Questions tagged [dirac-delta-distributions]

Distributions are generalized functions, such as, e.g., the Dirac delta function. DO NOT USE THIS TAG for statistical probability distributions, profiles, graphs, plots, etc.

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40
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3k views

Hilbert space of harmonic oscillator: Countable vs uncountable?

Hm, this just occurred to me while answering another question: If I write the Hamiltonian for a harmonic oscillator as $$H = \frac{p^2}{2m} + \frac{1}{2} m \omega^2 x^2$$ then wouldn't one set of ...
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Don't understand the integral over the square of the Dirac delta function

In Griffiths' Intro to QM [1] he gives the eigenfunctions of the Hermitian operator $\hat{x}=x$ as being $$g_{\lambda}\left(x\right)~=~B_{\lambda}\delta\left(x-\lambda\right)$$ (cf. last formula on ...
5
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3answers
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Normalization of basis vectors with a continuous index?

I have an infinite basis which associates with each point, $x$, on the $x$-axis, a basis vector $|x\rangle$ such that the matrix of $|x\rangle$ is full of zeroes and a one by the $x^{\mathrm{th}}$ ...
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How is Gauss' Law (integral form) arrived at from Coulomb's Law, and how is the differential form arrived at from that?

On a similar note: when using Gauss' Law, do you even begin with Coulomb's law, or does one take it as given that flux is the surface integral of the Electric field in the direction of the normal to ...
10
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1answer
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Hilbert space of a free particle: Countable or Uncountable?

This is obviously a follow on question to the Phys.SE post Hilbert space of harmonic oscillator: Countable vs uncountable? So I thought that the Hilbert space of a bound electron is countable, but ...
12
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5answers
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Laplacian of $1/r^2$ (context: electromagnetism and Poisson equation)

We know that a point charge $q$ located at the origin $r=0$ produces a potential $\sim \frac{q}{r}$, and this is consistent with the fact that the Laplacian of $\frac{q}{r}$ is $$\nabla^2\frac{q}{r}~...
29
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4answers
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What's wrong with this derivation that $i\hbar = 0$?

Let $\hat{x} = x$ and $\hat{p} = -i \hbar \frac {\partial} {\partial x}$ be the position and momentum operators, respectively, and $|\psi_p\rangle$ be the eigenfunction of $\hat{p}$ and therefore $$\...
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3answers
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Matrix elements of momentum operator in position representation

I have two related questions on the representation of the momentum operator in the position basis. The action of the momentum operator on a wave function is to derive it: $$\hat{p} \psi(x)=-i\hbar\...
12
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3answers
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The Dirac-delta function as an initial state for the quantum free particle

I want to ask if it is reasonable that I use the Dirac-Delta function as an initial state ($\Psi (x,0) $) for the free particle wavefunction and interpret it such that I say that the particle is ...
13
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1answer
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3D Delta Potential Well

The 1D delta potential well $V(x) = -A\delta(x - a)$ always has exactly one bound state. The same is true for the 3D delta potential well $V(\vec{r}) = -A\delta(\vec{r}-\vec{a})$. I can show this for $...
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2answers
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Why is $\langle x| x' \rangle=\delta(x-x')$? [duplicate]

I've tried to find any solution or proof for $$\langle x| x' \rangle=\delta(x-x'),$$ but I only came to this post: Wave function and Dirac bra-ket notation So I got the information, that the vector $|...
5
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2answers
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What is the most general expression for the coordinate representation of momentum operator?

I have a question about deriving the coordinate representation of momentum operator from the commutation relation, $[x,p]= i$. One derivation (ref W. Greiner's Quantum Mechanics: An Introduction, 4th ...
18
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2answers
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How exactly is the propagator a Green's function for the Schrodinger equation

Sakurai mentions that the propagator is a Green's function for the Schrodinger equation because it solves $$\left(H-i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\right)K(x,t,x_0,t_0) = -i\hbar\delta^3(x-x_0)\...
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3answers
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Divergence of Electric Field Due to a Point Charge

I am trying to formally learn electrodynamics on my own (I only took an introductory course). I have come across the differential form of Gauss's Law. $$ \nabla \cdot \mathbf E = \frac {\rho}{\...
18
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4answers
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What is the square root of the Dirac Delta Function?

What is the square root of the Dirac Delta Function? Is it defined for functional integrals? Can it be used to describe quantum wave functions? \begin{align} \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} f(x)\sqrt{\delta(...
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5answers
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Can momentum have a complex expectation value?

I'm making examples of wave functions to incorporate in a QM exam. I came up with the following wave function, which gives me some troubles: $$\psi(x,0) = \begin{cases} A(a-x), & -a \leq x \leq a\...
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2answers
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Resources for theory of distributions (generalized functions) for physicists

I am looking for tutorials, articles or books containing theory of distributions in context of mathematical physics. Please suggest.
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1answer
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How to make rigorous the idea of a continuous complete set?

