# Adiabatic invariant Adiabatic theorem Aharonov-Bohm effect Atomic theory Auger electron Bargmann's limit Bohr

model Boltzmon Born probability Bose gas Bose-Einstein statistics Bound state Bra-ket notation Breit equation
Canonical commutation relation Chladni's law Classical limit Clebsch-Gordan coefficients Coherent state
Complementarity (physics) Complete set of commuting observables Compton scattering Compton wavelength
Conjugate variables Constraint algebra Coupling constant Creation and annihilation operators Dark energy star
Davisson-Germer experiment De Broglie hypothesis Degenerate energy level Degenerate matter Delayed choice
quantum eraser Diabatic Dirac equation in the algebra of physical space Dirac operator Double-slit experiment
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state Elementary particle Energy level splitting Entanglement witness EP Quantum Mechanics Excited state Exotic
hadron Faddeev equations Fano resonance Fermi energy Fermi gas Fermi liquid Fermi's golden rule Fermi-Dirac
statistics Field emission Finite potential well Flux quantization Fock matrix Fock space Fock state Franck-Hertz
experiment Free particle Functional integration Geiger-Marsden experiment Gibbs paradox
Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger state Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics) Heisenberg picture Hilbert space Hydrogen
atom Hydrogen-like atom Hyperfine structure Imaginary time Implicate and Explicate Order according to David
Bohm Incompleteness of quantum physics Interaction picture Internal conversion Interpretation of quantum
mechanics Introduction to quantum mechanics Josephson effect Klein-Gordon equation Ladder operators
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector Large Area Neutron Detector Lindblad equation London moment Many-body problem
Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics Matrix mechanics Matrix model Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
Measurement in quantum mechanics Molecular Hamiltonian Multiplicative quantum number Neutral particle
oscillations Normal mode Normalisable wavefunction Nuclear physics Observable Oil-drop experiment Open
quantum system Optical theorem Parity (physics) Particle in a box Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic
potential) Particle in a ring Particle in a spherically symmetric potential Path integral formulation Penrose
Interpretation Peres-Horodecki criterion Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics) Photoelectric effect Planck
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scattering Rydberg formula Scattering channel Scattering theory Schrödinger equation Schrödinger picture
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bound Variational method (quantum mechanics) Variational perturbation theory Wave packet Wave-particle duality
Wavefunction Wien's displacement law Wigner quasi-probability distribution Wigner-Eckart theorem Work function
Zeeman effect
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Check A Brief History of Time A. E. Becquerel A. Elgart A. S. Wightman ab initio Abdus Salam Abelian Abelian group Abell 1835 IR1916 Abner Shimony Abraham Pais Abraham-Lorentz force absolute value absolute zero Absolute_convergence#Conditional convergence Absorption spectrum abstract abuse of notation
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Boltzmann Boltzmann constant Boltzmann distribution Boltzmann's constant Borel functional calculus Borel set Boris Podolsky Born-Oppenheimer approximation Bose gas Bose-Einstein Bose-Einstein condensate Bose-Einstein distribution Bose-Einstein statistics bosenova Boson bosons bottom quark Bound
entanglement bound particle bound state boundary condition boundary conditions Boundary value problem bounded operator bounded set box Bra-ket Bra-ket notation Bra-ket_notation Brachytherapy Brackett series Bragg Bragg's law Brahman Braid statistics brain brane Bravais lattice Breit-Wigner distribution Brian David
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Caltech canonical angular momentum canonical commutation relation canonical commutation relations Canonical conjugate variables canonical coordinates canonical ensemble canonical one-form canonical partition function Canonical quantization canonical transformation technique capacitor CAR algebra carbon cardinal
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complete set of commuting operators complete space completely positive complex conjugate complex conjugation complex number complex numbers complex plane complex pole complex projective line Complex_numbers complexity Composite field composite particle Compton effect Compton suppression Compton
