A complex scalar field that describes a quantum mechanical system. The square of the modulus of the wave function gives the probability of the system to be found in a particular state.

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Inexact measurement and wavefunction collapse

As is usually said, measurement of an observable $q$ leads to collapse of wavefunction to an eigenstate of the corresponding operator $\hat q$. That is, now the wavefunction in $q$ representation is ...
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242 views

A quantum particle which is almost at rest but whose position is random!

Assume a particle is given by a quantum state which is constructed in such a way that it is equally probable to find it anywhere in an fixed interval $(0,L)$ but has arbitrarily low velocity. The ...
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Tip of a spreading wave-packet: asymptotics beyond all orders of a saddle point expansion

This is a technical question coming from mapping of an unrelated problem onto dynamics of a non-relativistic massive particle in 1+1 dimensions. This issue is with asymptotics dominated by a term ...
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Orthogonality of summed wave functions

Problem. I know that the two wave functions $\Psi_1$ and $\Psi_2$ are all normalized and orthogonal. I now want to prove that this implies that $\Psi_3=\Psi_1+\Psi_2$ is orthogonal to ...
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142 views

Virial theorem and variational method: an exercise (re-edited)

I have a hydrogen atom, knowing that its Hamiltonian has been modified turning the standard potential $$ V_{0}(r) = -\frac{Z}{r} $$ into $$ V(r) = -\frac{g}{r^{\frac{3}{2}}} $$ with $g$ a positive ...
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376 views

Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization from the WKB approximation

How can one prove the Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization formula $$ \oint p~dq ~=~2\pi n \hbar $$ from the WKB ansatz solution $$\Psi(x)~=~e^{iS(x)/ \hbar}$$ for the Schroedinger equation? With $S$ the ...
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223 views

Why must $\Psi (x,t)$ go to zero faster than $\frac{1}{\sqrt{|x|}}$?

Why must $\Psi (x,t)$ go to zero faster than $\frac{1}{\sqrt{|x|}}$ as $|x|$ goes to $\infty$? According to Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, it must. I don't understand why, and this is ...
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261 views

Projection of states after measurement

Continuing from the my previous 2-state system problem, I am told that the observable corresponding to the linear operator $\hat{L}$ is measured and we get the +1 state. Then it asks for the ...
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41 views

Effect of pressure increase on electron orbital wave functions

One of my nuclear physics exercises was to find out if increasing the pressure of a sample of $^{7}\textrm{Be}$ would increase the chance of electron capture to $^{7}\textrm{Li}$ occur. My reasoning ...
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241 views

Young's double slit

Am I right to think the (general) probability distribution of photon in a double slit experiment at the screen has the form $|\psi|^2 = c e^{\alpha x^2}\cos^2(\beta x)$? (Due to the superposition of ...
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Understanding the Wave Function and Excited States

A wave function is an infinite dimensional vector space, how can it "live" in $\mathbb{R}^3$? Given the equation that is built like: $$\Psi (x,t) = \sum ^{\infty} _{n=1} c_n \psi _n (x) e^{-i E_n t / ...
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Is the wave function of a particle re-created after a measurement stops?

Yeah, I haven't quite understood, or been told, what happens to, for example an electron and it's wavefunction, when you stop to measure it? I mean, an electron has a wave function describing it's ...
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376 views

When are Eigenfunctions/Wavefunctions real?

When the Hamiltonian is Hermitian(i,e. beyond the effective mass approximation), generally under which conditions the eigenfunctions/wavefunctions are real? What happens in 1D case like the finite ...
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303 views

Can a wavefunction be solved to any arbitrary precision, given enough computer time?

I learned that the wavefunction for the hydrogen atom can be solved analytically (we did the derivation in class), but that for more complicated atoms it is "impossible" to solve and that only ...
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676 views

Simple Quantum Mechanics question about the Free particle, (part1)

I am reading Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David Griffiths and I am in Ch2 page 59. He starts out writing the time dependent Schrödinger equation and the solution for $\psi(x,t)$ for the free ...
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358 views

Is this interpretation of $\psi=\frac{1}{\sqrt{\pi a^{3}}}e^{-r/a}$ correct?

