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Sakurai J.J. Modern Quantum Mechanics (AW, 1994)(802dpi)(T)(513s)

Sakurai J.J. Modern Quantum Mechanics (AW, 1994)(802dpi)(T)(513s)

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Sections

In this sectionwe study another discretesymmetry operator, calledtime
reversal.Thisisa difficult topicfor the novice,partly becausethe term time
reversalisa misnomer;it reminds us of sciencefiction.Actually what wedo
in this sectioncan bemoreappropriatelycharacterizedby the term reversal
of motion. Indeed,that is the terminology usedby E. Wigner, who for-
formulated time reversalin a very fundamental paperwritten in 1932.
For orientationpurposeslet us lookat classicalmechanics.Suppose
there is a trajectoryof a particlesubjectto a certain forcefield;seeFigure
4.9.At t =0, let the particlestop and reverseits motion: p|/=0-\302\273

\342\200\224

p|/==0.

The particle traversesbackwardalong the same trajectory.If you run the
motion picture of trajectory(a) backwardas in (b),you may have a hard
time telling whether this isthe correctsequence.
Moreformally, if x(/)isa solutionto

rax=\342\200\224

vK(x),

D.4.1)

then x(\342\200\224

t) isalsoa possiblesolutionin the sameforcefield derivablefrom
V. It is,ofcourse,important to note that wedonot havea dissipativeforce

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

267

Reverse

plt=o

-plf=o

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 4.9. (a) Classical trajectory which stops at t =0 and (b) reverses its motion
Pl/-o-*

\"Pi/Co-

\"Pi/Co:. A blocksliding on a table decelerates(dueto friction) and eventually

stops.But have you ever seena blockon a table spontaneouslystart to
moveand accelerate?

With a magneticfield you may beableto tell the difference.Imagine

that you are taking the motion pictureof a spiraling electrontrajectoryin a
magnetic field.You may be able to tell whether the motion pictureisrun
forward or backwardby comparingthe senseof rotation with the magnetic
polelabeling N and S.However,from a microscopicpoint of view, B is
producedby moving chargesvia an electriccurrent; if you couldreversethe
current that causesB, then the situation would be quite symmetrical.In
terms of the picture shown in Figure 4.10,

you may have figured out that N
and Sare mislabeled!Another moreformal way of saying all this isthat the
Maxwellequations,for example,

dE 4-nj

VE =

4irp, VxB\342\200\224

c dt

V xE =

,

c dt D.4.2)

and the Lorentz forceequation F=

e[E+(l/c)(vXB)]are invariant under

t-*\342\200\224

t providedwealsolet
E->E, B B

J J

V.

D.4.3)

Let us now lookat wave mechanics,wherethe basicequationof the
Schrodingerwaveequationis

1m

D.4.4)

Suppose\\p(x, t) is a solution.We can easilyverify that \\p(x,

\342\200\224

/) is not a

solution, becauseof the appearance of the first-order time derivative.
However, \\/>*(x,

\342\200\224

t) is a solution,as you may verify by complexconjuga-

conjugation

of D.4.4).

It is instructive to convinceourselvesof this point for an

268

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

8

v \"\\J EIectron traj ectory

N

FIGURE 4.10.Electron trajectory between the north and south poles of a magnet.

-/)=

u*{x)e-lE\302\273t/h D.4.5)

energyeigenstate,that is,by substituting

,t)=

un{x)e-lE\302\273t/h,

into the SchrodingerequationD.4.4).Thusweconjecturethat time reversal
must have somethingto dowith complexconjugation.If at / =0 the wave
function isgiven by

D.4.6)

then the wavefunction for the correspondingtime-reversedstate isgiven
by (x|a)*.

We will later show that this is indeedthe casefor the wave
function of a spinlesssystem.As an example,

you may easilycheckthis

point for the wavefunction of a plane wave;seeProblem8ofthis

chapter.

