Timedependent
perturbation theory
Timedependent perturbation theory
So far, we have focused on quantum mechanics of systems
described by Hamiltonians that are timeindependent.
In such cases, time dependence of wavefunction developed through
timeevolution operator,
U = e
i
Ht/
, i.e. for
Hn = 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 timedependent interaction V(t).
In this lecture, we will develop a formalism to treat such
timedependent perturbations.
Timedependent perturbation theory
So far, we have focused on quantum mechanics of systems
described by Hamiltonians that are timeindependent.
In such cases, time dependence of wavefunction developed through
timeevolution operator,
U = e
i
Ht/
, i.e. for
Hn = 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 timedependent interaction V(t).
In this lecture, we will develop a formalism to treat such
timedependent perturbations.
Timedependent perturbation theory: outline
Timedependent potentials: general formalism
Timedependent perturbation theory
Sudden perturbation
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
Timedependent 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 timedependent wavefunction,
i
t
(t)
S
=
H(t)
S
However, to develop timedependent 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
Timedependent 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 timedependent wavefunction,
i
t
(t)
S
=
H(t)
S
However, to develop timedependent 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
Timedependent 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/
Timedependent 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) mn
. .
mn
=
n
c
n
(t) me
i
H
0
t/
. .
me
iE
m
t/
V(t)e
iE
n
t/
n
i c
m
(t) =
n
mV(t)ne
i (E
m
E
n
)t/
c
n
(t)
Timedependent 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) mn
. .
mn
=
n
c
n
(t) me
i
H
0
t/
. .
me
iE
m
t/
V(t)e
iE
n
t/
n
i c
m
(t) =
n
mV(t)ne
i (E
m
E
n
)t/
c
n
(t)
Timedependent potentials: general formalism
i c
m
(t) =
n
mV(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) = mV(t)m and
mn
=
1
(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Example: Dynamics of a driven twolevel 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 timeindependent
Hamiltonian can be written as
H
0
= E
1
11 + E
2
22
_
E
1
0
0 E
2
_
Note that the twolevel 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, = 1E2 is presumed real.
Example: Dynamics of a driven twolevel 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 timeindependent
Hamiltonian can be written as
H
0
= E
1
11 + E
2
22
_
E
1
0
0 E
2
_
Note that the twolevel 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, = 1E2 is presumed real.
Example: Dynamics of a driven twolevel 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 spinorlike 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 twolevel 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 twolevel 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 twolevel 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 twolevel 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 twolevel system.
However, circuits made of superconducting loops provide access to
twolevel 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 twolevel system.
However, circuits made of superconducting loops provide access to
twolevel 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.
Timedependent perturbation theory
For a general timedependent Hamiltonian,
H =
H
0
+ V(t), an
analytical solution is usually infeasible.
However, as for the timeindependent 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
(timeindependent) 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 timeevolution operator,
(t)
I
=
U
I
(t, t
0
)(t
0
)
I
Timedependent perturbation theory
For a general timedependent Hamiltonian,
H =
H
0
+ V(t), an
analytical solution is usually infeasible.
However, as for the timeindependent 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
(timeindependent) 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 timeevolution operator,
(t)
I
=
U
I
(t, t
0
)(t
0
)
I
Timedependent 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 selfconsistent equation for U
I
(t, t
0
),
Timedependent 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 selfconsistent equation for U
I
(t, t
0
),
Timedependent 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 selfconsistent equation for U
I
(t, t
0
),
Timedependent 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.
Timedependent 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.
Timedependent 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.
Timedependent 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 timeordered 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 timeordering 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 timeevolution operator for timeindependent
H.
Timedependent 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
nV
I
(t
)i
2
_
t
t
0
dt
_
t
t
0
dt
nV
I
(t
)V
I
(t
)i +
Timedependent 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
nV
I
(t
)i
2
_
t
t
0
dt
_
t
t
0
dt
nV
I
(t
)V
I
(t
)i +
Timedependent 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
nV
I
(t
)i
2
_
t
t
0
dt
_
t
t
0
dt
m
nV
I
(t
)mmV
I
(t
)i +
Timedependent perturbation theory
c
n
(t) =
ni
i
_
t
t
0
dt
nV
I
(t
)i
2
_
t
t
0
dt
_
t
t
0
dt
m
nV
I
(t
)mmV
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
nV
I
(t)m = ne
i
H
0
t/
V(t)e
i
H
0
t/
m
= nV(t)m
. .
