Questions tagged [time-evolution]

The quantum mechanical time evolution operator governs how observables and/or states evolve during finite time steps, and is always unitary. Use this tag for questions about the time evolution operator, or the different equations of motion in the Schrödinger/Heisenberg/Dirac pictures. For time-independent Hamiltonians, the time evolution operator is simply exp(-iHt).

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Time evolution in quantum mechanics

We know that an operator A in quantum mechanics has time evolution given by Heisenberg equation: $$ \frac{i}{\hbar}[H,A]+\frac{\partial A}{\partial t}=\frac{d A}{d t} $$ Can we derive from this ...
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402 views

Why is time evolution of wavefunctions non-trivial?

(Note: This post focuses on a single simple example, however I'm asking about the error in general in my logic). Consider the infinite potential well "particle in a box" system described by $$V(x)=\...
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Time evolution of a quantum system

A quantum system has Hamiltonian $H$ with normalised eigenstates $\psi_n$ and corresponding energies $E_n$ ($n = 1,2,3...$). A linear operator $Q$ is defined by its action on these states: $$ Q\...
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Find Equation of Motion given Hamiltonian

So I am given a harmonic oscillator in an electric field. At $t=0$, we are given that the oscillator is in the ground state. The Hamiltonian is: $$H=\hbar \omega[a^{\dagger}a+\frac12+\kappa E_0\cos(...
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QFT Dyson series: why are we solving the Schrodinger equation?

In quantum field theory, the solution of the time evolution operator of the Schrodinger equation (in the interaction picture) is given by Dyson's series, which is used to calculate the S-matrix. Why ...
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Creation and Annihilation Operators

Let $\widehat{a}^{+}_{i}$ and $\widehat{a}_{i}$ be the usual bosonic creation and annihilation operators. Consider $$\widehat{q}_{i} = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar}{2m_{i}w_{i}}}(\widehat{a}_{i}+ \widehat{a}^{+}...
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How to get the time derivative of an expectation value in quantum mechanics?

The textbook computes the time derivative of an expectation value as follows: $$\frac{d}{dt}\langle Q\rangle=\frac{d}{dt}\langle \Psi|\hat Q\Psi\rangle=\langle \frac{\partial\Psi}{\partial t}|\hat Q\...
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Does Heisenberg equation of motion imply the Schrodinger equation for evolution operator?

Let us choose to postulate (e.g. considering the analogy of the Hamiltonian being a generator of time evolution in classical mechanics) $$ i\hbar \frac{d\hat{U}}{dt}=\hat{H}\hat{U}\tag{1} $$ where $\...
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3answers
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Solving the Schrödinger equation where the initial wave function is an energy eigenfunction

I was watching Allan Adams' lecture on energy eigenfunctions, and there's one part (around 43 minutes into the lecture) that confuses me. Suppose we have the initial wave function $\Psi (x,0)$ such ...
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1answer
771 views

Schrodinger basis kets with Time-dependent Hamiltonian

I was reading through the proof of the Adiabatic Theorem (in Sakurai) and I realised I'm not quite sure how Schrodinger Basis kets behave when we have a time-dependent Hamiltonian. I know that with a ...
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1answer
376 views

Trace operation on dynamic equation: physical meaning?

Suppose we have Heisenberg equation of motion for some observable $A$, $$ i\hbar\frac{dA}{dt}= -[H,A] $$ since the trace of any finite dimensional commutator structure vanish(not something like $[x,...
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What does the term 'equation of motion' refer to?

What does the term equation of motion refer to? If I am asked a question of the form 'What is the equation of motion of this object?', what should I write?
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Time evolution of quantum states

Time evolution of a quantum state is fully described by a one parameter family of unitary operators. What I can't seem to understand is, given some unitary operator acting on some Hilbert space, can ...
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Is there a known equation for evolution of classical particle probability density?

Suppose we have some very imprecise knowledge of classical particle's coordinates and momentum: what we can only tell is the probability density to find it in some point of phase space. This is (...
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6answers
8k views

What does a unitary transformation mean in the context of an evolution equation?

Let be the unitary evolution operator of a quantum system be $U(t)=\exp(itH)$ for $t >0$. Then what is the meaning of the equation $$\det\bigl(I-U(t)e^{itE}\bigr)=0$$ where $E$ is a real ...
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281 views

When should one apply the unitary time evolution operator?

When is it appropriate to use $\hat U$, the unitary time evolution operator? For example, say I had a system in a certain potential that is changed to a different one at time $t = 0$. Would it be ...
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Is it possible to derive Schrodinger equation in this way?

Let's have wave-function $\lvert \psi \rangle$. The full probability is equal to one: $$\langle \Psi\lvert\Psi \rangle = 1.\tag{1}$$ We need to introduce time evolution of $\Psi $; we know it in ...
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1answer
165 views

Is continuous evolution from one eigenstate of operator $O$ to another $O$-eigenstate possible?

Eigenvectors associated with distinct values of an observable are orthogonal, according to quantum mechanics. Does this entail that a quantum system cannot continuously evolve from one eigenstate ...
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427 views

The unitary time-evolution in the interation picture

I'm currently consuming a course on QFT where we need to define the unitary time-evolution to get the time evolution of the wave function in the interaction picture: $\hat{U}(t_1,t_0) = \exp\left(\...
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Quantum Mechanical Operators in the argument of an exponential

In Quantum Optics and Quantum Mechanics, the time evolution operator $$U(t,t_i) = \exp\left[\frac{-i}{\hbar}H(t-t_i)\right]$$ is used quite a lot. Suppose $t_i =0$ for simplicity, and say the ...
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Relationship between a formal vector derivative and time evolution of an operator

I'm an undergraduate in physics, with all the lack of knowledge inherent in that. In two of my classes, my professors introduced two equations which look eerily similar. The first, from general ...
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4answers
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Why do we consider the evolution (usually in time) of a wave function?

Why do we consider evolution of a wave function and why is the evolution parameter taken as time, in QM. If we look at a simple wave function $\psi(x,t) = e^{kx - \omega t}$, $x$ is a point in ...
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“Inverted” quantum oscillator

I'm trying to understand the problem of the "inverted" oscillator, which has the following Hamiltonian: $$ \hat{H}=\frac{\hat{p}^{2}}{2m}-\frac{k\hat{x}^{2}}{2} $$ Suppose that a particle at the ...
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2answers
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Expectation value of time-dependent Hamiltonian

I'm trying to solve a problem in QM with a forced quantum oscillator. In this problem I have a quantum oscillator, which is in the ground state initially. At $t=0$, the force $F(t)=F_0 \sin(\Omega t)$ ...
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2answers
1k views

Time evolution of a reduced density matrix

For a bipartite quantum system evolving under some master equation, is the time derivative of the reduced density matrix equal to the partial trace of the time derivative of the matrix? In other ...
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Can the universe be described by a Markov chain?

This may be a fairly basic question as I don't have a strong background in physics. I intuitively thought that the universe must be able to be described by a Markov chain. That is, I thought you ...
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2answers
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Equation of motion for the reduced density matrix

The equation of motion for the density matrix of a many body isolated quantum system is the von Neumann's equation: $\dot{\rho }(t)=i[\rho (t),H]$. How about the equation of motion for the reduced ...
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3answers
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Does the second law of thermodynamics tell me how the entropy changes?

In thermodynamics I can e.g. compute the properties of ideal gases with certain energies $U_1,U_2$ in boxes with certain volumes $V_1$ and $V_2$. Say I have two such boxes and they have some specific ...