Digressionon Symmetry Operations
Beforewebegina systematictreatment of the time-reversaloperator,
somegeneral remarks on symmetry operations are in order.Considera
symmetry operation

|a>->|fi>, \\P)^\\P)-

D-4-7)

Onemay argue that it isnatural to requirethe inner product (j3|a)to be
preserved,that is,

D.4.8)

Indeed,for symmetry operationssuch as rotations, translations,and even
parity, this isindeedthe case.If \\a) isrotated and |j8)isalsorotatedin the

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

269

same manner, (/3|a)isunchanged.Formally this arisesfrom the fact that,
for the symmetry operationsconsideredin the previoussections,the corre-

corresponding symmetry operatorisunitary, so

D.4.9)

However,in discussingtime reversal,weseethat requirementD.4.8)
turns out to be too restrictive.Instead,we merely imposethe weaker
requirementthat

\\0\\a)\\ =

\\(p\\a)\\.

D.4.10)

RequirementD.4.8)

obviously satisfiesD.4.10).

But this isnot the only way;

D.4.11)

worksequallywell.We pursue the latter possibilityin this sectionbecause
from our earlier discussionbasedon the Schrodingerequationwe inferred
that time reversalhas something to dowith complexconjugation.

Definition. Thetransformation

\\a) ->

|fi>=

0\\a)9 |j8>->

|jB>=

6\\/3)

D.4.12)

issaidto beantiunitary if

*,

D.4.13a)

d{cx\\a)+c2|j8\302\273

=

cfO\\a)+c?0|j8>. D.4.13b)

In such a casethe operator 8 isan antiunitary operator.RelationD.4.13b)
alone definesan antilinear operator.
We now claimthat an antiunitary operatorcan bewritten as

0=UK,

D.4.14)

whereUisa unitary operatorand K isthe complex-conjugateoperatorthat
forms the complexconjugateof any coefficientthat multiplies a ket (and
stands on the right of K). Before checkingD.4.13)

let us examine the
property of the K operator.Supposewehave a ket multiplied by a complex
number c.We then have

Kc\\a) =

c*K\\a).

D.4.15)

Onemay further ask,What happensif |a)isexpandedin terms ofbasekets

(la')}?

Underthe action K we have

a'

a'

D.4.16)

a
Noticethat K acting on the baseket doesnot change the baseket.The

270

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

explicitrepresentationof \\a') is

\\a') =

D.4.17)

0

1

0

10/

and there is nothing to be changed by K. The readermay wonder, for
instance,whether the

Sy eigenketsfor a spin \\ system changeunderK.The
answeristhat if the Szeigenketsareusedas basekets,wemust changethe

Sv eigenketsbecausethe S eigenketsA.1.14)

undergounder K

@)
0

K

/

D.4.18)

On the other hand, if the S eigenketsthemselvesare usedasthe basekets,
wedonot changethe

Sy eigenketsunder the actionof K.Thus the effectof
K changeswith the basis.As a result, the form of Uin D.4.14)

alsodepends
on the particular representation (that is, the choiceof basekets)used.
Gottfried putsit aptly: \"If the basisischanged,the work of U and K has
to bereapportioned.\"

Returning to 9=UKandD.4.13),

let us first checkpropertyD.4.13b).

We have

B(Cl\\a) + c2\\f3))=

UK(Cl\\a)+c2\\0))

D.4.19)

so D.4.13b)

indeedholds.BeforecheckingD.4.13a),

we assertthat it is
alwayssafer to work with the action of 6 on ketsonly. We can figure out
how the braschangejust by lookingat the correspondingkets.In particular,
it is not necessaryto consider6 acting on bras from the right, nor is it
necessaryto definedK We have
e

a

a

D.4.20)

a

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

271

As for I/?),wehave

a'

a\"

=

*,

D.4.21)

sothis checks.

In order for D.4.10)

to be satisfied,it is of physical interest to

considerjust two typesof transformation\342\200\224unitary

and antiunitary. Other
possibilitiesare related to eitherof the precedingvia trivial phasechanges.
The proof of this assertionisactually very difficult and will not bediscussed
further here (Gottfried1966,

226-28).

Time-ReversalOperator

We are finally in a position to presenta formal theory of time
reversal.Let us denotethe time-reversaloperatorby 0,to bedistinguished
from 0, a generalantiunitary operator.Consider

|a)->0|a),

D.4.22)

where0|a)is the time-reversedstate.Moreappropriately,0|a)shouldbe
calledthe motion-reversedstate. If |a)is a momentum eigenstate|p'),we
expect0|a)to be |\342\200\224

p')up to apossiblephase.Likewise,

Jisto bereversed

under time reversal.

