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# 8.

## 04 Quantum Physics Lecture III

Last time we discussed
boundary between CM and QM set by resolution of measurement apparatus
in phase space
transition between CM and QM
Fermats principle of stationary time
Light takes the path where there is no rst order change in travel time for
nearby paths.
0 x
Figure I: Electric eld of traveling
plane wave.
,F
,@
@
,@
,F F
Figure II: Phase Space.
pxh CM
px h QM
pxh forbiddenbyQM
How does Fermats principle work?
At any point in space, the total electric eld is the sum of all electric eld
contributions.
AsEMeldofwavelength(wavevectork=
2

)travelsadistancex,itsphase
changes by =kx.
Complex Notation: E(x) = E(0)e
ikx
(Electric eld is real part of the expres-
sion)
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8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III
Phasor representation
1. Indicate magnitude and phase of light by electric eld vector in the complex
plane.
2. Aslightmovesalongx,thevectorrotatesinthecomplexplaneby=kx.
4A
1
-

B
--

A
E B
Figure III: Phasor description of
electric-eld vector. The phasor ro-
tates in the complex plane; the elec-
tric eld is the projection onto the
real axis.
A B
1 Path length l
1
2 Path length l
2
N Path length l
N
FigureIV:Possiblelightpathswith
dierent path lengths.
E
A
=E
0
(3-1)
E
B
=E
0
e
ikl
1
+E
0
e
ikl
2
+ +E
0
e
ikl
N

=E
1
+E
2
+ +E
N
(3-2)
Ifthephasevariesquicklyaswechangefromonepathtothenext,wehaveatpoint
B:
E
3
Im
Re
E
1
E
N
E
2
1
4A 5
E
-
E
-

-
!
(a) E
B
0 (b) E
B
0
Figure V: The sum of the phasors corresponding to all possible paths yields the total
electric eld at the observation point B.
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8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III
2F
"F
\$F
&F
Optical path length or
phase or time
path # i

## Figure VI: Contribution to electric eld E

B
at point B from those paths where the phase
increases or decreases monotonically averages to zero.
Blocking those paths where the sum of the phasors is close to zero has no eect on
electric eld at point B. See Figure VI. Phasors associated with paths near x
0
have
almost constant phase, i.e., point nearly in the same direction in the complex plane.
See Figure VII.
B

F
B
F=JD
N

"F
B

\$F
) *
(a) (b) in free space
-
*
(c) (d)
Figure VII: Phasors in the vicinity of x
0
where the path length has an extremum provide
the major contribution to the electric eld at B.
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8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III
By far, the dominant contribution to the total eld E
B
at point B originates
from the paths where the phase is stationary. Other paths interfere destructively
with nearby paths, do not contribute to the eld at the target, and can therefore
be blocked without changing appreciably the total eld B. A classical path can be
dened by a region of stationary phase. The light explores all space, but only a
small region near the classical path contributes to the total eld at the target.
The same description is valid in QM
A particle is described by a complex wavefunction (r) that explores all space, but
only a small region of stationary phase contributes to the total eld at the target.
Theclassicalpathistheregionofspacewherenearbypathsinterfereconstructivelyto
produce virtually all the wavefunction amplitude at the target. The other regions of
space can be blocked without substantially changing the wavefunction at the target.
2
= kx for particles? An EM wave of energy E carries momentum p
Whatisthewavelength(orwavevectork= )tobeusedtocomputethephase

=
c
E
in the
direction of the wavevector k =

2
e. A photon of frequency has energy E = h
and carries momentum
p=
=
E
c
=
h
c
h
2

