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Questions tagged [phase-space]

A notional even-dimensional space representing all relevant states of a dynamical system; it normally consists of all components of position and momentum/velocity involved in that unique specification. Use for both classical and quantum physics.

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14
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1answer
2k views

Which transformations are canonical?

Which transformations are canonical? Why do canonical transformations preserve the measure of integration in phase space?
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2answers
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Constraints of relativistic point particle in Hamiltonian mechanics

I try to understand constructing of Hamiltonian mechanics with constraints. I decided to start with the simple case: free relativistic particle. I've constructed hamiltonian with constraint: $$S=-m\...
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1answer
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Sympletic structure of General Relativity

Inspired by physics.SE: Does the dimensionality of phase space go up as the universe expands? It made me wonder about symplectic structures in GR, specifically, is there something like a Louiville ...
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3answers
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Liouville's Theorem and Boltzmann equation for plasma

The Boltzmann equation for a plasma can be thought of as coming from a continuity equation in the 6 dimensional phase space of the plasma with coordinates $\left\{x,y,z,v_x,v_y,v_z \right\}$. So ...
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3answers
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What is the correct relativistic distribution function?

General Statement and Questions I am trying to figure out the proper way to model a velocity/momentum distribution function that is correct in the relativistic limit. I would like to determine/know ...
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5answers
2k views

Is there a physical system whose phase space is the torus?

NOTE. This is not a question about mathematics and in particular it's not a question about whether one can endow the torus with a symplectic structure. In an answer to the question What kind of ...
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3answers
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How does one quantize the phase-space semiclassically?

Often, when people give talks about semiclassical theories they are very shady about how quantization actually works. Usually they start with talking about a partition of $\hbar$-cells then end up ...
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4answers
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Integrable vs. Non-Integrable systems

Integrable systems are systems which have $2n-1$ time-independent, functionally independent conserved quantities ($n$ being the number of degrees of freedom), or $n$ whose Poisson brackets with each ...
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2answers
979 views

How to prove that a Hamiltonian system is *not* Liouville integrable?

To show that a system is Liouville integrable, we just need to find $n$ independent functions $f_j$ such that $\{ f_i, f_j \} = 0$. But how to prove that such a set of functions do not exist? For ...
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4answers
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Understanding “natural variables” of the thermodynamic potentials using the example of the ideal gas

I'm struggling with the concept of "natural variables" in thermodynamics. Textbooks say that the internal energy is "naturally" expressed as $$ U = U(S,V,N)$$ For an ideal gas, I could take the ...
10
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1answer
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Universality in Weak Interactions

I'm currently preparing for an examination of course in introductory (experimental) particle physics. One topic that we covered and that I'm currently revising is the universality in weak interactions....
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423 views

What are some mechanics examples with a globally non-generic symplecic structure?

In the framework of statistical mechanics, in books and lectures when the fundamentals are stated, i.e. phase space, Hamiltons equation, the density etc., phase space seems usually be assumed to be $\...
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3answers
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Why does non-commutativity in quantum mechanics require us to use Hilbert spaces?

I am reading Why we do quantum mechanics on Hilbert spaces by Armin Scrinzi. He says on page 13: What is new in quantum mechanics is non-commutativity. For handling this, the Hilbert space ...
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1answer
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Phase space in quantum mechanics and Heisenberg uncertainty principle

In my book about quantum mechanics they give a derivation that for one particle an area of $h$ in $2D$ phase space contains exactly one quantum mechanical state. In my book about statistical physics ...
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1answer
613 views

Planck's constant and phase space in quantum mechanics

During my undergrad physics classes, I've come across several seemingly related phenomena dealing with $h$ and phase space in quantum mechanics. Let $T_x$ be a translation operator by $x$ in position ...
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2answers
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Proving the Lorentz invariance of the Lorentz invariant phase space element

I have been looking around for a satisfactory answer to prove that $$\frac{d^3\vec{p}}{2E_{\vec{p}}}$$ where $E_{\vec{p}}=+\sqrt{(|\vec{p}|c)^2+(mc^2)^2}$, is Lorentz invariant. The standard answer ...
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1answer
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On- & off-shell conserved charges/constants of motion

I am trying to understand how conserved charges generate symmetry transformations via the Poisson bracket, but I am missing something in one part of the derivation. The part I am struggling with is ...
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7answers
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How is Liouville's theorem compatible with the Second Law?

