The quantum mechanical time evolution operator governs how observables and/or states evolve during finite time steps, and is always unitary. Use this tag for questions about the time evolution operator, or the different equations of motion in the Schrödinger/Heisenberg/Dirac pictures. For ...

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State collapse in the Heisenberg picture

I've been studying quantum mechanics and quantum field theory for a few years now and one question continues to bother me. The Schrödinger picture allows for an evolving state, which evolves through ...
13
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2answers
403 views

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) ~=~ ...
11
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1answer
486 views

What exactly does the Hamiltonian operator tell us?

I'm confused about how energy and time are linked. On the one hand, the Hamiltonian seems to describe the time evolution of the system because in the time dependent Schrodinger equation, $$ \hat H ...
10
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1answer
6k views

Evolution operator for time-dependent Hamiltonian

When I studied QM I'm only working with time independent Hamiltonians. In this case the unitary evolution operator has the form $$\hat{U}=e^{-\frac{i}{\hbar}Ht}$$ that follows from this equation $$ ...
9
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1answer
502 views

Is it possible to derive Schrodinger equation in this way?

Let's have wave-function $\lvert \psi \rangle$. The full probability is equal to one: $$\langle \Psi\lvert\Psi \rangle = 1.\tag{1}$$ We need to introduce time evolution of $\Psi $; we know it in ...
8
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4answers
632 views

Does Heisenberg equation of motion imply the Schrodinger equation for evolution operator?

Let us choose to postulate (e.g. considering the analogy of the Hamiltonian being a generator of time evolution in classical mechanics) $$ i\hbar \frac{d\hat{U}}{dt}=\hat{H}\hat{U}\tag{1} $$ where ...
7
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4answers
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Which derivative with respect to time is which in the Heisenberg picture of quantum mechanics?

For an observable $A$ and a Hamiltonian $H$, Wikipedia gives the time evolution equation for $A(t) = e^{iHt/\hbar} A e^{-iHt/\hbar}$ in the Heisenberg picture as $$\frac{d}{dt} A(t) = \frac{i}{\hbar} ...
6
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2answers
998 views

Equation of motion for the reduced density matrix

The equation of motion for the density matrix of a many body isolated quantum system is the von Neumann's equation: $\dot{\rho }(t)=i[\rho (t),H]$. How about the equation of motion for the reduced ...
5
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6answers
270 views

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 ...
5
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4answers
1k views

Can the universe be described by a Markov chain?

This may be a fairly basic question as I don't have a strong background in physics. I intuitively thought that the universe must be able to be described by a Markov chain. That is, I thought you ...
5
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2answers
234 views

Quantum Mechanical Operators in the argument of an exponential

In Quantum Optics and Quantum Mechanics, the time evolution operator $$U(t,t_i) = \exp\left[\frac{-i}{\hbar}H(t-t_i)\right]$$ is used quite a lot. Suppose $t_i =0$ for simplicity, and say the ...
5
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2answers
466 views

Heisenberg picture of QM as a result of Hamilton formalism

Consider the formula for the total time-derivative of a physical value in Poisson's formalism: $$\tag{1} \frac{dA}{dt} = -\{H, A\}_{P.B.} + \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}, $$ where $\{A, B\}_{P.B.}$ is ...
5
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2answers
914 views

Expectation value of time-dependent Hamiltonian

I'm trying to solve a problem in QM with a forced quantum oscillator. In this problem I have a quantum oscillator, which is in the ground state initially. At $t=0$, the force $F(t)=F_0 \sin(\Omega t)$ ...
5
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3answers
154 views

Does Peskin & Schroeder Eq. (4.26), $U(t_1,t_2)U(t_2,t_3) = U(t_1,t_3)$ imply $[H_0,H_{int}] = 0$?

Peskin & Schroeder equation (4.17) define the operator, \begin{equation} U(t,t_{0})~=~e^{i(t-t_{0})H_{0}}e^{-i(t-t_{0})H} \tag{4.17} \end{equation} where $$H~=~H_0+H_{\text{int}}\tag{4.12}$$ is ...
5
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1answer
248 views

The unitary time-evolution in the interation picture

I'm currently consuming a course on QFT where we need to define the unitary time-evolution to get the time evolution of the wave function in the interaction picture: $\hat{U}(t_1,t_0) = ...
5
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0answers
216 views

How do I enforce the no-slip boundary condition in time dependent incompressible pipe flow?