=
h

= hk. (3-3)
h

E =h = h = energy of a photon
p= e = hk = momentum of a photon
h h
For light, the classical path no longer exists for distance scales d or d

p =
d =h or

d ph. (3-4)
This is the same criterion that identies border between classical and quantum phe-
nomena. Classical path (geometric optics) is recovered in the limit
d ph = geometric optics. (3-5)
Waveopticswithnogeometricpathford ph. Werecognizethatthisisthesame
criterion for the transition from CM to QM if we identify for particles, just like for
photons.
dB
is the deBroglie wavelength of a particle with momentum p.
h

dB
=
p

h
p=

dB
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8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III
d
photon
geometric optics
ddph
d
dB
classical mechanics
d
photon
wave optics
ddph
d
dB
QM (wave mechanics)
Table III.1: d resolution of (optical) instrument, e.g., slit size.
Ford
dB
,orequivalentlyd ph,aclassicalpathcanbedened,andtheobject
behaves like a moving classical particle.
ThelightpathofgeometricopticscanbederivedfromFermatsprincipleofleast
time. Thisprincipleofleasttime,ormoreaccurately,ofstationarylightphase,arises
within the more general framework of wave optics from constructive interference of
nearbypaths. Similarly,theclassicalpathofaparticlearisesfromconstructiveinter-
ferenceofdeBrogliewavesalongnearbypaths. Thetransversesizeofthegeometric
optics ray is dened by the region of constructive interference, or equivalently, by
diraction. Similarly, the transverse size of the classical path of a particle is set by
diractionofdeBrogliewaves. Thetransversesizeoftheclassicalpathisnotthesize
of the particle. In the presence of constrictions with d, no classical path can be
dened. Wave optics (wave mechanics) is more general than geometric optics, CM.
There are instances where a particle travels from A to B, but no classical path can
be dened, e.g., double slit, grating, Fresnel lenses. While the concept of stationary
phase (of a classical path) cannot be always applied, the more general concept of
constructive and destructive interference, to determine whether or not a particle is
likely to be found in a certain region of space, is always valid.
To describe particle motion in QM, we need:
1. the concepts of a wavefunction (r, t)
interference: (r, t) =
1
(r, t) +
2
(r, t)
probability for the particle to be found in a small volume d
3
r near r:
2
d
3
|(r, t)| r
2. anequationthatdetermineshowthewavefunction(r, t)evolvesinspaceand
time, the Schrodinger equation.
CM arises as the geometrics optics limit of wave mechanics.
Diraction and the Heisenberg uncertainty relation
Constructive interference for
0
2,
0
=
s
2 =
2d
sin = kdsin. Estimate

## angular spread from location of rst minimum, appearing for

0
= 2.
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8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III
d
wave
Ironts
I(G)
x
FigureVIII:Attempttolocalizewavetowithinx=dbypassingitthroughslit. Far-eld

2

diraction pattern: I =I
0
sin(
d
d
sin)
.
sin

@
G
I@IEG
Figure IX: Path length dierence results in variation of phasor angle for waves emerging
from dierent points along slit = diraction pattern.
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## 8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III

sin
min
=
d G
E

min
is the half-angle for the rst minimum. For d , the angular spread
min
is
smallandaclassicalpathcanbedened. Forawaveofwavelengthandmomentum
p=
h

## (electromagnetics wave or particle) the uncertainty in the x-direction is

h h
p
x
psin
min
= = (3-6)

d d
Theuncertaintyinpositionduetolteringbytheslitisx=d. Itfollowspxh.
A more exact denition of uncertainties leads to
h h
xp = : Heisenberg uncertainty relation (3-7)
4 2
x: uncertainty in position of object along x (3-8)
p: uncertainty in xmomentum (3-9)
From our discussion of the analogy between wave mechanics and light, it follows
that the Heisenberg uncertainty relation also holds for particles if the relation p =
hk =
h
2

h
= also applies to particles, i.e., if a particle of momentum p has an
associated deBroglie wavelength,
h

dB
= . (3-10)
p
A classical path is dened for constrictions d
dB
. For macroscopic objects:
m=10
3
kg (3-11)
mm
v=1 (3-12)
s
p=10
6
kgm
(3-13)
s

dB
=
610
34
10
6
J
kg
s
m
is exceedingly small. (3-14)

s
The Heisenberg uncertainty relation
The fact that the attempt to localize a particle in space leads to a spread in its mo-
mentumdistribution,isduetoawaveproperty,namelydiraction. Localization
of the particle within d removes paths that would otherwise produce destructive in-
terference at angles =0.
After a single realization of the experiment: We observe a particle atx
1
.
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## 8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III

