Quantum mechanics describes the microscopic properties of nature in a regime where classical mechanics no longer applies. It explains phenomena such as the wave-particle duality, quantization of energy and the uncertainty principle and is generally used in single body systems. Use the quantum-field-...

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What is the usefulness of the Wigner-Eckart theorem?

I am doing some self-study in between undergrad and grad school and I came across the beastly Wigner-Eckart theorem in Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics. I was wondering if someone could tell me why ...
25
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7answers
9k views

How is quantum superposition different from mixed state?

According to Wikipedia, if a system has $50\%$ chance to be in state $\left|\psi_1\right>$ and $50\%$ to be in state $\left|\psi_2\right>$, then this is a mixed state. Now consider state $\left|...
39
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4answers
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Maximum theoretical data density

Our ability to store data on or in physical media continues to grow, with the maximum amount a data you can store in a given volume increasing exponentially from year to year. Storage devices continue ...
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2answers
2k views

Intuitive meaning of Hilbert Space formalism

I am totally confused about the Hilbert Space formalism of Quantum Mechanics. Can somebody please elaborate on the following points: The observables are given by self-adjoint operators on the ...
16
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1answer
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Phase shifts in scattering theory

I have been studying scattering theory in Sakurai's quantum mechanics. The phase shift in scattering theory has been a major conceptual and computational stumbling block for me. How (if at all) does ...
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3answers
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Why does non-commutativity in quantum mechanics require us to use Hilbert spaces?

I am reading Why we do quantum mechanics on Hilbert spaces by Armin Scrinzi. He says on page 13: What is new in quantum mechanics is non-commutativity. For handling this, the Hilbert space ...
14
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3answers
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Meaning of inner product $\langle \vec{r} | \psi(t)\rangle $

I have come across the equation which comes out of the nothing in Zettili's book Quantum mechanics concepts and applications p. 167: $$\psi(\vec{r},t) ~=~ \langle \vec{r} \,|\, \psi(t) \rangle.$$ ...
26
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2answers
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What is a phonon?

I am trying to understand intuitively what a phonon is, but for the moment I find it quite difficult (having a limited background in quantum mechanics, an undergraduate course in non-relativistic QM). ...
10
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1answer
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Is edge state of topological insulator really robust?

I am a little confused! Some people are arguing that the gapless edge state of Topological insulator is robust as long as the time reversal symmetry is not broken,while other people say that it is ...
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Is Gravity an entropic force after all?

Recently, there was a rapid communication published in Phys.Rev.D (PRD 83, 021502), titled "Gravity is not an entropic force", that claimed that an experiment performed in 2002 with ultra cold ...
19
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3answers
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How is quantum mechanics compatible with the speed of light limit?

Consider a free electron in space. Let us suppose we measure its position to be at point A with a high degree of accuracy at time 0. If I recall my QM correctly, as time passes the wave function ...
9
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4answers
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Difficulties with bra-ket notation

I have started to study quantum mechanics. I know linear algebra,functional analysis, calculus, and so on, but at this moment I have a problem in Dirac bra-ket formalism. Namely, I have problem with "...
14
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3answers
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What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)

What exactly are Hamiltonian Mechanics (and Lagrangian mechanics)? I want to self-study QM, and I've heard from most people that Hamiltonian mechanics is a prereq. So I wikipedia'd it and the entry ...
9
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2answers
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Quantization of a particle on a spherical surface

Suppose we have a particle of mass $m$ confined to the surface of a sphere of radius $R$. The classical Lagrangian of the system is $$L = \frac{1}{2}mR^2 \dot{\theta}^2 + \frac{1}{2}m R^2 \sin^2 \...
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2answers
3k views

What is the definition of colour (the quantum state)?

I heard somewhere that quarks have a property called 'colour' - what does this mean?
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3answers
2k views

Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators?

Once a quantum partition function is in path integral form, does it contain any operators? I.e. The quantum partition function is $Z=tr(e^{-\beta H})$ where $H$ is an operator, the Hamiltonian of the ...
14
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4answers
5k views

Does the uncertainty principle apply to photons?

