You are on page 1of 61

Lecture 18

Time-dependent
perturbation theory
Time-dependent perturbation theory
So far, we have focused on quantum mechanics of systems
described by Hamiltonians that are time-independent.
In such cases, time dependence of wavefunction developed through
time-evolution operator,

U = e
i

Ht/
, i.e. for

H|n = E
n
|n,
|(t) = e
i

Ht/
|(0)
. .
P
n
c
n
(0)|n
=

n
e
iE
n
t/
c
n
(0)|n
Although suitable for closed quantum systems, formalism fails to
describe interaction with an external environment, e.g. EM eld.
In such cases, more convenient to describe induced interactions of
small isolated system,

H
0
, through time-dependent interaction V(t).
In this lecture, we will develop a formalism to treat such
time-dependent perturbations.
Time-dependent perturbation theory
So far, we have focused on quantum mechanics of systems
described by Hamiltonians that are time-independent.
In such cases, time dependence of wavefunction developed through
time-evolution operator,

U = e
i

Ht/
, i.e. for

H|n = E
n
|n,
|(t) = e
i

Ht/
|(0)
. .
P
n
c
n
(0)|n
=

n
e
iE
n
t/
c
n
(0)|n
Although suitable for closed quantum systems, formalism fails to
describe interaction with an external environment, e.g. EM eld.
In such cases, more convenient to describe induced interactions of
small isolated system,

H
0
, through time-dependent interaction V(t).
In this lecture, we will develop a formalism to treat such
time-dependent perturbations.
Time-dependent perturbation theory: outline
Time-dependent potentials: general formalism
Time-dependent perturbation theory
Sudden perturbation
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
Time-dependent potentials: general formalism
Consider Hamiltonian

H(t) =

H
0
+V(t), where all time dependence
enters through the potential V(t).
So far, we have focused on Schrodinger representation, where
dynamics specied by time-dependent wavefunction,
i
t
|(t)
S
=

H|(t)
S
However, to develop time-dependent perturbation theory for

H(t) =

H
0
+ V(t), it is convenient to turn to a new representation
known as the Interaction representation:
|(t)
I
= e
i

H
0
t/
|(t)
S
, |(0)
I
= |(0)
S
Time-dependent potentials: general formalism
Consider Hamiltonian

H(t) =

H
0
+V(t), where all time dependence
enters through the potential V(t).
So far, we have focused on Schrodinger representation, where
dynamics specied by time-dependent wavefunction,
i
t
|(t)
S
=

H|(t)
S
However, to develop time-dependent perturbation theory for

H(t) =

H
0
+ V(t), it is convenient to turn to a new representation
known as the Interaction representation:
|(t)
I
= e
i

H
0
t/
|(t)
S
, |(0)
I
= |(0)
S
Time-dependent potentials: general formalism
|(t)
I
= e
i

H
0
t/
|(t)
S
, |(0)
I
= |(0)
S
In the interaction representation, wavefunction obeys the following
equation of motion:
i
t
|(t)
I
= e
i

H
0
t/
(i
t


H
0
)|(t)
S
= e
i

H
0
t/
(

H

H
0
)|(t)
S
= e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
. .
V
I
(t)
|(t)
I
We therefore have that
i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
, V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
Time-dependent potentials: general formalism
i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
, V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
Then, if we form eigenfunction expansion, |(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n,
where

H
0
|n = E
n
|n,
i
t

n
c
n
(t)|n = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/

n
c
n
(t)|n
i

n
c
n
(t)|n =

n
c
n
(t)e
i

H
0
t/
V(t) e
i

H
0
t/
|n
. .
e
iE
n
t/
|n
If we now contract with a general state |m

n
c
n
(t) m|n
. .

mn
=

n
c
n
(t) m|e
i

H
0
t/
. .
m|e
iE
m
t/
V(t)e
iE
n
t/
|n
i c
m
(t) =

n
m|V(t)|ne
i (E
m
E
n
)t/
c
n
(t)
Time-dependent potentials: general formalism
i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
, V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
Then, if we form eigenfunction expansion, |(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n,
where

H
0
|n = E
n
|n,
i
t

n
c
n
(t)|n = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/

n
c
n
(t)|n
i

n
c
n
(t)|n =

n
c
n
(t)e
i

H
0
t/
V(t) e
i

H
0
t/
|n
. .
e
iE
n
t/
|n
If we now contract with a general state |m

n
c
n
(t) m|n
. .

