Questions tagged [observables]

A quantum observable is a measurable operator whose corresponding property of the state can be determined by some sequence of physical operations ("observation"), such as submitting the system to various electromagnetic fields and eventually reading a value. In systems governed by classical mechanics, any experimentally observable value can be shown to be given by a real-valued function on the set of all possible system states.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3
votes
0answers
212 views

Is there a physical significance to non-normal states of the algebra of observables?

Quantum theory may be formalized in several different ways. Generally, the physical discussion of different states of a quantum system distinguishes pure and mixed states, and then subsumes both in a ...
1
vote
0answers
179 views

Why Hamiltonian is Hermitian? [duplicate]

Everyone knows that this is needed to make eigenvalues real, but still why we enforcing such a structure at first place? An arbitrary operator can have as complex as real eigenvalues, we can simply ...
0
votes
1answer
117 views

Distinguishing degenerate states physically

Suppose there is a free particle on a circle with radius r. The energy spectrum is then $$E_n = \frac{n^2\hbar^2}{2mr^2} \,.$$ Thus, when $n \neq 0$, then the spectrum of energies is degenerate ...
0
votes
2answers
403 views

Physical quantities have definite values?

I don't really know if this question has an anwser but I thought it was worth to try asking. My point here is the following: in Quantum Mechanics, to describe the states of a system we use a Hilbert ...
2
votes
0answers
93 views

Is there any additional complexity in the physical laws that seems unnecessary for us to exist? [closed]

I am wondering if the universe is as simple as possible, at least given the constraint that humans exist on Earth. This is my second attempt at this question, which was marked as too broad, since I ...
2
votes
0answers
71 views

Have Witten-type TQFT's nonconservation of energy and momentum in interactions?

Witten-type topological quantum field theories are based on cohomology theories. Every observable must lie in a cohomology class. May be $G$ a geometric field. Then every observable expectation value ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't non-Hermitian operators with all real-eigenvalues correspond to observables? [duplicate]

Suppose you could construct an operator that was non-Hermitian but had all real eigenvalues or could at least be restricted in a way to create only real eigenvalues, why would this operator not ...
5
votes
4answers
515 views

How to determine the observables rigorously?

In Quantum Mechanics, as I know, if a system is described by a Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$, each physical quantity is associated with some hermitian operator $A : U\subset \mathcal{H}\to \mathcal{H}$ ...
10
votes
1answer
807 views

Sequential Stern-Gerlach devices - realizable experiment or teaching aid?

At least one textbook [1] uses sequential Stern-Gerlach devices to introduce to students that the components of angular momentum are incompatible observables. Viz., the $z$-up beam from a SG device ...
1
vote
2answers
356 views

Is the perturbation Hamiltonian an observable?

In fine structure calculation we use the perturbation theory. The basic Hamiltonian $H_0$ is perturbed as: $H = H_0 + W$ First, the basic problem assume that $H_0$ is an observable. That allows to ...
0
votes
1answer
203 views

spin independent observable [closed]

Let's consider a spin independent observable $O$ (the terms of the operator don't depend upon the spin operator). If we are interested to find an eigenfunctions' basis of the wave-functions' space, ...
0
votes
2answers
166 views

Function of observables in mathematical words

In mathematical words, an observable is an operator that a set of linearly independent eigenfunctions constitutes a complete basis of the wave-functions' space. Now, let's consider some observables: $...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Reason for Uncertainty principle

$$\Delta x \Delta p_x \geq \frac{\hbar}{2} $$ I understand what does Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states i.e. it's definition and it has been proven experimentally. But, can anyone please ...
0
votes
3answers
574 views

Both Eigenvalues and Operators are “Observables”? [duplicate]

I am having a bit of difficulty wading through the what seems to be multiple usages for Observables in Quantum Mechanics. " Mathematically observables are postulated to be Hermitian operators.. " ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Why isn't the time-derivative considered an operator in quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

Based on my understanding when doing quantum mechanics we deal with a small set of mathematical objects: namely scalars, kets, bras, and operators. But then in the Schrodinger equation we have this ...
7
votes
2answers
555 views

What does it mean to observe? [duplicate]

This is a layman's question. The only thing I know about quantum physics is from casual reading and documentaries. I can imagine electrons being probabilistic waves. Their position is an infinite ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Lorentz Symmetry

