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# Optics 412 The Wigner-Eckart Theorem Study Guide

**The theorem of Wigner and Eckart concerns the matrix elements of operators between states of deﬁnite
**

angular momentum. It shows that for a large and important class of operators, the eﬀect of the operator on

the angular momentum of the state is to change the quantum numbers in a way just as if you had added

a new angular momentum to the system. The purpose of this guide is to enable you to state this theorem

precisely and to prove it. Basic ideas about angular momentum addition are reviewed ﬁrst, but the reader

is assumed to have read the relevant class notes, and if necessary to have read Cohen-Tannoudji Chapter X,

AX, BX.

Section 1. Review of addition of angular momentum. Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcients.

The following review questions are about two systems whose individual total angular momenta are

j

1

= 4 and j

2

= 1.

1. system 2 has three magnetic substates. There are (how many?) magnetic substates of

system 1. (Write in the answer and then compare it with the answer given on the line below.)

1. nine.

2. Given that system 1 is in the state |j

1

, m

1

= |4, 2 and that system 2 is in state |j

2

, m

2

= |1, −1, then

the combined state is in the state |j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

= |4, 1, 2, −1. For the same j

1

and j

2

(4 and 1), how

many diﬀerent states are there of the combined system, including |4, 1, 2, −1?

2. twenty-seven, namely:

|4, 1, 4, 1, |4, 1, 4, 0, |4, 1, 4, −1,

|4, 1, 3, 1, |4, 1, 3, 0, |4, 1, 3, −1,

|4, 1, 2, 1, |4, 1, 2, 0, |4, 1, 2, −1, etc. .

3. What are the possible values of J for the combined system, given that j

1

= 4 and j

2

= 1?

3. three, four, and ﬁve.

The problem of “addition of angular momenta” is to take the 27 states |j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

and form linear

combinations of them in certain ways to make 27 new states which are all eigenstates of

ˆ

J

2

and

ˆ

J

z

with

eigenvalues J(J + 1) and M.

4. How many of the new states will have the eigenvalue J = 3?

4. seven.

5. How many will have J = 4?

5. nine

And there will be eleven states with J = 5. Notice that altogether that makes 7 + 9 + 11 = 27, the

same as the number of states |4, 1, m

1

, m

2

. This is no accident, since the states |J, M are to span the same

space as the states |4, 1, m

1

, m

2

and that space has 27 dimensions.

1

Now consult Appendix A in the back.

6. Exactly two of the twenty-seven states |4, 1, m

1

, m

2

, are already eigenstates of

ˆ

J

2

and

ˆ

J

z

. They are

and .

6. |4, 1, 4, 1 and |4, 1, −4, −1.

7. The coeﬃcients in this transformation from the set {|j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

} to the set {|J, M} are called

Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcients and are written j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M. For example, how much is 4, 1, 2, −1| 5, 1?

(Appendix A.)

7.

_

6/45.

8. From the Appendix, you see that 4, 1, 2, −1| 5, 0 = 0. This is an illustration of the rule relating m

1

, m

2

and M, which is .

8. m

1

+ m

2

= M (for non-zero C.G. coeﬃcients.)

8.1 4, 1, 0, −1| 7, −1 is zero. Why?

8.1 Because J = 7 is not allowed from j

1

= 4, j

2

= 1.

8.2 4, 1, −1, 9| 5, 8 is zero. Why?

8.2 Because m

2

> j

2

. Or because M > J.

9. From inspection of the Appendix, you can ﬁll in the summation indices and ranges of the summations

below:

=

=

j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M = 1.

9.

j

1

m1=−j1

j

2

m2=−j2

etc.

See Appendix B, eqn. (1). Other properties of the transformation will be found in Appendix B. Note

especially the recursion relation. The recursion relations are occasionally useful in calculations:

10. From the recursion relations, and from the data in Appendix A, ﬁnd the value of

j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M = 4, 1, −1, −1| 5, −2 ,

using the data from the line giving |5, −3. Answer: .

10. From the recursion relation (Eq. 3 in Appendix B),

_

5 · 6 − (−3)(−2) 4, 1, −1, −1| 5, −2 =

_

4 · 5 − (−1)(−2)

_

28/45 + zero,

therefore

4, 1, −1, −1| 5, −2 =

_

21/45.

2

11. You can ﬁll in the missing line in Appendix A either by using the recursion relations (don’t) or by

noticing a symmetry relating |J, M and |J, −M (do). Check your result below.