mn
=

n
c
n
(t) m|e
i

H
0
t/
. .
m|e
iE
m
t/
V(t)e
iE
n
t/
|n
i c
m
(t) =

n
m|V(t)|ne
i (E
m
E
n
)t/
c
n
(t)
Time-dependent potentials: general formalism
i c
m
(t) =

n
m|V(t)|ne
i (E
m
E
n
)t/
c
n
(t)
So, in summary, if we expand wavefunction |(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n,
where

H
0
|n = E
n
|n, the Schrodinger equation,
i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
with V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
translates to the relation,
i c
m
(t) =

n
V
mn
(t)e
i
mn
t
c
n
(t)
where V
mn
(t) = m|V(t)|m and
mn
=
1

(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Example: Dynamics of a driven two-level system
i c
m
(t) =

n
V
mn
(t)e
i
mn
t
c
n
(t)
Consider an atom with just two available atomic levels, |1 and |2,
with energies E
1
and E
2
. In the eigenbasis, the time-independent
Hamiltonian can be written as

H
0
= E
1
|11| + E
2
|22|
_
E
1
0
0 E
2
_
Note that the two-level atom mirrors a spin 1/2 system.
If the system is driven by an electric eld, E(r, t) = E
0
(r) cos(t),
and the states have dierent parity, close to resonance,
|
21
|
21
, the eective interaction potential is given by
V(t) e
i t
|12| + e
i t
|21|
_
0 e
i t
e
i t
0
_
where the matrix element, = 1|E|2 is presumed real.
Example: Dynamics of a driven two-level system
i c
m
(t) =

n
V
mn
(t)e
i
mn
t
c
n
(t)
Consider an atom with just two available atomic levels, |1 and |2,
with energies E
1
and E
2
. In the eigenbasis, the time-independent
Hamiltonian can be written as

H
0
= E
1
|11| + E
2
|22|
_
E
1
0
0 E
2
_
Note that the two-level atom mirrors a spin 1/2 system.
If the system is driven by an electric eld, E(r, t) = E
0
(r) cos(t),
and the states have dierent parity, close to resonance,
|
21
|
21
, the eective interaction potential is given by
V(t) e
i t
|12| + e
i t
|21|
_
0 e
i t
e
i t
0
_
where the matrix element, = 1|E|2 is presumed real.
Example: Dynamics of a driven two-level system

H
0
+ V(t) =
_
E
1
0
0 E
2
_
+
_
0 e
i t
e
i t
0
_
The electric eld therefore induces transitions between the states.
If we expand the spinor-like wavefunction in eigenstates of

H
0
, i.e.
|(t)
I
= c
1
(t)|1 + c
2
(t)|2, the equation
i c
m
(t) =

n
V
mn
(t)e
i
mn
t
c
n
(t)
translates to the quantum dynamics
i
t
c =
_
0 e
i (
21
)t
e
i (
21
)t
0
_
c(t),
21
=
1

(E
2
E
1
)
where c(t) = (c
1
(t) c
2
(t)).
Example: Dynamics of a driven two-level system
i
t
c =
_
0 e
i (
21
)t
e
i (
21
)t
0
_
c(t),
21
=
1

(E
2
E
1
)
Expanding this equation, we nd
i c
1
= e
i (
21
)t
c
2
, i c
2
= e
i (
21
)t
c
1
from which we obtain an equation for c
2
,
c
2
(t) +i (
21
) c
2
(t) +
_

_
2
c
2
(t) = 0
With the initial conditions, c
1
(0) = 1 and c
2
(0) = 0, i.e. particle
starts in state |1, we obtain the solution,
c
2
(t) = e
i (
21
)t/2
sin(t)
where = ((/)
2
+(
21
)
2
/4)
1/2
is known as Rabi frequency.
Example: Dynamics of a driven two-level system
i
t
c =
_
0 e
i (
21
)t
e
i (
21
)t
0
_
c(t),
21
=
1

(E
2
E
1
)
Expanding this equation, we nd
i c
1
= e
i (
21
)t
c
2
, i c
2
= e
i (
21
)t
c
1
from which we obtain an equation for c
2
,
c
2
(t) +i (
21
) c
2
(t) +
_

_
2
c
2
(t) = 0
With the initial conditions, c
1
(0) = 1 and c
2
(0) = 0, i.e. particle
starts in state |1, we obtain the solution,
c
2
(t) = e
i (
21
)t/2
sin(t)
where = ((/)
2
+(
21
)
2
/4)
1/2
is known as Rabi frequency.
Example: Dynamics of a driven two-level system
c
2
(t) = Ae
i (
21
)t/2
sin(t), =
_
_