In Quantum Mechanics, when using Dirac's formalism one of its features is the expansion of state vectors into continuous basis of eigenvectors of unbounded self-adjoint operators. Let $\mathcal{H}$ be ...
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1answer
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Physical meaning of the Jacobian in relation to Dirac delta function

Is there a physical meaning to the equation $$\delta(x-a)=\dfrac{\delta(\xi-\alpha)}{|J|} \, ?$$ In non-rectangular coordinate systems where the transformation is non-singular, what is the ...
11
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1answer
890 views

Dirac Delta in definition of Green function

For a inhomogeneous differential equation of the following form $$\hat{L}u(x) = \rho(x) ,$$ the general solution may be written in terms of the Green function, $$u(x) = \int dx' G(x;x')\rho(x'),$$ ...
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What is the origin of the Dirac delta term in the dipole electric field?

I am a bit lost how one has deduced the formula for electric field with electric dipole because of some inconsistency between different sources. The Wikipedia article contains a delta function in the ...
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1answer
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Mathematical interpretation of Poisson Brackets

Lets say we are working in a classical scalar field theory and we have two functional $ F[\phi, \pi](x)$ and $G[\phi, \pi](x)$. In most of the references, starting with two functional the Poisson ...
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3answers
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The magnetic field of a magnetic monopole

Let us define the magnetic field $$\vec{B} = g\frac{\vec{r}}{r^3}$$ for some constant $g$. How can we show that the divergence of this field correspond to the charge distribution of a single magnetic ...
5
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2answers
985 views

What is the most natural value of Heaviside step function at zero argument?

In many physical applications, the Heaviside step fuction is defined as $$H(x) = \left\{\begin{eqnarray} 1, \quad x>0 \\ 0, \quad x<0 \end{eqnarray}\right.$$ The value $H(0)$ is left undefined. ...
2
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1answer
456 views

Where does the delta of zero $\delta(0)$ come from?

It is common when evaluating the partition function for a $O(N)$ non-linear sigma model to enforce the confinement to the $N$-sphere with a delta functional, so that $$ Z ~=~ \int d[\pi] d[\sigma] ~ \...
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What are the units or dimensions of the Dirac delta function?

In three dimensions, the Dirac delta function $\delta^3 (\textbf{r}) = \delta(x) \delta(y) \delta(z)$ is defined by the volume integral: $$\int_{\text{all space}} \delta^3 (\textbf{r}) \, dV = \int_{-...
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3answers
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What really is a Dirac delta function?

Yesterday a friend asked me what a Dirac delta function really is. I tried to explain it but eventually confused myself. It seems that a Dirac delta is defined as a function that satisfies these ...
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How do you do an integral involving the derivative of a delta function?

I got an integral in solving Schrodinger equation with delta function potential. It looks like $$\int \frac{y(x)}{x} \frac{\mathrm{d}\delta(x-x_0)}{\mathrm{d}x}$$ I'm trying to solve this by ...
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How to interpret the derivative of the Dirac delta potential?

I met a Hamiltonian containing the derivative of the Dirac delta potential: In order to do it we use a method described in [9]. We define a formal Hamiltonian $$ \tag{2}\tilde{H}_{abcd}=-\frac{{\...
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2answers
369 views

Eigenstates of a Hermitian field operator

Consider a Hermitian field operator $\phi(x)$ with eigenstates satisfying $$ \phi(x) |\alpha\rangle = \alpha(x) | \alpha \rangle $$ I'm trying to determine the inner product between the eigenstates. ...
6
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4answers
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Is the momentum operator diagonal in position representation?

The matrix elements of the momentum operator in position representation are: $$\langle x | \hat{p} | x' \rangle = -i \hbar \frac{\partial \delta(x-x')}{\partial x}$$ Does this imply that $\langle x |...
2
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1answer
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Why is the propagator the Green's function for Schrodinger equation? [duplicate]

Sakurai says that the propagator is simply the Green's function for the time-dependent wave equation satisfying $$\left [ -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \triangledown ''^2+V(\mathbf{x''})-ih\frac{\partial }{\...
8
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2answers
370 views

Deriving the expectation of $[\hat X,\hat H]$

For a free particle of mass $m$, with Hamiltonian $$\hat{H} = \frac {\hat{P}^2} {2m},$$ where $$\hat{P} = -i \hbar \frac{\partial} {\partial x}.$$ The commutative relation is given by $$[\hat{X}, \...
6
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1answer
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If one puts a delta-function spike inside an infinite square well, is the resulting potential analytically solvable?