We now deducethe fundamental property of the time-reversaloper-

operator

by lookingat the time evolution of the time-reversedstate.Considera
physical system representedby a ket |a),say at / =0.Then at a slightly
later time / =S/,the system is found in

(iff \\

1-\342\200\224SM|a>,

D.4.23)

whereHisthe Hamiltonian that characterizesthe time evolution.Insteadof
the precedingequation,supposewefirst apply 0,say at / =0, and then let
the systemevolveunder the influenceof the Hamiltonian H.We then have
at 8t

1

\342\200\224

H|a>.

D.4.24a)

If motion obeyssymmetry under time reversal,we expectthe preceding
state ket to be the sameas

a,/0=

0;/=-\302\253/>

D.4.24b)

272

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

that is,first considera state ket at earlier time t =\342\200\224

8t, and then reversep

andJ;seeFigure4.11.

Mathematically,

D.4.25)

If the precedingrelationisto betrue for any ket, wemust have

-/7/0|>=

0/7/|>,

D.4.26)

where the blank ket | ) emphasizesthat D.4.26)is to be true for any ket.
We now argue that 0 cannot be unitary if the motion of time
reversal is to make sense.Suppose0 were unitary. It would then be
legitimate to cancel the z'sin D.4.26),and we would have the operator
equation

_ ZJQk _?\\ ZJ

(A A

yi\\

Consideran energy eigenket \\n) with energy eigenvalueEn. The corre-

corresponding time-reversedstatewould be0|w),and wewould have,becauseof

D.4.27),

H@\\n) =-@H\\n) =

(-En)Q\\n).

D.4.28)

This equation saysthat

0|w)isan eigenketof the Hamiltonian with energy

eigenvalues\342\200\224

En. But this isnonsensicalevenin the very elementarycaseof

a free particle.

We know that the energyspectrum of the free particle is
positive semidefinite\342\200\224from 0 to +oo.There is no state lower than a

Momentum

beforereversal

Momentum

after reversal

Momentum

beforereversal

\342\200\224o

at f=

Momentum

after reversal

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 4.11.

Momentum before and after time reversal at time t =0and /=+St.

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

273

particleat rest (momentum eigenstatewith momentum eigenvaluezero);the
energyspectrumranging from

\342\200\224

oo to 0 would becompletelyunacceptable.
We can also seethis by looking at the structure of the free-particle
Hamiltonian. We expectp to change sign but not p2; yet D.4.27)would

imply that

2

__ 2

^^\342\200\224H-.

D.4.29)

2m

All thesearguments strongly suggestthat if time reversalis to bea
useful symmetry at all, we are not allowedto cancel the i'sin

D.4.26);

hence,\302\251

had better be antiunitary. In this casethe right-hand sideof

D.4.26)

becomes

@/7/|>=-i@H\\ >

D.4.30)

by antilinearpropertyD.4.13b).

Nowat lastwecancancelthe i'sin D.4.26)

leading,finally, via D.4.30)to

\302\256H=H\302\256

D4 31)

Equation D.4.31)

expressesthe fundamental property of the Hamiltonian
under time reversal.With this equationthe difficulties mentionedearlier[see
D.4.27)to D.4.29)]are absent, and we obtain physically sensibleresults.
From now on wewill

always take0to beantiunitary.
We mentionedearlierthat it isbestto avoidan antiunitary operator
actingonbrasfrom the right. Nevertheless,wemay use

,

D.4.32)

which isalwaysto beunderstoodas

\302\253j8|).(e|a\302\273

D.4.33)

and neveras

\302\253/?|@)\302\273.

D.4.34)

In fact, wedonot evenattempt to define(/?|0.

Thisisoneplacewherethe
Diracbra-ketnotation is a little confusing.After all, that notation was
invented to handle linearoperators,not antilinear operators.
With this cautionary remark, we are in a position to discussthe
behaviorof operatorsunder time reversal.We continueto take the point of
view that the 0operatoristo act on kets

|5>=

0|a>, |/?)=

0|/?>, D.4.35)

yet it isoften convenientto talk about operators\342\200\224in

particular,observables

\342\200\224which are oddor evenunder time reversal.We start with an important

identity, namely,

=

(al\302\251\302\2561*\302\251-1!/?),

D.4.36)

where

\302\256

is a linear operator. This identity followssolelyfrom the anti-

274

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

unitary nature of 0.To provethis let us define

D.4.37)

By dual correspondencewehave

D.4.38)

Hence,

D.4.39)

which provesthe identity. In particular,for Hermitian observablesA weget

(P\\A\\a) =

(&\\@A@-l\\p).

