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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About the complex nature of the wave function?

1. Why is the wave function complex? I've collected some layman explanations but they are incomplete and unsatisfactory. However in the book by Merzbacher in the initial few pages he provides an ...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
360 views

Relation between Wave equation of light and photon wave function?

Suppose in our double slit experimental setup with the usual notations $d,D$, we have a beam of light of known frequency $(\nu)$ and wavelength $(\lambda)$ - so we can describe it as $$ξ_0 = A\sin(kx-\...
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1answer
2k views

Schrödinger function: Separable wave function with even potential function of x

I have done the Problem 2.1 in Griffiths' quantum mechanics, and it seems not making sense to me. What if the wave function isn't symmetric at all? Then obviously the proof doesn't work. The ...
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3answers
3k views

Why the statement “there exist at least one bound state for negative potential” doesn't hold for 3D case?

Previously I thought this is a universal theorem, for one can prove it in the one dimensional case using variational principal. However, today I'm doing a homework considering a potential like this:$...
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2answers
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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. ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Electrons - What is Waving?

If an electron is a wave, what is waving? So many answers on the internet say "the probability that a particle will be at a particular location"... so... the electron is a physical manifestation of ...
6
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1answer
996 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 ...
14
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3answers
1k views

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: $$\psi(\vec{r},t) ~=~ \langle \vec{r} \,|\, \psi(t) \rangle.$$ ...
3
votes
3answers
976 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

How to know if a wave function is physically acceptable solution of a Schrödinger equation?

How does one decide whether a wave function is a physically acceptable solution of the Schrödinger equation? For example: $\tan x$ , $\sin x$, $1/x$, and so on.
6
votes
1answer
479 views

Am I missing a trick to solving a 3D potential well problem?

I was playing around with a 3-D potential $V$ such that $V_{(r)} = 0$ for $r<a$, and $V_{(r)} = V_0>0$ otherwise. By using the Schrödinger Equation, I showed that: $$\frac{-\hbar}{2m}\frac{1}{r^...
21
votes
2answers
769 views

What is the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum field theory?

I am most interested in interpretational differences due to the fact that quantum field theory is relativistic while quantum mechanics is not. By "Copenhagen interpretation" I mean a minimal ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Variational Derivation of Schrodinger Equation

In reading Weinstock's Calculus of Variations, on pages 261 - 262 he explains how Schrodinger apparently first derived the Schrodinger equation from variational principles. Unfortunately I don't ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a wave function in simple language?

In my textbook it is given that 'The wave function describes the position and state of the electron and its square gives the probability density of electrons.' Can someone give me a very ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
946 views

Meaning of $\int \phi^\dagger \hat A \psi \:\mathrm dx$

While analysing a problem in quantum Mechanics, I realized that I don't fully understand the physical meanings of certain integrals. I have been interpreting: $\int \phi^\dagger \hat A \psi \:\...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it guaranteed that wavefunction is well behaved everywhere?

I don't really know much about Quantum mechanics, but would like to know one simple fact. The state function $\Psi(r, t)$ whose magnitude gives the probability density of the position of the particle ...
3
votes
4answers
664 views

Physical reason why the derivative of a wavefunction has to be continuous?

Question What is the physical reason (i.e. without any maths) that the derivative of a wavefunction (except with infinite potentials) has to be continuous? Other info I know that in the classical ...
2
votes
1answer
269 views

Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization for different potentials

Let's have Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization for one-dimensional case: $$ \int \limits_{a}^{b} p(x)dx ~=~ \pi \hbar (n + \nu ). $$ Here $p(x) = \sqrt{2m(E - U)}$, $a, b$ are turning points, and the area ...
2
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3answers
511 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 ...
5
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3answers
277 views

How can I solve this quantum mechanical “paradox”?

Let a (free) particle move in $[0,a]$ with cyclic boundary condition $\psi(0)=\psi(a)$. The solution of the Schrödinger-equation can be put in the form of a plane wave. In this state the standard ...
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3answers
682 views

Can we measure “wavefunction” of quantum particles?

We know that there is uncertainty principle, so question: can we ever measure wavefunction of particles? I do not think this is possible, but I am not sure. I guess that everything is probabilistic. (...
3
votes
1answer
6k 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} = \...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Solving the time independent Schrodinger equation: Does a complex solution make sense?

In my notes, I have the Time Independent Schrodinger equation for a free particle $$\frac{\partial^2 \psi}{\partial x^2}+\frac{p^2}{\hbar^2}\psi=0\tag1$$ The solution to this is given, in my notes, ...
14
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5answers
1k views

Hilbert space vs. Projective Hilbert space

Hilbert space and rays: In a very general sense, we say that quantum states of a quantum mechanical system correspond to rays in the Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$, such that for any $c∈ℂ$ the state $\...
17
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9answers
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“Reality” of EM waves vs. wavefunction of individual photons - why not treat the wave function as equally “Real”?

