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 don't non-Hermitian operators with all real-eigenvalues correspond to observables? [duplicate]

Suppose you could construct an operator that was non-Hermitian but had all real eigenvalues or could at least be restricted in a way to create only real eigenvalues, why would this operator not ...
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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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92 views

When do two operators act on the same Hilbert space?

Suppose I want to represent the quantum state of a spinless particle. To do so, I employ a Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}_X$, which is an infinite-dimensional Hilbert space equipped with a position ...
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Is it possible to define the logarithm of creation/annihilation operators?

This is just a curiosity I had recently. I am going to let the reader interpret the context of the question, in their own way!
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77 views

Probability amplitude for motion from $x_i$ to $x_f$ in Heisenberg picture

In M. Nakahara's book Geometry, Topology and Physics on page 19, the probability amplitude for a particle to move from $x_i$ at time $t_i$ to $x_f$ at time $t_f$ is given as $$ \tag{1} \langle x_f, ...
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Is there an intuitive explanation to the fact that the solutions to the time-independent Schrödinger equation form a complete basis?

We were always told that the solutions to the time-independent Schrödinger equation form a complete eigenbasis for the space of all functions (all functions?) but I never understood why this is the ...
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Infinitesimally change a operator in QM

Reading Balian, "From Microphysics to Macrophysics", I've found the following identity: If we change the operator $\hat{{\mathbf{X}}}$ infinitesimally by $\hat{{\delta\mathbf{X}}}$, the trace of an ...
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59 views

What special significance does the eigendecomposition of a mixed density operator hold over other pure state decompositions?

It is known that in general, a mixed state can have multiple pure state decompositions. However, it has a unique eigendecomposition in the absence of degenerate eigenvalues. What is the special ...
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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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704 views

Eigenvalue for the creation operator for a coherent state [closed]

For a coherent state $$ |\alpha\rangle=e^{-\frac{|\alpha|^{2}}{2}}\sum_{n}\frac{\alpha^{n}}{\sqrt{n!}}|n\rangle $$ I can't solve the eigenvalue problem for $\hat{a}^{\dagger}|\alpha\rangle$ where $\...
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82 views

“This operator is odd under parity”

In problem 8.10 of Schaum's Quantum Mechanics they say: "We see that under the parity operator $r \rightarrow r$, $\theta \rightarrow \pi - \theta$ and $\phi \rightarrow \pi + \phi$ .. since $\frac{d}...
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301 views

How do you prove that the number operator commutes with a general Hamiltonian?

If you have a hamiltonian, in the case of a bosonic system $$ H=\sum_{ij}H_{ij}a_i^\dagger a_j, $$ and the number operator $$ N=\sum_{i}a_i^{\dagger}a_i. $$ How do you show that they commute? I have ...
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Prove that if $\hat H | a_n\rangle=a_n|a_n\rangle$, then $f(\hat H)| a_n\rangle=f(a_n)|a_n\rangle$

In Quantum Mechanics you have the eigenvalue equation: $$\hat H | a_n\rangle=a_n|a_n\rangle \tag{1}$$ where $\hat H$ is the Hamiltonian operator, $\{|a_n\rangle\}$ is a complete set of eigenstates ...
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190 views

How to determine the observables rigorously?

In Quantum Mechanics, as I know, if a system is described by a Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$, each physical quantity is associated with some hermitian operator $A : U\subset \mathcal{H}\to \mathcal{H}$ ...
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156 views

Conceptual questions on the path integral formulation of QFT

I'm currently trying to teach myself the path integral formulation of QFT (having studied the canonical approach previously), but I'm having some conceptual difficulties that I hope I can clear up ...
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63 views

Possible values for $L_x$

I've a physical system with $l=1$ and I have to calculate the values I can obtain if I measure $L_x$ and their probability. I know that: the values I can obtain are $\ m=0, \pm 1$ $\displaystyle ...
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What quantum measurement formalism is easiest to implement physically?

