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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Commutator of Lorentz boost generators : visual interpretation

I have always struggled to visualize the correctness of the commutation relation for the generators of the boost in the Lorentz group. We have $$[K_i,K_j] = i \epsilon_{ijk} L_k$$ I fail to picture ...
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Does uncertainty imply noncommutativity?

We already know that non-commutativity of observables leads to uncertainty in quantum mechanics cf. e.g. this and this Phys.SE post. What about the opposite: Does uncertainty imply noncommutativity? ...
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Lorentz force derivation in quantum mechanics [closed]

In Sakurai and Napolitano, chapter 2, there's a derivation of the QM Lorentz force. Given $$H=\frac{1}{2m}\left(\mathbf{p}-\frac{e\mathbf{A}}{c}\right)^2+e\phi = \frac{\mathbf{\Pi}^2}{2m}+e\phi$$ ...
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How does the proof of operator commutativity work with non-continuous operators?

In some books, a proof that if two self-adjoint operators $A$ and $B$ share a common eigenbasis $\{\phi_n\}$, then they commute is given as follows : For any $\phi_n$, $$AB\ \phi_n = a_n\ b_n\ \...
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Radial ordered commutation relation

In the book Conformal Field Theory of Francesco, Mathieu and Sénéchal, in Sec. 6.1.2, the authors state that the integral $$ \oint_w \mathrm{d}z~ a(z)b(w) ~=~ \oint_{C_1} \mathrm{d}z~ a(z)b(w) - \...
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Euclidean QFT commutator vanishes for all spacetime separations?

In Minkowski spacetime, the commutator of the Klein-Gordon field operator with itself at different spacetime points evaluates to the advanced minus retarded Green's function of the classical theory, ...
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Why don't we use Hamilton-Jacobi method in QM?

In classical mechanics, we usually try to find a set of coordinates by Hamilton-Jacobi method to transform the Hamiltonian to zero such that the coordinates are conservations. However, we never try ...
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Theories with non-vanishing commutators outside the lightcone

I'm reading Weinberg's new book on Quantum Mechanics, and in Chapter 8.7 "Time-Dependent Perturbation Theory" he derives the usual Dyson series for the $S$ matrix when the interaction Hamiltonian $V_I(...
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Commutators, Measurement, and Causality in QFT

In Peskin and Schroeder pg. 27-28, they discuss Klein-Gordon theory and causality. For a spacelike separation $(x-y)^2 < 0$, they show that $$\langle 0| \phi(x)\phi(y) |0\rangle \neq 0$$ They go ...
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QFT in Curved Spacetime - Commutation Relations for Annihilation Operators

I am currently learning about QFT in curved spacetime using these notes. Given a subspace $S_p$ of positive frequency solutions to the Klein-Gordon equation, we defined the corresponding ...
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Why symmetry transformations have to commute with Hamiltonian?

Let us consider a unitary or antiunitary operator $\hat{U}$, that associates with each quantum state $| \psi \rangle$ another state $\hat{U} | \psi \rangle$. I have read that for $\hat{U}$ to be a ...
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Proving that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space

How can I prove that $i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial \mathbf{p}}$ is the operator of $\mathbf{x}$ in momentum space?
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Commutator with a square root

How to find the commutator $[a, \sqrt{a^\dagger a}]$? Here $a$ is a usual bosonic annihilation operator, and $[a, a^\dagger] = 1$. The first thing I tried is $$ [x,A] = [x, \sqrt{A}]\sqrt{A} + \sqrt{...
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Fock space with mixed anti-commutation/commutation relations?

Let's say we have two modes, with the following labeling of occupation number states: $ \lvert \Psi \rangle = \begin{pmatrix} 0,0 \\ 0,1 \\ 1,0 \\ 1,1 \end{pmatrix} $ An example of (what I assume to ...
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Glauber's Formula

In the Cohen-Tannoudji Quantum Physics book, Complement BII, says: [...] two operators $A$ and $B$ with both commute with their commutator. An argument modeled on the preceding one shows that, if we ...
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Commutator of fermionic operators

The fermionic creation/annihilation operators are defined by the anti-commutation relations: $$ \{a_k^{\dagger},a_q^{\dagger}\} = 0 = \{a_k,a_q \} $$ $$ \{a_k^{\dagger},a_q\} = \delta_{kq} \, .$$ I ...
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Find $\hat{x}$ operator given $\hat{p}$ operator