In thinking how to ask this question (somewhat) succinctly, I keep coming back to a Microwave Oven. A Microwave Oven has a grid of holes over the window specifically designed to be smaller in ...
13
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3answers
597 views

Wave/particle-duality as result of taking different limits of a QFT

There is an account on dualities in quantum field theories and string theories by Polchinski from last week http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.5704 At the end of page 4, he writes the wave/particle ...
6
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3answers
2k views

What is the relation between position and momentum wavefunctions in quantum physics?

I have read in a couple of places that $\psi(p)$ and $\psi(q)$ are Fourier transforms of one another (e.g. Penrose). But isn't a Fourier transform simply a decomposition of a function into a sum or ...
6
votes
5answers
858 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 ...
5
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1answer
138 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 = \sqrt{...
5
votes
2answers
825 views

Degeneracy in one dimension

I'm reading this wikipedia article and I'm trying to understand the proof under "Degeneracy in One Dimension". Here's what it says: Considering a one-dimensional quantum system in a potential $V(...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there only radial motion in the Hydrogen ground state?

The ground state of the Hydrogen atom is spherically symmetric. In other words, the wave function Psi depends only on the distance r of the electron from the nucleus. As a consequence all ...
6
votes
2answers
489 views

Floquet quasienergy spectrum, continuous or discrete?

I haven't got a feeling about Floquet quasienergy, although it is talked by many people these days. Floquet theorem: Consider a Hamiltonian which is time periodic $H(t)=H(t+\tau)$. The ...
5
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2answers
311 views

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 $\...
4
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2answers
806 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is wave function so important?

I am almost sure that the wave function is the most important figures in modern physics book. On the other hand I know that wave function even do not have a physical meaning it self alone! Why is ...
17
votes
2answers
612 views

The formal solution of the Schrodinger equation

Consider the Schrödinger equation (or some equation in Schrödinger form) written down as $$ \tag 1 i \partial_{0} \Psi ~=~ \hat{H} \Psi . $$ Usually, one likes to write that it has a formal solution ...
8
votes
7answers
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Is it wrong to talk about wave functions of macroscopic bodies?

Does a real macroscopic body, like table, human or a cup permits description as a wave function? When is it possible and when not? For example in the "Statistical Physics, Part I" by Landau & ...
6
votes
5answers
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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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
608 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)= \begin{...
1
vote
1answer
153 views

Doubt in a certain equation of a research paper [closed]

In the given paper, I am stuck at equation (7). The equation that I am trying to solve for particle outside the well is : (1/g)*(g'') + (1/(r*g))*g' - (k_o)^2 = 0 where g = Radial wave function. r = ...
1
vote
1answer
813 views

What does a light wave look like (3d model)

What does a light wave look like? The only models I can seem to find online are 2D waves, they just look like sin() graphs. I have seen the models of the two components of "light waves" (electric ...
8
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4answers
429 views

Is it possible for $\Delta x$ ($\sigma_x$) of any free particle wave packet to be decreasing at any time?

Consider any wave packet describing a free particle (so no potential or other forces acting on it). Then it can be shown that $\Delta p$ does not change in time. However, my question is what happens ...
6
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2answers
171 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: $$ \delta_{a}(x) := \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi a^2}}e^{-x^2/2a^2}$$ ...
5
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3answers
3k views

Momentum of particle in a box

Take a unit box, the energy eigenfunctions are $\sin(n\pi x)$ (ignoring normalization constant) inside the box and 0 outside. I have read that there is no momentum operator for a particle in a box, ...
2
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2answers
113 views

Normalisation of free particle wavefunction

The wavefunction $\Psi(x,t)$ for a free particle is given by $$\Psi(x,t) = A e^{i(kx-\frac{\hbar k}{2m}t)}$$ This wavefunction is non-normalisable. Does this mean that free particles do not exist in ...
2
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5answers
451 views

General question about the potential barrier problem: Why does $\exp( kx)$ diverge when $x>0$ in the case when $E < V(x)$?

For the two images below, the first potential barrier has particles approaching it where $E > V_o$ & the second has a particle that has $E < V_o$, where $E$ is the energy of the particles ...
6
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5answers
2k views

Hydrogen radial wave function infinity at $r=0$

When trying to solve the Schrödinger equation for hydrogen, one usually splits up the wave function into two parts: $$\psi(r,\phi,\theta)= R(r)Y_{l,m}(\phi,\theta).$$ I understand that the radial ...