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D. Hestenes Dan Heinzen Daniel Chee Tsui Daniel Kleppner dark energy dark matter Darmstadt David Bohm David Griffiths David Gross David Hilbert David Hume David J. Gross David Politzer David Thouless David Wineland Davisson-Germer experiment de Broglie de Broglie hypothesis de Broglie wavelength de Rham
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detector determinant Determinism deuterium deWitt notation Diagonal matrix dielectric constant differential equation differential equations differential geometry differential operator diffraction diffraction pattern Diffusion diffusion equation Digital Devil Saga Digital object identifier dimension dimensional analysis dimensional
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equivalence principle equivalent Eric Allin Cornell Eric Cornell Eric Temple Bell Ernest Lawrence Ernest Marsden Ernest Rutherford Ernst Chladni Ernst Pringsheim errors and residuals in statistics Erwin Schroedinger Erwin Schrödinger Estermann Euclidean quantum gravity Euclidean space Eugene Wigner Euler-Lagrange
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University H. David Politzer Haag's theorem Haag-Kastler hadron hadronic showers Hagen Kleinert Hahn-Banach theorem half-integer half-iterate Half-life half-silvered mirror halides Hall effect Hamel basis Hamilton-Jacobi equation Hamilton-Jacobi equations Hamiltonian hamiltonian (quantum mechanics) Hamiltonian
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Golden Age Isomeric transition isometry isomorphic isospin isotope Isotope table (complete) isotropic J. E. Evron J. J. Thomson J. Robert Oppenheimer J.J. Thomson Jack Steinberger Jacobi identity Jahn-Teller effect Jain James Chadwick James Clerk Maxwell James Edward Zimmerman James Franck James Jeans
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Lorentz force Lorentz force law Lorentz group Lorentz invariance Lorentz invariant Lorentz transformation Lorentzian function Loschmidt's paradox Lothar Nordheim Louis de Broglie Louis, 7th duc de Broglie Louis-Victor de Broglie lower bound Lp space LS coupling LS-coupling LSZ formalism Lucretius Ludwig Boltzmann
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Newton Newton's laws Newton's laws of motion Newton's rings Newton's second law Newtonian physics nickel Niels Bohr Niels Bohr Institute Night Court Nikola Tesla niobium NIST nitrogen dioxide nitrous oxide no cloning theorem Nobel Prize Nobel Prize for Physics Nobel Prize in Physics Nobel Prizes for Physics nodal
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definition operator operator (physics) Operator algebra operator norm operator ordering problem operator theory operators optical aberration optical fiber optical field optical mode Optical phenomenon Optical Society of America optical theorem Optics Orbit orbital orbital angular momentum Orbital elements orbital motion
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detector particle in a box particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic potential) particle in a ring particle in a spherically symmetric potential particle jet particle number operator particle physics Particle scattering particle statistics particle zoo particles partite partition function partition function (quantum field theory)
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phase transitions phase velocity phases of matter phasor (physics) phenomenology phenomenology (physics) phenomenology (science) phenomenon Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard Philosophical interpretation of classical physics Philosophy Philosophy of science phonon Phosphorescence Photocurrent Photodiode
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series power spectrum precession precision precognition Prediction preon preon matter Preon star preon-degenerate matter pressure Pressurized water reactor primitive cell Prince of Darkness (1987 film) Princeton University Princeton University Press Principal quantum number principle principle of complementarity
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product rule Professor Walter Ernhart-Plank projection projection operator projection#which one? projection-valued measure projective Hilbert space projective representation projective space proof of the existence of God propagator property Prophecy (Stargate SG-1) proportionality constant Propositional calculus
ProQuest prospecting proton Proton Collapse experiment Proton conductor proton decay Proton emission Proton therapy pseudoscalar pseudoscience psychic healing psychokinesis psychology pudding pure mathematics pure state purification of quantum state Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa Pythagoreans Q factor QCD QCD
