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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A physical quantity that is a real combination and commutability

Suppose that a matrix $$A ~=~ x_1 B + x_2 C$$ is a linear combination of two self-adjoint matrices $B$ and $C$. I'm interested in when $A$ represents a physical quantity. When the linear ...
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174 views

Matrix representing the quantity - why can some matrices not be physical quantity?

In Heisenberg picture, my textbook says that the following matrix $A = \frac{5}{3}\Sigma_1 + i\frac{4}{3}\Sigma_2$ cannot represent physical quantity. the book says this is because ...
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623 views

The Hermiticity of the Laplacian (and other operators)

Is the Laplacian operator, $\nabla^{2}$, a Hermitian operator? Alternatively: is the matrix representation of the Laplacian Hermitian? i.e. $$\langle \nabla^{2} x | y \rangle = \langle x | ...
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369 views

Derivative of a Position Eigenket

I was flicking through Zettili's book on quantum mechanics and came across a 'derivation' of the momentum operator in the position representation on page 126. The author derived that ...
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469 views

Why are the inner products of the eigenfunctions of an operator with a discrete eigenvalue spectrum guaranteed to exist?

I was reading through a textbook, and the statement was made that the inner products are guaranteed to exist if the eigenvalue spectrum of the operator is discrete. I have come across no support for ...
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161 views

The notion of bounded states in quantum mechanics and their characterization with operators

Is there any case of potential $V$, such that the continuity of the operator $H=c\ \Delta+V$ is not spoiled? And I don't know any non-differnetial operator examples for continous spectra. I ...
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3answers
547 views

Existence of creation and annihilation operators

In a multiple particle Hilbert space (any space of any multi-particle system), is it sufficient to define creation and annihilation operators by their action (e.g. mapping an n-particle state to an ...
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324 views

What is the physical meaning of weak expectation values?

In the two-state formalism of Yakir Aharanov, the weak expectation value of an operator $A$ is $\frac{\langle \chi | A | \psi \rangle}{\langle \chi | \psi \rangle}$. This can have bizarre properties. ...
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494 views

How do I solve these integrals of wave function and operator?

First integral $$\int \Psi^*({\bf r},t)\hat {\bf p} \Psi({\bf r},t)\, d^3r,$$ where the $\Psi({\bf r},t)=e^{i({\bf k}\cdot{\bf r}-\omega t)}\,\,\,$ and $\hat {\bf p}=-i\hbar \nabla$. Second one ...
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How should I interpret the expectation value $\langle x p\rangle$ in quantum mechanics?

$xp$ is not a hermitian operator and hence doesn't represent an observable. Then, how can we interpret the expression $$ \langle x p \rangle \text{,} $$ the expectation value of position times ...
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372 views

Hermitian operator ?? is this possible

we know that the operator $ H= - \hbar ^{2} \frac{d^{2}}{dx^{2}}+ V(x) $ is hermitian isn't it ?? however what would happen if the potential were still real but it depends on the Wave function, for ...
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Properties of expectation values of quantum operators [closed]

$$\langle \hat A \rangle \langle \hat B \rangle=\langle \hat A\hat B \rangle,$$ $$\langle \hat A \rangle + \langle \hat B \rangle=\langle \hat A + \hat B \rangle,$$ $$\langle \hat A^2 \rangle ...
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177 views

When does a function of an operator act in the same way as the operator?

"Consider an operator $A = r - a$, where $r$ is an operator and $a$ is a constant. Consider only those state kets $V_i$ in the Hilbert space such that $AV_i = 0$ ($A$ acting on $V_i$). Define a ...
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1answer
202 views

Inverse of a sum of two easy matrices

Let $A$ be a symmetric positive semidefinite matrix and $I$ the identity matrix. Given the linear equation $$ y = A(A + \sigma^2I)^{-1} x $$ Write $A$ in terms of its eigenvectors $|u_i\rangle$, ...
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902 views

Operators and Commutator Definitions

I have several problems with General Definitions of an Operator and Commutator : the product of operators is generally not commutative: $$\hat A \hat B \not= \hat B\hat A .$$ what is this means ...
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118 views

Positive Permutation Tensor

I have seen that one can make an operator with $$ L^i=\epsilon^{ijk}x_{j}\partial_{k} $$ But what if I want to make instead items that are sums, instead of differences. For instance ...
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181 views

Eigenvalue of $L_z$

In section 4.3 of Griffths' "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics", just below Figure 4.6, the sentence begins Let $\hbar \ell$ be the eigenvalue of $L_z$ at this top rung... Why is this valid? ...
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230 views

How could $\textbf{S}^2$ not be a multiple of the identity?

