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Questions tagged [potential]

Scalar and vector potentials in electromagnetism. The scalar potential is potential energy per unit charge. For potential energy, use the potential-energy tag.

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In quantum mechanics, given certain energy spectrum can one generate the corresponding potential?

A typical problem in quantum mechanics is to calculate the spectrum that corresponds to a given potential. Is there a one to one correspondence between the potential and its spectrum? If the answer ...
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4answers
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Why can't we ascribe a (possibly velocity dependent) potential to a dissipative force?

Sorry if this is a silly question but I cant get my head around it.
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1answer
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Time-independent Schrödinger function: If the potential $V$ is even, then the wave function $\psi$ can always be taken to be either even or odd

I have done the Problem 2.1 in Griffiths' quantum mechanics, and it seems not making sense to me. What if the wave function isn't symmetric at all? Then obviously the proof doesn't work. The ...
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6answers
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Why can we treat quantum scattering problems as time-independent?

From what I remember in my undergraduate quantum mechanics class, we treated scattering of non-relativistic particles from a static potential like this: Solve the time-independent Schrodinger ...
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3answers
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When Eigenfunctions/Wavefunctions are real?

When the Hamiltonian is Hermitian(i,e. beyond the effective mass approximation), generally under which conditions the eigenfunctions/wavefunctions are real? What happens in 1D case like the finite ...
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What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)?

This is a confused part ever since I started learning electricity. What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? All of them have ...
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3answers
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Why the statement “there exist at least one bound state for negative/attractive potential” doesn't hold for 3D case?

Previously I thought this is a universal theorem, for one can prove it in the one dimensional case using variational principal. However, today I'm doing a homework considering a potential like this:$...
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15answers
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I don't understand what we really mean by voltage drop

This post is my best effort to seek assistance on a topic which is quite vague to me, so that I am struggling to formulate my questions. I hope that someone will be able to figure out what it is I'm ...
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3answers
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Can we have discontinuous wavefunctions in the Infinite Square well?

The energy eigenstates of the infinite square well problem look like the Fourier basis of L2 on the interval of the well. So then we should be able to for example make square waves that are an ...
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2answers
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Hexadecapole potential using point particles?

We can get monopole $1/r$, dipole $1/r^2$, quadrupole $1/r^3$ and octupole $1/r^4$ potential falloff by placing opposite point charges at the corners of a point, line, square and cube, respectively. ...
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3answers
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Pn junction voltage drop?

This image from wikipedia, explains that there occurs a potential drop across a pn semiconductor junction, and an electric field confined to the depletion region. I already know the reason for the ...
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2answers
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Why are the dineutron and diproton unbound?

It is known that there is no diproton and dineutron nuclei. Does this mean that two protons or neutrons are not actually attracted to each other? Even if the attraction was weak, wouldn't it cause ...
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2answers
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Degeneracy in one dimension

I'm reading this wikipedia article and I'm trying to understand the proof under "Degeneracy in One Dimension". Here's what it says: Considering a one-dimensional quantum system in a potential $V(x)...
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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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How electric currents can flow between 2 points at the same potential?

According to Ohm's law, if there is a potential difference, $V$, across a resistor then there is a current, $I$, flowing through it. Since we assume that points along the connecting wire are at the ...
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1answer
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Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization for different potentials

Let's have Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization for one-dimensional case: $$ \int \limits_{a}^{b} p(x)dx ~=~ \pi \hbar (n + \nu ). $$ Here $p(x) = \sqrt{2m(E - U)}$, $a, b$ are turning points, and the area ...
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2answers
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Why is the work done on a charge calculated from infinity?

Why is the work done on a charge calculated from infinity to a point? Why not from one particular point to other?
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2answers
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The meaning of potential in Bohm-Aharonov experiment

The Bohm-Aharonov experiment involves a magnetic field inside a cylinder which is zero outside that cylinder. Nonetheless it affects the electrons moving outside the cylinder. The explanation for this ...
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1answer
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How to interpret the magnetic vector potential?

In electromagnetism, we can re-write the electric field in terms of the electric scalar potential, and the magnetic vector potential. That is: $E = -\nabla\phi - \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}$, ...
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1answer
942 views

When does the $n$th bound state of a 1-D quantum potential have $n$ maxima/minima?

In Moore's introductory physics textbook Six Ideas that Shaped Physics, he describes a set of qualitative rules that first-year physics students can use to sketch energy eigenfunctions in a 1-D ...
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1answer
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How to formulate variational principles (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) for nonlinear, dissipative or initial value problems?

Although this questions is very much math related, I posted it in Physics since it is related to variational (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian) principles for dynamical systems. If I should migrate this ...
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2answers
828 views

Why do we like gauge potentials so much?

Today I read articles and texts about Dirac monopoles and I have been wondering about the insistence on gauge potentials. Why do they seem (or why are they) so important to create a theory about ...
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2answers
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Particle in infinite potential well which is doubled in size at $t_0$

I am currently studying for an exam in Quantum Mechanics and came across a solution to a problem I have trouble with understanding. The Problem: A Particle sits in an infinite potential well ...
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2answers
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Deriving the Lorentz force from velocity dependent potential

We can achieve a simplified version of the Lorentz force by $$F=q\bigg[-\nabla(\phi-\mathbf{A}\cdot\mathbf{v})-\frac{d\mathbf{A}}{dt}\bigg],$$ where $\mathbf{A}$ is the magnetic vector potential and ...
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1answer
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Current against the inverse of resistance graph, $I = V/R +c$

If I have a plot of current ($y$ axis) against 1/Resistance ($x$ axis). The circuit it is measured from is a simply 2 resistors connected in parallel to battery, where the potential across the ...
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2answers
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What is a gauge in a gauge theory?

