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# P113A Homework 5

Peter D Alison
May 18, 2009

1 Problem 3.5
The hermitian conjugate (or adjoint) of an operator Q̂ is the operator
Q̂† such that
< f |Q̂g >=< Q̂† f |g > (for all f and g).
(A hermitian operator, then is equal to its hermitian conjugate: Q̂ = Q̂† .)

(a) Find the hermitian conjugates of x, i, and d/dx.

We can rearrange the integrand of the inner product as such
Z ∞ Z ∞

< f |xg >= f xg dx = (xf )∗ g dx =< xf |g >
−∞ −∞

The adjoint of the operator x† = x. Besides x is an observable so it is her-
mitian so this was obvious.

Z ∞ Z ∞
< f |ig >= f ∗ ig dx = (−if )∗ g dx =< −if |g >
−∞ −∞

i = −i
The adjoint of i is its complex conjugate, seems logical, makes sense.

d
For the operator dx
we can use integration by parts to find the adjoint.
Z ∞ Z ∞
∂g ∂g ∂f
< f| >= f∗ dx = f ∗ g|∞
−∞ − ( )∗ g dx
∂x −∞ ∂x −∞ ∂x

1
d d
The adjoint of dx is − dx .
(b) Construct the hermitian conjugate of the harmonic oscillator raising op-
erator, a+ (Equation 2.47).

1 1 ∂
a+ = √ (−ip + mωx) = √ (−i(−ih̄ ) + mωx)
2h̄mω 2h̄mω ∂x
1 ∂
a+ = √ (−h̄ + mωx)
2h̄mω ∂x
Z ∞ Z ∞
1 ∂g
< f |a+ g >= √ (−h̄ f ∗ ( ) dx + mω f ∗ (xg) dx)
2h̄mω −∞ ∂x −∞

We can use the method of integration by parts to deconstruct the first inte-
gral.
Z ∞ Z ∞
1 ∂f ∗
=√ (−h̄(f ∗ g|∞
−∞ − ( ) g dx) + mω (xf )∗ g dx)
2h̄mω −∞ ∂x −∞

1 ∂
a†+ = √ (h̄ + mωx) = a−
2h̄mω ∂x
The adjoint of a+ is a− .

(c) Show that (Q̂R̂)† = R̂† Q̂† .

< f |Q̂R̂g >=< Q̂† f |Rg >=< R̂† Q̂† f |g >=< (Q̂R̂† f |g >

(Q̂R̂)† = R̂† Q̂†

2 Problem 3.7
(a) Suppose that f (x) and g(x) are two eigenfunctions of an operator Q̂, with
the same eigenvalue q. Show that any linear combination of f and g is itself
an eigenfuction of Q̂, with eigenvalue q.
We assume that Q̂ is a linear operator by definition, we are in the realm of
linear algebra, by the way. Q̂ acting on f and g yield the eigenvalue q.

Q̂f = qf, and Q̂g = qg

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Let us now take a linear combination of f and g and have Q̂ act on it.

af (x) + bg(x)

Q̂(af (x) + bg(x)) = aQ̂f (x) + bQ̂g(x)
= aqf (x) + bqg(x) = q(af (x) + bg(x))
As we can see q is still an eigenvalue of the linear combination. QED.

(b) Check that f (x) = exp(x) and g(x) = exp(−x) are eigenfunctions of
the operator d2 /dx2 , with the same eigenvalue. Construct two linear combi-
nations of f and g that are orthogonal eigenfunctions on the interval (−1, 1).

d2 x
[e ] = ex
dx2
and
d2 −x
[e ] = e−x
dx2
These functions both have the eigenvalue of 1. We can make the linear
combinations
1 x 1
(e + e−x ) and (ex − e−x )
2 2
These functions are orthonormal because
Z ∞
1 x 1
(e + e−x ) (ex − e−x ) dx = 0
−∞ 2 2

