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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5answers
706 views

Is the wave function objective or subjective?

Here is a question I am curious about. Is the wave function objective or subjective, or is such a question meaningless? Conventionally, subjectivity is as follows: if a quantity is subjective then ...
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340 views

Can expectation value be imaginary?

I was solving a problem and the result of the expectation value of an operator came out to be $-\frac{\hbar}{4}$ $i$. Is this result possible? It seems counter intuitive.
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3answers
451 views

How can particles travel in a straight line?

A particle can be set off in a certain direction by giving them momentum. Momentum is a vector, so the particle heads off in a specific direction. But the wave function of the particle allows it to ...
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3answers
273 views

Time Varying Potential, series solution

Suppose we have a time varying potential $$\left( -\frac{1}{2m}\nabla^2+ V(\vec{r},t)\right)\psi = i\partial_t \psi$$ then I want to know why is the general solution written as $\psi = ...
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1answer
119 views

Should the differential of a wavefunction have a time partial derivative?

In chapter 1 of Griffths' QM text, he shows that $\frac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d}t}\int_{-\infty}^{\infty}|\Psi|^2\,\mathrm{d}x=0$ by noting $$\begin{align} ...
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701 views

What does the Schrodinger Equation really mean?

I understand that the Schrodinger equation is actually a principle that cannot be proven. But can someone give a plausible foundation for it and give it some physical meaning/interpretation. I guess ...
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242 views

Ground state of Spherical symmetric potential always have $\ell=0$?

I was given a problem where I have a spherically symmetric potential (the exact form is not relevant to this question, I think - but anyway is it 0 for $r\in[a,b]$ and $\infty$ everywhere else) and I ...
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1answer
985 views

Orthonormality of Radial Wave Function

Is the radial component $R_{n\ell}$ of the hydrogen wavefunction orthonormal? Doing out one of the integrals, I find that $$\int_0^{\infty} R_{10}R_{21}~r^2dr ~\neq~0$$ However, the link below says ...
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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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1answer
70 views

Has anyone published the procedure to generalize ladder operators for any potential in Schrodinger's equation?

I know that the ladder operator for the quantum harmonic oscillator \begin{align} H\psi_m = \left(\dfrac{p^2}{2m}+\dfrac{1}{2}m\omega^2x^2\right)\psi_m=E_m\psi_m \end{align} is \begin{align} A = ...
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250 views

How do we know that electron wave function extends to infinity?

Why do physicists assume this? Is it a proven fact that wave function extends to infinity or just a theory? Would it make sense if they didn't extend to infinity?
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1answer
81 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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1answer
329 views

Boundary conditions from single-valuedness of spherical wavefunctions

This question is a follow-up to David Bar Moshe's answer to my earlier question on the Aharonov-Bohm effect and flux-quantization. What I forgot was that it is not the wavefunction that must be ...
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121 views

Physical position eigenfunction normalisation

We know that the Dirac function $$\delta(a)=\lim_{a \rightarrow 0} \delta_{a}(x)$$ can be written as an infinitesimally narrow Gaussian: $$ \delta_{a}(x) := \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi a^2}}e^{-x^2/2a^2}$$ ...
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1answer
298 views

Relativistic contraction for a wave packet and uncertainty on momentum

Consider an electron described by a wave packet of extension $\Delta x$ for experimentalist A in the lab. Now assume experimentalist B is flying at a very high speed with regard to A and observes the ...
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132 views

Is the ground state closest to the uncertainty relation? [duplicate]

For simplicity, suppose we are only talking about discrete energy levels, ie, bound state case. The energy levels are $E_1, E_2\cdots$, and the corresponding wave functions are $\psi_1, \psi_2 ...
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141 views

Which position and momentum distributions arise from some wave function?

Consider a particle in one dimension with wave function $\psi(x)$. The probability density function describing how likely it is to find it in a given position is given by ...
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Is there a direct physical interpretation for the complex wavefunction?

The Schrodinger equation in non-relativistic quantum mechanics yields the time-evolution of the so-called wavefunction corresponding to the system concerned under the action of the associated ...
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729 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 ...
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349 views

Where to place the operator?

I believe it's standard to place the operator in between the conjugate of the wavefunction and the wavefunction itself. For instance, $$\langle p\rangle = \int_{-\infty}^{\infty}\Psi * ...
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1answer
338 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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246 views

Can general wavefunctions be expressed as kets?