_
2
+
_

21
2
_
2
_
1/2
Together with c
1
(t) =
i

e
i (
21
)t
c
2
, we obtain the normalization,
A =

+
2
(
2
21
/4
and
|c
2
(t)|
2
=

2

2
+
2
(
21
)
2
/4
sin
2
t, |c
1
(t)|
2
= 1 |c
2
(t)|
2
Periodic solution describes transfer of probability between states 1
and 2. Maximum probability of occupying state 2 is Lorentzian,
|c
2
(t)|
2
max
=

2

2
+
2
(
21
)
2
/4
,
taking the value of unity at resonance, =
21
.
Example: Dynamics of a driven two-level system
c
2
(t) = Ae
i (
21
)t/2
sin(t), =
_
_

_
2
+
_

21
2
_
2
_
1/2
Together with c
1
(t) =
i

e
i (
21
)t
c
2
, we obtain the normalization,
A =

+
2
(
2
21
/4
and
|c
2
(t)|
2
=

2

2
+
2
(
21
)
2
/4
sin
2
t, |c
1
(t)|
2
= 1 |c
2
(t)|
2
Periodic solution describes transfer of probability between states 1
and 2. Maximum probability of occupying state 2 is Lorentzian,
|c
2
(t)|
2
max
=

2

2
+
2
(
21
)
2
/4
,
taking the value of unity at resonance, =
21
.
Rabi oscillations: persistent current qubit
It is dierent to prepare and analyse ideal atomic two-level system.
However, circuits made of superconducting loops provide access to
two-level systems. These have been of great interest since they
(may yet) provide a platform to develop qubit operation and
quantum logic circuits.
By exciting transitions between levels using a microwave pulse,
coherence of the system has been recorded through Rabi oscillations.
Rabi oscillations: persistent current qubit
It is dierent to prepare and analyse ideal atomic two-level system.
However, circuits made of superconducting loops provide access to
two-level systems. These have been of great interest since they
(may yet) provide a platform to develop qubit operation and
quantum logic circuits.
By exciting transitions between levels using a microwave pulse,
coherence of the system has been recorded through Rabi oscillations.
Time-dependent perturbation theory
For a general time-dependent Hamiltonian,

H =

H
0
+ V(t), an
analytical solution is usually infeasible.
However, as for the time-independent Schrodinger equation, we can
develop to a perturbative expansion (in powers of interaction):
|(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n, c
n
(t) = c
(0)
n
+ c
(1)
n
(t) + c
(2)
n
(t) +
where

H
0
|n = E
n
|n, c
(m)
n
O(V
m
), and c
(0)
n
represents some
(time-independent) initial state of the system.
As with the Schrodinger representation, in the interaction
representation, |(t)
I
related to inital state |(t
0
)
I
, at time t
0
,
through a time-evolution operator,
|(t)
I
=

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Time-dependent perturbation theory
For a general time-dependent Hamiltonian,

H =

H
0
+ V(t), an
analytical solution is usually infeasible.
However, as for the time-independent Schrodinger equation, we can
develop to a perturbative expansion (in powers of interaction):
|(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n, c
n
(t) = c
(0)
n
+ c
(1)
n
(t) + c
(2)
n
(t) +
where

H
0
|n = E
n
|n, c
(m)
n
O(V
m
), and c
(0)
n
represents some
(time-independent) initial state of the system.
As with the Schrodinger representation, in the interaction
representation, |(t)
I
related to inital state |(t
0
)
I
, at time t
0
,
through a time-evolution operator,
|(t)
I
=

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Time-dependent perturbation theory
|(t)
I
=

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Substituted into Schrodinger equation i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
,
i
t

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
= V
I
(t)

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Since this is true for any initial state |(t
0
)
I
, we must have
i
t

U
I
(t, t
0
) = V
I
(t)

U
I
(t, t
0
)
with the boundary condition U
I
(t
0
, t
0
) = I.
Integrating t
0
to t, i
_
t
t
0
dt


U
I
(t

, t
0
) = i (

U
I
(t, t
0
) I), i.e.

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
provides self-consistent equation for U
I
(t, t
0
),
Time-dependent perturbation theory
|(t)
I
=

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Substituted into Schrodinger equation i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
,
i
t

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
= V
I
(t)

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Since this is true for any initial state |(t
0
)
I
, we must have
i
t

U
I
(t, t
0
) = V
I
(t)

U
I
(t, t
0
)
with the boundary condition U
I
(t
0
, t
0
) = I.
Integrating t
0
to t, i
_
t
t
0
dt


U
I
(t

, t
0
) = i (

U
I
(t, t
0
) I), i.e.

