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of Quantum Theory and the physical phenomena that take place in systems

where Quantum Mechanics applies, are very dierent from those of classical

mechanics.

the momenta, the kinetic or the potential energy of the particles) are num-

you learn what an operator is and which operators represent the dynamical

shorthand for the following rules: take the argument x of f(x) and calculate

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 2

This concept can be generalized to dene rules that use as input a function

function is to numbers.

^

(x) = O(x) (2.1)

Here O ^ is

the kinds of operators that you will encounter in your study of Quantum

^ x dened by

Mechanics. The operator O

^ x f (x; y; z) = xf (x; y; z)

O (2.2)

acts on a function f (x; y; z) to produce the function xf(x; y; z). This rule is

^ x sin(x2 ) = x sin(x2 )

O

^ x [xy ln x] = x2 y ln x

O

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 3

No matter to what function I apply the operator O

tion multiplied by x.

Another example is

a function f (x; y; z) into the function V (x; y; z) f(x; y; z). If V (x) = kx2 =2

then

^ kx2

V f(x; y; z) = f (x; y; z)

2

h

@

p^x (x; y; z) = (x; y; z) (2.4)

i @x

p

h

is Planck's constant and i = 1. The previous operators involved multi-

then

p^x (x; y; z) = h

kx exp[ikx x + iky y + ikz z]

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 4

@

h

p^y (x; y; z) = (x; y; z) (2.5)

i @y

I do next.

C^ A^ + B

^

^ = A

C ^ + B

^

on to the result of acting with B ^ to B

^

^ A^

D

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 5

is dened by

^ = (A)

D ^

To calculate how D ^ and

We can combine these rules to create new operators. For example, the

operator C^ dened by

C^ = p^x + 2O

^x

(where p^x is dened by Eq. 2.4 and O

shown below:

^ =h

C

@

+ 2x

i @x

^ by the following rule:

A^B

^ = A(

^ B)

^ = A

^ where = B

^ (2.6)

^ has

This means: take the function and calculate the eect the operator B

on it. Call the function obtained in this way . Apply the operator A^ to .

^ on .

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 6

^ x , where O

p^x O ^ x is dened by Eq. 2.2 and p^x is dened by Eq. 2.4:

^ x (x; y; z) = p^x (O

p^x O ^ x (x; y; z)) = p^x (x(x; y; z))

h

@

= (x(x; y; z))

i @x

h

h

@(x; y; z)

= (x; y; z) + x (2.7)

i i @x

@

Note that in the calculation performed above, @x

acts on x(x; y; z).

!

^x h

^ x p^x (x; y; z) = O

O

@

(x; y; z) = x

h

@(x; y; z)

(2.8)

i @x i @x

O ^ x : the operators O

^ x and p^x do not commute.

For practice, let us calculate how O ^ x act on a function

(x; y; z):

p^y O

@ h

@(x; y; z)

x(x; y; z) = x (2.9)

i @y i @y

!

O ^x h

^ x p^y (x; y; z) = O @(x; y; z) h

@(x; y; z)

= x (2.10)

i @y i @y

Note that O ^ x applied to a function (x; y; z) give the same result,

no matter what (x; y; z) is. When this happens, we say that the operators

O ^ x are equal:

^ x p^y = p^y O

O ^x

^=B

^ A,

^ we say that the operators commute.

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 7

!

h

@ h

@ @2

p^2x (x; y; z) p^x p^x(x; y; z) = (x; y; z) = h2 2 (x; y; z)

i @x i @x @x

^ 3 (x; y; z) = O

O ^ 2 (O

^ x (x; y; z)) = O

^ 2 (x) = O

^ x (x2 ) = x3 (x; y; z)

x x x

^ commute if A^B

^ =B

^ A

^

for every function . The calculations performed in Eqs. 2.7{2.10 show that

p^x and O ^ x do.

^ B]

[A; ^ A^B

^B

^ A^ (2.11)

^ B]

The commutator [A; ^ is an operator.

^ is said to be equal to 0 if O

An operator O ^ is identically 0 for every

^ commute if and only if their commutator

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 8

is equal to 0:

^ B]

[A; ^ = (A^B

^ B

^ A)

^ = A^B

^ B

^ A

^ =0

The commutator [^ ^ x ] can be easily calculated from Eqs. 2.7 and 2.8:

px ; O

^ x ] = p^xO

px ; O

[^ ^ x p^x = h

^x O

(2.12)

i

Because this equality is valid for any function , we can write that

[^ ^x] = h

px ; O

(2.13)

i

Exercise 2.1 In parts (c) and (d), V (x) is a function of x and V^ = V (x).

(a) Calculate [^ ^ x2 ].

px ; O

^ x ].

px; O

(b) Calculate [^

px ; V^ ].

(c) Calculate [^

py ; V^ ].

(d) Calculate [^

(e) Calculate [^

px ; p^y ].

p6x ; p^x ].