This is a technical problem which must have been solved already. It won't be in beginners textbooks but there should be a solution somewhere. I welcome reading suggestions. Maybe someone with ...
5
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1answer
179 views

Equation 2.27 from Pachos's introduction to topological quantum computing

http://quince.leeds.ac.uk/~phyjkp/Files/IntroTQC.pdf above is the PDF that is hosted on his website. The equation is on page 22 (pg 30 in the pdf). In chapter 2. It is the second equation of the ...
4
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2answers
741 views

Can the chance of finding a particle diminish over time?

Let's assume we have a wave function described by a wave equation and it is a function of space and time $\psi : \mathbb{R}^4 \rightarrow \mathbb{C}$. This function needs to be normalized, so if I ...
4
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2answers
225 views

The curious case of the time derivative of the expectation value of the position

Having defined the expectation value of position as follows $$ \langle x \rangle = \int x {\lvert\Psi(x,t)\rvert}^2dx $$ The time derivative of the expectation value is derived in my literature in ...
3
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2answers
634 views

QFT Dyson series: why are we solving the Schrodinger equation?

In quantum field theory, the solution of the time evolution operator of the Schrodinger equation (in the interaction picture) is given by Dyson's series, which is used to calculate the S-matrix. Why ...
3
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3answers
219 views

Constructing solutions to the time-dependent Schrödinger's equation

The following question is from David Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics: Problem 2.13 A particle in the harmonic oscillator potential starts out in the state $$\Psi(x,0) = A[3 ...
3
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2answers
131 views

Time evolution of a wavepacket

I do not understand why if $H\psi = E\psi$, then the time-evolution of the wavefunction is given by $e^{-iEt/h}\psi(x)$.
3
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1answer
131 views

Is there a known equation for evolution of classical particle probability density?

Suppose we have some very imprecise knowledge of classical particle's coordinates and momentum: what we can only tell is the probability density to find it in some point of phase space. This is ...
3
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1answer
681 views

Time evolution in quantum mechanics

We know that an operator A in quantum mechanics has time evolution given by Heisenberg equation: $$ \frac{i}{\hbar}[H,A]+\frac{\partial A}{\partial t}=\frac{d A}{d t} $$ Can we derive from this ...
3
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2answers
218 views

“Inverted” quantum oscillator

I'm trying to understand the problem of the "inverted" oscillator, which has the following Hamiltonian: $$ \hat{H}=\frac{\hat{p}^{2}}{2m}-\frac{k\hat{x}^{2}}{2} $$ Suppose that a particle at the ...
3
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1answer
93 views

Time Evolution of Position Operator

I am trying to understand why $$e^{-it\triangle}xe^{it\triangle}=x-2it\nabla$$ where $x$ is just multiplication operator by $x$. In particular, the text says this can be seen by differentiating with ...
3
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3answers
319 views

Does the second law of thermodynamics tell me how the entropy changes?

In thermodynamics I can e.g. compute the properties of ideal gases with certain energies $U_1,U_2$ in boxes with certain volumes $V_1$ and $V_2$. Say I have two such boxes and they have some specific ...
3
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1answer
169 views

Schrodinger basis kets with Time-dependent Hamiltonian

I was reading through the proof of the Adiabatic Theorem (in Sakurai) and I realised I'm not quite sure how Schrodinger Basis kets behave when we have a time-dependent Hamiltonian. I know that with a ...
3
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1answer
52 views

Effective theories and unbounded operators

If you have two operators, one the true Hamiltonian $H$ and one we call an effective Hamiltonian $H_{eff}$ and say they agree on every eigenvector with eigenvalue up to $E_{eff}.$ Above that, they can ...
3
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105 views

How to do time evolution of operators in the Heisenberg Picture while staying in the Heisenberg Picture

Consider the time evolution of an operator in the Heisenberg picture: $$\tag{1}i\hbar \frac{d}{d t} \hat{A}_{H}(t) = \left([ \hat{A}_S(t), \hat H_S (t)] + i\hbar \frac{d}{d t} \hat{A}_S(t) ...
3
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459 views

Time Evolution Operator in Interaction Picture (Harmonic Oscillator with Time Dependent Perturbation)

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data Consider a time-dependent harmonic oscillator with Hamiltonian $$\hat{H}(t)=\hat{H}_0+\hat{V}(t)$$ $$\hat{H}_0=\hbar \omega \left( ...
2
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3answers
424 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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6answers
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What does a unitary transformation mean in the context of an evolution equation?