11.

|5, −2 = |4, 1, −1, −1

_

21/45 + |4, 1, −2, 0

_

21/45 + |4, 1, −3, 1

_

3/45.

We have left out two details: The ﬁrst is that J and M do not completely specify a state of a system

composed of subsystems having a given j

1

and j

2

. You can get a |J, M = |5, 3 not only from subsystems

with (j

1

, j

2

) = (4, 1), but also from those with (j

1

, j

2

) = (3, 2) for example. We should have been writing

states of the combined system as |j

1

, j

2

, J, M. then the transformation of basis we have been talking about

would be expressed as that from a set {|j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

, ﬁxedj

1

, j

2

} to another set {|j

1

, j

2

, J, M, ﬁxedj

1

, j

2

}.

The Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcients are still abbreviated as ‘ j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M

**instead of the redundant form
**

‘ j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| j

1

, j

2

, J, M

.

The last detail, a very important one, is this: An eigenstate of a hydrogen atom, for example, is not

completely speciﬁed by giving the values of j and m; what about the value of the principal quantum number

n? When we are discussing angular momentum, we shall label all the other quantum numbers of a system

by a single letter. A completely speciﬁed state would be called ‘|a, j, m,

for example.

So what about the transformation from the set {|a, j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

ﬁxed a, j

1

, j

2

}, to the set {|a, j

1

, j

2

, J, M, ﬁxed a, j

1

, j

2

}?

The important and beautiful thing is that the coeﬃcients do not depend on a. That is why you ﬁnd tables

of Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcients for arbitrary systems.

Section 2. Irreducible Tensor Operators — Order 1 and 3

Operators sometimes come in sets. The Hamiltonian for an isolated system is a single operator; it

belongs to a set of order 1. The position operator of a system (ˆ x, ˆ y, ˆ z) is an operator set of order three. Now

it so happens that most of the operators that one is interested in can be ﬁtted into the following description

by a suitable choice of basis:

Let

_

ˆ

T

(k)

q

, q = −k, −k + 1, . . . , +k

_

be a set of 2k+1 operators which satisfy the following commutation

relations with angular momentum operators:

_

ˆ

J

+

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

=

_

k(k + 1) − q(q + 1)

ˆ

T

(k)

q+1

_

ˆ

J

−

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

=

_

k(k + 1) − q(q − 1)

ˆ

T

(k)

q−1

_

ˆ

J

z

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

= q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

.

Then the operators are the standard components of an irreducible tensor operator

ˆ

T

(k)

of order 2k + 1.

1. A trivial example: The Hamiltonian of an isolated system commutes with

ˆ

J

+

,

ˆ

J

−

and

ˆ

J

z

. The Hamilto-

nian operator is the sole member of a set of order . Is it a standard component? That is, does

it satisfy the above relations? Answer:

1. one. Yes.

2k + 1 = 1 ⇒ k = 0 ⇒ q = 0 ⇒ all commutators = 0.

2. Are ˆ x, ˆ y and ˆ z the standard components of the position operator? To answer this one, consult Appendix

C. Answer .

3

2. No. Just look at [

ˆ

J

z

, ˆ x] for example.

3. We can construct a set of standard components easily, however. Notice [

ˆ

J

z

, ˆ z] = 0 × ˆ z. Perhaps ˆ z is

the standard component having q = . (Check the commutation rules at the beginning of this

section.)

3. zero.

4. Suppose ˆ z is the q = 0 component. (Obviously, since we have three components, k = 1 and q =

−1, 0, +1.) To ﬁnd the q = 1 component, just use the appropriate commutation rule. Which rule?

4.

_

ˆ

J

+

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

.

5. Using Appendix C and the appropriate commutation rule, ﬁnd the q = +1 standard component of

position.

5. q = 0, k = 1,

ˆ

T

(1)

0

= ˆ z.

Thus,

_

ˆ

J

+

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

=

_

k(k + 1) − q(q(+1)

ˆ

T

(k)

q+1

=

√

2

ˆ

T

(1)

+1

,

but,

_

ˆ

J

+

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

=

_

ˆ

J

+

, ˆ z]

_

= −ˆ x − iˆ y from Appendix C.

Therefore, the q = 1 standard component is (−ˆ x − iˆ y)/

√

2.

6. Find the q = −1 standard component of position. Answer: .

6. (ˆ x − iˆ y)/

√

2.

7. This result for the position operator can be generalized to the case of any vector operator: If

ˆ

K

x

,

ˆ

K

y

,

ˆ

K

z

are the cartesian components of a vector operator, its standard components are

ˆ

K

(1)

1

= ?