3 Problem 3.11
Find the momentum-space wave function, Φ(p, t), for a particle in the ground
state of the harmonic oscillator. What is the probability (to 2 significant
digits) that a measurement of p on a particle in this state would yield a value
outside the classical range (for the same energy)? Hint: Look in a math table
under ”Normal Distribution” or ”Error Function” for the numerical part -
or use Mathematica.
The ground state of the harmonic oscillator is
mω 1 − mω x2
ψ0 (x) = ( ) 4 e 2h̄
πh̄

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The time-dependent ground state wave function is then
mω 1 − mω x2 − 1 ıωt
Ψ0 (x, t) = ( ) 4 e 2h̄ e 2
πh̄
The momentum-space wave function is given the Fourier transform
1 Z ∞ −ıpx/h̄
Φ(p, t) = √ e Ψ(x, t) dx
2πh̄ −∞
1 Z ∞ −ıpx/h̄ mω 1 − mω x2 − 1 ıωt
Φ(p, t) = √ e ( ) 4 e 2h̄ e 2 dx
2πh̄ −∞ πh̄
Using Mathematica this integral turns to be
1 1 p2 1
Φ(p, t) = ( ) 4 e− 2mωh̄ e− 2 ıωt
mωπh̄

The momentum p that is outside the classical range is mωh̄. Because
the momentum-space wave function is even around zero and the probability
must sum up to 1, the probability that a measurement of p would outside
the classical range can written as
Z √mωh̄
1−2 |Φ(p, t)|2 dp
0

Although the true way to write this would be
Z −√mωh̄ Z ∞
|Φ(p, t)|2 dp + √ |Φ(p, t)|2 dp
−∞ mωh̄

Mathematica yields the Error Function value of
Erfc[1]
which numerically is
P = 0.157.

4 Problem 3.14
Prove the famous ”Alison Uncertainty Principle”, relating the uncertainty in
position (A = x) to the uncertainty in energy (B = p2 /2m + V ):

σx σH ≥ | < p > |.
2m
4
For stationary states this doesn’t tell you much - why not?

The general Heisenberg uncertainty relation is
1
< [Â, B̂] >)2
σA2 σB2 ≥ (

We now must find the commutator of x and H.
h̄2 ∂ 2
x̂ = x and Ĥ = − +V
2m ∂x2
I will stick a dummy function on the commutator to make things easier.
h̄2 ∂ 2 g h̄2 ∂ 2
[x̂, Ĥ]g(x) = x(− ) 2 − (− ) (xg)
2m ∂x 2m ∂x2
h̄2 ∂ 2 g h̄2 ∂ ∂g
=− x 2+ [ (g + x )]
2m ∂x 2m ∂x ∂x
2 2 2
h̄ ∂ g h̄ ∂g ∂g ∂ 2g
=− x 2+ ( + + x 2)
2m ∂x 2m ∂x ∂x ∂x
2
h̄ ∂g
=
m ∂x
Removing the dummy function we obtain
h̄2 ∂
[x̂, Ĥ] =
m ∂x
which can be rewritten as
ıh̄ ∂ ıh̄
(−ıh̄ ) = p
m ∂x m
Plugging into the uncertainty relation
1 ıh̄
σx2 σH
2
≥( | < p > |)2
2ı m
1 ıh̄ h̄
σx2 σH
2
≥( | < p > |)2 ⇒ σx2 σH
2
≥( | < p > |)2
2ı m 2m
Finally,

σx σH ≥|<p>|
2m
The Alison Uncertainty Relation, now if only we could find the element
Alisonium, atomic number 1200.

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5 Problem 3.17
Apply Equation 3.71 to the following special cases: (a) Q = 1; (b) Q = H;
(c) Q = p. In each case, comment on the result, with particular reference to
Equations 1.27, 1.33, 1.38, and conservation of energy (comments following
Equation 2.39).
Equation 3.71 states that

d i ∂ Q̂
< Q >= < [Ĥ, Q̂] > + < >
dt h̄ ∂t
(a)Q = 1
d ı ∂(1)
< 1 >= < [Ĥ, 1] > + < >
dt h̄ ∂t
ı
= < Ĥ − Ĥ > +0 = 0