D.4.40)

We say that observablesare evenor oddunder time reversalaccordingto
whetherwehave the upper or lowersign in

~l=\302\261A.

D.4.41)

Notethat this equation,togetherwith D.4.40),

givesa phaserestrictionon
the matrix elements of A taken with respectto time reversed states as
follows:

a>= +($\\A\\&)*.

D.4.42)

If |/3)isidenticalto |a),sothat wearetalking about expectationvalues,we
have

(a\\A\\a) =

\302\261(a\\A\\a),

D.4.43)

where (fi|^4|fi)is the expectation value taken with respectto the time-
reversedstate.

As an example, let us look at the expectation value of p. It is
reasonableto expectthat the expectationvalue of p taken with respectto
the time-reversedstatebeof oppositesign.Thus

(a|p|a)

=-E|p|5),

D.4.44)

sowe take p to bean oddoperator,namely,

This impliesthat

p0|p')=\342\200\224

\302\251p\302\251\021\302\251^')

=

(-p'H|p'>.

D.4.46)

EquationD.4.46)agreeswith our earlierassertionthat

0|p')isa momentum

eigenketwith eigenvalue\342\200\224

p'.It can be identified with |\342\200\224

p') itself with a

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

275

suitablechoiceof phase.Likewise,weobtain

|x')=

|x') (up to aphase)

D.4.47)

from the (eminently reasonable)requirement
(ll\\ / ~

I I ~

\\

/A A AO\\

a\\x\\a) =

(a|x|a).

D.4.48)

We can now checkthe invarianceof the fundamental commutation

relation

[xt9Pj]\\)=

ih8tJ\\)9

D.4.49)

where the blank ket | ) stands for any ket.Applying 0 to both sidesof
D.4.49),wehave

which leadsto, after passing0through ih9

D.4.51)

Notethat the fundamental commutation relation[xl9p]

=

ih8tJ ispreserved
by virtue of the fact that 0isantiunitary. Thiscan begiven as yet another
reasonfor taking 0 to be antiunitary; otherwise,we will be forced to
abandon either D.4.45)or D.4.47)!Similarly, to preserve

[jt,Jj\\=ihe,jkJkt

D.4.52)

the angular-momentum operator must be oddunder time reversal,that is,

This isconsistentfor spinlesssystem whereJ isjust x X

p.Alternatively, we
couldhavededucedthis relationby noting that the rotationaloperatorand
the time-reversaloperatorcommute(note the extra/!).

Wave Function

Supposeat somegiven time, say at / =0, a spinlesssingle-particle
system is found in a state representedby \\a). Its wave function

(x'|a)

appearsasthe expansioncoefficientin the positionrepresentation

\\a) =

jd3x'\\K')(x'\\a).

D.4.54)

Applying the time-reversaloperator

,

D.4.55)

wherewe have chosenthe phaseconventionsothat

0|x')is|x')itself.We

276

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

then recoverthe rule

D.4.56)

inferred earlier by looking at the Schrodingerwave equation [seeD.4.5)].
The angular part of the wave function isgiven by a sphericalharmonicY\342\204\242.
With the usual phaseconventionwehave

Now YimF,4>) isthe wave function for \\l, m)[seeC.6.23)];

therefore,from

D.4.56)

wededuce

0|/,m> =

(-1)\"V>-m).

D.4.58)

If we study the probabilitycurrent density B.4.16)

for a wave function of

type C.6.22)

going like R{r)Ytm, we shall concludethat for m >0 the
current flows in the counterclockwisedirection, as seenfrom the positive

z-axis.

The wavefunction for the correspondingtime-reversedstate has its
probability current flowing in the oppositedirectionbecausethe sign of m
isreversed.All this is very reasonable.
As a nontrivial consequenceof time-reversalinvariance,we state an

important theoremon the reality of the energyeigenfunctionof a spinless
particle.

Theorem.Supposethe Hamiltonian is invariant under time reversal
and the energy eigenket\\n) is nondegenerate;then the correspondingenergy

eigenfunction isreal {or,more generally, a realfunction times aphasefactor
independentof x).