As I study Jackson, I am getting really confused with some of its key definitions. Here is what I am getting confused at. When we substituted the electric field and magnetic field in terms of the ...
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Force as gradient of scalar potential energy

My text book reads If a particle is acted upon by the forces which are conservative; that is, if the forces are derivable from a scalar potential energy function in manner $ F=-\nabla V $. I was ...
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2answers
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Point charge potential (sign problem)

I'm a bit embarrassed, but I'm not able to compute the electric potential at point $P$ (at a distance $R$ from the origin) generated by a positive unitary point charge in the origin with the right ...
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3answers
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Higher order derivatives - Equation of motion

One possible starting point to create a physical theory is the Lagrangian $L$. There we assume that the variation of the action $\delta S = \delta \int_{-\infty}^\infty dt \ L = 0$. In classical ...
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3answers
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Capacitance of a single charged plate?

Lets say we have a single plate that has a charge of $+Q$ on it. A plate with charge $-Q$ is infinite distance away. Will the plate with $+Q$ have a capacitance associated with it? Why or why not? I ...
8
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2answers
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How does electricity flow in conductor when potential difference is applied?

Electrons move from higher potential to lower potential. When a conductor is connected to battery, electron move from negative terminal to positive terminal. But the battery itself forms a Electric ...
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1answer
947 views

Is there any potential associated with magnetism

Can anybody please tell me if magnetism is a conservative force or if there is a field associated with it? How to reason? One thing I know is that the work done by a magnetic force is equal to $0$.
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Motivation for Potentials

This is a hypothetical question about "pedagogy". Let's say I am trying to take someone who has just a very small amount of knowledge about Newtonian mechanics and convince them that the Lagrangian ...
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2answers
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Electric potential inside a conductor

I just began studying electrostatics in university, and I didn't understand completely why the electric potential due to a conducting sphere is $$ V(\vec{r})=\begin{cases} \dfrac{1}{4\pi\...
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4answers
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Birds sitting on electric wires: potential difference between the legs

We have seen birds sitting on uninsulated electric wires of high voltage transmission lines overhead without getting harmed, because sitting on only one wire doesn't complete any circuit. But what ...
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6answers
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Is the harmonic oscillator potential unique in having equally spaced discrete energy levels?

I was wondering if the good old quadratic potential was the only potential with equally spaced eigenvalues. Obviously you can construct others, such as a potential that is infinite in some places and ...
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4answers
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What exactly is a bound state and why does it have negative energy?

Our professor hasn't explained what bound states are. Could you give me an idea of what they mean and their importance in quantum-mechanics problems with a potential (e.g. a potential described by a ...
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6answers
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Why is the electric field perpendicular to every point on the surface of a conductor?

I am reading Berkeley Physics Course, Volume 2 (Electricity and Magnetism by Edward M. Purcell). I am in chapter $3$, page $92$, and the book discusses conductors. The following is from the book: ...
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1answer
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Reflectionless potentials in quantum mechanics

Scattering on potential $$V(x) = -\frac{(\hbar a)^2}{m}\text{sech}^2(ax)$$ with 1D equation of Schrodinger is famous problem. It is dealt with in Problem 2.48 of Griffiths book or online here. It is ...
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Infinite Wells and Delta Functions

In considering a delta potential barrier in an infinite well, I can just enforce continuity at the potential barrier-it doesn't have to go to zero. Why then does it need to go to zero at the walls of ...
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4answers
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Infinitely charged wire and Differential form of Gauss' Law

I have tried calculating the potential of a charged wire the direct way. If lambda is the charge density of the wire, then I get $$\phi(r) = \frac{\lambda}{4 \pi \epsilon_0 r} \int_{-\infty}^\infty \...
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5answers
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Why the electric potential of Earth is zero?

For a localized charge distribution the potential is set to zero far away from the charge distribution (at infinity) Now, when grounding a conductor, i.e. connecting it to Earth, it is said that we ...
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2answers
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Solution for inverse square potential in $d=3$ spatial dimensions in quantum mechanics [duplicate]

Can a particle in an inverse square potential $$V(r)=-1/r^{2}$$ in $d=3$ spatial dimensions be solved exactly? Also please explain me the physical significance of this potential in comparison with ...
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3answers
553 views

Why do we not require higher derivatives to match at boundary when solving the Schrödinger equation in a given potential?

When solving the time independent Schrödinger equation for a given potential in 1D, the main part of the solving involves matching boundary conditions. Usually, we require the value and the first ...
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3answers
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Would you die if you put your hands on a powerline?

You know how birds perch on powerlines without getting electrocuted? What if by some chance that I find myself falling and I grab on one of them? Let's say both of my hands are on the same line, would ...
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2answers
116 views

What is a basic physics general definition of a 'potential'?

From the Wikipedia: In physics, a potential may refer to the scalar potential or to the vector potential. In either case, it is a field defined in space, from which many important physical ...
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5answers
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Why do we use potential for quantizing the electromagnetic field?

For quantizing the electromagnetic field authors go to its potential and then find themselves facing to the problems of degree of freedom from gauge transformation. Why we can't simply quantize ...
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3answers
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How is the curl of the electric field possible?

Taking the curl of the electric field must be possible, because Faraday's law involves it: $$\nabla \times \mathbf{E} = - \partial \mathbf{B} / \partial t$$ But I've just looked on Wikipedia, where it ...
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1answer
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What maintains constant voltage in a battery?

I know there's lots of questions that address similar situations, (Batteries connected in Parallel, Batteries and fields?, Naive Question About Batteries, and the oft-viewed I don't understand ...
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3answers
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What is the equation of the gravitational potential in general relativity?

How is the gravitational potential replaced by the metric tensor in general relativity? $$U_G=\frac {GMm}{r}$$ What is its equation?