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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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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164 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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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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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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81 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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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 (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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226 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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82 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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1answer
56 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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137 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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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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70 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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120 views

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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58 views

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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64 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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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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72 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 $$\hat T = \exp(-ic\hat p /\hbar)$$ acts as a translation operator ($\hat T^\dagger q\hat T=q+c)$. This was simple to show using commutators ...
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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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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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118 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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156 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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119 views

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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282 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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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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1answer
104 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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212 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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339 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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160 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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170 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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98 views

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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289 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 ...
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Matrix element of an operator

Suppose we want to calculate the following matrix element. $$ \langle \alpha |\hat{o}|\beta\rangle $$ Where $\alpha$ and $\beta$ are two arbitrary basis states in a many-particle basis set, and ...
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Space and time translation of quantum field

In book I am studying, the authors want to calculate the spectral representation of the g-lesser (and g-greater) functions and find a general expression for these. In order to do so they start with ...
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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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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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155 views

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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Countable Matrix Representation

In my quantum mechanics class, my professor explained that the Hamiltonian along with position and momentum operators can be represented by matrices of countable dimension. This is especially usefull ...