Proof To provethis, first note that

H

SH\\n)=

En@\\n),

D.4.59)

so \\n) and \302\256\\n) have the same energy.The nondegeneracyassumption
promptsus to concludethat

\\n) and S\\n) must representthe same state;
otherwisethere would be two different states with the sameenergyEn, an
obvious contradiction! Let us recall that the wave functions for \\n) and
0|ft)are (x'|\302\253) and (x'|\302\253)*> respectively.Theymust bethe same\342\200\224that

is,

=

*

D.4.60)

for all practical purposes\342\200\224or,

moreprecisely,they can differ at most by a

phasefactorindependentofx.

?

Thus if wehave,for instance,a nondegeneratebound state,its wave
function isalways real.On the otherhand, in the hydrogenatom with / =?0,
m =?0, the energyeigenfunctioncharacterizedby definite (\302\253, /, m) quantum
numbers is complexbecauseY\342\204\242

is complex;this doesnot contradict the

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

277

theorem because\\n9l9m) and \\n,l,

\342\200\224

m) are degenerate.Similarly, the
wavefunction of a planewave elp'x/hiscomplex,but it isdegeneratewith
e~ip-x/h

We seethat for a spinlesssystem, the wave function for the time-
reversedstate, say at /=0, issimply obtainedby complexconjugation.In
terms of ket \\a) written as in D.4.16)

or in D.4.54),

the 0operatoris the
complexconjugateoperatorK itselfbecauseK and 0have the sameeffect
when acting on the baseket \\a') (or |x')).

We may note, however,that the
situation is quite different when the ket |a)is expandedin terms of the
momentum eigenketbecause0must change|p')into |\342\200\224

p')as follows:

a) =

d3p'p'X-p'|a>*.D.4.61)

It isapparent that the momentum-spacewave function of the time-reversed
state is not just the complexconjugate of the original momentum-space
wave function; rather, we must identify *(

\342\200\224

p')as the momentum-space
wave function for the time-reversedstate. This situation once again il-
illustrates the basicpoint that the particular form of 0 dependson the
particular representationused.

Time Reversalfor a Spin\\ System

Thesituation isevenmoreinteresting for aparticlewith spin\342\200\224spin

\\,

in particular. We recall from Section3.2that the eigenketof S#h with
eigenvalueh/2can bewritten as

|h; +) =

e-'WV'W*|+>> D.4.62)

where h is characterized by the polar and azimuthal angles fi and a,
respectively.Noting D.4.53)we have

In

h; +) =

e-lS:a/he-lSvp/h@\\

+)=

-n\\h] -). D.4.63)

On the other hand, wecan easilyverify that

D.4.64)

In general,we saw earlierthat the product UK isan antiunitary operator.
ComparingD.4.63)

and D.4.64)with 0setequalto UK,and noting that K
acting on the baseket |+) givesjust |+),weseethat
2Sy

h K,

D.4.65)

wherer\\ standsforan arbitrary phase(acomplexnumber ofmodulus unity).
Another way to be convincedofD.4.65)

is to verify that if

x(n;+) is the

two-component eigenspinorcorrespondingto |n;+) [in the sensethat

278

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

a-nx(n;+) =

x(n;+)],then

D.4.66)

(note the complexconjugation!)is the eigenspinorcorrespondingto |n; \342\200\224),
again up to an arbitrary phase,seeProblem7 of this

chapter.The ap-

appearance of

Sy or

cjy can be tracedto the fact that we are using the rep-
representation in which Szis diagonaland the nonvanishing matrix elements
of

Sy are purely imaginary.
Let usnow note

e-\302\253^/A|+^ =+|_^ e-/^/*|->=

-|+>- D.4.67)

UsingD.4.67),we are ift a positionto work out the effectof 0,written as

D.4.65),

on the most generalspin \\ ket:

D.4.68)

Let us apply 0onceagain:

D.4.69)

or

02=-l,

D.4.70)

(where

\342\200\224

1is to beunderstoodas

\342\200\224

1times the identity operator) for any
spinorientation. This is an extraordinaryresult.It is crucial to note here
that our conclusionis completelyindependent of the choice of phase;
D.4.70)holds no matter what phaseconvention we may use for 17. In
contrast, we may note that two successiveapplicationsof 0 to a spinless
state give

\302\2512=+l

D.4.71)

asisevidentfrom, say,D.4.58).
Moregenerally,wenow prove

02|yhalf-integer)=-\\j half-integer)

D.4.72a)

02|yinteger)=+ \\j integer).