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
provides self-consistent equation for U
I
(t, t
0
),
Time-dependent perturbation theory
|(t)
I
=

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Substituted into Schrodinger equation i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
,
i
t

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
= V
I
(t)

U
I
(t, t
0
)|(t
0
)
I
Since this is true for any initial state |(t
0
)
I
, we must have
i
t

U
I
(t, t
0
) = V
I
(t)

U
I
(t, t
0
)
with the boundary condition U
I
(t
0
, t
0
) = I.
Integrating t
0
to t, i
_
t
t
0
dt


U
I
(t

, t
0
) = i (

U
I
(t, t
0
) I), i.e.

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
provides self-consistent equation for U
I
(t, t
0
),
Time-dependent perturbation theory

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
If we substitute

U
I
(t

, t
0
) on right hand side,

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
+
_

_
2
_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
_
t

t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
Iterating this procedure,

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
where term n = 0 translates to I.
Time-dependent perturbation theory

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
_
I
i

_
t

t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
_
If we substitute

U
I
(t

, t
0
) on right hand side,

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
+
_

_
2
_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
_
t

t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
Iterating this procedure,

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
where term n = 0 translates to I.
Time-dependent perturbation theory

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
If we substitute

U
I
(t

, t
0
) on right hand side,

U
I
(t, t
0
) = I
i

_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
+
_

_
2
_
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
_
t

t
0
dt

V
I
(t

U
I
(t

, t
0
)
Iterating this procedure,

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
where term n = 0 translates to I.
Time-dependent perturbation theory

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
Remark: Since operators V
I
(t) appear as a time-ordered sequence,
with
t
0
t
n
t
n1
t
1
t
this expression is sometimes written as

U
I
(t, t
0
) = T
_
e

R
t
t
0
dt

V
I
(t

)
_
where T denotes the time-ordering operator and is understood as
the identity above.
Note that, for V independent of t,

U
I
(t, t
0
) = e

Vt
reminiscent of
the usual time-evolution operator for time-independent

H.
Time-dependent perturbation theory

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
If a system is prepared in an initial state, |i at time t = t
0
, at a
subsequent time, t, the system will be in a nal state,

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i .
Using the resolution of identity,

n
|nn| = I, we therefore have

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i =

n
|n
c
n
(t)
..
n|

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i
From relation above, the coecients in the expansion given by
c
n
(t) =
ni

i

_
t
t
0
dt

n|V
I
(t

)|i

2
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

n|V
I
(t

)V
I
(t

)|i +
Time-dependent perturbation theory

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
If a system is prepared in an initial state, |i at time t = t
0
, at a
subsequent time, t, the system will be in a nal state,

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i .
Using the resolution of identity,

n
|nn| = I, we therefore have

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i =

n
|n
c
n
(t)
..
n|

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i
From relation above, the coecients in the expansion given by
c
n
(t) =
ni

i

_
t
t
0
dt

n|V
I
(t

)|i

2
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

n|V
I
(t

)V
I
(t

)|i +
Time-dependent perturbation theory

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
If a system is prepared in an initial state, |i at time t = t
0
, at a
subsequent time, t, the system will be in a nal state,

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i .
Using the resolution of identity,

n
|nn| = I, we therefore have

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i =

n
|n
c
n
(t)
..
n|

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i
From relation above, the coecients in the expansion given by
c
n
(t) =
ni

i

_
t
t
0
dt

n|V
I
(t

)|i

2
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

m
n|V
I
(t

)|mm|V
I
(t

)|i +
Time-dependent perturbation theory
c
n
(t) =
ni

i

_
t
t
0
dt

n|V
I
(t

)|i

2
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

m
n|V
I
(t

)|mm|V
I
(t

)|i +
Recalling the denition, V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
, the matrix
elements entering the coecients are then given by
n|V
I
(t)|m = n|e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
|m
= n|V(t)|m
. .
V
nm
exp
_
i

(E
n
E
m
)
_
. .
e
i
nm
t
where V
nm
(t) = n|V(t)|m denote matrix elements between the
basis states of

H
0
on the perturbation, and
nm
= (E
n
E
m
)/.
Time-dependent perturbation theory
c
n
(t) =
ni

i

_
t
t
0
dt

n|V
I
(t

)|i

2
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

m
n|V
I
(t

)|mm|V
I
(t

)|i +
Therefore, using the relation, n|V
I
(t)|m = n|V(t)|me
i
nm
t
,
c
(1)
n
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
ni
t