This is problem $1.2$ of Molecular Quantum Mechanics by Atkins, 4th edition. I'm given the momentum operator $$p=\sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{2m}}(A+B)$$ with $$[A,B]=1$$ and I need to find $x$ in this ...
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Causality and Quantum Field Theory [duplicate]

I have a problem with proof of causality in Peskin & Schroeder, An Introduction to QFT, page 28. To avoid confusion I use three vectors notation, rewriting the Eq. (2.53) for $y=0$ as follows: $[\...
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Causality, branch cut choice and analytic continuation of Euclidean 2-pt. correlator in 2D CFT

In 2D CFT, the Euclidean two point correlator of a primary operator $\mathcal{O}$ with conformal weights $h$, $\bar{h}$ is given by $$ \begin{align} \langle\mathcal{O}(z,\bar{z})\mathcal{O}(0,0)\...
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A question regarding the commutators of operators

Suppose we have got a triple of observables $A,B$ and $C$. Suppose furthermore, that $[A,B]=0$ and $[B,C]=0$ but $[A,C]\neq 0$ . Suppose, also now we do a measurement of $A$ then accordingly we would ...
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Quantum fields as differential operators

As I understand it, there was initially two formalism for QM, before Dirac reunites them both with his famous braket notation: Schrödinger's formalism that involved differential operators acting on ...
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Quantum mechanics position/momentum state operator proof

Is there any way to prove $$ e^{-i\beta p}|q\rangle = |q+\beta\rangle $$ just by using these identities $$ [q,\mathcal{F}(p)]=i\hbar \mathcal{F}'(p) \;\;\;\;[q,p]=i\hbar $$ in quantum mechanics?
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Geometric interpretation of the second Bianchi identity?

Assuming a torsion free Christoffel symbol, the covariant derivative can be shown to satisfy the second (differential) Bianchi identity: \begin{equation} [[\nabla_a,\nabla_b],\nabla_c]+[[\nabla_c,\...
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Commutator expectation value in quantum mechanics

Suppose $A$ and $B$ are operators, $A$ is Hermitian, $B$ anti-hermitian, and their commutator is the identity, i.e. $$[A, B] = I \, .$$ Denoting the eigenvectors of $A$ as $\lvert a \rangle$, so that $...
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Why is this sum the delta function?

I am reading the first chapter from Fetter and Walecka, which is on second quantization, and I have understood everything up to this section. It seems to me that these field operators essentially ...
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Heisenberg picture of QM as a result of Hamilton formalism

Consider the formula for the total time-derivative of a physical value in Poisson's formalism: $$\tag{1} \frac{dA}{dt} = -\{H, A\}_{P.B.} + \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}, $$ where $\{A, B\}_{P.B.}$ is ...
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Proof for commutator relation $[\hat{H},\hat{a}] = - \hbar \omega \hat{a}$

I know how to derive below equations found on wikipedia and have done it myselt too: \begin{align} \hat{H} &= \hbar \omega \left(\hat{a}^\dagger\hat{a} + \frac{1}{2}\right)\\ \hat{H} &= \...
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Is uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement? [duplicate]

Is the uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement or is it an intrinsic concept in quantum mechanics irrelevant of any measurement? Everyone knows the thought experiment of measuring ...
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What physical significance has the Heisenberg Group?

I read that the canonical commutation relation between momentum and position can be seen as the Lie Algebra of the Heisenberg group. While I get why the commutation relations of momentum and momentum, ...
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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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State space of QFT, CCR and quantization, and the spectrum of a field operator?

In the canonical quantization of fields, CCR is postulated as (for scalar boson field ): $$[\phi(x),\pi(y)]=i\delta(x-y)\qquad\qquad(1)$$ in analogy with the ordinary QM commutation relation: $$[x_i,...
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If $E$ and $P$ don't commute, why could we have an $E$-$K$ diagram?

If $E$ (energy) and $P$ (momentum) only commute in constant potential, how could we have an $E$-$K$ diagram in a solid material? $[E,p] \neq 0$. Then we cannot prepare electrons whose $E$ and $P$ are ...
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Equivalent Rotation using Baker-Campbell-Hausdorff relation

Is there a way in which one can use the BCH relation to find the equivalent angle and the axis for two rotations? I am aware that one can do it in a precise way using Euler Angles but I was wondering ...
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Compatible Observables

My QM book says that when two observables are compatible, then the order in which we carry out measurements is irrelevant. When you carry out a measurement corresponding to an operator $A$, the ...
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Does Microcausality follow from Lorentz Invariance?

