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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

4
votes
1answer
72 views

Orbital angular momentum of electrons

In a QM class, to study the hydrogen atom, we started by defining the Hamiltonian $H$ for a central potential, then made an orbital angular momentum operator appear as part of $H$, then down the line ...
4
votes
2answers
292 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
79 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
128 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
244 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
208 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
281 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
318 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
150 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 $\Psi<0$. ...
4
votes
1answer
88 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?
4
votes
2answers
534 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 / ...
4
votes
1answer
258 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
119 views

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.
4
votes
0answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
4answers
852 views

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 ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

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?
3
votes
3answers
570 views

Wavefunction, probability and impossible events

A friend of mine asked me a question, which I considered trivial at first, but after a while gave rise to some doubts. For instance, we have a potential well in 1 dimension defined by $$ V(x)= ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

When Eigenfunctions/Wavefunctions are 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Plane wave expansion in cylindrical coordinates

I am trying to solve scattering problem in 2D and got to expand the wave function in cylindrical system which comes out to be Hankel function. Can you tell me how to expand the plane wave $\exp(i ...
3
votes
3answers
388 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
859 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
221 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
votes
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
votes
2answers
166 views

Why does the magnitude squared of the wave function give us the probability density? [duplicate]

My question doesn't go much beyond the title: Why does $$\left | \psi \left ( x,t \right ) \right |^{2}$$ give us the probability density of something appearing at a certain location? I understand ...
3
votes
3answers
165 views

A misunderstanding regarding infinite square well

Here is a picture of the energy states of infinite potential well. We can see That the first level have a half wavelength which fittes with a full wave of the second level. $$\frac{ \lambda _{1} ...
3
votes
3answers
415 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
772 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
4k 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} = ...
3
votes
2answers
243 views

State of a system in Quantum Mechanics and state vectors

I'm taking a course in Quantum Mechanics and there is something I'm not being able to fully understand. On more elementary courses on Quantum Mechanics I've been told that the idea of Quantum ...
3
votes
3answers
835 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
326 views

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: ...
3
votes
5answers
390 views

How does a Wavefunction collapse?

I have been wondering and researching... How does a wavefunction collapse into one state?More specifically, what conditions cause a wavefunction for a quantum particle to collapse? Does this have to ...
3
votes
2answers
194 views

What is the analogy of $|x\rangle$ in quantum field theory?

Let me start from path integral formulation in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. In QM, we have $$ U(x_b,x_a;T) = \langle x_b | U(T) |x_a \rangle= \int \mathcal{D}q e^{iS} \tag{1} $$ ...
3
votes
1answer
163 views

How does a unique electron probability distribution correspond to one wavefunction?

I'm reading the Wikipedia article on DFT, and it says that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the ground state particle density $$n_0(\vec{r}) = N \int \text{d}^3 r_2 \int \text{d}^3 r_3 ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

Confused over the presence of 2 expressions for $\Psi(x,t)$

I'm following Griffiths' Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, and I see that he's got 2 different expressions for $\Psi(x,t)$. One of them is ...
3
votes
3answers
572 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?
3
votes
1answer
204 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

What does the notation $\Psi_k/(\Psi_k,\Psi_k)^{1/2} $ mean?

I am currently reading the paper "Gravitation and quantum mechanics for macroscopic objects" by F. Karolyhazy (1966). In his paper, he uses certain notation that I haven't come across before (he also ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

How do you determine the “phase” of a hydrogen eigenfunction?

I've been reading the wikipedia article on the atomic orbitals of hydrogen. They have a nice collection of diagrams, such as this one for n,l,m = 3,1,1 This is apparently showing the wavefunction, ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Quantum Wavefunctions Without Space

A handful of physicists have a rather peculiar definition of 'nothing' in terms of cosmology. Their claim is that the Universe, assuming it has 0 total energy, could have arisen from nothing but ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

Why is $\omega = \sqrt{K/m}$ valid for a quantum oscillator?

I'm working in the 3rd edition of Modern Physics by Serway, Moses, and Moyer. In 6.6, it talks about a quantum oscillator. I don't fully understand how the definition of frequency works. Now, we ...
3
votes
1answer
134 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?
3
votes
3answers
108 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Wavefunction as a combination of two stationary states - how to find those states?

Lets say we have a particle in a infinite square well which has a wavefunction like this ($A$ is some constant and $d$ is the width of the well): \begin{align} A\left[ \sin \left(\frac{2 \pi ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Vector representation of wavefunction in quantum mechanics?

I am new to quantum mechanics, and I just studied some parts of "wave mechanics" version of quantum mechanics. But I heard that wavefunction can be represented as vector in Hilbert space. In my eye, ...
3
votes
1answer
711 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?
3
votes
1answer
596 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Plane wave expansion of cylindrical functions:Summation of the Hankel functions

I understand that; in cylindrical coordinates, the basic solutions of the Helmholtz equation are of the form Hankel function of integer order times a complex exponential term ...