I'm self-studying quantum mechanics with Sakurai's book (Modern Quantum Mechanics, 2nd edition) and came across the following in reference to the operator $\textbf{S}^2$: As will be shown in ...
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645 views

Probability of getting a particular spin

I'm a beginner in quantum mechanics, and I'm a bit confused about states and the probability to measure certain values. I would like to understand at least the following simplified situation: ...
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1k views

Why/How is this Wick's theorem?

Let $\phi$ be a scalar field and then I see the following expression for the square of the normal ordered version of $\phi^2(x)$. $$T(:\phi^2(x)::\phi^2(0):) ~=~ 2<0|T(\phi(x)\phi(0))|0>^2 $$ ...
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319 views

How do we measure $i[\hat\phi(x),\hat\phi(y)]$ in QFT?

What operational procedure is required to measure $i[\hat\phi(x),\hat\phi(y)]$ in an interacting (or non-interacting) QFT? [assume smearing by test-functions, or give an answer in Fourier space, for ...
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2answers
849 views

Basic Question - Green's Functions in Quantum Mechanics

I am trying to learn about Green's functions as part of my graduate studies and have a rather basic question about them: In my maths textbooks and a lot of places online, the basic Greens function G ...
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1answer
279 views

Wick Order and Radial Ordering in CFT

I am not so much familiar with the computations tools of conformal field theory, and I just run into an exercise asking to demonstrate the following formula (related to the bosonic field case): ...
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1answer
319 views

Multiplication of 3-vector operators

I've started reading "Quantum Mechanics: A Modern Development" by Leslie E. Ballentine and have some trouble understanding how to handle 3-vector operators (i.e. an operator $\mathbf{A}$ with ...
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Shape of the state space under different tensor products

I am currently studying generalized probabilistic theories. Let me roughly recall how such a theory looks like (you can skip this and go to "My question" if you are familiar with this). Recall: In a ...
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890 views

Derivation of angular momentum commutator relations

I'm trying to understand the derivation of the angular momentum commutator relations. How is $$[zp_y, zp_x] ~=~ 0?$$ How is $$[yp_z, zp_x] ~=~ y[p_z, z]p_x?$$
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228 views

A missing factor of 2 in the standard Hartree-Fock mean field?

Let's start from a very simple argument: If $A$ and $B$ are some operators, then I can write their product as $$AB = (A-\langle A\rangle)(B - \langle B \rangle) + \langle A \rangle B + A \langle B ...
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194 views

The difference between projection operators and field operators in QFT?

Is there a good reference for the distinction between projection operators in QFT, with an eigenvalue spectrum of $\{1,0\}$, representing yes/no measurements, the prototype of which is the Vacuum ...
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1answer
144 views

Representation on Hilbert space of the product of two symmetry transformations

We know by Wigner's theorem that the representation of a symmetry transformation on the Hilbert space is either unitary and linear, or anti-unitary and anti-linear. Let $T$ and $S$ be two symmetry ...
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4answers
246 views

How to apply an algebraic operator expression to a ket found in Dirac's QM book?

I've been trying to learn quantum mechanics from a formal point of view, so I picked up Dirac's book. In the fourth edition, 33rd page, starting from this:$$\xi|\xi'\rangle=\xi'|\xi'\rangle$$ (Where ...
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411 views

Can we solve the particle in an infinite well in QM using creation and annihilation operators?