As part of my studies and research, I have learned to work with three different measurement formalism which I define to avoid any ambiguity with the nomenclature: General measurements, which are ...
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Electric field operator in 2D geomatry

In the free field (3D), transverse electric field operator is given by the below expression; $$e^{\bot}(\textbf{R}) =i \sum_{\textbf{p},\lambda}\Big( \frac{\hbar cp}{2V\epsilon_{0}}\Big)^{1/2} \{e^{(\...
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148 views

Completeness relations of eigenstates in the Heisenberg picture

I've been reading Srednicki's introduction to path integrals and I'm slightly unsure of the notation that he uses for the completeness relation of position eigenstates in the Heisenberg picture. In ...
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270 views

Meaning of expectation value of product of non-commuting operators

Let $\hat{A}$ and $\hat{B}$ be Hermitian observables with spectra labeled by $a$ and $b$. Then we can write \begin{equation} \hat{A} = \sum_a a\, \hat{P}_a \end{equation} \begin{equation} \hat{B} = \...
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89 views

Lippmann-Schwinger equation and $T$ expansion

Lippmann-Schwinger equation, in operator form, is: $$ T=V+V\frac{1} {E-H_0+i \hbar \varepsilon} T=:V+V\Theta_0T, $$ where $H_{tot}=H_0+{V}$ is the hamiltonian ($H_0$ is the free particle hamiltonian ...
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78 views

How to deal with eigenvectors which are not square integrable?

In Quantum Mechanics there is one type of situation I'm still unsure on how to deal with. First of all, I want to make clear I'm trying to understand how to deal with this rigorously. What I'm talking ...
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560 views

Schroedinger equation for hydrogen atom

I have got a problem understanding the meaning of the Laplace operator in the Schrödinger equation for the hydrogen atom. $$\Big(-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m_e} \Delta_{r_e} - \frac{\hbar^2}{2M_P} \Delta_{r_p} ...
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118 views

What is time evolution operator?

Could you explain to me (level 1 years undergrade) what is a time evolution operator? I read on Wikipedia, and it confuses me.
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58 views

Boson ladder operator $n+1$ factor [closed]

Looking at Boson creation and annihilation operators, I come across that \begin{equation} b_a|n_\alpha\rangle=\sqrt{n_\alpha}|n_\alpha-1\rangle \end{equation} and \begin{equation} b_a^+|n_\alpha\...
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Adjoint Fokker-Plank operator

In Zwanzig's book "nonequilibrium statistical mechanics" he defines the Fokker-Plank equation for a probability distribution $f$ and with it an operator $D$: $${ \partial f(a,t) \over \partial t} = \...
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166 views

Definition of Hamilton operator

The Hamilton operator is by definition a self-adjoint operator $H\text{: }D\left(H\right)\to\mathcal{H}$ with $D\left(H\right)\subset\mathcal{H}$ a dense linear subspace of the Hilbert space $\mathcal{...
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68 views

One-electron reduced density matrix: Argument for positive semidefiniteness

I cannot follow an argument for positive-semidefiniteness of the one-electron density matrix given in "Molecular Electronic-Structure Theory" by Helgaker/Jorgensen/Olsen. First some definitions: $F(M)$...
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112 views

How to construct the operator and the physical experiment needed to perform an arbitrary 'measurement in a basis'?

I have taken an introductory level course in QM and have covered some advanced topics by myself and don't really understand what it means to 'measure in a particular basis'. A projective measurement ...
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134 views

Derivation of the low-energy effective Hamiltonian

In the quantum mechanics, the Hamiltonian $H$ satisfies the Schroedinger equation $$ H\psi = E\psi. $$ Suppose that $P$ is a projection operator, and $Q=1-P$. The low-energy effective Hamiltonian is $$...
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310 views

Time-ordering and Dyson series

In Dyson series we use a time-ordered exponential by arguing that a Hamiltonian at two different instants of time does not commute. Why is it that so? Can anyone explain with example why should the ...
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137 views

Both Eigenvalues and Operators are “Observables”? [duplicate]

I am having a bit of difficulty wading through the what seems to be multiple usages for Observables in Quantum Mechanics. " Mathematically observables are postulated to be Hermitian operators.. " ...
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1answer
217 views

Why isn't the time-derivative considered an operator in quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

Based on my understanding when doing quantum mechanics we deal with a small set of mathematical objects: namely scalars, kets, bras, and operators. But then in the Schrodinger equation we have this ...
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240 views

Can operators be argument of Dirac Delta function

In one part of Marc Bee's book on Quasielastic Neutron Scattering, he defines the pair correlation function $$ G(\textbf r,t) = \frac{1}{(2\pi)^3}\int I(\textbf Q,t)\text e^{-i\textbf Q.\textbf r}\ d^...
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98 views

Eigenstates of a harmonic oscillator

Using ladder operators, I can find eigenstates $\psi_n$ with eigenenergies $$E_n=\hbar\omega\left(n+\frac{1}{2}\right). $$ In my textbook, ladder operators work like $$ a\psi_n = c_n \psi_{n-1}$$ $$ a^...
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1answer
50 views

Find the expression of $j_+$ and $j_-$operators [closed]

I have just started to do exercises about quantum mechanics and I have some difficulties. I have a particle with spin $j=1$ and the Hamiltonian is $H=\gamma(j_xj_y+j_y j_x)$ (where $\gamma$ is a ...
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1answer
71 views

Can the inverse operator be expressed as a series?

