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Quantum Mechanics I Solutions 4.

HS 2012 Prof. Ch. Anastasiou

Exercise 1.

Energy eigenstates

Let us consider an hypothetical two-state system described by the following Hamiltonian H = a (|1 1| |2 2| + |1 2| + |2 1|) , where a is a number with the dimension of energy. Find the energy eigenvalues and their corresponding energy eigenkets, in the |1 & |2 basis.
Solution. The best way to proceed is to write H in matrix representation in the |1 & |2 basis H= 1|H |1 2|H |1 1 |H |2 2 |H |2 =a 1 1 1 . 1

Then the eigenvalues are the roots i of the characteristic polynomial det(H 1) and the corresponding eigenvectors are found by solving Hvi = i vi . We get 1 2 = 2a , v = = 1 2 |1 + |2 . 1

Exercise 2.

Spin eigenstates in arbitrary direction

Construct |S n , + such that Sn |S n , + = |S n , + , (1)

where S = (Sx , Sy , Sz ) and n is characterized by , the polar angle, and the azimuthal one. Express your answer as a linear combination of |+ and | .
i Hint. The answer is: cos( 2 ) |+ + sin( 2 )e | .

Solution.

The solution to this exercise is attached on page 3.

Exercise 3.

Compatible Operators

Consider a three-dimensional ket space, spanned by the set of orthonormal kets |1 , |2 and |3 . The operators A and B act on them as follows (a, b R): A |1 = a |1 , A |2 = a |2 , A |3 = a |3 , B |1 = b |1 , B |2 = ib |3 , B |3 = ib |2 . (2)

(a) Obviously A exhibits a degenerate spectrum. Does B also exhibit a degenerate spectrum?

Solution.

We rst write A and B as matrices w.r.t. the basis {|1 , |2 , |3 }: b 0 0 a 0 0 0 , B = 0 0 ib . A = 0 a 0 ib 0 0 0 a

(S.1)

The characteristic polynomial for B is (b )(2 b2 ) and we thus immediately nd the eigenvalues = b with +b being twofold degenerate. So the answer is yes.

(b) Show that A and B commute.


Solution. This can be shown by explicit matrix multiplication (with A being diagonal, the property is

obvious). Alternatively, one can also show that [A, B ] vanishes on the basis kets {|1 , |2 , |3 }. Since they form a complete basis, [A, B ] must vanish on when acting on any state. We conclude that A and B are compatible observables.

(c) Find a new set of orthonormal kets which are simultaneous eigenkets of both A and B . Specify the eigenvalues of A and B for each of the three eigenkets. Does your specication of eigenvalues completely characterize each eigenket?
Solution. and nd We proceed by calculating the normalized eigenvectors of B by usual means of linear algebra 1 0 0 1 1 v1 = 0 , v2 = 1 , v3 = 1 , (S.2) 2 2 0 i i

where v1,2 span the eigenspace of = +b. Using a more physics-oriented notation, we write these eigenvectors (or eigenkets) as |++ := |1 , 1 |+ := (|2 + i |3 ) , 2 1 | := (|2 i |3 ) . 2 (S.3)

These are indeed simultaneous eigenkets of both A and B , since |2 and |3 have the same degenerate eigenvalue w.r.t. A. The eigenvalue equations in this new basis read A |++ = a |++ , B |++ = b |++ , or, in matrix notation, a A= 0 0 0 a 0 0 0 , a b B= 0 0 0 b 0 0 0 b (S.6) A |+ = a |+ , B |+ = b |+ , A | = a | B | = b | , (S.4) (S.5)

While the spectrum of each operator is degenerate, specifying both eigenvalues (i.e. a and b) uniquely characterize each eigenket. This is emphasized by the labelling of the basis kets, too. The transformation matrix that links the two bases {|1 , |2 , |3 } and {|++ , |+ , | } is given by 2 0 0 1 0 2 i 2 . U= (S.7) 2 0 2 i 2 It corresponds to a rotation in the eigenspace of = a and is obviously unitary, as expected.

Solution to Exercise 2.

Solution to Exercise 2.