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Review of Lecture 8

The delta-function potential:

We looked at the bound states, E < 0:

Using the discontinuity of

d d d at x = 0, , and the Schrdinger equation, we found dx dx dx

2m (0). This gave us the allowed energy: h 2

and thus the delta function potential has only one bound state (E < 0):

Scattering states (E > 0) of the delta-function potential

Now lets consider the case E > 0, which corresponds to scattering states:


Now that we have imposed both boundary conditions, we have two equations:

but we have four unknowns (A, B, F, G). Note that our solutions

are not normalizable, so we cant use normalization to reduce the number of unknowns. So lets step back and consider what the solutions represent physically. Remember that

corresponds to a wave function propagating to the right, while

leads to a wave propagating to the left. We can interpret our solution using these concepts.

Interpretation of our solution:


In a typical scattering experiment, particles are red from one direction. If they are coming from the left, then the amplitude of particles coming from the right is zero: G = 0.

Returning to our equations, this means we can drop some unknowns:

we can nd B and F in terms of A.

where we have introduced

m h 2k


The probability of nding the particle at a specic location is | |2 , so the relative probability that an incident particle with be reected back is

e.g. for a beam of incident particles, the reection coefcient R gives the fraction reected back. We can write the reection coefcient in terms of the energy:

The relative probability of transmission is given by the transmission coefcient T , dened as


The sum of R and T has to be 1: We can write the transmission in terms of the energy:

As we already know, the solution to the problem that our stationary states are not normalizable is to form linear combinations of states, as we did for the free particle. Thus the true particles are represented by wave packets (involving a range of energies). R and T are then interpreted as approximate reection and transmission coefcients for particles with energies in the vicinity of E. m m |x|/h 2 e Summary: The delta-function well potential has one bound state (E<0): (x) = , h m 2 , and the scattering states are wavepackets with approximate reection and transmission E = 2 h2 coefcients for particles with energies in the vicinity of E given by R = 1/(1 + 2 h2 E /m 2 ) and T = 1/(1 + m 2 /2 h2 E ), respectively.

Delta-function barrier
Lets consider the solution for a delta-function barrier:

We have no bound states. The reection and transmission coefcients depend only on 2 , so they are the same as for the well. So the particle is just as likely to pass over the barrier as to cross over the well! Classically, a particle cannot make it over an innite barrier. Classical scattering is simple:

Quantum scattering problems are much richer: even if E < Vmax , the particle has some nonzero probability of passing through the potential, called tunneling. Conversely, even if E > Vmax , there is still a probability for the particle to bounce back! 70

Consider the double delta-function potential V (x) = [ (x + a) + (x a)], where and a are positive constants. How many bound states does it possess?
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Note: For any V (x) that is an even function (that is, V (x) = V (x)), the solution (x) can always be taken to be either even or odd. Proof: If (x) satisies the time-independent Schrdinger equation, h 2 d 2 (x) + V (x) (x) = E (x), 2m dx2

then, changing variables x x and noting that 2 / (x)2 = 2 / x2 , h 2 2 (x) + V (x) (x) = E (x); 2m x2 so if V (x) = V (x) then (x) also satises the time-independent Schrdinger equation. It follows that plus (x) + (x) (which is even: plus (x) = plus (x)), and minus (x) (x) (x) (which is odd: minus (x) = minus (x)) both satisfy the time-independent Schrdinger equation. But (x) = 1 2 (plus (x) + minus (x)), so any solution can be expressed as a linear combination of even and odd solutions. QED
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Lets consider the odd solutions rst. Solving the Schrdinger equation for the regions (x > a), (a < x < a), and (x < a), where V = 0, gives x (x > a), Ae , x x B(e e ), (a < x < a), (x) = Ae x , (x < a),
2mE . Using the continuity condition for (x) at x = a, we can solve for where as before h the constant A in terms of B:


2m Using the discontinuous derivative at a d (a) , combined with the result from the dx = h 2 continuity condition for , we can eliminate the constant B:

This is a transcendental equation for (and hence for E ). We can solve it graphically: Let z = 2 a, h 2 , so ez = 1 cz. We plot both sides and look for intersections: c 2am

Note both graphs have their y-intercepts at 1, but if c is too large ( too small), there may be no intersection, whereas if c is smaller, there will be. (Note that z = 0 = 0 is not a solution, since is then non-normalizable.) The slope of ez (at z = 0) is 1; the slope of (1 cz) is c. So there is one odd solution for c < 1 (i.e., > h 2 /2ma). We can nd the energy of the odd solution given a specic value for :