I am confused on bra-ket notation in quantum mechanics. My professor says that a ket is an eigenfunction of some operator. However, for some time now I thought a ket could represent a general ...
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335 views

Does a wavefunction interact with itself?

Considering the double slit experiment with a charged particle, after the particle passes through the slits, do the two portions of the wavefunctions feel the electromagnetic attraction of the other ...
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497 views

Help me understand the first equation in Landau & Lifshitz's Quantum Mechanics

While I've covered a basic course in Quantum Mechanics, I'm self-studying Landau & Lifshitz's book to help me understand what's going on. Unfortunately, I'm stuck on the very first equation in ...
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233 views

Why does the wave function have to be continuous? [duplicate]

When solving one dimensional problems in quantum mechanics it is often assumed that the first derivative of the wave function is contineous. What justifies this assumption?
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84 views

Why can we leave off half of the general solution?

In these pdf notes, it says at the bottom of the first page and beginning of the second: [...] whose solution is: $$\Psi(\theta) = c_1 e^{i\omega\theta} + c_2 e^{-i\omega\theta}$$ Since we are ...
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189 views

What is the physical reason behind linearity of Schrodinger's equation?

What is the physical reason for Schrodinger equation to be linear? Though in physics many interactions or dynamics are found non linear.
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222 views

Can a wave possess spin?

Since a matter wave is associated with a particle in quantum mechanics, does the wave spins? I mean, can we visualize the spinning of wave or is it possible that the wave spins?
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772 views

Comparison of 1D and 3D wave functions

When discussing the Schroedinger equation in spherical coordinates, it is standard practice in QM handbooks to point out that the radial part of the 3-dimensional wave equation bears a strong analogy ...
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783 views

Where does the wave function of the universe live? Please describe its home

Where does the wave function of the universe live? Please describe its home. I think this is the Hilbert space of the universe. (Greater or lesser, depending on which church you belong to.) Or maybe ...
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3answers
274 views

No well-defined frequency for a wave packet?

There are similar questions to mine on this site, but not quite what I am asking (I think). The de Broglie relations for energy and momentum $$ \lambda = \frac{h}{p}, \\ \nu = E/h .$$ equate a ...
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Confused over complex representation of the wave

My quantum mechanics textbook says that the following is a representation of a wave traveling in the +$x$ direction:$$\Psi(x,t)=Ae^{i\left(kx-\omega t\right)}\tag1$$ I'm having trouble visualizing ...
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792 views

Historical background of wave function collapse

I wonder what were the main experiments that led people to develop the concept of wave function collapse? (I think I am correct in including the Born Rule within the general umbrella of the collapse ...
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1answer
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Confusion between the de Broglie wavelength of a particle and wave packets

So I learned that the de Broglie wavelength of a particle, $\lambda = \frac{h}{p}$, where h is Planck's constant and p is the momentum of the particle. I also learned that a quantum mechanics ...
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277 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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1answer
71 views

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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1answer
202 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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2answers
116 views

Rectangular window $\psi$ wave-function and the calculus of $\langle p^2\rangle$ for it

I'm currently considering a rectangular window $\psi$ function: $$ \psi(x) = \begin{cases}\left(2a\right)^{-1/2}&\text{for } |x|<a \\ 0&\text{otherwise.} \end{cases} $$ I am interested in ...
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1answer
164 views

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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1answer
197 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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1answer
268 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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425 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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308 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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1answer
143 views

Is the expression $S=K \log(\Psi)$ appearing in Schrödinger's first paper well defined?

I am currently reading Schrödinger's papers and happen to have some questions that maybe some expert in the field could clarify for me. Like what happens with $$S = K \log(\Psi)$$ when $\Psi<0$. ...
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1answer
78 views

Where does either Bohr or Heisenberg mention the idea of the wave function collapsing?

Could someone reference a paragraph written either by Heisenberg or Bohr where they mention the idea of the wave function collapsing?
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501 views

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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1answer
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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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Bound states in 1D & 2D [duplicate]

Why does Mother Nature allow bound states in arbitrarily weak attractive potential in 2D but not in 3D? See, for example, this article, arXiv:math-ph/0208011.
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Solution for the Finite 2D Potential Well - Rotational Symmetry [closed]

I was searching for the eigensolutions of the two-dimensional Schrödinger equation $$\mathrm{i}\hbar \partial_t \mid \psi \rangle = \frac{\mathbf{p}^2}{2m_e}\mid \psi \rangle + V \mid \psi ...