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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Momentum and position operators in Schrödinger representation

I was going through some intro notes on path integral (for QFT), and am stuck with this equation for position and momentum in Schrödinger (position) representation, $$ \hat{1} =\int ...
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146 views

Self-adjointness

I know I have posted this question before some time ago. But no one could help so I decided to put my problem in another background. The Schrödinger equation of a free scalar field is given by ...
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45 views

Renormalizing with external momenta set to zero

I've often seen in textbooks that authors renormalize diagrams by setting external momentum to zero. Under what conditions is this justified? An example of this is done in Manohar and Wise's book on ...
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287 views

Expectation Value of a Dynamical Variable

In quantum mechanics, we generally take about "expectation values of dynamical variables". However, by the postulates of quantum mechanics, every dynamical variable in quantum theory is represented by ...
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122 views

Help understanding proof in simultaneous diagonalization

The proof is from Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Shankar. The theorem is: If $\Omega$ and $\Lambda$ are two commuting Hermitian operators, there exists (at least) a basis of common eigenvectors ...
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400 views

Commutator with Pauli spin matrices and the momentum operator

How is $\left[\vec\sigma \cdot \vec p, \vec \sigma \right]$ proportional to $\vec \sigma\times \vec p$, where $\sigma$ are the Pauli spin matrices and $p$ is the momentum operator?
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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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104 views

Momentum Operator in Quantum Mechanics

1) What is the difference between these two momentum operators: $\frac{\hbar}{i}\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$ and $-i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$? How are these two operators the same? My ...
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121 views

Comparing two infinite sets

All the linearly independent eigenfunctions of the parity operator $\mathcal{P}$ form an infinite set and all the linearly independent eigenfunctions of the unit operator $\bf 1$ also form an ...
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Matrix elements of linear operators - orthonormal basis required?

In an early linear algebra class of mine, I learnt that a linear map $\mathcal{A}$ acting on a vector space could be represented by a matrix $A_{ij}$ according to the rule: $$\mathcal{A}({e_j}) = ...
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Precise meaning of composition of ket and bra, e.g. $|\psi\rangle\langle\psi|$

I'm currently studying density matrices, and have been frequently coming across the construction $$|\psi\rangle\langle\psi| \,.$$ What is the formal meaning of this composition? I understand ...
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Why don't we use Hamilton-Jacobi method in QM?

In classical mechanics, we usually try to find a set of coordinates by Hamilton-Jacobi method to transform the Hamiltonian to zero such that the coordinates are conservations. However, we never try ...
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206 views

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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What is the commutator of an operator and its derivative?

Is it possible to calculate in a general way the commutator of an operator $O$ which depends on some variable $x$ and the derivative of this $O$ with respect to $x$? $${O}={O}(x)\\ ...
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How do I prove the equivalence of chirality and helicity operators acting on a massless Dirac spinor?

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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279 views

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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86 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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363 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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107 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
65 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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203 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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1answer
90 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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Fundamental Commutation Relations in Quantum Mechanics

I am trying to compile a list of fundamental commutation relations involving position, linear momentum, total angular momentum, orbital angular momentum, and spin angular momentum. Here is what I have ...
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218 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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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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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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182 views

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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84 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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327 views

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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159 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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223 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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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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334 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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Ambiguity in number of basis vectors [duplicate]

The dimension of the Hilbert space is determined by the number of independent basis vectors. There is a infinite discrete energy eigenbasis $\{|n\rangle\}$ in the problem of particle in a box which ...
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202 views

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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454 views

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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116 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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203 views

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 ...