Wikipedia claims the following: More generally, the normal concept of a Schrödinger probability wave function cannot be applied to photons. Being massless, they cannot be localized without being ...
10
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3answers
3k views

A tutorial explanation of decoherence?

Is there a tutorial explanation as to how decoherence transforms a wavefunction (with a superposition of possible observable values) into a set of well-defined specific "classical" observable values ...
19
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3answers
975 views

Long time deviations from exponential decay in radioactivity

Are there any examples of common substances whose decay is not exponential? We're used to thinking about radioactivity in terms of half-lives. This is a concept that makes sense only for a decay that ...
17
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6answers
652 views

Has a double slit experiment ever been done using a track chamber or even contemplated?

I tried searches and the question has been posed in other fora, but no experiment came up. Track chambers (cloud chambers, bubble chambers , time projection chambers, solid state detectors like the ...
15
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2answers
676 views

Born rule for photons: it works, but it shouldn't?

We can observe double-slit diffraction with photons, with light of such low intensity that only one photon is ever in flight at one time. On a sensitive CCD, each photon is observed at exactly one ...
13
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2answers
2k views

What does John Conway and Simon Kochen's “Free Will” Theorem mean?

The way it is sometimes stated is that if we have a certain amount of "free will", then, subject to certain assumptions, so must some elementary particles."(Wikipedia) That is confusing to me, ...
10
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1answer
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What are the specific requirements for a do-it-yourself quantum double-slit experiment?

I was shocked to recently learn that the double-slit experiment is not only possible to do with completely ordinary equipment (with photons of course), but it actually looks rather easy. This is from ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the fundamental probabilistic interpretation of Quantum Fields?

In quantum mechanics, particles are described by wave functions, which describe probability amplitudes. In quantum field theory, particles are described by excitations of quantum fields. What is the ...
17
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2answers
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Why is the second order perturbative correction to the ground state energy always down?

What is the physical/deeper reason for the second order shift of the ground state energy in time independent perturbation theory to be always down? I know that it follows from the formula quite ...
12
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5answers
979 views

The strange thing about the maximum in Planck's law

I read that it makes a difference whether you calculate $\frac{dE(\lambda) }{d \lambda}=0$ or $\frac{dE(\omega)}{d \omega}=0$ in the sense that the maximum energy density with respect to the ...
3
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1answer
233 views

What is the physical importance of the commutation relations of angular momentum?

What is the physical meaning of these commutation relations: $$[L_{z},L_{\pm}]=\pm\hbar L_{\pm}\tag{1}$$ and $$[L_{+},L_{-}]=2\hbar L_{z} ~?\tag{2}$$
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3answers
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With redshift, energy is lost. Where does it go? [duplicate]

A photon emitted by a distant source billions of light years away arrives here with a lower frequency hence less energy than it started with. What happened to the energy?
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3answers
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Does quantum entanglement arise from quantum theory or is it merely an experimental observation?

I assume that entanglement emerges from quantum mechanics because the idea was around before experimental verification (e.g the EPR paper). How then does entanglement emerge from the theory (please ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Is the collapse of the wave function inherently time asymmetric?

Schroedinger's equation, as we all know, is time symmetric. In quantum field theory, we have to come up with a more sophisticated CPT reversal, but the essential point remains unchanged. However, the ...
9
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3answers
9k views

How does electron move around nucleus?

I need to get a nice picture about how electron moves around nucleus? I find concept of probability and orbitals quite difficult to understand?
8
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4answers
893 views

Is the uncertainty principle axiomatic or derived?

To take an example, Feynman Lectures Vol 3 13-1 Let's think of an electron which ban be in either one of two positions [...] There are two possible states of definite energy for the electron. ...
7
votes
1answer
489 views

Differential equation (Greens function) satisfied by the kernel using path integrals

I'm reading Feynman and Hibbs, Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals. How do I show that the kernel $$\tag{2-25} K(x_2 t_2;x_1 t_1)=\int e^{\frac{i}{\hbar}S[2,1]}\mathcal{D}x$$ satisfies the ...
6
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2answers
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Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon?