(f ) Calculate [^

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 9

^ dened by

(a) Is K

Z +1

^

K(x) (x y)(y)dy

1

an operator?

(b) Calculate [^ ^

px; K].

^

(c) Take (z) = exp[(z=)2 ] in part (a) and calculate K(x) for (x) = x

^

A(a ^ + bA

+ b) = aA ^ (2.14)

Here a and b are complex numbers and and are arbitrary functions. An

The operators O

^ 2.

(check that this is true). An example of a nonlinear operator is S

^

S(a + b) = (a + b)2 = a2 2 + b2 2 + 2ab

^

S(a ^ + bS

+ b) = aS ^ = a 2 + b2

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 10

Z b

^

A(x) K(y x)(x)dx

a

^ d2 d

B(x) a 2 (x) + b (x)

dx dx

^

C(x) sin((x))

are: the position vector r = fx; y; zg (in Cartesian coordinates) and the

dx

px = m

dt

dy

py = m

dt

and

dz

pz = m

dt

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 11

The derivatives with respect to time t are the components of the velocity

kinetic energy

pp p2 + p2y + p2z

= x

2m 2m

the positions of all particles and the momenta of all particles. The interaction

K is the sum of the kinetic energies of each particle. The total energy is

If you know how the positions and the momenta of a classical system

change in time, you know all there is to know about the mechanics of that

system.

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 12

^x, O

O ^ y and O

^ z dened earlier.

The position operator can be easily dened for a system with many par-

ticles. For example, if a system has three particles with classical position

vectors r(1), r(2), and r(3), the position operator for particle 1, with coor-

^r(1)(r(1); r(2); r(3)) = ix(1)(r(1); r(2); r(3)) + jy(1)(r(1); r(2); r(3)) + kz(1)(r(1); r(2); r(3

Here (r(1); r(2); r(3)) (x(1); y(1); z(1); x(2); y(2); z(2); x(3); y(3); z(3))

is an arbitrary function. The operators ^r(2) and ^r(3) that represent the

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 13

Exercise 2.4 Show that in a system with two particles, the operators ^r(1)

the coordinates of all the particles. If, for a one-particle system, the classical

potential energy is V (r) = V (x; y; z), then the operator V^ representing this

We can generalize this to any quantity that depends only on coordinates. The

^ corresponding to

of coordinates (but not of momenta), then the operator O

it is

^

O(r(1); r(2); : : : ; r(N )) = O(r(1); r(2); : : : ; r(N))(r(1); r(2); : : : ; r(N))

(2.19)

Exercise 2.5 Show that [^

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 14

the particle and vx , vy , and vz are the components of the velocity vector:

h

@

p^x (x; y; z) = (x; y; z) (2.20)

i @x

h

@

p^y (x; y; z) = (x; y; z) (2.21)

i @y

h

@

p^z (x; y; z) = (x; y; z) (2.22)

i @z

p

Here h

is Planck's constant, whose value is given in Appendix 1, and i = 1

with components fpx (`); py (`); pz (`)g and a position r(`) with components

fx(`); y(`); z(`)g. For example, the operator corresponding to the y-component

h

@

p^y (3)(r(1); : : : ; r(N )) = (r(1); : : : ; r(N))

i @y(3)

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 15

system is

pp p2x + p2y + p2z

K= = (2.23)

2m 2m

^ p

^ =p ^ p^2 + p^2y + p^2z

K = x (2.24)

2m 2m

To see what this operator does when applied to a function (r) = (x; y; z),

p^2x 1

= p^x (^

px)

2m 2m

The rule says: act rst with p^x and then act with p^x on the result. Using

!

p^2x 1 1 @

h

= p^x (^

px ) = p^x

2m 2m 2m i @x

! !2

1 h

@ h

@ 1 h

@ 2 (x; y; z)

= = (2.25)

2m i @x i @x 2m i @x2

Similarly

!2

p^2y 1 h

@ 2 (x; y; z)

= (2.26)

2m 2m i @y 2

and

!2

p^2z 1 h

@ 2 (x; y; z)

= (2.27)

2m 2m i @z 2

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 16

!

2

^ =h @ 2 @ 2 @ 2

K + 2 + 2 (2.28)

2m @x2 @y @z

The negative sign comes from the relation i2 = 1. I can also use the

denition

@2 @2 @2

+ + (2.29)

@x2 @y 2 @z 2

!

2

^ =h 2

h @2 @2 @2

K = + + (2.30)

2m 2m @x2 @y 2 @z 2

with the understanding that such equations are meaningful only when both

How about systems having many particles? The classical kinetic energy

N

X p(`) p(`) p(1) p(1) p(N) p(N)

K= = + +

`=1

2m(`) 2m(1) 2m(N )

is obtained by using Eq. 2.30 for the kinetic energy of each particle:

N

X

^ = ^ (`) p

p ^ (`)

K

`=1 2m(`)

!

