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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Can the expectation value of the square of momentum be negative?

I've been solving a problem in quantum mechanics, and I was deriving the standard deviation of $P$, knowing that $\langle P\rangle=0$. Because $\Delta P=\sqrt{\langle P^2 \rangle - \langle P \rangle ...
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79 views

Momentum Operator in Quantum Mechanics

1) What is the difference between these two momentum operators: $\frac{\hbar}{i}\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$ and $-i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$? How are these two operators the same? My ...
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114 views

Comparing two infinite sets

All the linearly independent eigenfunctions of the parity operator $\mathcal{P}$ form an infinite set and all the linearly independent eigenfunctions of the unit operator $\bf 1$ also form an ...
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Matrix elements of linear operators - orthonormal basis required?

In an early linear algebra class of mine, I learnt that a linear map $\mathcal{A}$ acting on a vector space could be represented by a matrix $A_{ij}$ according to the rule: $$\mathcal{A}({e_j}) = ...
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Precise meaning of composition of ket and bra, e.g. $|\psi\rangle\langle\psi|$

I'm currently studying density matrices, and have been frequently coming across the construction $$|\psi\rangle\langle\psi| \,.$$ What is the formal meaning of this composition? I understand ...
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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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Difference between expectation value and probability amplitude?

I was given a wave equation. I know that probability amplitude is the eigenvalue of an observable operating in a state. $$H| \psi\rangle = h| \psi\rangle$$ where $h$ is the probability amplitude of ...
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How does $\bar{r}\times(\bar{\nabla}\times) - \bar{\nabla}\times(\bar{r}\times)$ relate to the orbital angular momentum operator?

When I attempted to calculate the following by hand $$\bar{r}\times(\bar{\nabla}\times\bar{F}) - \bar{\nabla}\times(\bar{r}\times\bar{F}),$$ I noticed some of the terms I extracted looked similar to ...
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The formal solution of the Schrodinger equation

Let's have Schrodinger equation (or some equation in Schrodinger form) $$ \tag 1 i \partial_{0} \Psi ~=~ \hat{H} \Psi . $$ One likes to write that it has formal solution $$ \tag 2 \Psi (t) ~=~ ...
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136 views

Commutator of operator and its derivative

Is it possible to calculate in a general way the commutator of an operator which depends on some variable and the derivative of this operator with respect to that variable? $$ \hat o = \hat o(\xi)\\ ...
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50 views

Chirality and helicity

I have massless Dirac equation and chirality and helicity operators which are given as $$ \hat {P}_{ch}\Psi = \gamma_{5}\Psi, \quad \hat {P}_{h}\Psi = \frac{(\hat {\mathbf S} \cdot \mathbf ...
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117 views

Writing an arbitrary operator in bra-ket notation

An annoying fact about my physics textbook (Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics) is that it introduces bra-ket notation without telling us how to use it. So I have a two-part question for SE: ...
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79 views

How to find different operator representations in QM?

I read that any observable operator may be represented as: $$\Omega = \sum_n \omega _n | \omega _n \rangle \langle \omega_n |$$ Where the little omegas are the eigenvectors/eigenvalues of the ...
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237 views

Self-adjoint and unbounded operators in QM

An operator $A$ is said to be self-adjoint if $(\chi,A\psi)=(A\chi,\psi)$ for $\psi, \chi \in D_A$ and $D_A=D_{A^\dagger}$. But for the free particle momentum operator $\hat{p}$ these inner products ...
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How is the set of displacement operators best called?

Displacement operators $\hat D(x,p), \ \ x,p\in\mathbb{R},$ follow a composition rule $$D(x,p) D(x',p') = \exp\frac{i(px'-xp')}2 D(x+x',p+p').$$ Because of the extraneous phase factor, the set of all ...
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Position and momentum bases in quantum mechanics

I have seen the following two descriptions of the position basis: $$\tag{1}| x\rangle=\delta(x-x_0)$$ and also $$\tag{2}\langle x_0| x\rangle=\delta(x-x_0),$$ which (if either) of these is ...
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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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179 views

The Holstein-Primakoff Representation (approximation)

I have a question regarding the Holstein-Primakoff representation. In the HP-representation we define the spin operators in terms of bosonic creation and annihilation operators. $$ S_j^+ = \sqrt{2S ...
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78 views

Normal ordering of the identity operator

I'm puzzled about what should be the normal ordering of the identity operator (or any proportional operator): looking at it from the "Fock space operators POV",the prescription is to move all the ...
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52 views

Electric field in a cylinder

We have electric charge density $\rho(r) = kr$ in a cylinder of infinite height and radius $a$. I'm asked to find the electric field. I'm doing it using two methods and I don't undesrtand why then ...
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Virasoro Operators commutation relations

For the commutation relation in quantising the bosonic string $\left[L_n,L_{m}\right]=(n-m)L_{n+m}+\frac{D}{12}n(n^2-1)\delta_{n+m,0}$ we can then calculate this for $m=-n$ in between the vacuum ...
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120 views