D.4.72b)

Thus the eigenvalueof 02is given by (\342\200\224

1JJ.We first note that D.4.65)

generalizesfor arbitrary j to

Q=

ne-My/hK.

D.4.73)

Fora ket \\a) expandedin terms of \\j9 m)baseeigenkets,wehave

D.4.74)

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

279

But

e-2Mv/*Umy=

(_iJ^-m),

D.4.75)

as is evident from the propertiesof angular-momentum eigenstatesunder
rotation by 277.

In D.4.72b),\\j integer) may stand for the spin state

D.4.76)

of a two-electronsystem or the orbitalstate |/,m)of a spinlessparticle.It is
important only that j is an integer.Likewise,\\j half-integer)may stand,
for example,for a three-electronsystem in any configuration.Actually, for a
system made up exclusivelyof electrons,any system with an odd (even)
number of electrons\342\200\224regardless of their spatial orientation (for example,
relativeorbital angular momentum)\342\200\224is odd(even)under @2;they neednot
evenbeJ2eigenstates!

We make a parentheticalremark on the phaseconvention.In our
earlierdiscussionbasedon the positionrepresentation,wesaw that with the
usual convention for sphericalharmonicsit is natural to choosethe arbi-

arbitrary phasefor |/,ra)under time reversalsothat

0|/,m)=

(-1)\"V,

-m).

D.4.77)

Someauthors find it attractive to generalizethis to obtain

@|y,m) =

(\342\200\224

l)m\\j9

\342\200\224

m) (jan integer) D.4.78)
regardlessof whether jrefersto / or s (foran integerspin system).We may
naturally ask,isthis compatiblewith D.4.72a)for a spin \\ system when we
visualize\\j\\ m)asbeingbuilt up of \"primitive\" spin \\ objectsaccordingto

Wigner and Schwinger.It is easy to seethat D.4.72a)is indeedconsistent
provided wechoose17 in D.4.73)to be +/.In fact,in general,we can take

Q\\j\\m) =

i2m\\j, -m)

D.4.79)

for any j\342\200\224either a half-integerjoran integer/;seeProblem10of this
chapter.The readershouldbewarned,however, that this isnot the only
convention found in the literature.(See,for instance,Frauenfelder and
Henley1974.)Forsomephysicalapplications,it ismore convenientto use
other choices;

for instance,the phaseconvention that makesthe J\302\261

op-

operator matrix elementssimpleisnot the phaseconventionthat makesthe
time-reversaloperatorpropertiessimple.We emphasizeonceagain that
D.4.70)iscompletelyindependentof phaseconvention.
Having worked out the behaviorof angular-momentum eigenstates
under time reversal,we arein a positionto study onceagain the expectation
values of a Hermitian operator.RecallingD.4.43),we obtain under time
reversal(cancelingthe i2m factors)

(a,y,-m\\A\\a9 7,-m). D.4.80)

280

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

Now supposeA is a componentof a sphericaltensor

T^k\\ Becauseof the
Wigner-Eckarttheorem,it issufficient to examinejust the matrix elementof
the q =0 component.In general,T{k)(assumedto beHermitian) issaidto
beevenor oddunder time reversaldependingon how its q=0 component
satisfiesthe upperor lowersign in

.

D.4.81)

EquationD.4.80)

for A =

T^k) becomes

, j9m\\T\342\204\242\\a9

j9m) =\302\261

Dueto C.6.46)-C.6.49),

we expect|a,j\\

\342\200\224

m)=

^@,*r,0)|a,7,m)up to a

phase.We next useC.10.22)

for T^k\\ which leadsto

,77,0O^.0@,77,0)

=

(-l)kT0(k) +(q*0components),

D.4.83)

wherewe have used@$\\0,tt,O)=

Pk(cos7r)=

(\342\200\224

1)*,and the q # 0 com-

components give vanishing contributionswhen sandwichedbetween (a9j9rn\\
and |a,j9m).The net result is

a,7,m>. D.4.84)
As an example,taking k=l9the expectationvalue (x)taken with respectto
eigenstatesof 7, m vanishes.We may argue that we alreadyknow

(x)=0

from parity inversionif the expectationvalue istaken with respectto parity
eigenstates[seeD.2.41)].