The particle in an infinite potential well in QM is usually solved by easily solving Schrodinger differential equation. On the other hand particle in the harmonic oscillator oscillator potential can ...
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378 views

Some questions on observables in QM

1-In QM every observable is described mathematically by a linear Hermitian operator. Does that mean every Hermitian linear operator can represent an observable? 2-What are the criteria to say whether ...
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Compatible Observables

My QM book says that when two observables are compatible, then the order in which we carry out measurements is irrelevant. When you carry out a measurement corresponding to an operator $A$, the ...
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Spectrum of a quantum relativistic “distance squared” operator

This question disusses the same concepts as that question (this time in quantum context). Consider a relativistic system in spacetime dimension $D$. Poincare symmetry yields the conserved charges $M$ ...
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833 views

Implications of unbounded operators in quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanical observables of a system are represented by self - adjoint operators in a separable complex Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$. Now I understand a lot of operators ...
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Is mass an observable in Quantum Mechanics?

One of the postulates of QM mechanics is that any observable is described mathematically by a hermitian linear operator. I suppose that an observable means a quantity that can be measured. The mass ...
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2answers
559 views

Regularisation of infinite-dimensional determinants

Can a regularisation of the determinant be used to find the eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian in the normal infinite dimensional setting of QM? Edit: I failed to make myself clear. In finite ...
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927 views

Index Manipulation and Angular Momentum Commutator Relations

I have been trying for hours and cannot figure it out. I am not asking anyone to do it for me, but to understand how to proceed. We have the relations $$[L_i,p_j] ~=~ i\hbar\; \epsilon_{ijk}p_k,$$ ...
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5answers
739 views

Observable: possible outcome of measurement vs (linear) transformation

One of the postulates of quantum mechanics is that every physical observable corresponds to a Hermitian operator $H$, that the possible outcomes of the measurements are eigenvalues of the operator, ...
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798 views

The implication of anti-commutation relations in quantum mechanics

All the textbooks I saw are very clear about the implications of commutating operators in quantum mechanics. However, much less is said about anti-commutation relations. Does it have a general ...
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1answer
461 views

Question on ladder operators

Suppose we have a finite , discrete set of orthonormal states $|k\rangle $ We can construct raising and lowering operators intuitively, for example $$a_+ =\sum_{k=1}^nC_{k+1}|k+1\rangle \langle k|$$ ...
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527 views

Why is the Dirac operator so important - in both physics and mathematics?

Why is the Dirac operator considered so important - in both physics and (pure) mathematics?
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915 views

Energy is actually the momentum in the direction of time?

By comparatively examining the operators a student concludes that `Energy is actually the momentum in the direction of time.' Is this student right? Could he be wrong?
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923 views

Hermitian operator and reality of eigenvalues

Prove or disprove: The eigenvalues of an operator are all real if and only if the operator is hermitian. I know the proof in one way; that is, I know how to prove that if the operator is hermitian, ...
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1answer
63 views

Linearizing Quantum Operators [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Linearizing Quantum Operators I was reading an article on harmonic generation and came across the following way of decomposing the photon field operator. $$ ...
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1answer
204 views

Linearizing Quantum Operators

I was reading an article on harmonic generation and came across the following way of decomposing the photon field operator. $$ \hat{A}={\langle}\hat{A}{\rangle}I+ \Delta\hat{a}$$ The right hand side ...
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537 views

Unitary Operator as a complex valued function

A book on Quantum Mechanics by Schwinger states, "A unitary operator can be considered to be a complex valued function of a Hermitian operator." Please give a hint on how to prove this assertion.
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501 views

Weird operator and wavefunctions

How can one show that $\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}\psi^*(x)(d/dx+\tanh x)(-d/dx+\tanh x)\psi(x) dx=\int_{-\infty}^{\infty} |(d/dx+\tanh x)\psi(x)|^2 dx$, where $\psi$ is normalized?
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Degeneracy and the Hamiltonian

How many linearly independent eigenfunctions can be associated with one degenerate eigenvalue of the Hamiltonian operator? (Is there a limit since it contains a 2nd order differential operator?) ...
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967 views

Derivative of the product of operators

I'm asked to show that $\frac{d(\hat{A}\hat{B})}{d\lambda} = \frac{d\hat{A}}{d\lambda}\hat{B} + \hat{A}\frac{d\hat{b}}{d\lambda}$ With $\lambda$ a continuous parameter Should I use the definition ...