Quick question about Lorentz symmetry. From the wiki page the feature of nature that says experimental results are independent of the orientation or the boost velocity of the laboratory through ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

The dual role of (anti-)Hermitian operators in quantum mechanics

Hermitian (or anti-Hermitian) operators are of central importance in quantum mechanics in at least two different incarnations: Observables are represented by Hermitian operators on the quantum ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

“Independent simultaneous eigenbras” in Dirac's book 'Principles of Quantum Mechanics'

I've been puzzling through this book off and on and can usually work out what is going on via other external references on the Intertubes. But, this paragraph from pages 55 and 56 has me a bit ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Why is only one quantity of angular momentum i.e. $L_z$ quantized & not $L_x$ & $L_y$?

This is quoted from Arthur Beiser's Concepts of Modern Physics: Why is only one quantity of $\mathbf{L}$ quantized? The answer is related to the fact that $\mathbf{L}$ can never point in any ...
0
votes
3answers
122 views

Do we get the same answer at any time if we measure a system's energy?

Schrödinger's equation says that the only allowed energy states of a system are the eigenvalues of the energy operator $H$. This means that if we measure the energy of the system at any time we will ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Really how can an observable quantity be equal to an operator?

A wave-function can be written as $$\Psi = Ae^{-i(Et - px)/\hbar}$$ where $E$ & $p$ are the energy & momentum of the particle. Now, differentiating $\Psi$ w.r.t. $x$ and $t$ respectively, we ...
0
votes
2answers
180 views

Particle in a box - speed probability distribution

Consider a particle in a box with infinite barriers. By solving the Schrödinger we can find the probability of finding the particle at some points in the box. How can we find the probability of ...
0
votes
2answers
158 views

Would $[\hat{Q},\hat{H}]$ correspond to an observable? [closed]

Would $[\hat{Q},\hat{H}]$ correspond to an observable? Where $\hat{Q}$ is an observable and $\hat{H}$ is the Hamiltonian. Surely that would just mean that $[\hat{Q},\hat{H}]$ would commute i.e. = 0?: ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

How to derive Uncertainty Principle relation?

How to derive Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle relation?
0
votes
1answer
378 views

How might I show that an operator is, by definition, an 'observable'? [closed]

Here is my problem: I understand what is meant by 'observable' but don't have a formal definition at hand. How do I 'show' it?
1
vote
1answer
257 views

Compatible Observables and Measurement

Suppose $A$ and $B$ are compatible observables (i.e. $[A,B] = 0$). We take the eigenkets of $A$ to be $|a_1 \rangle \ldots |a_N \rangle$. Further, we suppose that the first $k$ eignekets of $A$ are ...
3
votes
2answers
591 views

What exactly implies the need of quantum mechanics for self-adjoint and not only symmetric operators? [duplicate]

We know that quantum mechanics requires self-adjoint operators, not only symmetric. Can we say that this follows ONLY from the two following axioms of quantum mechanics, namely that each observable $...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “ $\Psi$ is not a measurable quantity in itself”?

I want to know that why the wavefunction $\Psi$ as a complex quantity (i.e $A+iB$ form) in quantum mechanics and somewhere I have studied that $\Psi$ is not a measurable quantity in itself that's why ...
0
votes
1answer
147 views

Quantum state of a system after measurements with non-commutative operators

a) Assume two operators $A$ and $B$. 1) Assume $$[A,B]=0 $$ and $$ ψ= \sum c_n u_n ~~~~\text a~ wavefunction~ describing~ the~ state~ of~ the~ system $$ with $$Aψ=a_n u_n $$ $$Bψ=b_n u_n$$ If we ...
2
votes
1answer
266 views

About states, observables and the wave functional interpretation in QFT with gauge fields

First of all, I'm a mathematician, so forgive me for my possible trivial mistakes and poor knowledge of physics. In a QFT, we just start with a field (scalar, vectorial, spinorial, gauge etc), so I ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Constants of motion in quantum mechanics

What is the meaning of a constant of motion in quantum mechanics (an observable-operator that commutes with the Hamiltonian) in contrary with classical mechanics?
7
votes
1answer
673 views

Is color charge a quantum mechanical observable?

