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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How does linearity of a measurement imply that the commutator of all measured observables are $c$-numbers?

I really don't understand with the linearity conditions I have where this comes from.
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How to get the position operator in the momentum representation from knowing the momentum operator in the position representation?

I know that $$\tag{1}\hat{p}~=~-i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial x}~.$$ How can I get $$\tag{2}\hat{x}~=~i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial p}~?$$ I think this simple and I'm just over thinking it, ...
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How functions become operators in quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

What used to be functions in the context of classical mechanics like position, linear momentum, angular momentum, etc in quantum mechanics are operators (these operators act on the state to get ...
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How are anyons possible?

If $|ψ\rangle$ is the state of a system of two indistinguishable particles, then we have an exchange operator P which switches the states of the two particles. Since the two particles are ...
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How to derive or justify the expressions of momentum operator and energy operator?

It has been noted here$\! { \, }^{\text(1, 2)}$, for instance, that $$\mathbf{F} = \frac{d}{dt}\!\!\biggl[ \, \mathbf{p} \, \biggr]$$ is true in all contexts. Likewise, in notable contexts it is ...
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Is there a formalism for talking about diagonality/commutativity of operators with respect to an overcomplete basis?

Consider a density matrix of a free particle in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Nice, quasi-classical particles will be well-approximated by a wavepacket or a mixture of wavepackets. The ...
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Harmonic Oscillator Energy to Momentum Expectation Value

If we are given a wave function written in terms of harmonic oscillator energy eigenfunctions how can we determine the maximum possible momentum expectation value? It's a combination of the first two ...
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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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188 views

Why does $[xp_{y},x]$ commute?

I'm looking at a solution in my book that says $[xp_{y},x]$ commutes. Does bracket notation imply: $[A,B]=AB-BA$ so that $[xp_{y},x]=xp_{y}x-xxp_{y}$ Taking the comment from Max Graves and ...
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190 views

What are the Time Operators in Quantum Mechanics? [duplicate]

I don't understand at all what the time operators are in quantum mechanics. I thought that given a wave function, because it's a function of time, we could simple put in any time in the future to find ...
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Angular momentum representation

It is well know that, using position representation $$\langle r\lvert L\rvert \psi\rangle =r \times (-i\hbar\nabla\langle r|\psi\rangle )=r \times (-i\hbar\nabla\psi(r)).$$ However, I read ...
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Observable Operator on a Superposition?

I'm probably missing something obvious and basic here but I can't make sense of certain usages of Observables as present in basic treatments of Quantum Mechanics that i've come across. $$ ...
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Proving that the hermitian conjugate of the product of two operators is the product of the two hermitian congugate operators in opposite order

I have reach a step in a problem of my quantum mechanics textbook that requires me to prove the following. $$\hat{A}=(\hat{Q}\hat{R})^{\dagger} = \hat{R}^{\dagger}\hat{Q}^{\dagger}$$ I tried to ...
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Help with understanding an Operator definition

The operator $\hat{F}$ is defined by $F\psi(x)=\psi(x+a)+\psi(x-a)$ Does this mean $\hat{F}=(x+a)+(x-a)$ and that $\hat{F}$ is operating on $\psi(x)$?
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Resolution of identity in interacting QFT

$\mathbf{Background:}$ Consider a free scalar field $\phi$ ($\mathcal{L}_0 = \frac{1}{2}\partial_\mu \phi \partial^\mu \phi + \frac{1}{2}m^2 \phi^2$). In the Hamiltonian viewpoint, this system has a ...
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Quantum operator catastrophe

Assume we look at an interaction between 2 fermions $V \sum_{k_i,k_j,k_m,k_n} c_{k_i}^\dagger c_{k_j}^\dagger c_{k_m} c_{k_n} \delta_k $ where $\delta_k$ conserves momentum. We can directly write ...
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Why Don't the Ladder Operators Commute?

I have two problems with ladder operators. The first is that I feel they should somehow result in measurable things. The asymmetry of applying the plus operator versus the minus operator is very ...
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Representation of Hamiltonian in terms of “creation” and “destruction” operators

Let's have Schrodinger equation or Dirac equation in Schrodinger form: $$ i \partial_{0}\Psi = \hat {H}\Psi . $$ Sometimes we can introduce some operators $\hat {A}, \hat {B}$ (the second is not ...
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How To Use Ladder Operators?

I'm studying for a test in quantum mechanics and I'm having a hard time understanding how to use ladder operators. There are no examples in my text book, only definitions that I can't understand how ...
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Why are Only Real Things Measurable?

Why can't we measure imaginary numbers? I mean, we can take the projection of a complex wave to be the "viewable" part, so why are imaginary numbers given this immeasurable descriptor? Namely with ...
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Unitary Confirmation

I am asked to show that an new defined operator: $$U_{\beta} = \exp(\displaystyle\frac{i\beta L_z}{\hbar})$$ is unitary, where $$L_z = -i\hbar\,\,(x\displaystyle\frac{\partial}{\partial y} - y ...
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Wick's theorem proof details

Let's have Wick's theorem in following form: for fields $$ A_{i}(x) ~=~ A_{i}^{+}(x) + A_{i}^{-}(x), $$ where first summand contains creation operator and the second contains destruction one, is a ...
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Identity in quantum operator tutorial

I'm reading this tutorial by Ben Simons entitled Operator methods in quantum mechanics in connection with his course in advanced QM, and I'm a bit puzzled by an identity in page 25, a bit above ...
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Quantum Mechanics Operator Hermiticity

If $A$ and $B$ are Hermitian operators, show that $$C~:=~i[A,B]$$ is Hermitian too. My work: $$\begin{gather} C=i(AB-BA) \\ \langle\psi\rvert C\lvert\phi\rangle = i\langle\psi\rvert ...
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A “Hermitian” operator with imaginary eigenvalues

Let $${\bf H}=\hat{x}^3\hat{p}+\hat{p}\hat{x}^3$$ where $\hat{p}=-id/dx$. Clearly ${\bf H}^{\dagger}={\bf H}$, because ${\bf H}={\bf T} + {\bf T}^{\dagger}$, where ${\bf T}=\hat{x}^3\hat{p}$. In this ...
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What exactly is $\hat{\psi}^\dagger(x)$? An operator or a function?

