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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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 ...
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243 views

Can I always find an unitary operator $B$ such that $\{A,B\}= 0$ for a given, unitary operator $A$?

Considering an arbitrary unitary operator $A$, what is the least criteria this operator must satisfy in order that it is possible to find at least another unitary operator $B$ that anti-commutes with ...
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979 views

Can expectation value be imaginary?

I was solving a problem and the result of the expectation value of an operator came out to be $-\frac{\hbar}{4}$ $i$. Is this result possible? It seems counter intuitive.
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How did the operators come about?

This relates a little bit to my previous question (Experimentally, what categorizes a measurement as corresponding to a certain observable?), but it's different in a way and more historical. One of ...
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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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Can eigenstates of a Hilbert space be thought of as delta functions?

Say we have an observable that describes a Hilbert space and that observable acts on state kets. Lets take the position observable for example. Then $\langle y|x\rangle = \delta(y - x)$. But can the ...
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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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Physical meaning of quantum operators

Let's say we have a wavefunction $\psi$ and a measurement operator $\hat A$. I understand how eigenvalues and eigenvectors of $\hat A$ describe the possible outcomes of the measurement. I also ...
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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)\\ ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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Schrödinger equation in position representation

We start from an abstract state vector $ \newcommand{\ket}[1]{|{#1}\rangle} \ket{\Psi}$ as a description of a state of a system and the Schrödinger equation in the following form $$ ...
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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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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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Is there a time operator in quantum mechanics?

The question in the title has been asked many times on this site before, of course. Here's what I found: Time as a Hermitian operator in QM? in 2011. Answer states time is a parameter. Is there an ...
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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.
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Is there is a specific original source where the “quantum operator ordering issue” is stated?

During my research, when the quantum operator ordering ambiguity is mentioned is deemed usually in the likes of "the well-known problem of ordering in quantum mechanics". However, could anybody point ...
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Why are holomorphic boundary CFT2 primary operators massless in the AdS3 bulk?

I saw a claim in this paper that holomorphic boundary CFT$_2$ primary operators correspond to massless states in the AdS$_3$ bulk. Specifically, As always, we simplify the situation by assuming ...
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Equation 2.27 from Pachos's introduction to topological quantum computing

http://quince.leeds.ac.uk/~phyjkp/Files/IntroTQC.pdf above is the PDF that is hosted on his website. The equation is on page 22 (pg 30 in the pdf). In chapter 2. It is the second equation of the ...
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What is the physical interpretation of the automorphism on bounded operators induced by an S matrix?

In a QFT, the S-matrix $S$ is a unitary operator, that fixes the vacuum and commutes with the unitary operators implementing the action of the Poincare group on an appropriate Hilbert space $H$. ...
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Uncertainty relation for non-simultaneous observation

Heisenberg's uncertainty relation in the Robertson-Schroedinger formulation is written as, $$\sigma_A^2 \sigma_B^2 \geq |\frac{1}{2} \langle\{\hat A, \hat B\}\rangle -\langle \hat A\rangle\langle ...
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How to compute the normal ordered angular momentum of a Klein-Gordon real scalar in terms of ladder operators?

I'm trying to compute the angular momentum $$Q_i=-2\epsilon_{ijk}\int{d^3x}\,x^kT^{0j}\tag{1}$$ where ...
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What is the connection between Hilbert Space and path integrals?

Given a space of states $|\rangle$, $|x\rangle$, $|x,y\rangle$, with the creation operators such as $\hat{\phi}(x)|y,z\rangle=|x,y,z\rangle$ for creating a particle at position $x$ and so on. How ...
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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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Books for linear operator and spectral theory

I need some books to learn the basis of linear operator theory and the spectral theory with, if it's possible, physics application to quantum mechanics. Can somebody help me?
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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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Hermitian operator and reality of eigenvalues

Prove or disprove: The eigenvalues of an operator are all real if and only if the operator is hermitian. I know the proof in one way; that is, I know how to prove that if the operator is hermitian, ...
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Proving that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space

How can I prove that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space?
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Annihilation and Creation operators not hermitian

The annihilation and creation operators are given below $$ \hat a|n\rangle=\sqrt{n}|n-1\rangle\qquad\text{and}\qquad\hat a^\dagger|n\rangle=\sqrt{n+1}|n+1\rangle $$ Now I know the operator a^ is not ...
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Is the momentum operator diagonal in position representation?