Apologies if this is stating the obvious, but I'm a non-physicist trying to understand Griffiths' discussion of the hydrogen atom in chapter 4 of Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. The wave equation ...
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537 views

Is the free electron wavefunction stable?

The wavefunction of a free electrons is variously described as a plane wave or a wave packet. I am fairly happy with the wave packet, as it is localised. But if we change to the electron's rest ...
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2k views

What does $\Psi^*$ mean in Schrodinger's formulation of Quantum Mechanics?

I am not a physics student. In one of my courses, some fundamental concepts of Quantum mechanics were needed, so I was going through them when I stumbled upon this. It says $$\text{probability} = ...
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Does the wave nature of a particle refer to the wave function?

In quantum mechanics when we talk about the wave nature of particles are we referring in fact to the wave function? Does the wave function describes the probability of finding a particle (ex: ...
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244 views

Why do we must initially assume that the wavefunction is complex?

The sound waves are real, and they can interfere, so corresponding apparat may be used in quantum mechanics. We also may use the time dependence in a form of orthogonal matrix multiplying the initial ...
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113 views

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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378 views

How to compute the expectation value $\langle x^2 \rangle$ in quantum mechanics?

$$\langle x^2 \rangle = \int_{-\infty}^\infty x^2 |\psi(x)|^2 \text d x$$ What is the meaning of $|\psi(x)|^2$? Does that just mean one has to multiply the wave function with itself?
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184 views

Expected value inequality

Why is $\langle p^2\rangle >0$ where $p=-i\hbar{d\over dx}$, (noting the strict inequality) for all normalized wavefunctions? I would have argued that because we can't have $\psi=$constant, but ...
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Infinite Wells and Delta Functions

In considering a delta potential barrier in an infinite well, I can just enforce continuity at the potential barrier-it doesn't have to go to zero. Why then does it need to go to zero at the walls of ...
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Speed of a particle in quantum mechanics: phase velocity vs. group velocity

Given that one usually defines two different velocities for a wave, these being the phase velocity and the group velocity, I was asking their meaning for the associated particle in quantum mechanics. ...
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91 views

Why do we use $\psi$ instead of a straightforward probability?

What is the advantage/purpose of using $\psi$ for wavefunctions and getting the probability with $|\psi|^2$ as opposed to just defining and using the probability function?
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At what point is the spin determined in a Stern-Gerlach Apparatus

Consider a particle with spin that travels through a Stern Gerlach box (SGB), which projects the particle’s spin onto one of the eigenstates in the $z$-direction. The SGB defines separate trajectories ...
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Why does $\ell=0$ correspond to spherically symmetric solutions for the spherical harmonics?

In quantum mechanics why do states with $\ell=0$ in the Hydrogen atom correspond to spherically symmetric spherical harmonics?
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538 views

Time Reversal Operator

I know that time reversal operator is an antiunitary operator. How does it work on wavefunctions? I believe in this way: $$T \psi (k,+)=e^{i\pi S_y/\hbar} K \psi (k,+) = \psi^*(-k,-),$$ but I am not ...
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768 views

Smoothness constraint of wave function

Is there anything in the physics that enforces the wave function to be $C^2$? Are weak solutions to the Schroedinger equation physical? I am reading the beginning chapters of Griffiths and he doesn't ...
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150 views

Harmonic Oscillator potential, proof that Gaussians remain Gaussians?

I read in several papers that for a Harmonic Oscillator Hamiltonian in the time dependent Schrödinger equation a Gaussian wave packet remains Gaussian. Unfortunately I could not find any proof for ...
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98 views

Connection between a simple matter wave and Heisenberg's uncertainty relation

When looking at the wave function of a particle, I usually prefer to write $$ \Psi(x,t) = A \exp(i(kx - \omega t)) $$ since it reminds me of classical waves for which I have an intuition ($k$ ...
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415 views

wavefunction collapse and uncertainty principle

We all know that wavefunction collapse when it is observed. Uncertainty principle states that $\sigma_x \sigma_p \geq \frac {\hbar}{2}$. When wavefunction collapse, doesn't $\sigma_x$ become $0$?, as ...
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164 views

What does the appearance of a classical particle fundamentally reduce to?