The second law says that entropy can only increase, and entropy is proportional to phase space volume. But Liouville's theorem says that phase space volume is constant. Taken naively, this seems to ...
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3answers
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Extending the ergodic theorem to non-equilibrium systems

I try to make this as short and concise as possible. For equilibrium systems in statistical mechanics, we have the Liouville's theorem which says that the volume in phase space is conserved when the ...
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2answers
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The quantum analogue of Liouville's theorem

In classical mechanics, we have the Liouville theorem stating that the Hamiltonian dynamics is volume-preserving. What is the quantum analogue of this theorem?
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1answer
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Poincaré maps and interpretation

What are Poincaré maps and how to understand them? Wikipedia says: In mathematics, particularly in dynamical systems, a first recurrence map or Poincaré map, named after Henri Poincaré, is the ...
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569 views

Can I swap quantum mechanical ground state for some classical trajectory distribution and have it sit still after the swap?

Suppose that I have a single massive quantum mechanical particle in $d$ dimensions ($1\leq d\leq3$), under the action of a well-behaved potential $V(\mathbf r)$, and that I let it settle on the ground ...
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2answers
259 views

Symplectic form on covariant phase space

Usually, the phase space of a physical system is defined as the cotangent bundle of the configuration space at some fixed time slice $t = t_0$, conveniently co-ordinatized by $\{q^a, p_a\}$ where $$ ...
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1answer
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Non-Euclidean Phase Space?

In classical mechanics, the canonical equations of motion can be rendered in terms of Poisson Brackets: $$\begin{align} \left\{q_i, F(\mathbf{q},\mathbf{p})\right\} &= \frac{\partial F}{\partial ...
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1answer
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How to explain the different forms of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation?

In Arnold's Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics, he derives the Hamilton-Jacobi equation (HJE) using a generating function $S_1(Q, q)$ to get $$ H\left(\frac{\partial S_1(Q, q)}{\partial q}, ...
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1answer
687 views

For an infinitesimal transformation in phase space, what functions are allowed for this to be a canonical transformation?

Consider an infinitesimal transformation: $$(q_{i},p_{j}) \quad\longrightarrow \quad(Q_{i},P_{j}) ~=~ \left(q_{i} + \alpha F_{i}(q,p),~p_{j} + \alpha E_{j}(q,p)\right) $$ where $α$ is considered to ...
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Topology of phase space

Context: From Liouville's integrability theorem we know that: If a system with $n$ degrees of freedom exhibits at least $n$ globally defined integrals of motion (i.e. first integrals), where all ...
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2answers
582 views

Is Liouville's equation an axiom of classical statistical mechanics?

Suppose we have a classical statistical problem with canonical coordinates $\vec{q} = (q_1, q_2, \dots, q_n)$ and $\vec{p} = (p_1, p_2, \dots, p_n)$ such that they fulfill the usual Poisson brackets: \...
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3answers
736 views

What's the intuitive reason that phase space flow is incompressible in Classical Mechanics but compressible in Quantum Mechanics?

One of the most important results of Classical Mechanics is Liouville's theorem, which tells us that the flow in phase space is like an incompressible fluid. However, in the phase space formulation ...
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2answers
519 views

Motivation for Wigner phase space distribution

Most sources say that Wigner distribution acts like a joint phase-space distribution in quantum mechanics and this is justified by the formula $$\int_{\mathbb{R}^6}w(x,p)a(x,p)dxdp= \langle \psi|\...
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1answer
489 views

Significance of symplectic form in classical field theory

I'm trying to understand the significance of construction presented to me in field theory class. Let me first briefly describe it and then ask questions. Given two solutions $\phi_1$, $\phi_2$ of the ...
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1answer
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Understanding the relationship between Phase Space Distributions (Wigner vs Glauber-Sudarshan P vs Husimi Q)

I am moving into a new field and after thorough literature research need help appreciating what is out there. In the continuos variable formulation of optical state space. (Quantum mechanical/Optical)...
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1answer
502 views

On Groenewold's Theorem and Classical and Quantum Hamiltonians

I recently encountered Groenewold's Theorem or the Groenewold-Van Hove Theorem which shows that there is no function which can satisfy the following mapping $$ \{A,B\} \to \frac{1}{i\hbar}[A,B].$$ ...
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2answers
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Is every observable a function of position and momentum?