V
ni
(t

)
c
(2)
n
(t) =
1

m
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

e
i
nm
t

+i
mi
t

V
nm
(t

)V
mi
(t

)
As a result, we obtain transition probability |i |n = i ,
P
i n
(t) = |c
n
(t)|
2
= |c
(1)
n
+ c
(2)
n
+ |
2
Example: Kicked oscillator
Suppose quantum harmonic oscillator,

H = (a

a +1/2), prepared
in ground state |0 at time t = . If it is perturbed by weak
(transient) electric eld,
V(t) = eEx e
t
2
/
2
what is probability of nding it in rst excited state, |1, at
t = +?
Working to rst order in V, P
01
|c
(1)
1
|
2
where
c
(1)
1
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
10
t

V
10
(t

)
with V
10
(t

) = eE1|x|0e
t
2
/
2
and
10
=
Example: Kicked oscillator
Suppose quantum harmonic oscillator,

H = (a

a +1/2), prepared
in ground state |0 at time t = . If it is perturbed by weak
(transient) electric eld,
V(t) = eEx e
t
2
/
2
what is probability of nding it in rst excited state, |1, at
t = +?
Working to rst order in V, P
01
|c
(1)
1
|
2
where
c
(1)
1
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
10
t

V
10
(t

)
with V
10
(t

) = eE1|x|0e
t
2
/
2
and
10
=
Example: Kicked oscillator
c
(1)
1
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i t

V
10
(t

), V
10
(t

) = eE1|x|0e
t
2
/
2
Using the ladder operator formalism, with |1 = a

|0 and
x =
_

2m
(a + a

), 1|x|0 =
_

2m
0|a(a + a

)|0 =
_

2m
With
_
t
t
0
=
dt

e
i t

e
t
2
/
2
=

exp
_

1
4

2
_
,
c
(1)
1
(t ) = ieE
_

2m
e

2
/4
Transition probability,
P
01
|c
(1)
1
(t)|
2
= (eE)
2
_

2m
_
e

2
/2
Note that P
01
is maximal for 1/.
Example: Kicked oscillator
c
(1)
1
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i t

V
10
(t

), V
10
(t

) = eE1|x|0e
t
2
/
2
Using the ladder operator formalism, with |1 = a

|0 and
x =
_

2m
(a + a

), 1|x|0 =
_

2m
0|a(a + a

)|0 =
_

2m
With
_
t
t
0
=
dt

e
i t

e
t
2
/
2
=

exp
_

1
4

2
_
,
c
(1)
1
(t ) = ieE
_

2m
e

2
/4
Transition probability,
P
01
|c
(1)
1
(t)|
2
= (eE)
2
_

2m
_
e

2
/2
Note that P
01
is maximal for 1/.
Example: Kicked oscillator
c
(1)
1
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i t

V
10
(t

), V
10
(t

) = eE1|x|0e
t
2
/
2
Using the ladder operator formalism, with |1 = a

|0 and
x =
_

2m
(a + a

), 1|x|0 =
_

2m
0|a(a + a

)|0 =
_

2m
With
_
t
t
0
=
dt

e
i t

e
t
2
/
2
=

exp
_

1
4

2
_
,
c
(1)
1
(t ) = ieE
_

2m
e

2
/4
Transition probability,
P
01
|c
(1)
1
(t)|
2
= (eE)
2
_

2m
_
e

2
/2
Note that P
01
is maximal for 1/.
Sudden perturbation quantum quench
Suppose there is a switch from

H
0
to

H

0
in a time shorter than any
other characteristic scale perturbation theory is irrelevant:
If system is initially in eigenstate |n of

H
0
, time evolution after
switch will just follow that of

H

0
,
i.e. simply expand initial state as a sum over eigenstates of

H

0
,
|n =

|n

|n, |n(t) =

e
iE
n
t/
|n

|n
Non-trivial part of the problem lies in establishing that the change
is sudden enough.
This is achieved by estimating the actual time taken for the
Hamiltonian to change, and the periods of motion associated with
the state |n and with its transitions to neighbouring states.
Sudden perturbation quantum quench
Suppose there is a switch from

H
0
to

H

0
in a time shorter than any
other characteristic scale perturbation theory is irrelevant:
If system is initially in eigenstate |n of