ˆ

K

(1)

0

= ?

ˆ

K

(1)

−1

= ?

7. (−

ˆ

K

x

− i

ˆ

K

y

)/

√

2,

ˆ

K

z

, (

ˆ

K

x

− i

ˆ

K

y

)/

√

2.

You can test yourself at this point to see that you can deﬁne an irreducible tensor operator. If so, you

are ready to go on to a statement of the Wigner-Eckart Theorem.

Aside: Maybe you have noticed that while we have deﬁned the order of the set as 2k +1, many authors

call k the degree or rank of the tensor.

4

Wigner-Eckart Theorem: If

ˆ

T

(k)

q

is the qth standard component of an irreducible tensor operator

ˆ

T

(k)

of rank k and order 2k + 1, then its matrix element between states of deﬁnite total angular momentum

a, J, M|

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|b, J

, M

**is equal to the product of the Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcient
**

J

, k, M

, q| J, M

with a quantity independent of M, M

and q.

8. The “quantity independent of M, M

**and q” can depend upon what remaining parameters? Answer:
**

.

8. a, J, b, and J

**, (and of course, the tensor
**

ˆ

T

(k)

).

9. this “quantity” is usually written

_

a, J||

ˆ

T

(k)

||b, J

_

/

√

2J + 1.

Use this notation to write out as fully as you can the matrix element of the operator

ˆ

T

(k)

q

a, J, M|

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|b, J

, M

= ?

by the Wigner-Eckart theorem.

9.

_

a, J||

ˆ

T

(k)

||b, J

_

J

, k, M

, q| J, M /

√

2J + 1.

10. Review: the position operator ˆ z is a standard component of an operator such that k = and q =

.

10. k = 1, q = 0.

11. Consider a system whose total angular momentum is j = 4 and whose z-component is m = 4. Write out

an expression for the matrix element of the position operator z from this state to a state |J, M for arbi-

trary J, and M. (Drop the other quantum numbers a and b, and assume that the ‘quantity’ multiplying

the Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcient is unity in this case.) Answer: .

11. J, M| ˆ z |4, 4 = 4, 1, 4, 0| J, M,

since the intial state is |4, 4 and since k = 1 and q = 0 in the case of the operator ˆ z.

12. Let us try that once more, just for practice. If the quantum mechanical system is such that by strange

coincidence,

a, J||position||b, J =

√

2J + 1,

then the matrix element of the position operator ˆ z from state (b arbitrary, j = 4, m = −3) to the state

(a arbitrary, j = J, m = M) is .

12. a, J, M| ˆ z |b, 4, −3 = 4, 1, −3, 0| J, M .

5

You can see that operating on |j, m with operator ˆ z is something like adding a certain amount of

angular momentum to the state, namely, adding an angular momentum having j = 1 and m = 0.

13. Loosely speaking, the Wigner-Eckart theorem says that the operation of

ˆ

T

(k)

q

on |J

M

is something

like adding to the state an angular momentum having j = ? and m = ?

13. j = k and m = q.

14. Use whatever reference material that you need to ﬁnd the ratio

5, 2| ˆ z |4, 2

5, 1| ˆ z |4, 1

= ? (a number).

14.

Since each matrix element has the same value of initial and ﬁnal J-value (4 and 5, respectively) the

‘quantity’ multiplying the Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcients is the same for both and cancels out. The answer is

4, 1, 2, 0| ˆ z |5, 2

4, 1, 1, 0| ˆ z |5, 1

=

_

21/24 = 0.935.

15. The utility of the Wigner-Eckart theorem is that the angular dependence (m-dependence) of matrix

elements of an operator between states of given angular momentum is completely given by the Clebsch-

Gordan coeﬃcients once you have expressed the operator in terms of its .

15. standard components.

16. How much is 5, 2| ˆ z |4, 1? Answer: .

16. Zero,

since the “initial m” = 1, the “added m”-equivalent to ˆ z is zero, but the “ﬁnal m” =2.

17. The operator (−ˆ x − iˆ y)/

√

2 is the q = +1 standard component of position. What are the only possible

ﬁnal states |J, M having non-zero matrix elements of (−ˆ x−iˆ y)/

√

2 from initial state |4, 0? (There are

three of them.) .

17. |5, 1, |4, 1, |3, 1.

18. What ﬁnal states have non-zero matrix elements of

ˆ

T

(2)

1

, whatever that is, from initial state |4, 4.