In the first answer of this question it is said that every quantum observable, let's say $\hat{A}$, can be represented as a function of position and momentum observables. In other words, as I ...
8
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1answer
228 views

Can any symplectomorphism (1 Definition of canonical transformation) be represented by the flow of a vectorfield?

For this question I will use the definition that a canonical transformation is a map $T(q,p)$ from the phase space onto itself, which leaves the symplectic 2-form invariant (which is the definition of ...
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3answers
470 views

Necessary and sufficient conditions for a function to be the Wigner function of state

For any quantum state defined with a continuous position, the Wigner function is a quasiprobability distribution on phase space. It has many properties, such as that its marginal are probability ...
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2answers
737 views

Conjugate variables in thermodynamics vs. Hamiltonian mechanics

According to Wikipedia, the canonical coordinates $p, q$ of analytical mechanics form a conjugate variables' pair - not just a canonically conjugate one. However, the "conjugate variables" I directly ...
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1answer
702 views

Calculating the entropy of a monatomic ideal gas

I am looking at the start of the consider how to calculate the entropy of a monatomic ideal gas. We need to determine the number of microstates in $E \leq \mathcal{H}(\Gamma) \leq E+\Delta$. The ...
3
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2answers
483 views

According to Liouville's theorem, why is the measure on an energy-surface different from the measure on the phase space in general

I recently read Khinchin's derivation of Liouville's theorem. I was able to follow the math for the most part, however I was hoping for an intuitive understanding about why the form of the measure on ...
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1answer
87 views

How to obtain Hamiltonian formalism and phase space for Lagrangian with second-derivatives?

This is a special case of this question of mine, which, I think, might have drawn little attention because it was too general. In this question, I would like to consider a specific case. Take a ...
9
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3answers
391 views

The invariant measure on an energy surface of a Hamiltonian system

Consider a Hamiltonian system with a time-independent Hamiltonian $H (p, q )$. By the Liouville theorem, the measure $d^np d^nq $ is conserved. However, one should also notice that the energy is ...
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1answer
271 views

Partition function in spherical coordinates

Suppose I write the Hamiltonian/energy of my system in spherical coordinates ($r,\theta,\varphi$) with conjugated momentums($p_r,p_\theta,p_\varphi$). How do I calculate the partition function? If ...
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1answer
170 views

Derivation of Hamilton-Jacobi theory using canonical transformations

The derivation of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation using canonical transformations is typically done involving a type-2 generating function. Is it possible to use a another type of generating function, ...
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5answers
591 views

Is the Moyal-Liouville equation $\frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}= \frac{1}{i\hbar} [H\stackrel{\star}{,}\rho]$ used in applications?

This answer by Qmechanic shows that the classical Liouville equation can be extended to quantum mechanics by the use of Moyal star products, where it takes the form $$ \frac{\partial \rho}{\partial t}~...
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2answers
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What is the difference between configuration space and phase space?

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space? In particular, I notices that Lagrangians are defined over configuration space and Hamiltonians over phase space. Liouville's ...
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2answers
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Why is the phase space a symplectic manifold rather than a manifold with a metric?

Why does phase space require a symplectic geometry rather than a metric? Is there some scenario where a metric is unable to describe the notion of length in phase space, specifically in relation to ...
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2answers
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Is there any uncertainty between mass and proper length or time?

I was trying to naively draw a parallel between special relativity and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. I try to understand uncertainty principle as a consequence of 4-position and 4-momentum ...
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2answers
719 views

Does Hamilton Mechanics give a general phase-space conserving flux?

Hamiltonian dynamics fulfil the Liouville's theorem, which means that one can imagine the flux of a phase space volume under a Hamiltonian theory like the flux of an ideal fluid, which doesn't change ...
6
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1answer
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Finding action-angle variables

Given a 1 d.o.f Hamiltonian $H(q,p)$ what is the general procedure for finding action angle variables $(I, \theta)$? I have read the Wikipedia page on action angle variables and canonical transforms ...
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3answers
901 views

number of microstates associated with two-level quantum systems

this is a very simple question, but apparently one that has no simple answer, at least from standard quantum mechanics theory I'm trying to figure the number of simple quantum states (microstates) of ...