@
N

G
Figure X: Photon or electron position observation in single-slit diraction.
Theparticlemusthavehadmomentump
x
=psinwithsintan
x
1
. Since
L
the uncertainty in x is d and L can be made arbitrarily large, it seems that we can
violate the Heisenberg uncertainty p
x
x = p
L
d
d if L is suciently large. This is
true,butitdoesnotviolatetheHeisenberguncertaintythatrefersonlytopredicting
the outcome of a measurement, not postdicting it. Your measurement of the rst
realizationoftheexperiment(rstparticle)doesnothelpyouinanywaypredictthe
x-momentum of the next particle passing through the slit.
The Heisenberg uncertainty relation and Fourier decomposi-
tion
For a real wave inside a box that vanishes at the walls of the box f(x=0)=f(x=
L)=0 we can write

f(x) = c
n
sink
n
x, (3-15)
n=1
wherek
n
=
L

ntosatisfytheboundaryconditionandthec
n
aresuitablychosen. For
convenience,weoftenchooseperiodicboundaryconditions(x=0)=(x=L)
and for a complex function (x) we can write

(x) = c
n
e
iknx
, (3-16)
n=
with k
n
=
2
L

## n to satisfy boundary conditions (0) = (L), and the expansion

coecients c
n
are again uniquely dened, but now complex numbers.
From a wave optics viewpoint, this is an expansion in terms of plane waves
f(x) =e
iknx
(3-17)
thathavedenitewavevectork
n
,andtherefore,denitemomentump
n
= hk
n
,sothat
we can write
f
n
=e
ipnx/ h
(3-18)
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8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III

BN

N
Figure XI: A real function f(x) dened within a box of length L can be decomposed into
a Fourier series.
with
2
p
n
=nh hk
1
=np
1
, (3-19) =n
L
h2
p
1
= . (3-20)
L
The periodic boundary conditions permit only states of dicrete momentum p
n
=
|n|h
2
L

## . A wave packet (x) in space is synthesized from Fourier components that

interfere constructively within the wavepacket, and destructively everywhere else. If
we let the box size L, the Fourier series becomes a Fourier intergral,
(x) =
1
2

dk

(k)e
ikx
(3-21)

## The periodic boundary conditions permit only states of dicrete momentum p

n
=
|n|h
2
. A wave packet (x) in space is synthesized from Fourier components that
L
interfere constructively within the wavepacket, and destructively everywhere else. If
we let the box size L, the Fourier series becomes a Fourier intergral,
(x) =
1

dk

(k)e
ikx
(3-22)
2

where
c
n
=c(k
n
)

(k) (3-23)

= dk (3-24)
n kn
andthenormalizationfactor

1
2
hasbeenintroducedtomakesomeexpressionsthat
wewillappearlaterlookmoresymmetric. Sincetheboundaryconditionsareremoved
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## 8.04 Quantum Physics Lecture III

f
n
(x)
(x)
FigureXII:PictorialFourierdecomposition. Wavesofdierentwavelengthswithappropri-
atephasesareintroducedtoyieldconstructiveinterferenceintheregionwherethefunction
(x) is large, and destructive interference in the region where it vanishes.
to,thewavevectorkandmomentump= hkoftheplanewavearenowcontinuous
variables,andnolongerrestrictedtodiscretevalues. Intermsofmomentump= hk,
we can also write:
(x) =
1

dk

(k)e
ikx
(3-25)
2

= dp(p)e
ipx/h
(3-26)
2h
with (p) =

1
h

(k).
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