Let be the unitary evolution operator of a quantum system be $U(t)=\exp(itH)$ for $t >0$. Then what is the meaning of the equation $$\det\bigl(I-U(t)e^{itE}\bigr)=0$$ where $E$ is a real ...
2
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4answers
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Which Schrödinger equation is correct?

In the coordinate representation, in 1D, the wave function depends on space and time, $\Psi(x,t)$, accordingly the time dependent Schrödinger equation is $$H\Psi(x,t) = ...
2
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2answers
216 views

The equivalence between Heisenberg and Schroedinger pictures

In quantum mechanics, the two pictures of Schroedinger and Heisenberg are taken as equivalent, where in the former wavefunctions are time variants and operators are not, and in the latter it is the ...
2
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1answer
113 views

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 ...
2
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557 views

Time evolution of a reduced density matrix

For a bipartite quantum system evolving under some master equation, is the time derivative of the reduced density matrix equal to the partial trace of the time derivative of the matrix? In other ...
2
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4answers
253 views

Why do we consider the evolution (usually in time) of a wave function?

Why do we consider evolution of a wave function and why is the evolution parameter taken as time, in QM. If we look at a simple wave function $\psi(x,t) = e^{kx - \omega t}$, $x$ is a point in ...
2
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1answer
490 views

Why is time evolution unitary

Is the reason why the time evolution operator is unitary based on purely physical arguments, i.e. that the physical processes that an isolated system undergoes shouldn't depend on any particular ...
2
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1answer
75 views

Why does $tr \ e^{-\frac{i}{h}\hat{H}t}= \int d^nr \left< \textbf{r}| e^{-\frac{i}{h}\hat{H}t} | \textbf{r} \right>$ hold?

I would like to consider the trace of the time evolution operator $e^{-\frac{i}{\hbar}\hat{H}t}$ Apparently in single-particle quantum mechanics is can be represented as $$ tr \ ...
2
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2answers
113 views

How to solve the inverse square law equation of motion

From $$m\boldsymbol{\ddot{r}}=\boldsymbol{\hat{r}} f(r)$$ I can get $$r''-r \theta '^2=-\frac{k}{m r^2}$$ $$2 r' \theta '+r \theta ''=0$$ Now it seems that all the books tells me the method to solve ...
2
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1answer
128 views

What really generates time evolution?

A fundamental principle of quantum mechanics, as far as I can tell, states that the Hamiltonian generates time evolution. A common result about generators are the following: let $\mathrm T$ be the ...
2
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1answer
234 views

Relationship between a formal vector derivative and time evolution of an operator

I'm an undergraduate in physics, with all the lack of knowledge inherent in that. In two of my classes, my professors introduced two equations which look eerily similar. The first, from general ...
2
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1answer
66 views

Time evolution of states - Is total energy constant or not?

Suppose the state of the particle is given as follows: $$ |\psi_{(t)}\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt2} \left( e^{-\frac{i\omega t}{2}} |0\rangle + e^{-\frac{3i\omega t}{2}} |1\rangle \right) $$ Where the ...
2
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1answer
157 views

Time evolution of a quantum state

I have another point in QM that I would like clarified. Suppose $$\{|n\rangle\}$$ is a set of eigenstates of both the Hamiltonian $H$ and another operator $\hat O$ corresponding to an observable also. ...
2
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0answers
69 views

How to get Heisenberg Equation of Motion?

If a system Hamiltonian is given by, $$ ...
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3answers
412 views

Why does the density matrix $\rho$ obey a wrong-signed Heisenberg equation of motion?

The density matrix is defined as $$ \rho_\psi ~:=~ \frac{\lvert\psi(t)\rangle \langle \psi(t)\vert}{ \langle \psi(t) |\psi(t)\rangle }$$ in the Schrödinger picture. $\rho_\psi$ is obviously a time ...
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3answers
148 views

Why does Hamiltonian follow the property $H^*_{ij} = H_{ji} $?

I was reading Feynman's Lectures III's Hamiltonian Matrix. There I found this property of Hamiltonian Matrix: The Hamiltonian has one property that can be deduced right away, namely, that ...
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1answer
94 views

Field expansion in Peskin & Schroeder

Peskin and Schroeder state something which I'm not fully understanding. More specificially I think it's just phrased in a way I'm not understanding. In the Schrodinger picture we can expand the real ...
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1answer
85 views

Why is probabilty conserved under time evolution of a system in quantum mechanics?

I've studied quantum mechanics to a certain degree, but one question that I've never been able to get a fully satisfactory answer to is why probability is conserved (by this I mean that it has either ...