In a Lorentz Invariant theory, does microcausality automatically hold? In a free theory this is obvious. In an interacting theory I found some 'proof's in this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/0709.1483 ...
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Commutation relations in QFT and the principle of locality

My question is, given two space-time points $x^{\mu}$ and $y^{\mu}$, if the events that occur at these points are simultaneous, i.e. $x^{0}=y^{0}$, are the two events necessarily space-like separated? ...
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Computing the density operator commutation relations (Atland & Simons)

I'm trying to work through Altland and Simons' example of interacting fermions in one dimension. It's in chapter 2, page 70 (you can find it here). They define fermionic operators $$ a_{sk}^\dagger $$...
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Virasoro operators commutation relations [closed]

For the commutation relation in quantising the bosonic string $$\left[L_n,L_{m}\right]=(n-m)L_{n+m}+\frac{D}{12}n(n^2-1)\delta_{n+m,0}$$ we can then calculate this for $m=-n$ in between the vacuum ...
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In the Dirac equation, if the $\alpha$ is the mean velocity, why does it commute with $x,y,z,t$ if the velocity is related to the momentum?

In the Wikipedia talk page for the Dirac equation I found the following passage: The Dirac equation can be proved with the help of the correspondence principle. The energy and momentum of a ...
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Quantum Mechanics in a non-inertial reference frame?

In non-relativistic Quantum Mechanics how does one write the momentum and position operator in a non-inertial reference frame? How is the Schrodinger Wave equation modified to account for non-zero ...
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Causality in QFT from vanishing commutator and the EPR paradox

The question relates to this post. As shown in Peskin and Schroeder's introduction to quantum field theory p. 28., $$[\phi(x),\phi(y)] = 0 \;\;\mathrm{if}\;\; (x-y)^2<0$$, which implies the ...
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Geometric description of canonical commutation relation

Does there exist any geometrical description of canonical commutation relation (CCR) of quantum mechanics $$[\hat{x},\hat{p}] = i \hbar \, ,$$ e.g. in phase space? The commutator, along with the ...
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Does it mean anything if the commutator of an operator with the Hamiltonian is equal to the Hamiltonian?

Question says it all, really. I have $[\hat{H},\hat{O}]=-2i\hbar\hat{H}$. Does this mean that the operator $\hat{O}$ (an observable) is special in some way?
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Is commutation relation an equivalence relation?

I'm now learning quantum mechanics with Liboff. In the book it deals with "a compete set of mutually compatible observables" in order to make a state maximally informative. How can one find such set? ...
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Equal time commutation relations in canonical quantization of relativistic free fields

Why is equal time commutation relation used in canonical quantization of relativistic free fields? In a relativistic theory, space and time are to be treated on equal footing.
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Is there a simple expression for $[x,e^{ixp}]$?

I'm sure this exists somewhere, but somewhat surprisingly it is not that easy to google.* The commutators $$ \left[x,e^{i(ax^2+b(xp+px)+cp^2)}\right] $$ of position and the exponential of a quadratic ...
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Commutator and Taylor series in quantum mechanics

I have learned about the commutators, and read this: $$[A, f(B)] = f'[A,B]+\frac{1}{2}f''([A,B]B+B[A,B])+\frac{1}{3!}f'''([A,B]B^2+B[A,B]+B^2[A,B])+...$$ then Simplified to $$[A, f(B)] = [A,B](f'+f''B+...
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What is the physical importance of the commutation relations of angular momentum?

What is the physical meaning of these commutation relations: $$[L_{z},L_{\pm}]=\pm\hbar L_{\pm}\tag{1}$$ and $$[L_{+},L_{-}]=2\hbar L_{z} ~?\tag{2}$$
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Evaluating commutator of $[\operatorname{sign}(X),\, \operatorname{sign}(P)]$

I wish to evaluate the following commutator: $[\operatorname{sign}(X),\, \operatorname{sign}(P)]$. Is there a general method for evaluating $[\operatorname{f}(X), \operatorname{f}(P)]$? I thought of a ...
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Stone-von Neumann theorem

According to Stone-von Neumann theorem, any two canonically conjugate self adjoint operators following the relation: $$[\hat{q},\hat{p}]=i\hbar$$ cannot be both bounded. I am confused about how we ...

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