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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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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147 views

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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272 views

Wick Order and Radial Ordering in CFT

I am not so much familiar with the computations tools of conformal field theory, and I just run into an exercise asking to demonstrate the following formula (related to the bosonic field case): ...
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123 views

How are matrices used to represent quantities, and what is the meaning of a matrix?

So I'm reading this text on Quantum Mechanics, and it goes through a few chapters that I understand fairly well including probability. But then it says that all quantities, like position and energy ...
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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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128 views

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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317 views

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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271 views

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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407 views

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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2k views

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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762 views

The implication of anti-commutation relations in quantum mechanics

All the textbooks I saw are very clear about the implications of commutating operators in quantum mechanics. However, much less is said about anti-commutation relations. Does it have a general ...
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129 views

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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133 views

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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371 views

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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399 views

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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184 views

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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Perturbation of an operator - Meaning of matrix element [closed]

Let be $B$ an operator and $\left|\Psi\right>$, $\left|\Phi\right>$ two states (not necessarily equals). What is the meaning of a matrix element $\left<\Psi\right| B ...
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The correspondence between Grassmann number and 4-spinor

In canonical quantization, we view the Dirac field $\psi$ as a $4\times1$ matrix of complex number. While in path integral quantization, we view the Dirac field $\psi$ as a Grassmann number. For two ...
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111 views

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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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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154 views

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 ...
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164 views

Does the Renormalization of QFT Contradict Canonical Quantization?

Does the renormalization of QFT contradict canonical quantization? In canonical quantization, you take the classical fields and canonical momenta and turn them into operators, and you require that ...
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409 views

Existence of adjoint of an antilinear operator, time reversal

The time reversal operator $T$ is an antiunitary operator, and I saw $T^\dagger$ in many places (for example when some guy is doing a "time reversal" $THT^\dagger$), but I wonder if there is a ...
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Linearizing Quantum Operators

I was reading an article on harmonic generation and came across the following way of decomposing the photon field operator. $$ \hat{A}={\langle}\hat{A}{\rangle}I+ \Delta\hat{a}$$ The right hand side ...
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Nature of Microscopic space-time

I am going through the introductory chapter's of Schwinger's Source theory. He writes, It [Source Theory] is a phenomenological theory, designed to describe the observed particles. No speculations ...
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Action of Parity operator on Impulse representation

Is my derivation of the action of the parity operator $\mathbb{P}$ on the $|p\rangle$ representation correct? $$\left( \mathbb{P}\tilde\psi \right)(p)= - \tilde\psi (p).$$ Obtained from $$\left( ...
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A particlar normal ordering problem

Say we have an expression of the form: $$ \left<0\right|:\phi(x)^2: : \phi(y)^2:\left|0\right>, $$ where $\phi$ is some scalar field. I have heard the claim several times, that in evaluating ...
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How to prove that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space?

How to prove that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space?
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Is H=H* sloppy notation or really just incorrect, for Hermitian operators?

I saw it in this pdf, where they state that $P=P^\dagger$ and thus $P$ is hermitian. I find this notation confusing, because an operator A is Hermitian if $\langle \Psi | A \Psi \rangle=\langle A ...
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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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The issue on existence of inverse operations of $a$ and $a^{\dagger}$

I have asked a question at math.stackexchange that have a physical meaning. My assumption: Suppose $a$ and $a^\dagger$ is Hermitian adjoint operators and $[a,a^\dagger]=1$. I want to prove that ...
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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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Commutator of $L^2$ and $X^2$, $P^2$

In our quantum mechanics script, it states that $[L^2, X^2] = 0$ and $[L^2, P^2] = 0$, therefore for the following Hamiltonan $$H = \frac{P^2}{2m} + V(X^2)$$ it is that $[H, L^2] = 0$ therefore $H$ ...
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Matrix elements of momentum operator in position representation

I have two related questions on the representation of the momentum operator in the position basis. The action of the momentum operator on a wave function is to derive it: $$\hat{p} ...
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Is there a four dimensional form of Born's Rule -redub

Generalizing Born's Rule for 4-dimensions $x_4$, write $$\langle a\rangle = \int\Psi A\Psi^* \mathrm{d}x_4$$ Is this consistent with quantum mechanics? Is this a generalized form of the Born's ...
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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 $x$.
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Existence of creation and annihilation operators

In a multiple particle Hilbert space (any space of any multi-particle system), is it sufficient to define creation and annihilation operators by their action (e.g. mapping an n-particle state to an ...
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How to apply an algebraic operator expression to a ket found in Dirac's QM book?

I've been trying to learn quantum mechanics from a formal point of view, so I picked up Dirac's book. In the fourth edition, 33rd page, starting from this:$$\xi|\xi'\rangle=\xi'|\xi'\rangle$$ (Where ...
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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 ...
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183 views

Explanation of Dirac's proof of arbitrary ket being expressible with eigenkets of observable

In P.A.M. Dirac's The Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Chapter 10 (Observables), pp. 40, at the end of the chapter there is a proof that I don't understand at all. Here is a pdf link to the book ...
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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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153 views

Commutator not transitive

I noticed the following: $$[L_{+},L^2]=0,\qquad [L_{+},L_3]\neq 0,\qquad [L^2,L_3]=0.$$ This would suggest, that $L^2,L_+$ have a common system of eigenfunctions, and so do $L^2,L_3$, but $L_+,L_3$ ...
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Why does $i ( LK-KL )$ represent a real quantity?

According to my textbook, it says that $i( LK-KL )$ represents a real quantity when $K$ and $L$ represent a real quantity. $K$ and $L$ are matrices. It says that this is because of basic rules. ...
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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 $\phi^2(x)$. $$T(:\phi^2(x)::\phi^2(0):) ~=~ 2<0|T(\phi(x)\phi(0))|0>^2 $$ ...
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Commutators and Hermiticity - Exam question

I'm doing old exam questions, and here is one that on first glance seemed rather simple to me, but I just can't get it: Given are two operators $A$ and $B$, and all we know about them is that ...
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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 ...
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Coherent State, Unitary Operators, Harmonic Oscillator

Consider the operator: $$O = e^{\theta(a^\dagger b - b^\dagger a)}$$ where $\theta$ is a constant. $O$ is a unitary operator. $a$, $a^\dagger$, $b$, and $b^\dagger$ are ladder operators for two ...