V
nm
exp
_
i
(E
n
E
m
)
_
. .
e
i
nm
t
where V
nm
(t) = nV(t)m denote matrix elements between the
basis states of
H
0
on the perturbation, and
nm
= (E
n
E
m
)/.
Timedependent perturbation theory
c
n
(t) =
ni
i
_
t
t
0
dt
nV
I
(t
)i
2
_
t
t
0
dt
_
t
t
0
dt
m
nV
I
(t
)mmV
I
(t
)i +
Therefore, using the relation, nV
I
(t)m = nV(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
) = eE1x0e
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
) = eE1x0e
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
) = eE1x0e
t
2
/
2
Using the ladder operator formalism, with 1 = a
0 and
x =
_
2m
(a + a
), 1x0 =
_
2m
0a(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
) = eE1x0e
t
2
/
2
Using the ladder operator formalism, with 1 = a
0 and
x =
_
2m
(a + a
), 1x0 =
_
2m
0a(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
) = eE1x0e
t
2
/
2
Using the ladder operator formalism, with 1 = a
0 and
x =
_
2m
(a + a
), 1x0 =
_
2m
0a(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
Nontrivial 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
Nontrivial 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
=
fVie
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
=
fVie
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
fVie
i (
fi
)t
=
i
fVi
e
i (
fi
)t
1
i (
)
i.e. probability of eecting transition after a time t,
P
if
(t) c
(1)
f
(t)
2
=
fVie
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
fVie
i (
fi
)t
=
i
fVi
e
i (
fi
)t
1
i (
)
i.e. probability of eecting transition after a time t,
P
if
(t) c
(1)
f
(t)
2
=
fVie
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
fVie
i (
fi
)t
=
i
fVi
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
fVi
2
_
sin((
)t/2)
(
)/2
_
2
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
P
if
(t)
1
2
fVi
2
_
sin((
)t/2)
(
)/2
_
2
Setting = (
_
2
= () = 2(2)
Fermis Golden rule: transition rate,
R
if
(t) = lim
t
P
if
(t)
t
=
2
2
fVi
2
(
)
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
P
if
(t)
1
2
fVi
2
_
sin((
)t/2)
(
)/2
_
2
Setting = (
_
2
= () = 2(2)
Fermis Golden rule: transition rate,
R
if
(t) = lim
t
P
if
(t)
t
=
2
2
fVi
2
(
)
Harmonic perturbations: Fermis Golden Rule
R
if
(t) =
2
2
fVi
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
fVi = 0 by symmetry (e.g. parity, selection rules, etc.). In such
cases, transition may be accomplished by indirect route through
other nonzero 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
fVmmVi
_
t
dt
_
t
dt
e
i (
fm
i )t
e
i (
mi
i )t
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
fVmmVi
_
t
dt
_
t
dt
e
i (
fm
i )t
e
i (
mi
i )t
2
e
i (
fi
2)t
e
2t
2 2i
m
fVmmVi
mi
i
Leads to transition rate ( 0):
d
dt
c
(2)
n
(t)
2
=
2
m
fVmmVi
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 shortlived
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: secondorder transitions
From time integral,
c
(2)
n
=
1
2
e
i (
fi
2)t
e
2t
2 2i
m
fVmmVi
mi
i
Leads to transition rate ( 0):
d
dt
c
(2)
n
(t)
2
=
2
m
fVmmVi
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 shortlived
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: secondorder transitions
From time integral,
c
(2)
n
=
1
2
e
i (
fi
2)t
e
2t
2 2i
m
fVmmVi
mi
i
Leads to transition rate ( 0):
d
dt
c
(2)
n
(t)
2
=
2
m
fVmmVi
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 shortlived
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.
Timedependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general timedependent Hamiltonian,
H =
H
0
+ V(t), in
which all timedependence 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 timedependent 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 timeindependent
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) = mV(t)m and
mn
=
1
(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Timedependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general timedependent Hamiltonian,
H =
H
0
+ V(t), in
which all timedependence 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 timedependent 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 timeindependent
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) = mV(t)m and
mn
=
1
(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Timedependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general timedependent Hamiltonian,
H =
H
0
+ V(t), in
which all timedependence 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 timedependent 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 timeindependent
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) = mV(t)m and
mn
=
1
(E
m
E
n
) =
nm
.
Timedependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general timedependent 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
timeevolution 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
)
Timedependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general timedependent 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
timeevolution 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
)
Timedependent perturbation theory: summary
For a general timedependent 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
timeevolution 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
)
Timedependent 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
fVi
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.
Timedependent 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
fVi
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.