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(also called conjugate momentum for reasons you will understand in later courses). First, concentrate on a system with one degree of freedom. Here the conguration, denoted by a generalized coordinate q, for instance, the displacement of a spring, or the height for a body falling vertically. The momentum is denoted by p. This conjugate pair of variables (q, p) determines phase space. The state of a system is a point in this two dimensional phase space or phase plane. For example, if q is a displacement in a given direction, and p is its linear momentum in that direction, dened as p = mq, and F (q, t) is the force causing the motion, obeying Newtons second law: F = ma = m, then the q motion is described by : p m p = F (q, t) q =

(1) (2)

Newtons law is a second order dierential equation. Above we have written it out as two coupled rst order equations. Note that for a dynamical system obeying Newtons laws of motion, the conguration alone is not enough to specify motion for all time; a momentum is also required. In the phase space description of motion, the state of the system is a phase point rp = (q, p), with phase velocity vp = (q, p) = (p/m, F (q, t)). Remember, phase velocity is not the velocity q of the particle in ordinary conguration space.

For a one degree of freedom system, the force can be obtained from a potential function V (q, t) : F (q, t) = where

q

V (q, t) q

(3)

V (q, t) =

q0

dq F (q , t)

Also note that p d p2 = ( ) m dp 2m So we can dene a function called Hamiltonian function or Hamiltonian to be : p2 + V (q, t) (4) 2m In the example above, Hamiltonian is just the sum of kinetic energy and potential energy. (but there are systems where it may not have that form). So the Eqns. 1-2 can be written as: H(q, p, t) = H(q, p, t) p H(q, p, t) p = q q = The above equations are known as Hamiltons equations of motion. Any system that evolves in time according to the pair of equations above is deemed a Hamiltonian system. Note that for equations of motion to be linear, the potential V (q) must be at most quadratic. The above form is very general, and in general, q is a generalized coordinate, that need not represent the physical conguration of the system, and p need not represent a physical momentum, though they frequently do have 2 (5) (6)

this meaning. For the problems tackled in this course, q and p will always have the meaning of physical conguration and its physical conjugate momentum. Like, if a body of mass m is moving in a straight line in the x direction, q will be x and p will be the linear momentum in the x direction given by mx. Conservative Systems An autonmous Hamiltonian system has Hamiltonian function H H(q, p) (i.e. with no explicit time dependence in the functional form). Then, from Hamiltons equations of motion, we have: H H dH = q+ p dt q p i.e. dH H H H H = + =0 dt q p p q

So the value of the Hamiltonian is always conserved. For Newtonian systems this value is equal to energy E. Such a system is thus called conservative. Gradient of the Hamiltonian function: H(q, p) = ( H H , ) = (p, q) q p

This is equal in magnitude and perpendicular in direction to the phase velocity v = (q, p) Motion is always along the contours(lines) of constant energy, i.e. the value of the Hamiltonian function is constant (= E) along the line (also called trajectory or orbit) representing the motion of the particle in phase space. Fixed point or Equilibrium Point: H H , ) = (p, q) = 0 q p 3

H(q, p) = (

Examples of Newtonian mechanics of a particle of mass m moving in a time independent potential V (q): Such systems are conservative with Hamiltonian: H(q, p) = p2 + V (q) 2m

This is consistent with Newtons laws: p = m = q where F (q) is the force. dV = F (q) dq

For instance: (1) Potential V = kq, and force F = dV /dq = k (constant k > 0), describing a body falling freely down in an uniform gravitational eld. Constant energy contours are parabolas in phase space. There are no xed (equilibrium) points (as p = H(q, p)/q = k can never be zero).

(2) Linear oscillator (simple harmonic oscillator), where the force is linear in displacement q and directed towards origin (restoring force), i.e. potential V (q) q 2 . Here constant energy contours in phase space are ellipses. There is a xed point at the center q = p = 0 (termed the elliptic xed point). (3) Repulsive barrier, e.g. potential V (q) q 2 . Here constant energy contours in phase space are hyperbolas.

There is a xed point at the center q = p = 0 (termed the hyperbolic xed point). Poisson Brackets The Poisson Bracket of two functions f and g, of the variables q and p, is dened as: f g f g q p p q Then we have the Hamiltons equations of motion as: {f (q, p), g(q, p)} = q = {q, H(q, p)} p = {p, H(q, p)} (7)

(8)

So the equations now look completely symmetrical, with no sign dierence between the equations. More generally, for any function of q, p: d f f (q, p, t) = {f, H} + dt dt (9)

Note the following properties that follow from the denition of Poisson Brackets: {f, g} {f, f } {f, g + h} {f + g, h} {f, gh} {f g, h} {f, {g, h}} + {g, {h, f }} + {h, {{f, g}} = = = = = = = {g, f } 0 {f, g} + {f, h} {f, h} + {g, h} g{f, h} + {f, g}h f {g, h} + {f, h}g 0 (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17)

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