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AN INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF TOPICAL REVIEW OF NON-HERMITIAN QUANTUM MECHANICS WITH REAL SPECTRA

AN INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF TOPICAL REVIEW OF NON-HERMITIAN QUANTUM MECHANICS WITH REAL SPECTRA

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Published by David.R.Gilson
This thesis begins by introducing the postulates of standard quantum theory. It then recounts
historical attempts to break away from the limitation of Hermiticity, while preserving the
requirements of a real spectrum and unitary time evolution. It goes on to report how non-
Hermitian theories have been put to use in recent years, as academic interest has grown
markedly. The thesis proceeds to examine in detail the main non-Hermitian frameworks (PT
symmetry and pseudo-Hermiticity), their similarities, and their differences. It goes on to
investigate the limitations of such theories, by examining how the reality of their
eigenspectrum can breakdown. Finally, an original contribution is given, demonstrating a
method to calculate “exceptional points” of a PT-symmetric version of the Lipkin model.
This thesis begins by introducing the postulates of standard quantum theory. It then recounts
historical attempts to break away from the limitation of Hermiticity, while preserving the
requirements of a real spectrum and unitary time evolution. It goes on to report how non-
Hermitian theories have been put to use in recent years, as academic interest has grown
markedly. The thesis proceeds to examine in detail the main non-Hermitian frameworks (PT
symmetry and pseudo-Hermiticity), their similarities, and their differences. It goes on to
investigate the limitations of such theories, by examining how the reality of their
eigenspectrum can breakdown. Finally, an original contribution is given, demonstrating a
method to calculate “exceptional points” of a PT-symmetric version of the Lipkin model.

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categoriesTypes, School Work
Published by: David.R.Gilson on Jul 15, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs

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THE UNIVERSITY OF HULLAN INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF TOPICAL REVIEWOF NON-HERMITIAN QUANTUM MECHANICSWITH REAL SPECTRA being a Thesis submitted for the Degree of Master of Science (by research)in the University of Hull byDavid Richard Gilson, MPhysMarch 2008
 
AN INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF TOPICAL REVIEW OF NON-HERMITIAN QUANTUM MECHANICS WITH REAL SPECTRA
Acknowledgements
This work originally began as a PhD project in 2001 with the Department of Mathematics at theUniversity of Hull, under the supervision of Professor Paul Busch and Dr. Stefan Weigert. I extend mygratitude and respect to both of them for their guidance at that time.After my first year with the department, I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which led toan indefinite intercalation from my PhD. Later, the Department of Mathematics closed and reopenedas the “Centre for Mathematics” (CfM). During this transition phase, I decided that I would not letCFS stop me achieving my ambitions. I contacted the university to enquire if I could resume myresearch, by reducing my PhD to a MSc degree. I extend my gratitude to both Dr. Nigel Shaw (HullUniversity Graduate School) and Dr. Tim Scott (head of the CfM) for having agreed to this. Hence,from September 2005 I was able to embark upon
rehabilitative study
.Since I resumed my research, I have faced many difficulties. Not least, that of learning to live withCFS. Despite all of this, I was determined to see this project through. However, I must give thefollowing thanks to those people who have supported and guided me in this endeavour. Dr. StefanWeigert for continued academic and intellectual support; and proof reading my first draft; all despitehaving moved on from Hull University. Dr. Tim Scott for administrative support and proof reading.Avril Johnson for learning support. Finally, I would also like to extend thanks and admiration to mymother, Carol Gilson, who has given unwavering moral support and many hours proof readingthroughout this project, despite her own ill health.I also wish to cite the computer software used in the production of this thesis. All of the software listedhere is free and open source, released under either the GNU Public Licence (GPL) or the Limited GPL(LGPL). All diagrams were produced with “The GIMP” (GPL,http://www.gimp.org/) and “Inkscape”(GPL,http://www.inkscape.org/). The bibliographic database was created in “OpenOffice.org Base”,all mathematical objects were written in “OpenOffice.org Math” and the thesis was completely writtenand managed in “OpenOffice.org Writer” (LGPL,http://www.openoffice.org/).
David R Gilson2 of 77
 
AN INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF TOPICAL REVIEW OF NON-HERMITIAN QUANTUM MECHANICS WITH REAL SPECTRA
Abstract
This thesis begins by introducing the postulates of standard quantum theory. It then recountshistorical attempts to break away from the limitation of Hermiticity, while preserving therequirements of a real spectrum and unitary time evolution. It goes on to report how non-Hermitian theories have been put to use in recent years, as academic interest has grownmarkedly. The thesis proceeds to examine in detail the main non-Hermitian frameworks (PTsymmetry and pseudo-Hermiticity), their similarities, and their differences. It goes on toinvestigate the limitations of such theories, by examining how the reality of theieigenspectrum can breakdown. Finally, an original contribution is given, demonstrating amethod to calculate “exceptional points” of a PT-symmetric version of the Lipkin model.David R Gilson3 of 77

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