(There are two of them.) .

18. |5, 5, |6, 5.

You cannot have |4, 5 or |3, 5 since J cannot be less than M.

19. Complete the following: The Wigner-Eckart theorem: If

ˆ

T

(k)

q

is the of

an tensor operator

ˆ

T

(k)

, then a, J, M|

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|b, J

, M

= f(a, b, J, J

,

ˆ

T

(k)

)× .

19. standard component, irreducible, J

, k, M

, q| J, M.

6

This is the end of Section 2. if you stop here, try to state the Wigner-Eckart theorem without looking

before you state again.

Section 3. Proof of the Wigner-Eckart Theorem for Scalar Operators.

Let

ˆ

S be a scalar operator, invariant under rotation; that is

ˆ

S commutes with

ˆ

J

+

,

ˆ

J

−

,

ˆ

J

z

.

1. Thus

ˆ

S is an irreducible tensor having k = and q = .

1. 0,0.

2. The Wigner-Eckart theorem implies that a, J, M|

ˆ

S |a

, J

, M

= 0 unless J = and M = .

2. J

, M

.

3. Furthermore, the Wigner-Eckart theorem says that A, J, M|

ˆ

S |a

, J, M is independent of .

3. M.

To prove this, ﬁrst show that

ˆ

S|a

, J

, M

is a state of deﬁnite angular momentum with eigenvalues J

and M

**, thus allowing you to write
**

ˆ

S|a

, J

M

= |a

, J

, M

.

4. I think that you can do it without help. Give it a try.

4.

ˆ

J

2

ˆ

S|a

, J

, M

=

ˆ

S

ˆ

J

2

|a

, J

, M

= J

(J

+ 1)|a

, J

, M

ˆ

J

s

ˆ

S|a

, J

, M

=

ˆ

S

ˆ

J

z

|a

, J

, M

= M

ˆ

S|a

, J

, M

.

Second, you clam that a, J, M| a

, J

, M

= 0 unless J

= J and M

**= M (obviously). And last, you claim
**

that a, J, M| a

**, J, M is independent of M, as we shall see next.
**

5. Prove the fact that a, J, J| a

, J, J equals a, J, J − 1| a

**, J, J − 1 from the fact that
**

ˆ

J

−

|b, J, J =

_

J(J + 1) − J(J − 1)|b, J, J − 1,

and the fact that

ˆ

J

+

ˆ

J

−

|b, J, J = 2J|b, J, J,

(which you can easily derive.)

5.

ˆ

J

−

|a

, J, J =

√

2J|a

, J, J − 1

|a

, J, J − 1 =

ˆ

J

−

|a

, J, J

√

2J

Thus

a, J, J − 1| a

, J, J − 1 =

a, J, J|

ˆ

J

†

−

ˆ

J

−

|a

, J, J

2J

= a, J, J| a

, J, J .

By the same method, you can easily show that a, J, J| a

, J, J = a, J, M| a

**, J, M for any allowed value
**

of M.

7

So, the eﬀect of

ˆ

S is to leave the quantum numbers J and M unchanged, although other quantum

numbers may be aﬀected (a → a

**). And the matrix elements of
**

ˆ

S are independent of M.

Now test yourself on a separate sheet of paper, state and prove the Wigner-Eckart theorem for scalar

operators. you can check your proof either from the preceding pages or by consulting a textbook.

Section 4. Proof of the Wigner-Eckart Theorem.

Here are three facts that you need.

Fact 1.

ˆ

J

+

|a, J, M = .

ˆ

J

−

|a, J, M = .

ˆ

J

z

|a, J, M = .

Fact 2. If

ˆ

T

(k)

q

is a standard component of an irreducible tensor operator, then

_

ˆ

J

+

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

= .

_

ˆ

J

−

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

= .

_

ˆ

J

z

,

ˆ

T

(k)

q

_

= .

Fact 3. The following mess simpliﬁes as shown:

_

j

1

(j

1

+ 1) − m

1

(m

1

− 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

− 1, m

2

| j

3

, m

3

+

_

j

2

(j

2

+ 1) − m

2

(m

2

− 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

− 1| j

3

, m

3

=?

Facts 2 and 3 you can ﬁnd in the Appendices. You may remember Fact 1, especially if I remind you

that the coeﬃcients are similar to those in Fact 2. So, go ahead and ﬁll in the blank spaces above.