H
0
, time evolution after
switch will just follow that of

H

0
,
i.e. simply expand initial state as a sum over eigenstates of

H

0
,
|n =

|n

|n, |n(t) =

e
iE
n
t/
|n

|n
Non-trivial part of the problem lies in establishing that the change
is sudden enough.
This is achieved by estimating the actual time taken for the
Hamiltonian to change, and the periods of motion associated with
the state |n and with its transitions to neighbouring states.
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
Consider system prepared in initial state |i and perturbed by a
periodic harmonic potential V(t) = Ve
i t
which is abruptly
switched on at time t = 0.
e.g. atom perturbed by an external oscillating electric eld.
What is the probability that, at some later time t, the system is in
state |f?
To rst order in perturbation theory,
c
(1)
f
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
fi
t

(t

)
i.e. probability of eecting transition after a time t,
P
if
(t) |c
(1)
f
(t)|
2
=

f|V|ie
i (
fi
)t/2
sin((

)t/2)
(

)/2

2
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
Consider system prepared in initial state |i and perturbed by a
periodic harmonic potential V(t) = Ve
i t
which is abruptly
switched on at time t = 0.
e.g. atom perturbed by an external oscillating electric eld.
What is the probability that, at some later time t, the system is in
state |f?
To rst order in perturbation theory,
c
(1)
f
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
fi
t

(t

)
i.e. probability of eecting transition after a time t,
P
if
(t) |c
(1)
f
(t)|
2
=

f|V|ie
i (
fi
)t/2
sin((

)t/2)
(

)/2

2
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
Consider system prepared in initial state |i and perturbed by a
periodic harmonic potential V(t) = Ve
i t
which is abruptly
switched on at time t = 0.
e.g. atom perturbed by an external oscillating electric eld.
What is the probability that, at some later time t, the system is in
state |f?
To rst order in perturbation theory,
c
(1)
f
(t) =
i

_
t
0
dt

f|V|ie
i (
fi
)t

=
i

f|V|i
e
i (
fi
)t
1
i (

)
i.e. probability of eecting transition after a time t,
P
if
(t) |c
(1)
f
(t)|
2
=

f|V|ie
i (
fi
)t/2
sin((

)t/2)
(

)/2

2
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
Consider system prepared in initial state |i and perturbed by a
periodic harmonic potential V(t) = Ve
i t
which is abruptly
switched on at time t = 0.
e.g. atom perturbed by an external oscillating electric eld.
What is the probability that, at some later time t, the system is in
state |f?
To rst order in perturbation theory,
c
(1)
f
(t) =
i

_
t
0
dt

f|V|ie
i (
fi
)t

=
i

f|V|i
e
i (
fi
)t
1
i (

)
i.e. probability of eecting transition after a time t,
P
if
(t) |c
(1)
f
(t)|
2
=

f|V|ie
i (
fi
)t/2
sin((

)t/2)
(

)/2

2
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
Consider system prepared in initial state |i and perturbed by a
periodic harmonic potential V(t) = Ve
i t
which is abruptly
switched on at time t = 0.
e.g. atom perturbed by an external oscillating electric eld.
What is the probability that, at some later time t, the system is in
state |f?
To rst order in perturbation theory,
c
(1)
f
(t) =
i

_
t
0
dt

f|V|ie
i (
fi
)t

=
i

f|V|i
e
i (
fi
)t
1
i (

)
i.e. probability of eecting transition after a time t,
P
if
(t) |c
(1)
f
(t)|
2
=
1

2
|f|V|i|
2
_
sin((

)t/2)
(

)/2
_
2
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
P
if
(t)
1

2
|f|V|i|
2
_
sin((

)t/2)
(

)/2
_
2
Setting = (

)/2, probability sin


2
(t)/
2
with a peak at
= 0 maximum value t
2
, width O(1/t) total weight O(t).
For large t, lim
t
1
t
_
sin(t)

_
2
= () = 2(2)
Fermis Golden rule: transition rate,
R
if
(t) = lim
t
P
if
(t)
t
=
2

2
|f|V|i|
2
(

)
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
P
if
(t)
1

2
|f|V|i|
2
_
sin((

)t/2)
(

)/2
_
2
Setting = (

)/2, probability sin


2
(t)/
2
with a peak at
= 0 maximum value t
2
, width O(1/t) total weight O(t).
For large t, lim
t
1
t
_
sin(t)

_
2
= () = 2(2)
Fermis Golden rule: transition rate,
R
if
(t) = lim
t
P
if
(t)
t
=
2

