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Quantum Mechanics PyEd 342

Quantum Mechanics PyEd 342



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Published by mesfint
This is a teaching material prepared for undergraduate students of the Department of Physics Education, College of Education, Addis Ababa University.

Course Instructor: Mesfin Tadesse Beshah
Course Duration: One Semester
This is a teaching material prepared for undergraduate students of the Department of Physics Education, College of Education, Addis Ababa University.

Course Instructor: Mesfin Tadesse Beshah
Course Duration: One Semester

More info:

Published by: mesfint on Jul 25, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Quantum Mechanics (PyEd 342)Prepared by Mesfin Tadesse, CoE, AAU, Megabit 2000 EC 1
Chapter 1.
The Motivation for Quantum Mechanics
What is Quantum Mechanics?
Quantum Mechanics is a theory that deals with and predicts the behavior of microscopic objects like molecules, atoms, electrons and photons. Contrary toClassical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics is based on radical ideas that thephysical properties of a system are essentially
(quantized) and
(not deterministic).The development of quantum mechanics was initially motivated by severalobservations which demonstrated the inadequacy of classical physics.
The Breakdown of Classical Physics
Let’s first consider Classical Mechanics which has three formalisms:
,Newtonian Mechanicsd0,Lagrangian Mechanics,dt,Hamiltonian Mechanics,
m LL LTqq H pqHTqp
== = = = = +
&& &
 All three formalisms have the same general goal: to find the equation of motion of point-like objects and then determine the position and momentum as functions of time.In the case of Newtonian formalism of mechanics, the motion will be determinedif the forces are known. The Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approaches use energyconcepts to arrive at the equations of motion and make solving problems simpler.When Classical Mechanics is applied, in one of its formalisms, to study visuallybig objects or system of objects such as ballistics, simple or coupled pendula,harmonic oscillators, it works fine. But what if we try to apply ClassicalMechanics (N or L or H formalism) to an electron in an atom, to a proton in anucleus, to a quark in a proton, to a photon in a laser beam? It breaks down. Thisfailure of classical mechanics to describe microscopic objects was discovered byphysicists around the turn of the twentieth century. Classical Mechanics seemed tohave a limit!
Quantum Mechanics (PyEd 342)Prepared by Mesfin Tadesse, CoE, AAU, Megabit 2000 EC 2
 Is the failure of Classical Mechanics due to incorrect equations? Is it possible tomake the correct modifications to the equations so it is applicable to all objectsirrespective of their size, like it was done in relativity at high speeds?
At this point, it is useful to look at some of the failures Classical Mechanics toappreciate how physicists of the time concoct new ideas to solve the puzzles andfailures piecemeal and develop Quantum Mechanics over a period of two decades.1.
The ultraviolet catastrophe
:One of the failures of Classical Mechanics is its inadequacy to solve theproblem of the
 Blackbody Radiation
. A blackbody is an idealized object whichabsorbs and emits all frequencies. Imagine the blackbody as a cavity whoseinner walls are at a temperature
. The
intensity of the radiation emittedby the walls at the temperature
is given empirically by the Stefan-Boltzmannlaw:
(1.1)However, the intensity is not uniformly distributed over all frequencies of theradiation. So, we can ask: “
What is the energy within a unit volume of thecavity at some given frequency
 , at absolute temperature T 
?”In 1900, Rayleigh used the laws of classical thermodynamics and classicalelectromagnetism and got the energy density as a function of frequency:
( )
πν ν 
is Boltzmann constant and
is the speed of light. Equation (1.2) iscalled Rayleigh-Jeans formula.A graph of the energy density
versus frequency
is shown below both for theRayleigh-Jeans formula and the experimental data. The area under theexperimental curve is finite indicating that the total energy within the cavity isfinite at finite temperature. But the area under the R-J curve is infinite. That is,when the R-J formula is integrated over all frequencies, it blows up; meaningthe cavity at finite temperature has an infinite total energy inside! The problemlies in the UV region (high-frequency region) where the R-J curve does not fitthe experimental curve. This disaster was called the Ultraviolet Catastrophe.
Quantum Mechanics (PyEd 342)Prepared by Mesfin Tadesse, CoE, AAU, Megabit 2000 EC 3
So, according to classical physics (R-Jformula), the energy density of theradiation within the cavity of theblackbody is infinite due to a divergenceof energy carried by high-frequencymodes. This is in complete contradictionwith experimental results which show nosuch divergence, and the total energydensity is finite. The predictions of classical physics were clearly dead wrong!In the same year (1900), Max Planck obtained a formula that fits theexperimental data for all frequencies and solved the UV catastrophe:
( )
π ν ν 
= ×
is a constant, now called Planck's constant.Max Planck arrived at this result by combining statistical mechanics with acompletely new idea, namely,
the quantization
discretization of energy
. Heassumed that the oscillating electrons of the cavity walls release energy into theradiation field not continuously but in lumps, each lump of energy beingproportional to integral multiples of the frequency, i.e.,
(1.4)In classical physics, given a frequency, the energy is determined by the
of oscillation and
energy is possible. Though Planck’s new ideawas in conflict with the classical view, it was a necessity to move ahead andsolve persisting problems.
Show that equation (1.3) matches the Rayleigh-Jeans result at small frequencies.Use
= +
for small x. Integrate equation (1.3) to obtain equation (1.1).
The stability of atoms
:According to the Rutherford model of the atom, electrons orbit about thenucleus of an atom. This model was not flawless, however. Classicalelectrodynamics tells us that accelerating charges lose energy by radiating.
( )

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