I've been reading an article that describes what seems to be a classical particle as a regularity in the global wavefunction over a quantum configuration space: When you actually see an electron ...
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272 views

Formulation and probability of a wave-function [closed]

I have got this problem where I have been given the following wave function: $$\Psi = 0\quad\text{if}~|x| > a\quad\text{and}\quad A(a^2-x^2)\quad \text{if} \quad |x|< a$$ Now the first question ...
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405 views

Expectation values-Wavefunction

I'm a bit puzzled about an excercise in which I have to find the expectation values for position and momentum. Normally this should be pretty easy but in this case I just don't get the point. ...
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1answer
70 views

What methods exist for us to measure the position and momentum of atoms that make up molecules?

In this paper, Localization of an atom by homodyne measurement. A. M. Herkommer et al. Quantum Semiclass. Opt. 8 no. 1, p. 189 (1996) (paywalled). the authors are able to localize atoms using ...
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219 views

Interpretation of $e|\psi|^2$ as electron density

In solid state physics the electron density is often equated to $e|\psi|^2$. However, the Sakurai says (Chapter 2.4, Interpretation of the Wave Function, p. 101) that adopting such a view leads "to ...
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863 views

Finding $\psi(x,t)$ for a free particle starting from a Gaussian wave profile $\psi(x)$

Consider a free-particle with a Gaussian wavefunction, $$\psi(x)~=~\left(\frac{a}{\pi}\right)^{1/4}e^{-\frac12a x^2},$$ find $\psi(x,t)$. The wavefunction is already normalized, so the next thing to ...
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478 views

Even and Odd States of a 1D finite potential well

Is it possible for a particle trapped in a 1D finite potential well to evolve from a even state to an odd state and vice-versa? Why?
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378 views

Is the electron wave function defined during photon emission

I have heard the term quantum leap to describe the (instantaneous?) transition from a higher energy orbital to a lower energy orbital. Yet, I understand that this transition time has now been ...
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Writing wave functions with spin of a system of particles

Suppose I have 2 fermions in a potential $V(x)$. Both particles are moving in one dimension: the $x$ axis. Then, neglecting the interaction between the particles, the spatial wave function of the ...
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Transmission and reflection

What is the transmission amplitude of a wavefunction $\phi(x)=e^{ikx}(\tanh x -ik)$? I would have thought that it is $\tanh x -ik$ since this is the factor associated with the forward travelling ...
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Functionals of quantum states in QFT

Almost every book and article I can think of represents states of QFT using the Heisenberg picture of Hilbert space vectors, but Visser in "Lorentzian wormholes" does mention that you can also ...
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How do I figure out the probability of finding a particle between two barriers?

Given a delta function $\alpha\delta(x+a)$ and an infinite energy potential barrier at $[0,\infty)$, calculate the scattered state, calculate the probability of reflection as a function of ...
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Why do wave packets spread out over time?

Why do wave functions spread out over time? Where in the math does quantum mechanics state this? As far as I've seen, the waves are not required to spread, and what does this mean if they do?
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Text interpretation in Griffith's intro to QM

It says in Griffith's chapter 2.1, that: $$\tag{2.14} \Psi(x,t)~=~\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}c_n\,\psi_n(x) e^{(-iE_n t/\hbar)}$$ It so happens that every solution to the (time-dependent) Schrodinger ...
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How do I integrate $\frac{1}{\Psi}\frac{\partial \Psi}{\partial x} = Cx$

How do I integrate the following? $$\frac{1}{\Psi}\frac{\partial \Psi}{\partial x} = Cx$$ where $C$ is a constant. I'm supposed to get a Gaussian function out of the above by integrating but don't ...
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362 views

What is the rationale behind representing a state function by a complex valued function in QM?

What is the rationale behind representing a state function of an electron with a complex valued function $\Psi$. If only the probabilistic argument was required then why not represent it with just a ...
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States and observables in quantum mechanics

I'm beginning learn quantum mechanics. As I understand, state is a map $\phi$ from $L^2(\mathbb R)$ such that $|\phi|^2$ describes probability density of a particle's position. By integrating ...