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.

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Commutation relation of a operator with Hamiltonian [duplicate]

Given that the eigenvalues of a Hamiltonian operator $H$ are bounded below, will a Hermitian operator $T$ exist such that $[T, H] = i\hbar{\bf 1}$ identity operator?
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Hamiltonian symmetry Lie algebra

What is the connection between complete set of commuting observables and generators of the Lie group? I have a Hamiltonian written down in second quantized formalism and I also checked that it ...
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Why does the measurement of some observable $A$, the measured value is always an eigenvalue of the operator?

Explain why when we make a measurement of some observable $A$ in QM, the measured value is always an eigenvalue of the operator $A$.
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On the Equivalence of Schrodinger and Heisenberg Descriptions of Quantum Mechanics and Observability

I'm not a physicist, but rather a control (feedback) systems engineer eager to understand more than just a cursory explanation of quantum mechanics. The StackExchange has been an excellent forum for ...
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How do we physically apply the operators of quantum mechanics on a particle?

What do we have to perform physically that is equivalent to applying those quantum mechanical operators on a state $|\psi\rangle$? Edit: I have removed the part I was asking regarding measurement ...
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Repeating a measurement vs uncertainty

The wikipedia says on measurement in quantum mechanics that: Repeating the same measurement without any evolution of the quantum state will lead to the same result. On the other hand, doesn't ...
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Motivating Irreducibility of Hilbert Space for Quantization Axioms

In the context of geometric quantization, we usually look for a map from the Poisson algebra of classical observables to the algebra of quantum observables (or rather, a sub-algebra of the classical ...
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Eigenvalues being physical observables

I think I'm comfortable with the PDE solutions to the Schrodinger equation. But as soon as we start putting these values in a matrix (in dirac notation), I lose my understanding and everything ...
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Commuting operators and Direct product spaces

Under what conditions is the common eigenspace of two commuting hermitian operators isomorphic to the direct product of their individual eigenspaces? When can an eigenket $|\lambda$1$\lambda$2$\rangle$...
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How does Dirac conclude that $X_r(c_r)$ cannot vanish?

On page 32 of Dirac's book Principles of Quantum Mechanics, he considers the case when the linear, Hermitian$^1$ operator $\xi$ satisfies an algebraic equation $$\phi(\xi)\equiv(\xi - c_1)(\xi - ...
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Square of the Pauli matrices and the identity matrix

The square of any of the three Pauli Spin matrices is equal to the identity. Is there any physical meaning to this? Would you expect it? Maybe in the context of the $SU(2)$ group?
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Making an Incomplete Set of Observables Complete

In quantum mechanics, it seems a standard procedure that if you have an incomplete set of observables, then one can make this set complete by adding more commuting observables until the set becomes ...
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Differentiation operator with respect to observable acting as a function of the observable?

In his Principles of Quantum Mechanics Dirac writes: $$\int \langle \phi \frac{d}{dq}|q'\rangle dq' \psi(q')=\int \phi(q') dq' \frac{d\psi(q')}{dq'}.$$ To me it is rather strange, and it seems as if ...
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Kinetic energy operator in Dirac's relativistic quantum theory

In non-relativistic quantum theory $\hat{K}=\hat{p}^2/2m$, What is the Kinetic energy operator in Dirac's relativistic quantum theory?
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Observables in Quantum Mechanics

Studying on own quantum mechanics I came across: Preceeding text: A basic postulate of quantum mechanics tells us how to set up the operator corresponding to a given observable. Observables, $\...
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How to compute observables from the boson field operator?

I think I understand that if given the two boson wavefunction of two different states \begin{align} \Psi(\boldsymbol{r}_1,\boldsymbol{r}_2) = \dfrac{ \psi_1(\boldsymbol{r}_1)\psi_2(\boldsymbol{r}_2) + ...
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The Eigenstate Existence Problem in Dirac's book 'Principles of Quantum Mechanics'

In Chapter II of Dirac's book Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Dirac explains that in general it is very difficult to know whether, for a given real linear operator, that any eigenvalues/eigenvectors ...
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Eigenstates of an observable

Can we use eigenstates of ANY observable as base of the Hilbert space? If we can, is this equal to the statement that those eigenstates are orthogonal to each other and normalizable?
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How can $J_1^2, J_2^2, J_{1z}, J_{2z}$ commute mutually?

I'm reading through J. J. Sakurai's Modern Quantum Mechanics book and currently looking at the "Angular-momentum addition" part. Here, it says you have two options and that one option is to ...
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Spacetime, space observables and time observables

It appears to me that the concepts of space and time play a privileged role in Physical Theories. If we look at classical non-relativistic theories such as point particle mechanics, rigid body ...
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Why is Spin Less Classical than Position?

It is often repeated that "the spin observable is purely quantum and has no classical counterpart". What is actually meant by that? I see no principle difference between the set of spin observables ...
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Probability of measuring two observables in a mixed state

Lets say i have density Matrix on the usual base $$ \rho = \left( \begin{array}{cccc} \frac{3}{14} & \frac{3}{14} & 0 & 0 \\ \frac{3}{14} & \frac{3}{14} & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & ...
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What are you studying when you study a Harmonic Oscillator in QM?

This probably is a naive question - so please forgive a self-studier. In the text I am studying, one builds a HO by placing a particle in a potential that increases quadratically from the origin. The ...
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Is there any non-hermitian operator on Hilbert Space with all real eigenvalues?