But note that here \\a9 7,m) neednot be parity

eigenkets!

Forexample,the \\j9m) for spin \\ particlescouldbe

cs\\s1/2)

cp\\Pi/i)-

Interactionswith Electricand MagneticFields;KramersDegeneracy

Considerchargedparticlesin an externalelectricor magneticfield.If
we have only a static electricfield interacting with the electriccharge,the
interaction part of the Hamiltonian isjust

F(x)=

e4>(x),

D.4.85)

where <>(x)is the electrostaticpotential.Because(x)isa real function of
the time-reversalevenoperatorx,wehave

D.4.86)

Unlike the parity case,D.4.86)does not lead to an interesting
conservationlaw.The reasonisthat

QU(t9t0)*U(t9t0)e

D.4.87)

even if D.4.86)

holds,so our discussionfollowing D.1.9)

of Section4.1

breaksdown.As a result, there is no such thing as the \"conservationof

4.4.The Time-Reversal Discrete Symmetry

281

time-reversalquantum number.\" As we already mentioned, requirement

D.4.86)

does,however,lead to a nontrivial phaserestriction\342\200\224the

reality of
a nondegeneratewave function for a spinlesssystem [seeD.4.59)and

D.4.60)].

Another far-reachingconsequenceof time-reversalinvarianceis the
Kramersdegeneracy.SupposeHand 0commute,and let \\n) and 0|\302\253) be
the energy eigenket and its time-reversedstate, respectively.It is evident
from D.4.86)

that

\\n) and @\\n) belong to the same energy eigenvalue

En(H@\\n) =

QH\\n) =

EJd\\n)). The question is, Does \\n) represent the
samestate as0|ai)?If it does,\\n) and 0|\302\253) can differ at most by a phase
factor.Hence,

D.4.88)

Applying 0 again to D.4.88),we have \302\2562\\n)

=

&elS\\n) =

e~lS@\\n) =

e~iSe+

iS\\n); hence,

D.4.89)

But this relation is impossiblefor half-integerj systems,for which 02is
always \342\200\2241, sowe are ledto concludethat

\\n) and 0|\302\253), which have the

same energy,must correspondto distinct states\342\200\224that

is,there must be a
degeneracy.Thismeans,for instance,that for a system composedof an odd
number of electronsin an externalelectricfield E,eachenergylevelmust be
at leasttwofolddegenerateno matter how complicatedEmay be.Consider-

Considerations

along this line have interesting applicationsto electronsin

crystals
whereodd-electronand even-electronsystemsexhibit very different behav-

behaviors.

Historically,Kramersinferred degeneracyof this kind by looking at
explicitsolutionsof the Schrodingerequation;subsequently,Wigner pointed
out that Kramers degeneracyis a consequenceof time-reversalinvariance.
Let us now turn to interactionswith an externalmagneticfield.The
Hamiltonian Hmay then containterms like
SB, p-A+A-p, (B=

VXA),

D.4.90)

wherethe magneticfield isto beregardedasexternal.The operatorsSand
p are oddunder time reversal;theseinteractionterms thereforedolead to

D4 91)

As a trivial example,for a spin \\ system the spin-up state |+) and its
time-reversedstate |\342\200\224

) no longerhave the sameenergyin the presenceof
an external magnetic field. In general, Kramers degeneracyin a system
containingan oddnumber ofelectronscanbelifted by applying an external
magneticfield.

Noticethat when we treat Basexternal,wedonot changeBunder
time reversal; this is becausethe atomic electron is viewedas a closed
quantum-mechanicalsystem to which we apply the time-reversaloperator.

282

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

This should not be confused with our earlier remarks concerning the
invarianceof the MaxwellequationsD.4.2)and the Lorentzforceequation
under t ->\342\200\224

t andD.4.3).

Therewewereto apply time reversalto the whole
world, for example,even to the currents in the wire that producesthe B
field!