I've seen the claim that a function of an operator can be defined as a series. For example, say $A: H_1 \mapsto H_2$ is an operator. Then $$ e^A \equiv \sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{A^n}{n!}. \tag{1}$$ In ...
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1answer
49 views

Do I have some freedom when I define the quantum SHO ladder operators? [closed]

I tried to solve the quantum harmonic oscillator via the operator method. After doing it and looking up the solution I noticed that for some reason the ladder operators got an additional factor of (i) ...
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1answer
184 views

Continuous spectrum of hydrogen atom

I wonder if there is a nice treatment of the continuous spectrum of hydrogen atom in the physics literature--showing how the spectrum decomposition looks and how to derive it.
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439 views

A particle in a 1D box: what is the meaning of velocity?

In the box $x = 0$ to $x = L$, $V = 0$, and for $x < 0$ and $x > L$, $V = \infty$ (infinite potential well). The eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian are: $$E_n = \frac{n^2 h^2}{8L^2} \, .$$ Since ...
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Why does time evolution operator have the form $U(t) = e^{-itH}$?

Let's denote by $|\psi(t)\rangle$ some wavefunction at time $t$. Then let's define the time evolution operator $U(t_1,t_2)$ through $$ U(t_2,t_1) |\psi(t_1)\rangle = |\psi(t_2)\rangle \tag{1}$$ and ...
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99 views

What is a single-phonon?

From what I understood from wikipedia, as well as some other resources, each phonon corresponds to a normal mode oscillation, and the creation operator to create a phonon of wavevector $k$ is: $$ a^{\...
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$[A_1, H] =[A_2, H] = 0$ but $[A_1, A_2] \neq 0$?

I am having a difficult time understanding this problem. Suppose $[A_1, A_2] \ne 0,$ $[A_1, H] = 0,$ $[A_2, H] = 0.$ Show that the energy eigenstates of $H$ are in general ...
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Is Hamiltonian a differential operator in second quantization?

Normally, a free particle Hamiltonian is written $$ \hat{H} = - \frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \Delta $$ which is a differential operator because Laplacian $\Delta$ is. On the other hand, in second ...
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105 views

Commutation relations in second quantization

I know that for operators $a(\chi_1), a(\chi_2)$ of the same type (fermionic or bosonic) $$ [a(\chi_1), a(\chi_2)]_{-\xi} = [a^\dagger (\chi_1), a^\dagger (\chi_2)]_{-\xi} = 0 \tag{1}$$ where $$\xi ...
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How to write electron hole Hamiltonian into quasi-boson form?

V Chernyak, Wei Min Zhang, S Mukamel, J Chem Phys Vol. 109, 9587 (can be freely downloaded here http://mukamel.ps.uci.edu/publications/pdfs/347.pdf ) Eq.(2.2), Eq. (B1) Eq.(B4)-(B6). When I substitue ...
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1answer
74 views

Smoothness of the energy levels of a generic Hamiltonian

Let us take an Hamiltonian $H(\xi)$ which depends on a set of parameters $\xi$, and assume that the matrix elements $h_{ij}(\xi)$ of the Hamiltonian are smooth complex functions of the parameters $\xi$...
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How to express a convex function of a Hermitian operator in terms of its eigenvalues and eigenvectors?

The Hermitian operator $\hat O$ can be expressed as $$\hat{O}=\sum_i O_i|O_i\rangle\langle O_i|.$$ How to prove that a convex function $f(\hat O)$ can be expressed like $$f (\hat O)=\sum_i f(O_i)|...
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451 views

The dual role of (anti-)Hermitian operators in quantum mechanics

Hermitian (or anti-Hermitian) operators are of central importance in quantum mechanics in at least two different incarnations: Observables are represented by Hermitian operators on the quantum ...
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Prove: $A$ and $B$ commute, therefore functions $f(A)$ and $g(B)$ will always commute with one another [closed]

How do I / can I actually prove the relationship $[a,b]=0 \Rightarrow [f(a),g(b)]=0$ for all functions $f,g$. I'm asking because the following sentence in the solution to my quantum mechanics ...