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon? If so, can quantum mechanics describe the universe at high energies where there is no ...
4
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2answers
774 views

What is the most general expression for the coordinate representation of momentum operator?

I have a question about deriving the coordinate representation of momentum operator from the commutation relation, $[x,p]= i$. One derivation (ref W. Greiner's Quantum Mechanics: An Introduction, 4th ...
3
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2answers
3k views

Energy conservation limited by uncertainty principle

The way I learned it from practicing Fourier analysis and signal processing besides quantum mechanics, is that Energy conservation cannot be achieved in short time scales, and that limits energy ...
22
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3answers
3k views

Why is the light reflected at the same angle from mirror?

From the school physics I know that the material objects bounce from the plane surface at the same angle, losing some kinetic energy. In the same school I was taught that the light (and waves in ...
8
votes
2answers
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Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Which formula is correct?

Some websites and textbooks refer to $\Delta x \Delta p \geq \frac{\hbar}{2}$ as the correct formula for the uncertainty principle whereas other sources use the formula $\Delta x \Delta p \geq \hbar$ ....
8
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8answers
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What exactly is the 'observer' in physics and/or quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: nature of an observer For instance, in the double slit experiment, what is exactly defined as an observer? I remember from somewhere, light is also an observer?
6
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4answers
848 views

Is uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement? [duplicate]

Is the uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement or is it an intrinsic concept in quantum mechanics irrelevant of any measurement? Everyone knows the thought experiment of measuring ...
4
votes
2answers
283 views

Spin, orbital angular momentum and total angular momentum

If I understand correctly, spin is an intrinsic property of particles, which follows the algebra of angular momentum, but has nothing to do with an "orbital angular momentum" in that the particle is ...
3
votes
3answers
975 views

Who is doing the normalization of wave function in the time evolution of wave function?

In the Schrodinger equation, at any given time $t$ we should jointly add another sub equation, like $$||\psi_t(x)|| = 1$$ where $\psi_t(x) = \Psi(x,t)$, and then try to solve the two equations ...
2
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3answers
936 views

Mathematics for Quantum Mechanics [duplicate]

What math should I study if I want to get a basic understanding of quantum mechanics and especially to be able to use the Schrodinger's equation.
8
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7answers
934 views

What counts as “observation” in Schrödinger's Cat, and why are superpositions possible?

So if I understood correctly, Schrödinger's Cat is a thought experiment that puts a cat inside a box, and there's a mechanism that kills the cat with 50% probability based on a quantum process. The ...
7
votes
2answers
716 views

Many-worlds: how often is the split how many are the universes? (And how do you model this mathematically.)

When I read descriptions of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, they say things like "every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own history or world", but is this ...
7
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1answer
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Is the universe finite and discrete?

Is the universe finite, both in the sense of being a closed spacetime manifold, as viewed from the macro level, but also in the sense of being fully discrete and finite in all of its intricate quantum ...
6
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7answers
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Why is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle not an experimental error since it is the error created by photons striking on elementary particles? [duplicate]

Why is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle not an experimental error since it is the error created by photons striking on elementary particles?
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3answers
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What keeps electrons in an atom from flying away or falling into the nucleus?

In atoms, what force or charge, etc. keeps electrons from flying away or into their nucleus? is there a kind of weak-force at work on the atomic scale? Note I am aware the electron positions are ...
5
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3answers
162 views

How precise must the energies match for absorption of photons?

According to Quantum Mechanics, in order for an atom to absorb a photon the energy of the photon must be precisely that of a "jump" between energy states of the atom. How precise must it be? If I ...
4
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2answers
354 views

proof for $\langle q| p \rangle = e^{ipq}$

What would be the proof for $\langle q| p \rangle = e^{ipq}$? Is it derived from canonical commutation relation? ($|q \rangle $ represents the position eigenstate, while $|p \rangle$ represents the ...