matter QED QED (book) QFT quadratic form quadrupole quality quant-ph quanta Quantization Quantization (physics) quantization condition quantization of constrained systems quantization of gauge theories quantization_(physics) quantized Quantum quantum entanglement Quantum annealing quantum chaos Quantum
Chemistry quantum chromodynamics Quantum coherence quantum coin-flipping quantum communication quantum computation quantum computer Quantum computers quantum computing quantum cosmology Quantum cryptography quantum cybernetics quantum decoherence quantum dot Quantum electrochemistry
quantum electrodynamics Quantum electronics quantum entanglement Quantum eraser experiment quantum field theory quantum field theory in curved spacetime quantum fluctuation quantum gravity quantum gyroscope quantum Hall effect quantum harmonic oscillator Quantum harmonic oscillator#Ladder operator
method Quantum immortality Quantum indeterminacy quantum information quantum information theory quantum jump quantum leap quantum logic Quantum magnet Quantum measurement quantum mechanic quantum mechanical Quantum Mechanics Quantum Mechanics - simplified Quantum mechanics#Description of the
theory Quantum mechanics, philosophy and controversy quantum memory Quantum metaphysics Quantum mind quantum money Quantum Monte Carlo quantum noise Quantum number quantum numbers quantum operation Quantum optics quantum particle Quantum Physics quantum process tomography quantum state
quantum states quantum stationary Hamilton-Jacobi equation quantum statistical mechanics quantum suicide Quantum superposition quantum system quantum teleportation quantum theory Quantum thermodynamics quantum trajectory representation theories of quantum mechanics quantum tunneling Quantum tunnelling
quantum well quantum wire quantum-mechanical quantum-mechanical circuit Quantum-well intermixing Quantum_measurement Quantum_mechanics Quantum_number Quarantine (novel) Quark quark matter quark model quark star quark-degenerate matter Quark-gluon plasma quarks quartz quasar quasiparticle Qubit
Radioisotope thermoelectric generator Radiosurgery radius rain rainbow Raising operator Ralph Kronig Raman scattering Raman transition random random variables Range criterion Rank (mathematics) Rapid single flux quantum Rate distortion theory rationalism ray ray tracing Rayleigh Scattering Rayleigh-Jeans law real
line real number Real_number reality reciprocal recorded redshift reduced mass reduced Planck constant reducible Reduction criterion Reductionism redundancy Reeh-Schlieder theorem reference frame Reflection (physics) reflexive space refraction Reginald Cahill region Relationship between string theory and quantum
field theory relative state interpretation relativistic Relativistic beaming relativistic Breit-Wigner distribution relativistic jet Relativistic mass Relativistic plasma relativistic quantum field theory relativistic wave equations relativity Relativity physics relativity theory Relic particles remote viewing Renaissance Renninger
negative-result experiment renormalization renormalization group Renormalization#Regularization René Descartes representation of a Hopf algebra representation theory Reproducing kernel Hilbert space residue theorem resolution resolution of the identity resonance resonance (disambiguation) Resonant frequency
Resonator rest energy rest mass Rev. Mod. Phys. reversible computing reversible process Richard Courant Richard Feynman Richard P. Feynman Riemann zeta function Riemann zeta function#Values at the integers Riemannian manifold Riesz representation theorem Rigged Hilbert space right triangle ring wave guide ripple
tank Ritz method Robert A. Heinlein Robert Andrews Millikan Robert Anton Wilson Robert B. Laughlin Robert B. Leighton Robert Brown Robert Eugene Marshak Robert H. Scanlan Robert Millikan Robert Mills (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer Robert Serber Robertson-Schrödinger relation Rockefeller Foundation Rockefeller
University roleplaying game Rolling ball Ronald Gurney Roothaan equations rotation rotation group rotation operator rotational symmetry Roy J. Glauber Royal Society of London Rp-process rubidium Rudolf Grimm rule of thumb rumor Rutherford Rutherford backscattering Rutherford model Rutherford scattering Rydberg
constant Rydberg formula Rydberg-Ritz combination principle S matrix S-matrix S-process Sackur-Tetrode equation Saint-Germain Samsara Saturday (novel) Saturnine Martial & Lunatic Satyendra Nath Bose scalar scalar field scalar potential scale anomaly scanning SQUID microscope scanning tunnelling microscope
scattering scattering amplitude Scattering from rough surfaces Scattering measurements Scattering theory Schottky diode Schroedinbug Schroedinger equation Schrödinger Schrödinger equation Schrödinger picture Schrödinger's cat Schrödinger's cat in fiction Schrödinger's Cat trilogy Schrödinger's equation Schumann