Intrinsic parity of particle and antiparticle with spin zero

I need to prove that the intrinsic parities of a particle and antiparticle with spin zero are the same. Can I prove that by an argument that operator of $P$-inversion commutes with charge conjugation ...
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60 views

About Divergence in polar coordinates

I've got a conductor in a cylinder shape who is rotating with angular velocity $\omega$ around its axis, that correspond to the $z$ azis I want to calculate the electric field and the density of ...
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67 views

Eigenfunction associated with the $\hat{x}$ operator

Consider the following operator $\hat{x}=i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial p}$. I am trying to show that the eigenfunctions of $\hat{x}$ are not square-normalizable. I am interested in doing so since ...
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Shortcut to find $\hat{p}^2$ expectation value

I have been going through several calculations where I am asked to calculate $\langle p^2 \rangle$ and the task is proving to be pretty tedious. Does anyone know of a shortcut for this? Such as with ...
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Any other bound state problems using $a_+$ and $a_-$?

Why is it that creation and annihilation operators ($a_+$ and $a_-$) can only be defined for the problem of quantum harmonic oscillator and nothing else? Can any other bound state problem be solves ...
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60 views

Translation Operator for Position on Momentum

Consider the translation operator $$\hat T=\exp[-ic\hat p/\hbar], $$ which acts on the position operator in the following way: $$\hat T^\dagger \hat q\hat T = \hat q+c.$$ If I take $\hat T ^\dagger ...
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140 views

Bounded and Unbounded Operator

Can someone explain with a concrete example of how can I can check whether a quantum mechanical operator is bounded or unbounded? EDIT: For example., I would like to check whether $\hat ...
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71 views

Self-adjoint and nonpositive differential operators

I recently tumbled over a statement in a geophysics paper (PDF here). They have a wave equation which they formulate as $$ \frac{1}{v_0}\frac{\partial^2}{\partial t^2} \begin{pmatrix}p \\ ...
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Translation Operator on two operators

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

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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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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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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147 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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Showing $K_\pm$ are raising/lowering operators

In this post, I have the following operators defined: $$K_1=\frac 14(p^2-q^2)$$ $$K_2=\frac 14 (pq+qp)$$ $$J_3 = \frac 14 (p^2+q^2)$$ I am given $ J_3|m\rangle = m|m\rangle$ and asked to show that ...
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Diagonalization Of $(\sigma_x+\sigma_y)$

Can this matrix $(\sigma_x\pm\sigma_y)$ be diagonalised? Clearly, if $\sigma_x$ is diagonalized by a similarity transformation $S_1\sigma_x{S_1}^{-1}$, then $\sigma_y$ can't be diagonalized by $S_1$, ...
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Eigenvalues of Infinite Dimensional Matrix [duplicate]

If I take a infinite-dimensional square matrix, what can I say about its eigenvalue spectrum? Will they have a discrete infinity of eigenvalues or continuous infinity of them?
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275 views

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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Help Simplifying a Commutator Equation

For the SHO, our teacher told us to scale $$p\rightarrow \sqrt{m\omega\hbar} ~p$$ $$x\rightarrow \sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{m\omega}}~x$$ And then define the following $$K_1=\frac 14 (p^2-q^2)$$ $$K_2=\frac ...
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165 views

Commutators involving functions

I am looking for the commutator: $$[e^{aq},p]$$ My approach is to Taylor expand the function: $$[\sum_n \frac{1}{n!}(aq)^n,p]$$ I know that $[q^n,p]=ni\hbar q^{n-1}$ So how do I account for $n$ ...
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101 views

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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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 ...
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190 views

Example of application of creation/annihilation operators in matrix form

I was wondering how it would sound like the creation/annihilation of particles that we usually do in the context of Dirac formalism, with matrices and vectors. As a reminder we know that: ...
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Implementing a transformation as $UaU$ and not $UaU^{-1}$?

I know one associates to each symmetry transformation a unitary/antiunitary operater...etc. But equation 3.123 in Peskin and Schroeder (PS) says that parity is implemented as $(\mathbf{p}$ is the ...
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269 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?
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154 views

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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142 views

Question about creation operator and its Hermitian adjoint

The definition of creation operator for bosonic system is $$a^{\dagger}|... n_i ...\rangle = \sqrt{n_i + 1} |... n_i + 1 ...\rangle $$ If I take Hermitian adjoint of this I will get ...
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Linear Operators and their representations

I am currently learning Quantum mechanics on a slightly advanced level. I am curious in knowing if there are Linear Operators (Linear Maps) in the Hilbert Space (finite dimensional ones) that don't ...
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246 views

Showing that an operator is Hermitian

Consider the operator $$T=pq^3+q^3p=-i\frac{d}{dq}q^3-iq^3\frac{d}{dq}$$ defined to act on the Hilbert Space $H=L^2(\mathbb{R},dq)$ with the common dense domain $S(\mathbb{R})$. Here $S(\mathbb{R})$ ...
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Lorentz transformation implemented by a non-unitary operator.

One often come across in QFT sentences like the following, for instance: ...under a Lorentz transformation $\Lambda$ implemented by the unitary operator $U(\Lambda)$, a Dirac field transforms ...