If I had 2 pions that were identical, except one was comprised of a red and anti-red, and the other was comprised of a green and anti-green, would I be able to perform an experiment that distinguishes ...
-4
votes
2answers
512 views

Classical notion of trajectory [closed]

Why the classical notion of trajectory is meaningless in quantum mechanics? I am asking here about notion of trajectory from classical mechanics and why in quantum mechanics we cannot use it or is ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Susceptibilities and response functions

It is often confusing whether a susceptibility is the same as a response function, specially that often they are used interchangeably, in the context of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Very ...
2
votes
1answer
983 views

Singlet state and it's expectation value

So. We have a singlet sate $$ \dfrac{1}{\sqrt{2}}(\vert\uparrow\downarrow\rangle-\vert\downarrow\uparrow\rangle)$$ And two pauli matrices for z axis - one that acts on 1st spin (lets denote it with $\...
4
votes
3answers
380 views

Are the authors saying that the observer effect plays no role in Bohr's thought experiment of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle?

Here is an excerpt from Eisberg & Resnick's Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles. Here is introducing Bohr's though experiment to establish a physical origin for the ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

How much information does the Hamiltonian contain in quantum mechanics? [closed]

Given a Hamiltonian, let's say of a many-body system, through the Schrodinger equation,in principle we can find the eigenfunctions and their corresponding eigenvalues (spectrum). Now given an ...
0
votes
1answer
249 views

Expectation value of operators in quantum mechanics

Can the expectation value of an operator be zero?
0
votes
2answers
1k views

The delta function as an eigenfunction of the position operator explanation

$\delta (\textbf{r})$ can be interpreted as a wavefunction. [...] It is non-vanishing only for $\textbf{r}=0$. [...] $\delta(\textbf{r})$ is an eigenfunction of the position operator with eigenvalue ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Eigenstate vs collapsed wave function

An eigenstate, or determinate state, is a state where the measurement of some observable always yields the same result. This means that the standard deviation of the observable is zero. If a ...
0
votes
1answer
405 views

Why tensor product? [duplicate]

Let $A$ an $B$ be two discrete observables (like spins). When exactly and why we have to consider their tensor product when talking about the mutual observation of the corresponding phenomena?
0
votes
2answers
118 views

What is the correct way to treat operators that has “time” in QM? [duplicate]

I don't know if this question has already been resolved but considering that $i\hbar\partial_t$ is the energy operator, and $\partial^2_t$ is the waves operator (or helmholtz), I can't accept that $t$ ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

Eigenstates into which a system can be projected after a measurement

I'm currently reading Dirac's Principles of Quantum Mechanics, on page 36, he says: Another assumption we make connected to the physical interpretation of the theory is that, if a certain real ...
0
votes
1answer
360 views

If I want to determine a particle's momentum or position, do I get this information from the wave function?

I am confused about how one measures the dynamical variables (eg position) of a particle. I thought the wave function $\Psi(x,t)$ was the probability amplitude and $|\Psi(x,t)|^2$ represents the ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

What are the methods of experimentally measuring the observables in quantum mechanics?

Perhaps due to the limited number of textbooks on quantum mechanics I have consulted, I have seen presented the fundamental principles related to observables, but have never seen a somewhat systematic ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

A new operator which gives direction of the momentum of the particle in 1-d space, preserving everything else : Need practical applications

I have introduced a new observable (unitary self-adjoint operator) which seems to give the direction of the momentum of the particle in 1-dimensional space, without disturbing anything else. We can ...
1
vote
2answers
307 views

Is there a deterministic observable that has only single eigenvalue?

Is there an observable in quantum mechanics which has only one eigenvalue and an eigenspace associated with that single eigenvalue? This observable is deterministic in the sense that it gives same ...
0
votes
0answers
313 views

Importance of anti-self adjoint operators in quantum mechanics

I learnt that the observables are self-adjoint operators working on wave functions which live in a Hilbert space. The eigenvalues of these operators are real and appear as outcome of measurements. ...
4
votes
1answer
489 views

Is there a connection between Lie Groups and observable quantities in physics?

Good evening everybody. I have some questions about the relation between Lie groups and observables in physics. Indeed, taking the example of spin formalism of Quantum mechanics I know that Pauli's ...