The conservation of normalization as in chapter 1.
(b)Q = H

d ı ∂ h̄2 ∂ 2
< Ĥ >= < [Ĥ, Ĥ] > + < (− +V)>
dt h̄ ∂t 2m ∂x2
ı
= < HH − HH > +0 = 0

The conservation of energy.
(c)Q = x
d ı ∂x
< x >= < [Ĥ, x] > + < >
dt h̄ ∂t
ı h̄2 ∂ 2 h̄2 ∂ 2
= < (− + V )x − x(− +V)>
h̄ 2m ∂x2 2m ∂x2
From a previous problem
ıh̄ ıh̄
[x, Ĥ] = p so [Ĥ, x] = − p
m m
d ı ıh̄p
< x >= < − >
dt h̄ m
d <p>
< x >=
dt m

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This is the classical equation for momentum otherwise known as p = mv.
(d)Q = p
d ı ∂ ∂
< p >= < [Ĥ, p̂] > + < (−ıh̄ ) >
dt h̄ ∂t ∂x
What is [Ĥ, p̂]? Let’s use a dummy function to help a bit.

h̄2 ∂ 2 ∂ ∂ h̄2 ∂ 2
[Ĥ, p̂]g(x) = [(− + V (x))(−ıh̄ ) − (−ıh̄ )(− + V (x))]g(x)
2m ∂x ∂x ∂x 2m ∂x2
h̄2 ∂ 2 ∂ ∂ h̄2 ∂ 2
= (− + V (x))(−ıh̄ )g(x) − (−ıh̄ )(− + V (x))g(x)
2m ∂x ∂x ∂x 2m ∂x2
h̄2 ∂ 2 ∂g ∂ h̄2 ∂ 2 g
= (− + V (x))(−ıh̄ ) − (−ıh̄ )(− + V (x)g)
2m ∂x ∂x ∂x 2m ∂x2
ıh̄3 ∂ 3 g ∂g ıh̄3 ∂ 3 g ∂g ∂V
3
− ıh̄V (x) − 3
+ ıh̄V (x) + ıh̄g
2m ∂x ∂x 2m ∂x ∂x ∂x
So
∂V
[Ĥ, p̂] = ıh̄
∂x
d<p> ı ∂V
= < ıh̄ > +0
dt h̄ ∂x
d<p> ∂V
=−< >
dt ∂x
which is Newton’s Law concerning conservative forces.

6 Problem 3.23
The Hamiltonian for a certain two-level system is

Ĥ = E(|1 >< 1| − |2 >< 2| + |1 >< 2| + |2 >< 1|),

where |1 >, |2 > is an orthonormal basis and E is a number with the dimen-
sion of energy. Find its eigenvalues and (normalized) eigenvectors (as linear
combinations of |1 > and |2 >). What is the matrix H representing Ĥ with
respect to this basis?
Let us take the wave function that is a linear combination of the vectors

ψ = a|1 > +b|2 >

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Ĥ|ψ >=
E(a|1 >< 1|1 > +b|1 >< 1|2 > −a|2 >< 2|1 > −b|2 >< 2|2 >
+a|1 >< 2|1 > +b|1 >< 2|2 > +a|2 >< 1|1 > +b|2 >< 1|1 >)
= E(a|1 > −b|2 > +b|1 > a|2 >) = E((a + b)|1 > +(a − b)|2 >)
The term on |1 > went from a to a + b, and the |2 > went from b to a − b.
The matrix H is then !
1 1
E
1 −1

7 Problem 3.27
Sequential Measurements. An operator Â, representing observable A, has
two normalized eigenstates ψ1 and ψ2 , with eigenvalues a1 and a2 , respec-
tively. Operator B̂, representing observable B, has two normalized eigen-
states φ1 and φ2 , with eigenvalues b1 and b2 . The eigenstates are related
by
ψ1 = (3φ1 + 4φ2 )/5, ψ2 = (4φ1 − 3φ2 )/5.
(a) Observable A is measured, and the value is a1 is obtained. What is state
of the system (immediately) after this measurement?

