Questions tagged [commutator]

A mathematical construct quantifying the difference in effect of applying two operators in two alternate successions. It is the defining product of a Lie algebra, the efficient underlying description of Lie groups, of use in several areas of physics, most notably quantum field theory.

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The use of the commutators in quantum mechanics: explanations [duplicate]

Considering that I've never studied quantum mechanics before I have need to understand the operator commutator. My start is: $[A,B]=AB-BA \tag{a}$ Now, why must be $$\left[\frac{\partial }{\partial ...
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Hamiltonian with position-spin coupling

I am solving a Hamiltonian including a term $(x\cdot S)^2$. The Hamiltonian is like this form: \begin{equation} H=L\cdot S+(x\cdot S)^2 \end{equation} where $x$ is the position operator, $L$ is ...
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Prove conservation law in quantum mechanics

I major in Math, and I am studying Quantum Mechanics (QM). I see the conservation law in QM as a mathematical theorem. Please check if my understanding is right, and help me to prove the theorem? ...
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Commutation of currents in QED

In an outline of a proof of the Ward identities in QED, the authors Green, Schwarz, and Witten in their book "Superstring theory", vol. I, Section 1.5.1, claim that in the QED the electromagnetic ...
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Commutation relation in quantized electromagnetic field theory

I have a question regarding a proposed problem (Problem 4.8) in Rodney Loudon's book "The Quantum Theory of Light". Let $U(t)$ be an operator defined by $$ U(t)=\exp\left\lbrace\frac{i}{\hbar}\int\...
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Common observables and associated operators: operator momentum [duplicate]

Starting from my previous question Commutators in quantum mechanics and considering that the commutator $$\left[i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial x},x\right]=i\hbar, \tag{1}$$ the associated linear ...
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Commutation with unspecified potential function

Instead of a potential given like $V(r) = k r^2$ or $V(r) = y^2$ , if the potential is given like in the form a function but not clearly specified, can we tell that if that commutes with the ...
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If Poisson Bracket of Momentum and Position is non-zero, why no Uncertainty Principle?

In Hamiltonian classical mechanics, we have that the Poisson bracket of position and momentum satisfies $$\{q_i, p_j\} = \delta_{ij}$$ But this implies that momentum and position 'generate' changes ...
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Quantum Harmonic Oscillator Raising and Lowering operators

The commutator of the operators, $[a,a^\dagger] = 1$ is useful in rewriting the Hamiltonian in a neat way in terms of the creation and annihilation operators. So my question is, Is there a physical ...
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118 views

Domain space of compatible and incompatible operators (observables)

Sakurai (Modern Quantum Mechanics, by J.J. Sakurai) states in the section on compatible operators: Let us first consider the case of compatible observables A and B. As usual, we assume that the ket ...
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Fermions, different species and (anti-)commutation rules

My question is straightforward: Do fermionic operators associated to different species commute or anticommute? Even if these operators have different quantum numbers? How can one prove this fact in a ...
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Number operator - annihilation operator commutation

Is there a rigorous way to prove that $$ (N+1)^{-1/2} a = a N^{-1/2} $$ where $a$ is a bosonic annihilation operator and $N=a^\dagger a$ is the corresponding number operator?
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Propagator Causality with commutators all the way

We know that two fields commute - by locality and causality - iff there is spacelike separation $\left[\phi_l^k(x) , \phi_m^{k'}(y)\right] = 0$ for $(x-y)^2<0$ In the canonical quantization of ...
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What is the implication of overlap between eigenstates of two operators in Quantum Mechanics?

For instance, what does it mean that a certain position eigenstate is also an energy eigenstate? I understand that measurable (Observables) in Quantum mechanics are the operators. Their eigenvalues ...
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Covariant derivative with respect to commutator

I have some confusion with the notion of $\nabla_{[A, B]}\bf{v}$, that expression, with a commutator of vector fields as the subindex of the connection appears for instance in the definition of the ...
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How does non-commutativity lead to uncertainty?

I read that the non-commutativity of the quantum operators leads to the uncertainty principle. What I don't understand is how both things hang together. Is it that when you measure one thing first ...
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Commutator of canonical fields in Quantum Field Theory

Let $\phi(\vec{x},t)$ denote the canonical fields and $\pi(\vec{x},t)$ denote the canonical impulses where they're given by: \begin{equation} \phi(x)=\int\frac{d^3\vec{p}}{(2\pi)^3\sqrt{2\omega_{\...
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Why is the Schrödinger field an annihilation operator?