resonance Schwarzian derivative Schwarzschild Schwarzschild radius Schwinger-Dyson equation science science fiction scientific evidence scientific formalism scientific method scientific model scientific notation scientific rigor scintillation screen screw dislocation sea level sea water second second law of
thermodynamics second quantization secular equation Segre embedding Segre mapping seismology selenium self adjoint operator self-adjoint self-adjoint operator Self-awareness Self-energy semantics semiclassical semiclassical gravity semiconductor semiconductor devices semidefinite programming seminar
separability separable Separable space Separable states Separable_states separation of variable Separation of variables sequence sequence space Series (mathematics) set shamanism Shannon entropy Shannon entropy#Formal definitions shape resonance Sheldon Lee Glashow Shell model Shelter Island (town), New York
Shin Megami Tensei shot noise SI signal (information theory) signal processing signal-to-noise ratio signals Simple harmonic motion simultaneous equation Sin-Itiro Tomonaga Sinclair QL sine curve sine-Gordon equation singular spectrum singularity Sir Roger Penrose Skyrmion SLAC Slater determinant Slater-type orbital
slepton Sliders Slit experiment Slow glass Slow light smoke detector so(3) SO(3,1) SO(4) Sobolev space social science sodium Solar cell solar mass solar power solar system solenoid solid solid angle solid helium solid state physics soliton Solvay Conference Sommerfeld-Wilson-Ishiwara quantization sound sound wave
source (vector calculus) source field space space quantization space-like space-time spacecraft spacetime Spallation Spallation Neutron Source spark gap sparticle special orthogonal group special relativity special unitary group Special_relativity spectral line spectral measure spectral theorem spectral theory spectrometer
spectroscopy spectrum spectrum (disambiguation) spectrum of an operator speculative fiction speed speed of light sphere spherical coordinate system spherical coordinates Spherical harmonic spherical harmonics spin Spin (physics) spin (physics)#spin multiplets spin angular momentum spin quantum number spin
singlet spin statistics theorem spin-Dirac operator spin-orbit coupling spin-orbit interaction spin-orbital Spin_(physics) spinning spinor spiral galaxy Spontaneous emission Spontaneous fission spontaneous parametric down conversion Spontaneous symmetry breaking spooky action at a distance square integrable square
potential square-integrable squark Squashed entanglement Squeeze operator squeezed coherent state squeezing operator SQUID Squid (disambiguation) stability stable standard deviation standard model standard model (basic details) standing wave standing waves Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy star Star Trek
star-algebra Stargate SG-1 Stark broadening Stark effect state state (physics) state space (physics) state vector static static electricity stationary point statistical statistical ensemble statistical mechanics statistics Stefan-Boltzmann law Stellar mass black hole Stephen Donaldson Stephen Hawking Stephen Notley
Stern-Gerlach experiment Steve Martin Steven Chu Steven Hawking Steven Weinberg stiffness Stimulated Brillouin scattering stimulated emission Stimulated Raman scattering Stimulated scattering Stirling's approximation stochastic stochastic process Stokes theorem Stokes' law Stone's theorem Stone's theorem on
one-parameter unitary groups Stone-von Neumann theorem Straight Dope Strange Days (film) Strange matter strange quark strangeness stream string theory string-net condensation strong CP problem strong CP violation strong force strong interaction strong interactions strong nuclear force structures Stuart Kauffman
Sturm-Liouville theory SU(2) SU(3) sub-poissonian subalgebra subatomic particle subatomic particles submarine subspace substance Sudarshan-Glauber P representation sun sunlight Sunyaev Zel'dovich effect super-consciousness Super-Kamiokande supercommutator Superconducting superconductive Superconductivity
superconductor superconductors Supercritical fluid Supercritical water reactor superdense coding superfield superfluid superfluidity supergravity supernova superposition superposition principle superpotential superselection superselection sector Supersolid superstring theory Supersymmetry supersymmetry breaking
surface Surroundings (thermodynamics) Surveyor program switch symmetric symmetry symmetry (physics) symmetry in physics symmetry of second derivatives symplectic form symplectic space symposium synchronicity synchrotron radiation synonym system T-symmetry T. D. Lee table of Clebsch-Gordan coefficients