I've recently read Cohen-Tannoudji on quantum mechanics to try to better understand Dirac notation. A homework problem is giving me some trouble though. I'm unsure if I've learned enough yet to ...
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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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Normal ordering and path integrals

What is the manifestation of normal ordering for creation/annihilation operators in the path-integral formalism?
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Simple Quantum Mechanics Question about The Commutator of Translation Operators

Say there is $\hat{J} = \exp[-i \hat{p} l/ \hbar]$ and $\hat{U}= \exp[-i\hat{H}t/ \hbar]$, where $\hat{H}$ is time-independent. Can we say anything about $[\hat{J},\hat{U}]$? Is it zero? How do we ...
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Proof that the momentum operator is Hermitian

I am trying to prove that the momentum $p_x$ operator is Hermitian, my approach is the following $$<p_x>~=~\int \Psi^*(\vec{r},t)[-ih\frac{\partial}{\partial x}]\Psi(\vec{r},t)\, d^3r.$$ I try ...
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Translation operator to higher order

IN QM, the space translation operator, or generator of Translations is set to be Ie-ie/h_bar*P up to order e. Now my question is what is the physical justification of only going up to order e and do ...
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Continuous spectrum (quantum mechanics) [duplicate]

Does a continuous spectrum of an observable always imply that the corresponding eigenvectors will not be normalizable? If yes, how to prove it?
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963 views

Prove $[A,B^n] = nB^{n-1}[A,B]$

I am trying to show that $[A,B^n] = nB^{n-1}[A,B]$ where A and B are two Hermitian operators that commute with their commutator. However, I am running into a little problem and would like a hint of ...
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By saying a physical state has some 'symmetry', what do we really mean?

Here our arguments are restricted to the realm of the Projective Symmetry Group(PSG) proposed by Prof. Wen, Quantum Orders and Symmetric Spin Liquids. Xiao-Gang Wen. Phys. Rev. B 65 no. 16, 165113 ...
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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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In what sense is the path integral an independent formulation of Quantum Mechanics/Field Theory?

We are all familiar with the version of Quantum Mechanics based on state space, operators, Schrodinger equation etc. This allows us to successfully compute relevant physical quantities such as ...
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$\mathrm{Tr}(XY) = \mathrm{Tr}(YX)$?

I'm trying to understand the Dirac notation to understand quantum mechanics better. I'm trying to show the above relation using the Dirac notation. Given $$\mathrm{Tr}(X)~=~\sum_j\langle ...
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Positive cone of operators: if two selfadjoints $a$, $b$ obey $a^2 + b^2 =1$, must they commute?

The question relates to the structure of the positive cone of operators, in C*-algebra. If $a$ and $b$ are selfadjoints such that $a^2 + b^2 = 1$ can one prove $a$ and $b$ commute? What one ...
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Expectation Values in Quantum Mechanics

Why is the expectation value what it is? Why don't you apply the operator, then multiply that by it's conjugate?
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What is the Momentum Operator?

I know the equation for the momentum operator, but what exactly is the momentum operator? It's bizarre to me that taking the derivative of the wave function, which is an operator, should return ...
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Why do we use operators in quantum mechanics?

In classical mechanics, physical quantities, such as, e.g. the coordinates of position, velocity, momentum, energy, etc, are real numbers, but in quantum mechanics they become operators. Why is this ...
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Is time ordering defined for a single operator depending of two time variables?

The time ordering for the purpose of quantum mechanics is e.g. given by $${\mathcal T} \left[A(x) B(y)\right] := \begin{matrix} A(x) B(y) & \textrm{ if } & x_0 > y_0 \\ \pm B(y)A(x) & ...
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Is continuous evolution from one eigenstate of operator $O$ to another $O$-eigenstate possible?

Eigenvectors associated with distinct values of an observable are orthogonal, according to quantum mechanics. Does this entail that a quantum system cannot continuously evolve from one eigenstate ...
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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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Rotation matrix is always a unitary operator

Can someone explain why the rotation matrix is a unitary, specifically orthogonal, operator?
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Implicit Postulate of Quantum Mechanics

Consider the following quantum system: a particle in a one dimensional box (= infinite potential well). The energy eigenstates wave functions all vanish outside the box. But the position eigenstates ...
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How does the momentum operator act on state kets?

I have been going through some problems in Sakurai's Modern QM and at one point have to calculate $\langle \alpha|\hat{p}|\alpha\rangle$ where all we know about the state $|\alpha\rangle$ is that ...
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Space translation of operators, states, and particle densities

In Sidney Coleman's Lectures he talked about space translations such that $$\tag{1} e^{ia P}\rho(x) e^{-ia P} ~=~ \rho(x-a),$$ but when I expanded the exponentials and used the commutation relation ...
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Does every hermitian operator represent a measurable quantity?

In Quantum mechanics, observables are represented by hermitian operator. But does every hermitian operator represent a observable? If not , how do we know that whether a hermitian operator represent ...
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Justification for smeared fields in the Wightman axioms?

I just started reading PCT, Spin and Statistics, and All That. Can someone explain why we use operator valued distributions to describe fields? I read somewhere that it would take infinite energy to ...