# 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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### 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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### 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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### Why don't we define potential due to a magnetic field?

We define electric potential and gravitational potential and use them quite often to solve problems and explain stuff. But I have never encountered magnetic potential, neither during my study (I am a ...
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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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### Stationary states of a triangular prism

I need to find the wavefunctions of the stationary states of a 3d square potential well with its boundaries defined by a triangular prism - like the one illustrated on the wikipedia page: https://en....
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### 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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### Why are the dineutron and diproton unbound?

It is known that there are no diproton or 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### Physical meaning of potential in heat equation

I'm working on the mathematical theory of parabolic equations. The prototype of such equations is heat equation given as follows : Let $\Omega$ be a bounded region of the space and $T>0$ a fixed ...
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### 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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### 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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### Earthing a conductor

This may be a basic question, but I have never understood it completely: why is an earthed conductor always at zero potential? I would say it is because theoretically one can suck up charge from the ...
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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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### 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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### Coulomb potential in 2D

I know that the Coulomb potential is logarithmic is two dimensions, and that (see for instance this paper: http://pil.phys.uniroma1.it/~satlongrange/abstracts/samaj.pdf) a length scale naturally ...
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### Particle in a 1D Box with Symmetric potential: How find solutions?

I am working on a problem in which I shall find the normalised solution to the 1D particle in a box. Solving for the particle in an asymmetric potential is quite straight forward, but I run into ...