2
|f|V|i|
2
(

)
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
R
if
(t) =
2

2
|f|V|i|
2
(

)
This result shows that, for a transition to occur, to satisfy energy
conservation we must have:
(a) nal states exist over a continuous energy range to match
E = for xed perturbation frequency , or
(b) perturbation must cover suciently wide spectrum of
frequency so that a discrete transition with E = is
possible.
For any two discrete pair of states |i and |f, since |V

|
2
= |V
if
|
2
,
we have P
if
= P
fi
statement of detailed balance.
Harmonic perturbations: second order transitions
Although rst order perturbation theory often sucient, sometimes
f|V|i = 0 by symmetry (e.g. parity, selection rules, etc.). In such
cases, transition may be accomplished by indirect route through
other non-zero matrix elements.
At second order of perturbation theory,
c
(2)
f
(t) =
1

m
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

e
i
fm
t

+i
mi
t

V
fm
(t

)V
mi
(t

)
If harmonic potential perturbation is gradually switched on,
V(t) = e
t
Ve
i t
, 0, with the initial time t
0
,
c
(2)
f
(t) =
1

m
f|V|mm|V|i

_
t

dt

_
t

dt

e
i (
fm
i )t

e
i (
mi
i )t

Harmonic perturbations: second order transitions


Although rst order perturbation theory often sucient, sometimes
f|V|i = 0 by symmetry (e.g. parity, selection rules, etc.). In such
cases, transition may be accomplished by indirect route through
other non-zero matrix elements.
At second order of perturbation theory,
c
(2)
f
(t) =
1

m
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

e
i
fm
t

+i
mi
t

V
fm
(t

)V
mi
(t

)
If harmonic potential perturbation is gradually switched on,
V(t) = e
t
Ve
i t
, 0, with the initial time t
0
,
c
(2)
f
(t) =
1

m
f|V|mm|V|i

_
t

dt

_
t

dt

e
i (
fm
i )t

e
i (
mi
i )t

Harmonic perturbations: second-order transitions


From time integral,
c
(2)
n
=
1

2
e
i (
fi
2)t
e
2t

2 2i

m
f|V|mm|V|i

mi
i
Leads to transition rate ( 0):
d
dt
|c
(2)
n
(t)|
2
=
2

m
f|V|mm|V|i

mi
i

2
(

2)
This translates to a transition in which system gains energy 2
from harmonic perturbation, i.e. two photons are absorbed
Physically, rst photon takes eects virtual transition to short-lived
intermediate state with energy
m
.
If an atom in an arbitrary state is exposed to monochromatic light,
other second order processes in which two photons are emitted, or
one is absorbed and one emitted are also possible.
Harmonic perturbations: second-order transitions
From time integral,
c
(2)
n
=
1

2
e
i (
fi
2)t
e
2t

2 2i

m
f|V|mm|V|i

mi
i
Leads to transition rate ( 0):
d
dt
|c
(2)
n
(t)|
2
=
2

m
f|V|mm|V|i

mi
i

2
(

2)
This translates to a transition in which system gains energy 2
from harmonic perturbation, i.e. two photons are absorbed
Physically, rst photon takes eects virtual transition to short-lived
intermediate state with energy
m
.
If an atom in an arbitrary state is exposed to monochromatic light,
other second order processes in which two photons are emitted, or
one is absorbed and one emitted are also possible.
Harmonic perturbations: second-order transitions
From time integral,
c
(2)
n
=
1

2
e
i (
fi
2)t
e
2t

2 2i

m
f|V|mm|V|i

mi
i
Leads to transition rate ( 0):
d
dt
|c
(2)
n
(t)|
2
=
2

m
f|V|mm|V|i

mi
i

2
(

2)
This translates to a transition in which system gains energy 2
from harmonic perturbation, i.e. two photons are absorbed
Physically, rst photon takes eects virtual transition to short-lived
intermediate state with energy
m
.
If an atom in an arbitrary state is exposed to monochromatic light,
other second order processes in which two photons are emitted, or
one is absorbed and one emitted are also possible.
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general time-dependent Hamiltonian,

H =

H
0
+ V(t), in
which all time-dependence containing in potential V(t), the
wavefunction can be expressed in the interaction representation,
|(t)
I
= e
i

H
0
t/
|(t)
S
, |(0)
I
= |(0)
S
In this representation, the time-dependent Schrodinger equation
takes the form,
i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
, V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
If we expand |(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n in basis of time-independent
Hamiltonian,

H
0
|n = E
n
|n, the Schrodinger equation translates to
i c
m
(t) =

n
V
mn
(t)e
i
mn
t
c
n
(t)
where V
mn
(t) = m|V(t)|m and
mn
=
1

(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general time-dependent Hamiltonian,

