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Quantum Mechanics Review

Quantum Mechanics Review

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Our goal now is to find f(Ω) for a given central potential. Recall that in §10.2.2 and §8.2.3 we

found that the solution to the spherically symmetric Schrodinger equation could be written

ψ(r,θ,φ) =

l,m

Alm

UEl(r)

r Ylm(θ,φ)

where UEl is a solution to the radial equation (§10.2.2.E2) and Ylm(θ,φ) are the spherical harmonics.

Remark 1: The scattering problem has azimuthal symmetry. For initial propagation direction,

aligned with the z-axis, the solution is φindependent, and only m = 0 terms are involved.

Thus we have

ψ(r,θ) =

∞ l=0

al

UEl

r Pl(cosθ)

(8)

where Pl(cosθ) is the Legendre polynomial and al =

2l+1

4π Al,0.

Remark 2: The goal is to match (8) to the asymptotic form (5)

ψ(r,θ)−−−→

r→∞

eik·r

+f(θ)eikr
r

where we are using arrows to represent asymptotically similar.

If we take k in the z-direction, the incident plane wave can also be expressed as:

eik·r

=

∞ l=0

(2l + 1)(i)l

·jl(kr)Pl(cosθ)

(9)

(See §10.2.3.R11). Expanding f(θ) in Legendre polynomials:

f(θ) =

∞ l=0

flPl(cosθ)

(10)

14.2. WAVES AND PHASE SHIFTS

213

We require UEl(r) to be a regular solution to the radial equation, and asymptotically, we can write

it as

UEl(r)−−−→
r→∞

sin

kr

2 +δl

(11)

where δl is called a phase shift. The asymptotic form of (8) is:

ψ(r,θ)−−−→

r→∞

∞ l=0

al

(i)l

2i eiδl

eikr

r (i)l

2i e−iδl

e−ikr

r

Pl(cosθ)

(12)

In order to match this to the asymptotic form (5), we write the asymptotic form of jl(kr) in (9):

ψ(r,θ)−−−→

r→∞

∞ l=0

(2l + 1)(i)l
kr

(i)l

2i eikr

(i)l

2i e−ikr

+fl

eikr

r

Pl(cosθ)

(13)

Now, (12) and (13) must match as there are 2 different forms of the same incoming and outgoing

spherical waves. This requirement gives an expression for al:
Incoming Waves:

al

(i)l

2i e−iδl

= (2l + 1)il
k

il
2i

al = (2l + 1)

k il

eiδl

(14)

Outgoing Waves: (matching coefficients)

al

(i)l

2i eiδl

= (2l + 1)il
k

(i)l

2i +fl

(2l + 1)eiδl
k

eiδl

2i = (2l + 1)

2ik +fl

fl = (2l + 1)
2ik

e2iδl

1

(15)

And the expression for the scattering amplitude in terms of the phase shifts is:

f(θ) = 1
k

∞ l=0

(2l + 1)eiδl

sin(δl)Pl(cosθ)

(16)

Remark 3: Solving the differential scattering cross-section is reduced to finding the phase shift

for the different angular momentum components of the scattered wave.

Remark 4: Note that we can write the asymptotic solution (13) with al from (14).

ψ(r,θ)−−−→

r→∞

∞ l=0

(2l + 1)

2i

(1)l

e−ikr

kr +e2iδl

eikr

kr

Pl(cosθ)

214

CHAPTER 14. SCATTERING

where this phase factor shifts the phase of the outgoing partial wave relative to the incident

plane wave–this is where the entire scattering process is captured. (Partial waves refer to

individual terms in the spherical wave expansion.)

Remark 5: The differential scattering cross-section is terms of phase shifts is:

σ(θ) =|f(θ)|2

= 1

k2

l,l′

(2l + 1)(2l′ + 1)ei(δl−δ

l′)

sin(δl)sin(δl′)Pl′(cosθ)Pl(cosθ) (17)

Integrating this over a unit sphere gives the total scattering cross-section. Noting the

orthogonality of the Legendre polynomials:

σtot = 4π
k2

∞ l=0

(2l + 1)sin2

(δl)

(18)

We can write

σtot =

∞ l=0

σl

with

σl = 4π

k2 (2l + 1)sin2

(δl)

(19)

and σl gives the contribution to scattering cross-section from partial waves with angular momentum

l.

Remark 6: The partial wave expansion is most useful when only a few terms in (18) contribute.

To get an idea of which terms dominate, consider a scattering (classical) problem. Here

V(r) = 0 for r > r0. Now the angular momentum of the incoming particle is L = bp

and is a constant of motion. If b > r0 (L > r0p), then there is no scattering. Quantum

mechanically, L l (more precisely, L 2

l(l + 1)) and p = k. Thus, we expect the

strongest scattering when

l < kr0

(20)

and the weakest scattering when

l > kr0

(21)

Generally speaking, we expect σl to become unimportant for lkr0. This holds if V(r) = 0

for r > r0, but turns out to be true also if V (r) is very small (though not strictly 0) at some

range r0.

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