# Questions tagged [unitarity]

In quantum mechanics, a unitary operator satisfies U<sup>†</sup> U = UU<sup>†</sup> = I, where † denotes Hermitean conjugation; such operators then specify Hilbert space automorphisms and preserve state norms, so then probability amplitudes and hence probabilities. Use for conservation of probability questions under unitary state transformations.

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### Ground state of local parent Hamiltonians and invariance under local unitaries

Assume that a finite-dimensional pure state $|\psi\rangle\in \mathcal{H}\simeq \mathbb{C}^m$, $m<\infty$, is the (unique) frustration-free ground state of a local parent Hamiltonian and suppose ...
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### Conservation of probablities with non-unitary matrices?

In quantum mechanics, in the context of symmetry transformations, it is often said that for a transformation $T$ to conserve probabilities it must be unitary. But by performing any (even non-unitary)...
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### Why do quantum gates have to be reversible?

One possible reason I have come up with is that we are modeling quantum gates by unitary matrices. And since unitary operations are reversible we have to be able reverse the operation in the physical ...
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### Norm preserving Unitary operators in Rigged Hilbert space

If we take the free particle Hamiltonian, the eigenvectors (or eigenfunctions), say in position representation, are like $e^{ikx}$. Now these eigenfunctions are non-normalisable,so they don't belong ...
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### How do derivative couplings affect canonical quantization?

Consider a Lagrangian for a scalar field $\phi$ with an interaction term $$\mathcal{L}_{int} = (\partial^2 \phi)^2 \phi.$$ Here I'm suppressing all indices for brevity. Now, this is just a three-...
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### Unitarity of quantum evolution

In this paper by Charles Bennett, he says on page 25, I understand why U(XOR) gives the result it does but why is that a consequence of its unitary property? Thanks
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### Path Integral Quantization in General Relativity

In Ref. 1 I have seen that the action must contain only the first derivative of the metric as required by the path integral approach. I don't understand why. I mean why the path integral approach of ...
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### What does the continuity equation for probability in quantum mechanics mean?

In quantum mechanics, the continuity equation $-{d\rho}/{dt}=\nabla\cdot{J}$ holds for a probability density $\rho$ and probability current $J$. But what does it mean, from a physical point of view? ...
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### Where does the $i$ come from in the Schrödinger equation?

I am currently trying to follow Leonard Susskind's "Theoretical Minimum" lecture series on quantum mechanics. (I know a bit of linear algebra and calculus, so far it seems definitely enough to follow ...
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### Expectation Value of Unitary Time Evolution Operator in Quantum Mechanics

Does the expression $\langle \Psi_i|U(t)|\Psi_i\rangle$ have a specific meaning, where $U(T)$ is the unitary time evolution operator of $\Psi$, and $\Psi_i$ is the initial state of $\Psi$? If so, ...
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### Prove time-dependent hamiltonian is hermitian from unitarity of time-evolution operator

When we solve the Schrodinger equation for the time-evolution operator: $$i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}U(t,t_{0})=HU(t,t_{0}),$$ We have three cases to be treated ...
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### How is the Born rule consistent with unitary evolution?

Consider a system $|\Psi_T \rangle_{t = 0} = |\Psi_E \rangle \otimes |\Psi_S \rangle$ where $|\Psi_S \rangle$ is a system that collapses into an eigenstate upon measurement. $|\Psi_E \rangle$ is the ...
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### Unitary Bose gas

A unitary Bose gas (more about it [here]) is defined to occur when the scattering length diverges. What I don't understand, however, is which quantity/matrix is actually unitary? I mean, they could ...
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### Unitarity of the S-matrix and Feynman Diagrams

There are several questions on the unitarity of the S matrix, but unfortunately non of them answers directly the following question. The S matrix is unitary and that can be proven by the fact that ...
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### Why is wavefunction collapse always non unitary?

The 'wavefunction collapse' upon measurement is usually referred to as being a non-unitary transformation, since it does not preserve the norm of the state vector. Indeed, if a linear superposition ...
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### What is the time evolution operator in quantum mechanics [duplicate]

I'm curious about what happen to a system when the configuration of the system changes. If we have a system in a state $|\psi_{\textrm{in}}\rangle$ and we change the configuration of the system, the ...
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### A wave function that is normalized initially remains normalized

Suppose that $\Psi(x,t)$ is normalized at time $t=0$. Show that this implies that $\Psi(x,t)$ is normalized at all other times. I know that this makes intuitive sense, and we'd certainly want our ...
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### Deriving the form of generators of transformations

I'm struggling to understand a bit of quantum mechanics relating to the transformation generators. This specific bit contains quite a few guesses and assumtions which probably do make sense in ...
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### How can I make this toy quantum random walk model unitary?

Take a toy $(1+1)$-dimensional lattice model of the universe. A particle begins at $x=0$ at $t=0$. It has an amplitude ${1}/{\sqrt{2}}$ to move one step to the left and amplitude ${1}/{\sqrt{2}}$ to ...
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### Peskin-Schroeder, Unitarity of the S matrix, eq 9.61

I have a question regarding a derivation in Peskin and Schroeder's QFT book. On page 298, he is discussing a method for defining a gauge invariant S matrix. He does this by defining projection ...
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### What experiment supports the axiom that quantum operations are reversible?

Among the axioms of quantum mechanics there is one axiom that says transformations of a quantum state need to be continuous, linear, and reversible (and this together with the other axioms results in ...
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I recently read in the news that Stephen Hawking claims to have solved the Black Hole Information paradox. I researched a bit about the paradox and the research that Stephen Hawking did to solve it. ...
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### Why is time evolution unitary?

Is the reason why the time evolution operator is unitary based on purely physical arguments, i.e. that the physical processes that an isolated system undergoes shouldn't depend on any particular ...
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### Non-Hermitian Lagrangian in Quantum Field Theory

I have seen more than once non-Hermitian Lagrangian densities being used in effective field theories. Usually the problem of unitarity is explained away with decays into some degree of freedom not ...
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### Embedding of particles into fields

For the classification of particles (Wigner 1939), we look for unitary representations of the Poincaré/Lorentz group. There are only infinite-dimensional (non-trivial) unitary representations! To ...
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### What does it mean to have a degenerate $S$-matrix?

The Coleman-Mandula theorem $D>2$ assumes that the quantum field theory may not have a degenerate $S$-matrix. But what does it mean to have a degenerate $S$-matrix? The $S$-matrix if I got it ...
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### How can an inverted anharmonic potential $V(x)=-x^4$ have discrete bound states?

I've been watching the lectures on mathematical physics by Carl Bender on youtube where he uses the non-Hermitian Hamiltonian methods to prove that the inverted anharmonic potential $V(x)=-x^4$ has a ...
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### When is a unitary operator a quantum gate?

Quantum gates we use like X, Y, Z, H, CNOT, etc. are all unitary. When can an arbitrary unitary operator be considered as a quantum gate?