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enter image description here In this excerpt from Griffith's quantum mechanics book:

THE FREE PARTICLE

We turn next to what should have been the simplest case of all: the free particle [$V(x) = 0$ everywhere]. As you'll see in a momentum, the free particle is in fact a surprisingly subtle and tricky example. The time-independent Schrödinger equation reads

$$-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\frac{d^2\psi}{dx^2} = E\psi\tag{2.74}$$

or

$$\frac{d^2\psi}{dx^2} = -k^2\psi,\quad\text{where } k \equiv \frac{\sqrt{2mE}}{\hbar}.\tag{2.75}$$

So far, it's the same as inside the infinite square well (Equation 2.17), where the potential is also zero; this time, however, I prefer to write the general solution in exponential form (instead of sines and cosines) for reasons that will appear in due course:

$$\psi(x) = Ae^{ikx} + Be^{-ikx}\tag{2.76}$$

Equation 2.76 is the solution for equation 2.74 I.

I don't understand why Griffiths says the first term in equation 2.76 represents a wave traveling to the right and the second to the left. Some website says when we apply momentum operator to first term then we get positive value in the positive x direction, but why do we separate two terms? If I apply momentum operator on equation 2.76  ,I I can't get the wavefunction back. Since nobody know the physical meaning of wavefunction  , thethen why do we simply separate it? Please guide. Thanks

enter image description here

Equation 2.76 is the solution for equation 2.74 I don't understand why Griffiths says the first term in equation 2.76 represents a wave traveling to the right and the second to the left. Some website says when we apply momentum operator to first term then we get positive value in the positive x direction, but why do we separate two terms? If I apply momentum operator on equation 2.76  ,I can't get the wavefunction back. Since nobody know the physical meaning of wavefunction  , the why do we simply separate it? Please guide. Thanks

In this excerpt from Griffith's quantum mechanics book:

THE FREE PARTICLE

We turn next to what should have been the simplest case of all: the free particle [$V(x) = 0$ everywhere]. As you'll see in a momentum, the free particle is in fact a surprisingly subtle and tricky example. The time-independent Schrödinger equation reads

$$-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\frac{d^2\psi}{dx^2} = E\psi\tag{2.74}$$

or

$$\frac{d^2\psi}{dx^2} = -k^2\psi,\quad\text{where } k \equiv \frac{\sqrt{2mE}}{\hbar}.\tag{2.75}$$

So far, it's the same as inside the infinite square well (Equation 2.17), where the potential is also zero; this time, however, I prefer to write the general solution in exponential form (instead of sines and cosines) for reasons that will appear in due course:

$$\psi(x) = Ae^{ikx} + Be^{-ikx}\tag{2.76}$$

Equation 2.76 is the solution for equation 2.74.

I don't understand why Griffiths says the first term in equation 2.76 represents a wave traveling to the right and the second to the left. Some website says when we apply momentum operator to first term then we get positive value in the positive x direction, but why do we separate two terms? If I apply momentum operator on equation 2.76, I can't get the wavefunction back. Since nobody know the physical meaning of wavefunction, then why do we simply separate it?

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Going left or going right of the free particle wave function?

enter image description here

Equation 2.76 is the solution for equation 2.74 I don't understand why Griffiths says the first term in equation 2.76 represents a wave traveling to the right and the second to the left. Some website says when we apply momentum operator to first term then we get positive value in the positive x direction, but why do we separate two terms? If I apply momentum operator on equation 2.76 ,I can't get the wavefunction back. Since nobody know the physical meaning of wavefunction , the why do we simply separate it? Please guide. Thanks