It was recently floated in chat that a particle in a box with a delta-function spike inside it, with hamiltonian $$ H = -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \frac{\partial^2}{\partial x^2} + V_0\delta(x-a) $$ and with ...
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1answer
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This vector potential gives a magnetic monopole field, what's wrong with it?

$\mathbf{A} = \frac{g(1-\cos\theta)}{r\sin\theta} \mathbf{\hat\phi} \Rightarrow \mathbf{B} = g \mathbf{\hat r}/r^2$ But yet the existence of $\mathbf{A}$ itself hinges on the fact that there are no ...
2
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1answer
201 views

Interpretation of the Dirac-measure property

First and foremost, apologies in advance for using an abuse of notation by placing the Dirac measure inside an integral. But given the circumstances, I have no choice. This is essentially a word by ...
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2answers
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Derivative of delta function

I am reading and following along the appendices of "The Physical Principles Of The Quantum Theory", and trying to learn how he derives Schrödinger's Equation from his Matrix Mechanics, but I have run ...
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1answer
403 views

Could two different bases of a Hilbert space have different cardinality? [duplicate]

Here is a quote from http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_space#Hilbert_dimension (accessed: Nov. 22, 2013) : As a consequence of Zorn's lemma, every Hilbert space admits an orthonormal basis; ...
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1answer
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Principal value of 1/x and few questions about complex analysis in Peskin's QFT textbook

When I learn QFT, I am bothered by many problems in complex analysis. 1) $$\frac{1}{x-x_0+i\epsilon}=P\frac{1}{x-x_0}-i\pi\delta(x-x_0)$$ I can't understand why $1/x$ can have a principal value ...
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4answers
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Divergence of a field and its interpretation

The divergence of an electric field due to a point charge (according to Coulomb's law) is zero. In literature the divergence of a field indicates presence/absence of a sink/source for the field. ...
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3answers
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Multivariable Dirac Delta and Faddeev-Popov Determinant

From this mathstack page and in particular Qmechanic's answer: There exists an $n$-dimensional generalization $$\tag{1} \delta^n({\bf f}({\bf x})) ~=~\sum_{{\bf x}_{(0)}}^{{\bf f}({\bf x}_{(0)})=...
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Bound states of the $V(x)=\pm \delta'^{(n)}(x)$ potential?

The $\delta(x)$ Dirac delta is not the only "point-supported" potential that we can integrate; in principle all their derivatives $\delta', \delta'', ...$ exist also, do they? If yes, can we look for ...
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4answers
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Possible ambiguity in using the Dirac Delta function

When doing integration over several variables with a constraint on the variables, one may (at least in some physics books) insert a $\delta\text{-function}$ term in the integral to account for this ...
6
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3answers
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Schrodinger equation in term of Fokker-Planck equation

From Wikipedia on the Fokker-Planck equation: $$\tag{1}\frac{\partial }{\partial t}f\left( x^{\prime },t\right) ~=~\int_{-\infty}^\infty dx\left( \left[ D_{1}\left( x,t\right) \frac{\partial }{\...
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2answers
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The definition of Density of States

The density of states (DOS) is generally defined as $D(E)=\frac{d\Omega(E)}{dE}$, where $\Omega(E)$ is the number of states. But why DOS can also be defined using delta function, as $$D(E)~=~\sum\...
4
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4answers
176 views

Divergence of $\frac{ \hat {\bf r}}{r^2}$ , what is the 'paradox'?

I just started in Griffith's Introduction to electrodynamics and I stumbled upon the divergence of $\frac{ \hat r}{r^2}$ , now from the book, Griffiths says: Now what is the paradox, exactly? ...
3
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4answers
310 views

Hamiltonian of quantum harmonic oscillator with $\psi(x)=\delta(x)$: comparison to classical mechanics

I was just reading the question Why can't $\psi(x)=\delta(x)$ in the case of a harmonic oscillator? The accepted answer says that $\psi(x)=\delta(x)$ is a mathematically valid state, though it's not ...
6
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4answers
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Delta Dirac Charge Density question

I have to write an expression for the charge density $\rho(\vec{r})$ of a point charge $q$ at $\vec{r}^{\prime}$, ensuring that the volume integral equals $q$. The only place any charge exists is at $...
5
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2answers
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Translation Operator and Position Basis

In Modern Quantum Mechanics by Sakurai, at page 46 while deriving commutator of translator operator with position operator, he uses $$\left| x+dx\right\rangle \simeq \left| x \right\rangle.$$ But for ...
6
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1answer
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Can operators be argument of Dirac Delta function

In one part of Marc Bee's book on Quasielastic Neutron Scattering, he defines the pair correlation function $$ G(\textbf r,t) = \frac{1}{(2\pi)^3}\int I(\textbf Q,t)\text e^{-i\textbf Q.\textbf r}\ d^...