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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Creation and Annihilation Operators

Let $\widehat{a}^{+}_{i}$ and $\widehat{a}_{i}$ be the usual bosonic creation and annihilation operators. Consider $$\widehat{q}_{i} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{2m_{i}w_{i}}}(\widehat{a}_{i}+ ...
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How can I write a Gaussian state as a squeezed, displaced thermal state

I would like to write a Gaussian state with density matrix $\rho$ (single mode) as a squeezed, displaced thermal state: \begin{gather} \rho = \hat{S}(\zeta) \hat{D}(\alpha) \rho_{\bar{n}} ...
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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 $$|n\rangle\langle n| =\prod_{m\ne n} \frac{A-a_m}{a_n-a_m}$$ ...
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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 ...
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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: ...
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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, ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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\;=\; ...
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Why is normal ordering a valid operation?

Why is normal ordering even a valid operation in the first place? I mean it can give us some nice results, but why can we do the ordering for the operators like that? Is its definition motivated by ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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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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 ...
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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) ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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How to write “postselection” operator?

Suppose, I wish to know an operator, which eigenvalue is 1 if state is exactly F and 0 ...
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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 ...
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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: $$ ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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, $\psi$ ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 $\psi$. ...
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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 ...
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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 $$ U(x_b,x_a;T) = \langle x_b | U(T) |x_a \rangle= \int \mathcal{D}q e^{iS} \tag{1} $$ ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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?
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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Operator Product Expansion in Massless 2D QED

In Peskin & Schroeder chapter 19 page 656, where the axial current anomaly of massless 2D QED is discussed, the authors go from: $$ ...
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Tricks at manipulating creation/annihilation operators

Manipulation of terms in algebras different from the standard one (e.g. boolean algebra) can be a bit unnatural but there are always shortcuts that can help you. I was wondering if there is a list ...
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How to replace $T$-product with retarded commutator in LSZ formula?

I am reading Itzykson and Zuber's Quantum Field Theory book, and am unable to understand a step that is made on page 246: Here, they consider the elastic scattering of particle $A$ off particle $B$: ...