momentum space and the position space are basis spaces. It also says that the momentum space is ...
3
votes
1answer
485 views

Representation of operators in quantum mechanics

For which systems we represent the Hamiltonian as a differential operator and for which system we represent it by a matrix? Can the momentum be represented by a matrix operator?
3
votes
2answers
198 views

Position Representation in Quantum Mechanics

How does the 3d position operator look like in position representation? I know that in 1d the position operator $\hat{x}$ is just multiplication by $x$.
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Eigenstates of an observable

Can we use eigenstates of ANY observable as base of the Hilbert space? If we can, is this equal to the statement that those eigenstates are orthogonal to each other and normalizable?
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Why does the probability of obtaining a value of a measurement follow from Dirac's general assumption?

In Dirac's The Principle of Quantum Mechanics he makes the general assumption that "if the measurement of the observable $\xi$ for the system in the state corresponding to $|x\rangle$ is made a large ...
3
votes
2answers
92 views

Quantum Mechanics: Time dependence of an expectation value

In Griffiths's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, he says that the time dependence of an expectation value is $$\frac{d\langle Q\rangle}{dt}=\frac{i}{\hbar}\langle [H,Q]\rangle+\langle \frac{\partial ...