The relativistic scalar field operator is not a ladder operator. Its commutation relations are $$\begin{align} \left[\hat{\phi}\left(\vec{x}\right), \hat{\phi}\left(\vec{y}\right)\right] = \...
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Quantum mechanics, Fourier transformation

Why do we use $p=-i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial x}$ in quantum physics? (I know the reason for $i\hbar$, quantization). Is this right to say we can't measure velocity and position of electrons at the ...
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Explicit form of Klein factors in Giamarchi

In Giamarchi, Quantum Physics in One Dimension, Appendix B, I don't understand how he did his last step in equation B.8, as shown below. If anyone has gone over the derivation, I would really ...
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How does one obtain $\hbar$ as $\frac{h}{2\pi}$?

I'm reading Dirac's Principles of Quantum Mechanics. He defines $\hbar$ to be the real number satisfying the following relation $$ uv - vu = i\hbar[u,v]$$ where $u$ and $v$ are dynamical variables, ...
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Why does equal commutator relation imply equal operator?

In 1d bosonization, Giamarchi (Quantum Physics in One Dimension) Chap 2, shows that fermionic Hamiltonian $$H_f=\sum_k k(R_k^* R_k -L_k L_k)$$ is equal to the bosonic representation $$H_b = \sum_k |...
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Baker-Hausdorff for normal ordering exponential

Let $A=A^+ +A^-$ where $A^+,A^-$ denote the creation and annihilation portion of the field. Then in Eduardo Fradkin, Field Theories of Condensed Matter Physics, equation (5.284), it states that $$ :e^...
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Commutation relations in Gupta-Bleuler quantization

Quantization of the free electro-magnetic field has essential differences in comparison to quantization of say scalar or massive vector fields. In fact there are different approches to it. One of ...
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Virasoro algebra commutation (part 2)

This was a sub-question in my previous post that I ask separately now. In Introduction to Conformal Field Theory by Blumenhagen and Plauschinn (springer link) the Virasoro algebra is introduced the ...
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Ehrenfest theorem and correlation among observables at the quantum scale

I am studying quantum mechanics and I encountered the famous Ehrenfest Theorem, which states that given an observable $A$, its expectation value time evolution is governed by $\partial_t\langle A\...
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Show that when angular momentum $L_x$ and $L_y$ commute with operator $G$, then $L_z$ also commutes with $G$

I want to prove that if Angular momentum $L_x$ and $L_y$ commute with an operator $G$, angular momentum $L_z$ also commutes with $G$. if $[L_x , G] = [L_y, G] = 0$ then $[L_z , G] = 0$ I know that $...
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Why is the uncertainty principle not $\sigma_A^2 \sigma_B^2\geq(\langle A B\rangle +\langle B A\rangle -2 \langle A\rangle\langle B\rangle)^2/4$?

In Griffiths' QM, he uses two inequalities (here numbered as $(1)$ and $(2)$) to prove the following general uncertainty principle: $$\sigma_A^2 \sigma_B^2\geq\left(\frac{1}{2i}\langle [\hat A ,\hat B]...
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Calculating the Commutation Relation of the Generators of $SO(n)$ [duplicate]

I'm working through problems in the book Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell by Zee, and I'm stuck on one of the harder problems. The problem is Calculate $[J_{(mn)}, J_{(pq)}]$. We are given that $[J_{(...
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How to differentiate exponentials of operators?

Suppose we have $$e^{At}e^{Bt}=F(t),$$ where $$A, B$$ - operators that do not commute. Now I need to take the derivative $$dF(t)/dt.$$ In which order do I write the operators? $$dF(t)/dt = Ae^{At}e^{...
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Virasoro Algebra commutation

In Introduction to Conformal Field Theory by Blumenhagen and Plauschinn (springer link) the Virasoro algebra is introduced the central extension of the Witt algebra. They give the central extension $$\...
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Why do position operators in orthogonal directions commute?

In three dimensions, we have $\hat x$, $\hat y$, $\hat z$ as the position operators in the three orthogonal directions. If the components of angular momentum don't commute, why must these all commute? ...
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If the mean of the commutator is zero, then what we can say about the commutator itself?

Suppose we have \begin{equation} \langle[H,N]\rangle=0 \tag{1} \end{equation} where both $H$ and $N$ are hermitian. Under which assumption I can claim that then $$[H,N]=0~?\tag{2}$$
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Commutation of Hamiltonian with momentum

In which case does the Hamiltonian $H$ commutes with the momentum $P$? Can anybody help me? With an example? (No particular or strange Hamiltonians and no particular momenta are involved). How can I ...
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What does it mean for 2 observables to be compatible?