The measurement value of a1 corresponds to ψ1 , so the system is in the
state ψ1 .

(b) If B is now measured, what are the possible results, and what are their
probabilities?

The possible results for B̂ are b1 and b2 and because we are in the state
ψ1 their probabilities are their corresponding φ1 and φ2 constants squared.
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Prob.b1 =
25
16
Prob.b2 =
25
(c) Right after the measurement of B, A is measured again. What is the
probability of getting a1 ? (Note that the answer would be quite different if

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I had told you the outcome of the B measurement.)

First we solve for φ1 and φ1 in terms of ψ1 and ψ2 .
1
φ1 = (3ψ1 + ψ2 )
5
1
φ2 = (4ψ1 − 3ψ2 )
5
Now, we need to find the probabilities of measuring a1 in each of possible
states for B̂.
9
Prob.a1 inφ1 =
25
16
Prob.a1 inφ2 =
25
Now we multiply the probability of a1 with the probabilities of the possible
B̂ states and then add. So the probability of finding a1 is
9 2 16 337
( ) + ( )2 = = 0.5392
25 25 625

8 Problem 3.38
The Hamiltonian for a certain three-level system is represented by the matrix
 
1 0 0
H = h̄ω  0 2 0 

0 0 2

Two other observables, A and B, are represented by the matrices
   
0 1 0 2 0 0
A = λ 1 0 0 ,B = µ 0 0 1 
  

0 0 2 0 1 0

where ω, λ, and µ are positive real numbers.

(a) Find the eigenvalues and (normalized) eigenvectors of H, A, and B.

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H:  
h̄ω − c 0 0
(H − cI3 ) = 

0 2h̄ω − c 0 

0 0 2h̄ω − c
det(H − cI3 ) = 0 = (2h̄ω − c)(2h̄ω − c)(h̄ω − c)
c = 2h̄ω, 2h̄ω, h̄ω
These are the values down the diagonal so the eigenvectors are
     
1 0 0
|h1 >=  0  , |h2 >=  1  , |h3 >=  0 
     

0 0 1

A:  
−c λ 0
(A − cI3 ) =  λ −c 0
 

0 0 2λ − c
det(A − cI3 ) = 0 = (2λ − c)(c2 − λ2 ) = (2λ − c)(c − λ)(c + λ)
The eigenvalues are
c = 2λ, λ, −λ
Plugging in ±λ we obtain the systems
   
−λ λ 0 λ λ 0
 λ −λ 0  and  λ λ 0 
   

0 0 0 0 0 0

which gives the eigenvectors
   
1 1
1   1 
|a1 >= √  1  , |a2 >= √  −1 

2 0 2 0

and by default  
0
|a3 >=  0 
 

1

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B:
 
2µ − c 0 0
(B − cI3 ) = 

0 −c µ 

0 µ −c
det(B − cI3 ) = 0 = (2µ − c)(c2 − µ2 ) = (2µ − c)(c − µ)(c + µ)
The eigenvalues are
c = 2µ, µ, −µ
Plugging in ±µ we obtain the system
   
0 0 0 0 0 0
 0 −µ µ  and  0 µ µ 
   

0 µ −µ 0 µ µ

which yield the eigenvectors
   
0 0
1   1 
|b2 >= √  1  , |b3 >= √  1 

2 1 2 −1

by default the last eigenvector is
 
1
|b1 >=  0 
 

0

(b) Suppose the system starts out in the generic state
 
c1
|S(0) >=  c2 
 

c3

with |c1 |2 + |c2 |2 + |c3 |2 = 1. Find the expectation values (at t = 0) of H, A,
and B.