PROBLEMS

1.Calculatethe three lowestenergylevels,togetherwith their degeneracies,
for the following systems(assumeequalmassdistinguishable particles):
a.Three noninteractingspin \\ particlesin a boxof length L.
b.Four noninteractingspin \\ particlesin a boxof length L.
2.Let J^J denotethe translation operator(displacement

vectord);^(h, the rotation operator (h and are the axis and angle of rotation,
respectively);and tt the parity operator.Which, if any, of the following
pairscommute?Why?
a.^ and^ (d andd'in different directions).
b.<\302\256(h,)

and ^(n',

c.3TA and 77.
d.^(h,) and 77.
3.A quantum-mechanicalstate ^ is known to be a simultaneouseigen-
state of two Hermitian operatorsA and B which anticommute,

What can you say about the eigenvaluesof A and B for state
Illustrate your point using the parity operator (which can bechosento
satisfy m =77~1=

771\") and the momentum operator.
4. A spin\\ particleisbound to a fixed centerby a sphericallysymmetrical
potential.

a.Write down the spin angular function

^/J^1/2'\021^1/2.

b.Express(o-x)#?-1/2,\"-1/2

in terms of someQther qyUm^
c.Show that your result in (b) is understandable in view of the
transformation propertiesof the operator S#xunder rotations and
under spaceinversion (parity).
5.Becauseof weak(neutral-current)interactionsthereisa parity-violating
potential betweenthe atomicelectronand the nucleusas follows:

whereS and p are the spin and momentum operatorsof the electron,
and the nucleusisassumedto besituatedat the origin.As a result,the
ground state of an alkali atom, usually characterizedby \\n9l9j\\m)
actually contains very tiny contributions from other eigenstates as

Problems

283

follows:

n,/,/,m)

m)

n'l'j'm'

Onthe basisofsymmetry considerationsalone,what canyou sayabout

(n\\ /',/',m'),which give riseto nonvanishing contributions?Suppose
the radialwavefunctions and the energylevelsare all known. Indicate
how you may calculate

Cn>ifm*. Dowe get further restrictions on

6.Considera symmetricrectangular double-wellpotential:

V = 00

0

for |jc|>a + b;
for a < x

Vo >0 for x

Assuming that Vo isvery high comparedto the quantizedenergiesof
low-lying states,obtain an approximateexpressionforthe energysplit-

splitting betweenthe two lowest-lyingstates.
7.a.Leti|/(x,t) bethe wavefunction of a spinlessparticlecorresponding
to a planewave in three dimensions.Showthat i|/*(x, \342\200\224t)

is the

wave function for the planewave with the momentum direction

reversed.
b.Letx(n)bethe two-componenteigenspinorofcr\342\200\242

n with

eigenvalue
+1.Using the explicitform of x(n)(in terms of the polar and
azimuthal anglesCand7that characterizen) verify that

-/a2x*(n)

isthe two-componenteigenspinorwith the spin directionreversed.
8.a.Assuming that the Hamiltonian is invariant under time reversal,
prove that the wave function for a spinlessnondegenerate

system

at any given instant of time can always bechosento bereal,
b.The wave function for a plane-wave state at t = 0 is given by a
complexfunction eipx/h.

Why doesthis not violate time-reversal

invariance?
9.Let

4>(p')=

(p'la)-Isthe momentum-spacewave function for the time-
reversedstate0|a)given by <|>(p'),

^(p')*or ^(\"\"P')?

tify your answer.
10.a.What isthe time-reversedstate correspondingto 2)(/?)|y,m)l
b.Usingthe propertiesof time reversal and rotations, prove

2m

11.

c.Prove 917,m) =

i2m\\j,

\342\200\224m).

Supposea spinlessparticle is boundto a fixedcenterby a potential
V(x) soasymmetricalthat no energy levelisdegenerate.

Usingtime-

284

Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics

reversal invarianceprove

for any energyeigenstate.(Thisis known asquenchingof orbital an
gular momentum.) If the wave function of such a nondegenerate

ei

genstate isexpandedas

22

/ m

, 40,

what kind of phaserestrictionsdowe obtain on F/m(r)?
12.The Hamiltonian for a spin 1systemis given by

Solvethis problemexactly to find the normalizedenergyeigenstatesand
eigenvalues.(A spin-dependentHamiltonian of this kind actually ap-

appears in crystal physics.)Is this Hamiltonian invariant under time
reversal? How do the normalizedeigenstatesyou obtained transform
under time reversal?

CHAPTER5

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