If I have 2 observable operators $A$ and $B$, if $A$ and $B$ commute: $[A, B] = 0$, then they must necessarily form a complete set of commuting observables (CSCO). Essentially, if 2 observables are ...
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Uncertainity relation of Kinetic energy with position

In R. Shankar's Principle of quantum mechanics book in the problem Now $$\Delta T = \frac{-\hbar^2}{2m} \Delta( p^2)$$ And I don't arrive anywhere using this, but I also know that $\Delta A \...
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Does $[P_j,B_k]=i(Mc^2)\delta_{jk}$ imply particle number conservation?

From reading Weinberg's Quantum Theory of Fields, Vol. 1, I learnt that for the Galilean group $[P_j,B_k]=i(Mc^2)\delta_{jk}$, and for the Poincare group $[P_j,B_k]=iH\delta_{jk}$ where $P_j$ and $B_k$...
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Commutation relations of the generators of the Lorentz group

$$ J^{\mu\nu} = i(x^\mu\partial^\nu-x^\nu\partial^\mu). \tag{3.16}$$ We will soon see that these six operators generate the three boosts and three rotations of the Lorentz group. To determine ...
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Commutation relation Lorentz Algebra

Related question, which I don't understand either. I think is easier to get the Lorentz group algebra as defined by Maggiore, $$ [J^{\mu\nu},J^{\rho\sigma}] = i(\eta^{\nu\rho}J^{\mu\sigma} - \eta^{\...
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Vanishing correlation function

Mirror Symmetry p. 206, Eq. 10.192. I have an operator $\mathcal{O}$ that commutes with my supercharge $\overline{Q}_+ $, $\left[\overline{Q}_+, \mathcal{O} \right]=0$. Why does the correlation ...
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Why is it “disconcerting” if the components of an operator do not commute?

A symmetrized operator for the operators $\hat{H}$ and $\hat{N}$ is given by $$\hat{R}=\frac{1}{2\hat{H}}\hat{N}+\hat{N}\frac{1}{2\hat{H}}.$$ When $\hat{H}$ is the Hamiltonian and $\hat{N}$ is the ...
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Commutation of alpha dirac matrix

I want to calculate the commutation of $[\hat{x},\vec{\alpha}\;\vec{p}]$. This boils down to $$[\hat{x},\vec{\alpha}\;\vec{p}] = i\hbar\hat{\alpha_x}+\left[\hat{x},\hat{\alpha_x}\right]\hat{p_x} +\...
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Generators of conformal transformations change of basis

I recently started going through Introduction to Conformal Field Theory by Blumenhagen and Plauschinn ( springer link ). On page 11, they glue together the generators of conformal transformations as ...
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Normal ordering of operators: Commutator or no commutator [duplicate]

My exercise for a quantum optics course tells me to "find a normal ordering" for an Operator $\hat{O}(\hat{a},\hat{a}^\dagger)$, which is given as a (rather complicated) string of $\hat{a}$'s and $\...
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Heisenberg Picture from $\left[f(A), B\right] = \left[A, B \right]\frac{\partial f}{\partial A}$

I have a question about the equation below: $$\left[f(A), B\right] = \left[A, B \right]\frac{\partial f}{\partial A}$$ Is this equation valid in the Schrödinger picture, Heisenberg picture, or in ...
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Commutativity vs Compatibility

As far as I know, two compatible observables have a complete set of common eigenvectors, and using this fact, one can prove that their corresponding operators are commutative. Well now is the converse ...
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Mutually Commutative

What is the definition of a Mutually Commutative set of operators? I've found articles describing a complete set of mutually commutative operators, but I can't actually find what mutually commutative ...
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Commutation relations, complex scalar field

Why for the complex scalar field $$ \hat\phi = \int \frac{d^3p}{(2\pi)^{3/2}(2E_{\vec{p}})^{1/2}}\left(\hat{a}_{\vec{p}}e^{-p \cdot x} + \hat{b}_{\vec{p}}^\dagger e^{p \cdot x}\right), $$ the ...
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Question about commutators acting on wavefunctions

Consider a commutator acting on a 1D wavefunction: $$[\frac{\hbar}{i} \frac{d}{dx},x]\psi(x)=(\frac{\hbar}{i} \frac{d}{dx}x-x\frac{\hbar}{i} \frac{d}{dx})\psi(x).$$ Now does this mean $\frac{\hbar}{...
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Derive canonical commutation relations from Schwingers principle

The book of Dyson "Quantum-Field-Theory" states in section 4.4 that one can derive canonical commutation relations from Schwingers quantum action principle. However, doesn't give a calculation for the ...