^ 2 X

h N

1 @2 @ 2 @2

K(r(1); : : : ; r(N)) = + + (2.31)

2 `=1 m(`) @x(`)2 @y(`)2 @z(`)2

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 17

x 14. The total energy (the Hamiltonian). In classical mechanics, the total

H =K +V

is the sum of the kinetic energy K and the potential energy V . The operator

^ is

H

^ =K

H ^ + V^ (2.32)

^

H(r(1); ^

: : : ; r(N )) = K(r(1); : : : ; r(N )) + V^ (r(1); : : : ; r(N))

!

N

X 2

h @ 2 @2 @ 2

= + +

`=1 2m(`) @x(`)2 @y(`)2 @z(`)2

+ V (r(1); : : : ; r(N))(r(1); : : : ; r(N)) (2.33)

x 15. Angular momentum. I come now to the last operator that I consider

L=rp

I remind you of the rules for calculating the cross product, which can be

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 18

written as a determinant:

i j k

L=rp= x y z (2.34)

px py pz

gives

y z x z x y

L = i

j

+ k

py pz

px pz

px py

and

There are all kinds of rules for remembering these equations. I give you

Metiu's rule: remember a book where the equations are written down and

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 19

!

^ x = (^ @

h h

@ h

@ @

L y p^z z^p^y ) = y z = y z (2.38)

i @z i @y i @z @y

!

^x = h

L

y

@

z

@

(2.39)

i @z @y

!

^y = h

L

z

@

x

@

(2.40)

i @x @z

and

!

^z = h

L

@

x y

@

(2.41)

i @y @x

^2 = L

L ^ 2x + L

^ 2y + L

^ 2z (2.43)

Exercise 2.6 Calculate L

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 20

p 2

Exercise 2.7 For r = x + y 2 + z 2 and a a real number, show that (see

WorkBookQM.2.2)

^ z ear = 0

L

^ 2 ear = 0

L

^ z ear z

L = 0

^ 2 ear z

L = 2h2 ear z

z(x + iy)

(x; y; z) =

x2 + y 2 + z 2

then

^z = h

L

and

^ 2 = 6h2

L

The momentum operator of particle ` with Cartesian coordinates x(`); y(`); z(`)

h

@

p^x(`) = (2.44)

i @x(`)

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 21

@

h

p^y (`) = (2.45)

i @y(`)

@

h

p^z (`) = (2.46)

i @z(`)

In a system for which V (r(1); : : : ; r(N)) is the classical potential energy, the

The rule is: multiply by the classical formula V (r(1); : : : ; r(N)) for the

potential energy.

N

X

^ = ^ p

p ^

H + V^

`=1 2m(`)

!

N

X 2

h @2 @2 @2

= + + + V (r(1); : : : ; r(N )) (2.48)

`=1

2m(`) @x(`)2 @y(`)2 @z(`)2

components

!

^ x (`) = h

L

y(`)

@

z(`)

@

(2.49)

i @z(`) @y(`)

!

^ y (`) = h

@ @

L z(`) x(`) (2.50)

i @x(`) @z(`)

!

^ h

@ @

Lz (`) = x(`) y(`) (2.51)

i @y(`) @x(`)

^2 = L

L ^2 + L

^2 + L

^2 (2.52)

x y z

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 22

In later chapters, I will explain how these operators are connected to mea-

z = a + ib(1) (2.53)

where a and b are two real numbers called the real and imaginary parts of z,

respectively, and

p

i= 1 (2.54)

The notations Re(z) and Im(z) are used for the real and imaginary parts of

i2 = 1 (2.55)

Here are the operations you can perform with two complex numbers z1 =

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 23

z1 a1 + ib1 a1 a2 + b1 b2 b1 a2 a1 b2

= = 2 2

+i 2 (2.59)

z2 a2 + ib2 a2 + b2 a2 + b22

z a ib (2.60)

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 24

r

b

q

a

the form

z = exp[i] (2.61)

a = cos

b = sin

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 25

p

= + a2 + b2 (2.63)

!

b

= arctan with 0 < 2 (2.64)

a

p

jzj = z z (2.65)

q q

jzj = ( exp[i])( exp[i]) = 2 = jj (2.66)

where jj is the absolute value of the real number . If we use the form

z = a + ib, then

q p p

jzj = (a ib)(a + ib) = a2 + iab iab + b2 = a2 + b2 (2.67)

QM 2. Dynamical variables and operators, May 30, 2005 26

y = 3(1:7 2:1i)

2 + 1:3i

m =

3 + 1:1i

ei + ei

cos =

2

and

i h i i

sin = e ei

2

x 18. Complex functions of real variables. Now that we know how to per-

can dene functions whose argument is a real number and whose value is a

z = () = exp[i]

with a real number. Since the values of () are complex numbers, you can

handle it according to the rules in x17. For example, the complex conjugate

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