< H >=< S(0)|H|S(0) >

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  
  1 0 0 c1
= h̄ω c∗1 c∗2 c∗3  0 2 0   c2 
  

0 0 2 c3
 
  c1
= h̄ω c∗1 c∗2 c∗3  2c2 
 

2c3
< H >= h̄ω(|c1 |2 + 2|c2 |2 + 2|c3 |2 )
< A >=< S(0)|A|S(0) >
  
  0 1 0 c1
=λ c∗1 c∗2 c∗3  1 0 0   c2 
  

0 0 2 c3
 
  c2
=λ c∗1 c∗2 c∗3  c1 
 

2c3
< A >= λ(c∗1 c2 + c∗2 c1 + 2|c3 |2 )
< B >=< S(0)|B|S(0) >
  
  2 0 0 c1
=µ c∗1 c∗2 c∗3  0 0 1   c2 
  

0 1 0 c3
 
  2c1
=µ c∗1 c∗2 c∗3  c3 
 

c2
< B >= µ(2|c1 |2 + c∗2 c3 + c∗3 c2 )

(c) What is |S(t) >? If you measured the energy of this state (at time
t), what values might you get, and what is the probability of each? Answer
the same questions for A and for B.
The time-dependent state is

|S(t) >= c1 e−ıE1 /h̄t |h1 > +c2 e−ıE2 /h̄t |h2 > +c3 e−ıE3 /h̄t |h3 >

= c1 e−ıωt |h1 > +c2 e−ı2ωt |h2 > +c3 e−ı2ωt |h3 >

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The possible values are the eigenvalues of the operator H.

h̄ω, 2h̄ω

So the probabilities are the corresponding constants absolute value squared.

E = h̄ω ⇒ Prob. = |c1 |2

E = 2h̄ω ⇒ Prob. = |c2 |2 + |c3 |2
To calculate the probabilites for the operators A and B, we perform a pre-
form a projection on |S(t) > with corresponding eigenvectors.

On the operator A the possible values are the eigenvalues

2λ, λ, −λ

For c = λ
c1 e−ıωt
 
1  
< a1 |S(t) >= √ 1 1 0  c2 e−2ıωt 
 
2 c3 e−2ıωt
1
= √ (c1 e−ıωt + c2 e−2ıωt )
2
1
Prob. = | √ (c1 e−ıωt + c2 e−2ıωt )|2
2
1
= (|c1 |2 + |c2 |2 c∗1 c2 e−ıωt + c∗2 c1 eıωt )
2
For c = −λ
c1 e−ıωt
 
1  
< a2 |S(t) >= √ 1 −1 0  c2 e−2ıωt 
 
2 c3 e−2ıωt

1
= √ (c1 e−ıωt − c2 e−2ıωt )
2
1
Prob. = | √ (c1 e−ıωt − c2 e−2ıωt )|2
2
1
= (|c1 |2 + |c2 |2 − c∗1 e−ıωt − c∗2 c1 eıωt )
2
13
For c = 2λ
c1 e−ıωt
 
 
< a3 |S(t) >= 0 0 1  c2 e−2ıωt 
 

c3 e−2ıωt
= c3 e−2ıωt
Prob. = |c3 e−2ıωt |2
= |c3 |2
The possible values for the operator B are the eigenvalues
2µ, µ, −µ
For c = µ
c1 e−ıωt
 
1  
< b2 |S(t) >= √ 0 1 1  c2 e−2ıωt 
 
2 c3 e−2ıωt
1
= √ (c2 e−2ıωt + c3 e−2ıωt )
2
1
Prob. = | √ (c2 e−2ıωt + c3 e−2ıωt )|2
2
1
= (|c2 |2 + |c3 |2 + c∗1 c2 + c∗2 c1 )
2
For c = −µ
c1 e−ıωt
 
1  
< b3 |S(t) >= √ 0 1 −1  c2 e−2ıωt 
 
2 c3 e−2ıωt
1
= √ (c2 e−2ıωt − c3 e−2ıωt )
2
1
Prob. = | √ (c2 e−2ıωt − c3 e−2ıωt )|2
2
1
= (|c2 |2 + |c3 |2 − c∗2 c3 − c∗3 c2 )
2
For c = 2µ
c1 e−ıωt
 
 
< b1 |S(t) >= 1 0 0  c2 e−2ıωt 
 

c3 e−2ıωt

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= c1 e(−ıωt
Prob. = |c1 e−ıωt |2
= |c1 |2
A lot of probabilities finally done. QED.

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