H =

H
0
+ V(t), in
which all time-dependence containing in potential V(t), the
wavefunction can be expressed in the interaction representation,
|(t)
I
= e
i

H
0
t/
|(t)
S
, |(0)
I
= |(0)
S
In this representation, the time-dependent Schrodinger equation
takes the form,
i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
, V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
If we expand |(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n in basis of time-independent
Hamiltonian,

H
0
|n = E
n
|n, the Schrodinger equation translates to
i c
m
(t) =

n
V
mn
(t)e
i
mn
t
c
n
(t)
where V
mn
(t) = m|V(t)|m and
mn
=
1

(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general time-dependent Hamiltonian,

H =

H
0
+ V(t), in
which all time-dependence containing in potential V(t), the
wavefunction can be expressed in the interaction representation,
|(t)
I
= e
i

H
0
t/
|(t)
S
, |(0)
I
= |(0)
S
In this representation, the time-dependent Schrodinger equation
takes the form,
i
t
|(t)
I
= V
I
(t)|(t)
I
, V
I
(t) = e
i

H
0
t/
V(t)e
i

H
0
t/
If we expand |(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n in basis of time-independent
Hamiltonian,

H
0
|n = E
n
|n, the Schrodinger equation translates to
i c
m
(t) =

n
V
mn
(t)e
i
mn
t
c
n
(t)
where V
mn
(t) = m|V(t)|m and
mn
=
1

(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general time-dependent potential, V(t), the wavefunction can
be expanded as a power series in the interaction,
|(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n, c
n
(t) = c
(0)
n
+ c
(1)
n
(t) + c
(2)
n
(t) +
The coecents can be expressed as matrix elements of the
time-evolution operator, c
n
(t) = n|

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i, where

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
From rst two terms in the series, we have
c
(1)
n
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
ni
t

V
ni
(t

)
c
(2)
n
(t) =
1

m
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

e
i
nm
t

+i
mi
t

V
nm
(t

)V
mi
(t

)
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general time-dependent potential, V(t), the wavefunction can
be expanded as a power series in the interaction,
|(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n, c
n
(t) = c
(0)
n
+ c
(1)
n
(t) + c
(2)
n
(t) +
The coecents can be expressed as matrix elements of the
time-evolution operator, c
n
(t) = n|

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i, where

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
From rst two terms in the series, we have
c
(1)
n
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
ni
t

V
ni
(t

)
c
(2)
n
(t) =
1

m
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

e
i
nm
t

+i
mi
t

V
nm
(t

)V
mi
(t

)
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general time-dependent potential, V(t), the wavefunction can
be expanded as a power series in the interaction,
|(t)
I
=

n
c
n
(t)|n, c
n
(t) = c
(0)
n
+ c
(1)
n
(t) + c
(2)
n
(t) +
The coecents can be expressed as matrix elements of the
time-evolution operator, c
n
(t) = n|

U
I
(t, t
0
)|i, where

U
I
(t, t
0
) =

n=0
_

_
n
_
t
t
0
dt
1

_
t
n1
t
0
dt
n
V
I
(t
1
)V
I
(t
2
) V
I
(t
n
)
From rst two terms in the series, we have
c
(1)
n
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
ni
t

V
ni
(t

)
c
(2)
n
(t) =
1

m
_
t
t
0
dt

_
t

t
0
dt

e
i
nm
t

+i
mi
t

V
nm
(t

)V
mi
(t

)
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
c
(1)
n
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
ni
t

V
ni
(t

)
For a harmonic perturbation, V(t) = Ve
i t
, turned on at t = 0,
the leading term in series translates to transition rate,
R
if
(t) = lim
t
P
if
(t)
t
=
2

2
|f|V|i|
2
(

)
Fermis Golden rule.
If this term vanishes by symmetry, transitions can be eected by
second and higher order processes through intermediate states.
In the next lecture, we will apply these ideas to the consideration of
radiative transitions in atoms.
Time-dependent perturbation theory: summary
c
(1)
n
(t) =
i

_
t
t
0
dt

e
i
ni
t

V
ni
(t

)
For a harmonic perturbation, V(t) = Ve
i t
, turned on at t = 0,
the leading term in series translates to transition rate,
R
if
(t) = lim
t
P
if
(t)
t
=
2

2
|f|V|i|
2
(

)
Fermis Golden rule.
If this term vanishes by symmetry, transitions can be eected by
second and higher order processes through intermediate states.
In the next lecture, we will apply these ideas to the consideration of
radiative transitions in atoms.