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Exercises 2: Quantum Mechanics I

Prof. Cristian E. Susa Quintero


Department of Physics and Electronics, Universidad de Córdoba
15.02.2018

1. a. Write down the identity operator for a given (finite) set of orthogonal basis states |ni.
b. Given an observable (a Hermitian operator) Â on a finite dimensional Hilbert space with
spectrum An and eigenstates |ni write down the operator  in Dirac notation.
Remark: Remember that spectrum means the values An are the eigenvalues of the operator Â.

2. One of the key mathematical tools of quantum mechanics is the notion of Hilbert spaces. A
Hilbert space is an inner product space – a vector space (over R or C) equipped with an inner
product h·|·i – such that the metric induced by the norm ||u|| ≡ hu|ui. In this exercise, we
will see how Hilbert spaces are defined, and look at the example of a finite one.
A complex inner product hu|vi satisfies the following properties:

(a) hu|vi = hv|ui∗


(b) hu1 + u2 |vi = hu1 |vi + hu2 |vi
(c) hku|vi = k ∗ hu|vi
(d) hu|ui ≥ 0 and hu|ui = 0 iff u = 0

u, v being elements of a Hilbert space H. Note that we can represent vectors in an N-


dimensional Hilbert space H by vectors lying in CN by choosing a basis e1 , . . . , eN of H and
identifying ei with the i-th standard basis vector in CN .

Show that h·|·i is a complex inner product on CN , where we define hu|vi = u† v =


a. P
N ∗ T T N
i=1 ai bi for any vectors u = [a1 , a2 , . . . , aN ] and v = [b1 , b2 , . . . , bN ] in C .
b. Find an expression for |a1 |2 in terms of an inner product involving u.

3. The commutator of two operators A and B is defined as [A, B] = AB − BA. Prove the
following:

a. [A, B] = −[B, A]
b. [A, B + C] = [A, B] + [A, C]
c. [A, BC] = [A, B]C + B[A, C]
d. [AB, CD] = −AC{D, B} + A{C, B}D − C{D, A}B + {C, A}DB

Where C is another operator and {X, Y } = XY +Y X is the anticommutator of two operators.

4. Given two state vectors

|φi = 7 |0i + 6 |1i , |ψi = −2 |0i + 16 |1i

written in the {|0i , |1i} basis, and given another basis


√ √
1
0̃ = |0i + 3 |1i , 1̃ = − 3 |0i + 1 |1i

2 2 2 2
.

(a) Show that 0̃ and 1̃ are orthonormal.
2

(b) Write down the two state vectors |φi and |ψi in the new basis.
(c) Are |φi and |ψi normalised? If not, make the normalisation of both states.

(d) What is the probability for the state |φi to go down in the basis state 0̃ . (Note: you
must use the normalised vector).

(e) Compute hφ|ψi in both basis {|0i , |1i} and { 0̃ , 1̃ } and give an interpretation of the
result.

5. Suppose that the operator Q satisfies Q |qi = q |qi, i.e., |qi is an eigenvector of Q with
eigenvalue q. Show that |qi is also an eigenvector of Q2 , Qn , and eQ , and determine the
corresponding eigenvalues.

6. Suppose a Hilbert space H spanned by the basis {|0i , |1i , |2i , |3i}.

a. Is the following operator Hermitian?

|0ih1| + i|1ih0|

b. Is the following operator Hermitian?

|0ih0| + |1ih1| + |2ih3| + |3ih2|

c. Find the spectral decomposition of the following operator on H

K = |0ih0| + 2|1ih2| + 2|2ih1| − |3ih3|

7. Using the orthonormality of |+i and |−i, prove

~2
[Si , Sj ] = iijk ~Sk , {Si , Sj } = δij ,
2
where
~
Sx = (|+ih−| + |−ih+|),
2
i~
Sy = (|−ih+| − |+ih−|),
2
~
Sz = (|+ih+| − |−ih−|),
2
and the Levi-Civita tensor is
 
 0, if any two labels are the same 
ijk = 1, if i, j, k is an even permutation of x, y, z .
−1, if i, j, k is an odd permutation of x, y, z
 

8. Suppose |ii and |ji are eigenstates of some Hermitian operator A. Under what condition can
we conclude that |ii + |ji is also an eigenket of A? Justify your answer.

9. Using the rules of bra-ket algebra, prove or evaluate (XY )† = Y † X † (where X and Y are
operators)

10. A certain observable in quantum mechanics has a 3 × 3 matrix representation as follows:


 
0 1 0
1
√  1 0 1 . (1)
2 0 1 0
3

a. Find the normalised eigenvectors of this observable and the corresponding eigenvalues.
Is there any degeneracy?
b. Let {|1i , |2i , |3i} be the basis in which this observable is written down. Give the expres-
sion of the eigenvectors as combinations of |1i, |2i and |3i.

11. Consider a 3-dimensional ket space. The representations of two operators in any basis, say
{|1i , |2i , |3i}, are
   
a 0 0 b 0 0
 =  0 −a 0  , B̂ =  0 0 −ib  (2)
0 0 −a 0 ib 0

where a and b are both real numbers.

a. Â has a degenerate spectrum. Does B̂ also has a degenerate spectrum?


b. Show that  and B̂ commute.
c. Find a new set of orthonormal kets which are simultaneous eigenkets of both operators.

12. An operator for a two-state system is given by

Ĥ = a(|1ih1| − |2ih2| + |1ih2| + |2ih1|)

where a is a number. Find the eigenvalues and the corresponding eigenkets.

13. (a) Consider two kets |αi and |βi. Suppose ha1 |αi, ha2 |αi, . . . , haN |αi and ha1 |βi, ha2 |βi, . . . , haN |βi
are all known, where {|a1 i , |a2 i , . . . , |aN i} form a complete set of base kets. Find the
matrix representation of the operator |αihβ| in that basis.
(b) We now consider a spin 1/2 system and let |αi and |βi be |sz = ~/2i and |sx = ~/2i,
respectively. Write down explicitly the square matrix that corresponds to |αihβ| in the
sz diagonal basis.

14. The Hamiltonian operator for a two-state system is given by

H = a(|1ih1| − |2ih2| + |1ih2| + |2ih1|),

where a is a number with the dimension of energy. Find the energy eigenvalues and the
corresponding energy eigenkets as linera combinations of |1i and |2i.