The property of hermitian is the sufficient condition for eigenvalue being real. Is there any non-hermitian operator on Hilbert Space with all real eigenvalues? If there exist, then can all ...
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Eigenstate of field operator in QFT

Why don't people discuss the eigenstate of the field operator? For example, the real scalar field the field operator is Hermitian, so its eigenstate is an observable quantity.
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Understanding Well Defined States

I am self-studying from a text in QM. Well defined states are mentioned several times. By and large these are consistent and seem to be readily apparent: states of well defined energy are basis kets. ...
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Quantum Mechanics - Observable

If $O$ represents an operator corresponding to an observable why does the following equality hold? $$\langle f(x)\, |\, O g(x)\rangle = \langle g(x) \,|\, O f(x) \rangle$$ It is used on the last ...
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What happens with a tunneling particle when its momentum is imaginary in QM?

In classical mechanics the motion of a particle is bounded if it is trapped in a potential well. In quantum mechanics this is no longer the case and there is a non zero probability of the particle to ...
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The Physical Meaning behind a Commutator [duplicate]

I've just been introduced to the idea of commutators and I'm aware that it's not a trivial thing if two operators $A$ and $B$ commute, i.e. if two Hermitian operators commute then the eigenvalues of ...
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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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Non-Hermitian operator with real eigenvalues?

So we know that in Quantum Mechanics we require the operators to be Hermitian, so that their eigenvalues are real ($\in \mathbb{R}$) because they correspond to observables. What about a non-Hermitian ...
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Discrete Values for Observables vs Average Values (Quantum Mechanics)

When considering observables and their corresponding operators, would it be correct to believe that discerning discrete values for an observable is possible ONLY when $\psi$ is an eigenfunction of the ...
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Is $\hat{\phi}^{-}\hat{\phi}^{+}$ a well defined observable in the Quantum field theory of a scalar field?

Is the Hermitian operator $\hat{\mathcal{O}}=\hat{\phi}^{-}(x)\hat{\phi}^{+}(x)$, where $\hat{\phi}^{+}(x)$ is positive frequency part of the scalar field operator, a well defined observable in QFT? ...
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Why does a picture of a person seem to be looking in the same direction irrespective of the angle of observation? [closed]

If you observe a picture of a person hanging on a wall who seems to be looking directly towards you always seems to be looking at you even though you change your angle of observation to the extremes. ...
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Is kinetic energy in QM a state-property or is it distributed?

Suppose we have a quantum mechanical system, which is well described by its wave function in r-representation $\Psi$. We are interested in the properties of an observable, say the kinetic energy $T$. ...
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Do eigenvectors of quantum operators span the whole Hilbert Space?

I am trying to solve an exercise in Shankar's QM book (concretely 4.2.1), and I am asked the probability of each possible value for the operator $L_x$ when the particle is in a certain eigenstate of ...
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Inexact measurement and wavefunction collapse

As is usually said, measurement of an observable $q$ leads to collapse of wavefunction to an eigenstate of the corresponding operator $\hat q$. That is, now the wavefunction in $q$ representation is $\...
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Particle in a 1-D box and the correspondence principle

Consider the particle in a 1-d box, we know very well the solutions of it. I'd like to see how the correspondence principle will work out in this case, if we consider position probability density ...
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Is position fundamentally different from other observables?

I apologize in advance for what might be a very naive question, and for its science-fictionesque flavor. It's still, I think, a real physics question. Suppose I have a (quantum) particle, whose ...
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What is a continuous superselection sector?

I'm studying the terrible subject of continuous superselection rules and I faced with the following problem. Usually (continuous or discrete) superselection rules are defined involving a direct ...
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General wavefunction and Schrödinger Equation

I'm starting with quantum mechanics and the book I follow (Griffiths) first introduces the wavefunction as the probability density of the position of a 0-spin single particle. Later on I've realized ...
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Why are Hermitian operators linked to observables?

In Quantum Mechanics, why is it that a self-adjoint operator is linked to an observable? What makes it measureable? And why isn't a non-Hermitian operator linked to an observable? Also, what type of ...
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How does linearity of a measurement imply that the commutator of all measured observables are $c$-numbers?

I really don't understand with the linearity conditions I have where this comes from.
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How functions become operators in quantum mechanics? [duplicate]

What used to be functions in the context of classical mechanics like position, linear momentum, angular momentum, etc in quantum mechanics are operators (these operators act on the state to get ...
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What are the Time Operators in Quantum Mechanics? [duplicate]

I don't understand at all what the time operators are in quantum mechanics. I thought that given a wave function, because it's a function of time, we could simple put in any time in the future to find ...
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Why are orthogonal functions and eigenvalues/functions so important in quantum mechanics?

The mathematics and physics we have studied so far at university are heavily focused around the idea of orthogonal functions, orthogonality, sets of solutions, eigenvalues and eigenfunctions. Why ...
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Observable Operator on a Superposition?

I'm probably missing something obvious and basic here but I can't make sense of certain usages of Observables as present in basic treatments of Quantum Mechanics that i've come across. $$ \hat{A}|\...
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Basic Interpretation of Compostion of Observables and their Measurement

Given two (or more) observables $A, B$ which commute one can construct a third observable $C= A \circ B$. If $\psi$ is a common eigenvector of $A, B$ with eigenvalues $\lambda_1, \lambda_2$ then it is ...
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Weird Behaviour of the act of measurement to a quantum system

I and my friend were disputing about some weird behaviour of the act of measuring some observables quantities e.g. Energy, position. But I still don't think what he said is strictly true. He said" ...
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Can a distribution with sharper energy maximum than the exp-function give an equivalent theory?

Because for many particles the distribution $\varrho\sim\mathrm e^{-\beta\ H}$ has an extremely sharp maximum, the expectation values of the canonical ensemble agrees with that of the microcanonical ...