How do we start the proof? For the case of scalar operator, the ﬁrst thing we did was show that

ˆ

S|a, J, M is an eigenstate of

ˆ

J

2

and

ˆ

J

z

. But

ˆ

T

(k)

z

|a, J, M is not necessarily such an eigenstate. We start

by showing that the state

F =

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

is an eigenstate of

ˆ

J

2

and

ˆ

J

z

.

1. Instead of proving this using

ˆ

J

2

and

ˆ

J

z

directly, it will be better to use

ˆ

J

+

and

ˆ

J

−

, and

ˆ

J

z

. Use Facts 1

and 2 to express

ˆ

J

+

F as a sum involving

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

**as a factor in the summand, with a coeﬃcient
**

which cries out longingly for use of Fact 3.

1.

This answer is interrupted by lines where you can stop reading, use the hints you have picked up, and

complete your own proof.

ˆ

J

+

F =

M

,q

ˆ

J

+

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

=

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q+1

|a

, J

, M

_

k(k + 1) − q(q + 1) J

, k, M

q| J

, M

+

M

,Q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

ˆ

J

+

|a

, J

, M

J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

.

8

ˆ

J

+

F =

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q+1

|a

, J

, M

_

k(k + 1) − q(q + 1) J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

+

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

+ 1

_

J

(J

+ 1) − M

(M

+ 1) J

, k, M

q| J

, M

.

In the ﬁrst sum replace q by q − 1.

In the second sum replace M

by M

− 1.

ˆ

J

+

F =

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

_

_

k(k + 1) − q(q − 1) J

, k, M

, q − 1| J

, M

+

_

J

(J

+ 1) − M

(M

− 1) J

, k, M

− 1, q| J

, M

_

.

Thus,

ˆ

J

+

F =

_

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

+ 1

__

J

(J

+ 1) − M

(M

+ 1).

2. The last line of the argument above says that

ˆ

J

+

F equals the quantity

_

J

(J

+ 1) − M

(M

**+ 1) times an operator which, from its expression as a summation, one can see
**

is the one called except that M

is replaced by .

2. M

+ 1

This suggests that the state F is an eigenstate of deﬁnite angular momentum having quantum numbers

J

and M

**. A complete proof would require us to show that
**

ˆ

J

−

and

ˆ

J

z

have the proper eﬀect upon F as

well. You can check this yourself.

An outline of the proof of the Wigner-Eckart Theorem is given in Appendix D. Turn now to this

appendix.

3. How far have we gotten on Appendix D with the argument presented so far? Answer: Step .

3. (A)

4. Step (B) relies on a property of the Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcients which is stated in Appendix

under the title .

4. B, orthogonality relations.

At this point we can see the entire strategy of the proof. We are interested in the matrix elements of

ˆ

T

(k)

q

between states of deﬁnite angular momentum. We ﬁrst let

ˆ

T

(k)

q

operate on a state of deﬁnite angular

momentum, so we need an expansion of the result in terms of states of deﬁnite angular momentum.

5. The required expansion is labeled in Appendix D.

5. (3).

6. What happened to the summation in going from Eq. 3 to Eq. 4? (Justify the step.)

6. a, J, M

| a

, J

, M

= 0 unless J = J

and M = M

.

9

Let’s review the basic ideas of this proof. We are concerned with the matrix elements of an (irreducible

tensor) operator between states of deﬁnite angular momentum: A, J, M|

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

. It would be natural

to begin by considering

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

**. We need next the product of this state with the ﬁnal state |a, J, M.
**

What easier way is there to evaluate this product than ﬁrst to expand the expression above in terms of a

basis of states having deﬁnite angular momentum. It was a little tricky of us to start out with the state

we called ‘F’ and invert its expansion to get the expansion we wanted by use of the orthogonality relations

governing the expansion coeﬃcients. (We had ﬁrst, of course, to show that F as we deﬁned it was a state

of deﬁnite angular momentum.) After that the trick worked and we had our expansion of

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

.

The product with |a, J, M was then trivially done. The ﬁnal step was to show that a, J, M| a

, J, M is

independent of M.

If you want to prepare yourself to reproduce this proof, now is the time to try to write it out. This is

about as far as a programmed text can conveniently go.

10

Appendix A Addition of Angular Momenta.

|J, M =

j

1

m

1

=−j

1

j

2

m

2

=−j

2

|j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M .