The matrix elements of the momentum operator in position representation are: $$\langle x | \hat{p} | x' \rangle = -i \hbar \frac{\partial \delta(x-x')}{\partial x}$$ Does this imply that $\langle x ...
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What is $\hat{p}|x\rangle$?

Trying to solve a QM harmonic oscillator problem I found out I need to calculate $\hat{p}|x\rangle$, where $\hat{p}$ is the momentum operator and $|x\rangle$ is an eigenstate of the position operator, ...
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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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Quantum and Classical Liouville operators

In the Heisenberg picture of Quantum Mechanics, for an observable $\hat{A}$, we have the famous Heisenberg equation giving the time evolution of the operator: ($\hat{H}$ is the Hamiltonian operator) ...
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Complex conjugate of momentum operator

Consider momentum operator representation in position space. $$\hat{p}=-i\frac{\partial}{\partial x} \,\ \text{and its eigen functions are } e^{ipx} \,\text{and} \,\ e^{-ipx}.$$ ...
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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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Why is the “canonical momentum” for the Dirac equation not defined in terms of the “gauge covariant derivative”?

The canonical momentum is always used to add an EM field to the Schrödinger/Pauli/Dirac equations. Why does one not use the gauge covariant derivative? As far as I can see, the difference is a factor ...
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How can (in Dirac's terminology) the product of two “real” linear operators be “not real”?

I'm puzzled about a statement from Dirac's 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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Fundamental Commutation Relations in Quantum Mechanics

I am trying to compile a list of fundamental commutation relations involving position, linear momentum, total angular momentum, orbital angular momentum, and spin angular momentum. Here is what I have ...
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Tricky operator identity: $[L^2,[L^2,\vec{r}]]=2 \hbar ^2 \{ L^2, \vec{r}\}$?

This operator identity showed up in a course I was taking, and it was given without proof. $$[L^2,[L^2,\vec{r}]]=2 \hbar ^2 \{ L^2, \vec{r}\}$$ The curly brackets denote the anticommutator, $AB+BA$. ...
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Evaluating commutator of $[\operatorname{sign}(X),\, \operatorname{sign}(P)]$

I wish to evaluate the following commutator: $[\operatorname{sign}(X),\, \operatorname{sign}(P)]$. Is there a general method for evaluating $[\operatorname{f}(X), \operatorname{f}(P)]$? I thought of a ...
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Quantum Mechanical Operators in the argument of an exponential

In Quantum Optics and Quantum Mechanics, the time evolution operator $$U(t,t_i) = \exp\left[\frac{-i}{\hbar}H(t-t_i)\right]$$ is used quite a lot. Suppose $t_i =0$ for simplicity, and say the ...
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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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Why is this identity an if, rather than if and only if?

A recent question (Product of exponential of operators) asked who to proved that the exponentials of operators multiply in same manner as those of scalars if and only if the commutator of the ...
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Rigorous definition of density of states for continuous spectrum

For operators with pure point spectra it is clear how to count number of states corresponding to a given eigenvalue - one can just calculate the dimension of eigenspaces. I am wondering how to do it ...
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Inverse Quantum Operator

In the quantum harmonic oscillator problem, how would one go about calculating $$\left\langle n\left|\frac{1}{X^2}\right|n\right\rangle$$ using raising and lowering operators $a^{\dagger}, a$ only, ...
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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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Operator norm of creation and annihilation operators

Are the creation and the annihilation operators $a(f)$ and $a^{\dagger}(f)$ for the bosonic Fock space bounded? What is their norm? So far I did not have found any note about this in the linked ...