We will take j

1

= 4, j

2

= 1, J = 5. We will not display the cases of J = 4 and J = 3.

|5, 5 = + |4, 1, 4, 1

|5, 4 = +

_

1

5

|4, 1, 4, 0 +

_

4

5

|4, 1, 3, 1

|5, 3 =

_

1

45

|4, 1, 4, −1 +

_

16

45

|4, 1, 3, 0 +

_

28

45

|4, 1, 3, 1

|5, 2 =

_

3

45

|4, 1, 3, −1 +

_

21

45

|4, 1, 2, 0 +

_

21

45

|4, 1, 1, 1

|5, 1 =

_

6

45

|4, 1, 2, −1 +

_

24

45

|4, 1, 1, 0 +

_

15

45

|4, 1, 0, 1

|5, 0 =

_

10

45

|4, 1, 1, −1 +

_

25

45

|4, 1, 0, 0 +

_

10

45

|4, 1, −1, 1

|5, −1 =

_

15

45

|4, 1, 0, −1 +

_

24

45

|4, 1, −1, 0 +

_

6

45

|4, 1, −2, 1

|5, −2 =

_

21

45

|4, 1, −1, −1 +

_

21

45

|4, 1, −2, 0 +

_

3

45

|4, 1, −3, 1

|5, −3 =

_

28

45

|4, 1, −2, −1 +

_

16

45

|4, 1, −3, 0 +

_

1

45

|4, 1, −4, 1

|5, −4 =

_

4

5

|4, 1, −3, −1 +

_

1

5

|4, 1, −4, 0

|5, −5 = |4, 1, −4, −1

Appendix B. Orthogonality and Recursion Relations.

Orthogonality Relations:

m1,m2

j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J

, M

= δ

J,J

δ

M,M

. (1)

J,M

j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M = δ

m1,m

1

δ

m2,m

2

. (2)

Recursion Relations:

_

J(J + 1) − M(M + 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M + 1

=

_

j

1

(j

1

+ 1) − m

1

(m

1

− 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

− 1, m

2

| J, M

+

_

j

2

(j

2

+ 1) − m

2

(m

2

− 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

− 1| J, M (3)

_

J(J + 1) − M(M − 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

| J, M − 1

=

_

j

1

(j

1

+ 1) − m

1

(m

1

+ 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

+ 1, m

2

| J, M

+

_

j

2

(j

2

+ 1) − m

2

(m

2

+ 1) j

1

, j

2

, m

1

, m

2

+ 1| J, M (4)

Appendix C. Commutation of position and angular momentum in cartesian coordinates.

11

We will take ¯h = 1 for simplicity.

From

ˆ

J

x

= −i

_

y

∂

∂z

− z

∂

∂y

_

,

ˆ

J

y

= −i

_

z

∂

∂x

− x

∂

∂z

_

,

ˆ

J

z

= −i

_

x

∂

∂y

− y

∂

∂x

_

,

and

ˆ

J

+

=

ˆ

J

x

+ i

ˆ

J

y

,

ˆ

J

−

=

ˆ

J

x

− i

ˆ

J

y

,

it is easy to show that

[

ˆ

J

+

, ˆ x] = ˆ z [

ˆ

J

−

, ˆ x] = −ˆ z [

ˆ

J

z

, ˆ x] = iˆ y

[

ˆ

J

+

, ˆ y] = iˆ z [

ˆ

J

−

, ˆ y] = iˆ z [

ˆ

J

z

, ˆ y] = −iˆ x

[

ˆ

J

+

, ˆ z] = −ˆ x − iˆ y [

ˆ

J

−

, ˆ z] = ˆ x − iˆ y [

ˆ

J

z

, ˆ z] = 0

Appendix D. Proof of the Wigner-Eckart Theorem —Outline.

Deﬁne

F =

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

. (1)

(A) The state F is an eigenstate of

ˆ

J

2

and

ˆ

J

z

with eigenvalues J

(J

+ 1) and M

. Change notation,

F → |a

, J

, M

.

(B) Since the Clebsch-Gordan coeﬃcients deﬁne an orthogonal transformation

|a

, J

, M

=

M

,q

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

(2)

implies that

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

=

J

,M

|a

, J

, M

J

, k, M

, q| J

, M

, (3)

(C) Thus,

a, J, M|

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

= a, J, M| a

, J, M J

, k, M

, q| J, M . (4)

(D) But,

a, J, M| a

, J, M = a, J, J| a

, J, J , (5)

for all allowed values of M.

Wigner-Eckart Theorem

a, J, M|

ˆ

T

(k)

q

|a

, J

, M

= a, J, J| a

, J, J

. ¸¸ .

independent of

M,M

orq

J

, k, M

, q| J, M . (6)

12