Tacoma Narrows Bridge Talbot Lau interferometer tangent bundle Taoism target manifold target space Tau lepton tau neutrino tau-neutrino Taylor series Tears for Fears technology teeter-totter teleology telepathy teleportation temperature tensor tensor category tensor product tensor product#Tensor product of Hilbert
spaces terminal velocity terrorism Terry Pratchett tesla (unit) Tests_of_general_relativity tetraphenylporphyrin The Bohr Model The Cat Who Walks Through Walls The Coming of the Quantum Cats The Compass Rose The Elegant Universe The Elementary Particles The Feynman Lectures on Physics The Gap Cycle The
Homing Pigeons The Last Hero The Meaning of Meaning The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe The Trick Top Hat The Universe Next Door theorem Theoretical chemistry theoretical physics theory Theory of Everything theory of relativity thermal de Broglie wavelength thermal equilibrium thermal
light thermal noise Thermal radiation thermal wavelength thermionic emission thermodynamic entropy thermodynamic equilibrium thermodynamics thin film things ThinkGeek third law of thermodynamics Thomas Kuhn Thomas Young Thomas Young (scientist) Thomas-Fermi approximation Thomson scattering Thorium
thought thought experiment three jet event three-body force tidal force tidal resonance time time evolution time ordered time ordering time reversal invariance time-resolved spectroscopy Timeline of chemical element discovery Timeline of cosmic microwave background astronomy Timeline of quantum mechanics, molecular
physics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, and particle physics Timeline of solar cells Timeline of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and random processes Timothy Ferris Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff limit Tomography Tonks-Girardeau gas top quark topological defect topological dimension topological entropy
topological invariant topological order topological quantum field theory topological space topological vector space Topologies on the set of operators on a Hilbert space topology torus total angular momentum total angular momentum quantum number trace class trace-class trajectory transactional interpretation Transducer
transduction Transformation (mathematics) transformation law transformation theory (quantum mechanics) transistor transition probability transition radiation transition radiation detector transition rate transition rule translational invariance translationally invariant transmission coefficient (physics) Transmission electron
microscopy transmutation Transporter (Star Trek) Transuranium element#Super Heavy Atoms trap Trigonometric function#Series definitions triple product Tuned circuit Tungsten Tunnel diode tunnel_(quantum_mechanics) tunneling time Turbid media twentieth century Two Lumps two-body problem two-photon generation
Type I superconductor Type II superconductor U(1) ultraviolet ultraviolet catastrophe ultraviolet divergence ultraviolet light ultraviolet radiation Umklapp scattering UMSL unbounded operator Uncertainty Uncertainty principle uncertainty principle#One of the theorems uncertainty relation uncountable uncountable set
undergraduate unified atomic mass unit Uniform convergence uniform space Uniqueness of Entanglement Measures unit unit vector unital unitarity unitary unitary group Unitary matrix unitary operator unitary representation unitary representation of a star Lie superalgebra unitary transformation United States National
Academy of Sciences universe University of Aberdeen University of Colorado at Boulder University of Frankfurt University of Innsbruck University of Manchester University of Texas at Austin University of Tübingen University of Vienna Unobservables Unruh effect Unsolved problems in physics unstable unstable particle up
quark upper bound upthrust Uranium Ursula K. Le Guin UV V. A. Fock vacuum Vacuum energy vacuum expectation value vacuum fluctuation vacuum state vacuum tube vacuum#The quantum-mechanical vacuum Vaisheshika valence shell Valentine Bargmann vapour pressure variance variational method Variational method
(quantum mechanics) variational parameters variational perturbation theory variational principle vector vector (spatial) Vector (spatial)#Definitions vector boson vector bundle Vector mesons vector potential vector space Vector space dimension Vector_space velocity vernacular vertex renormalization Very high temperature
reactor Very-large-scale integration vibrational spectroscopy vibronic coupling Victor Frederick Weisskopf Victor Weisskopf Vienna virial theorem Virtual particle virtual particles viscosity viscous visual system Vladimir Aleksandrovich Fock Vladimir Fock Voigt volt volume von Klitzing constant von Neumann von Neumann
entropy Von-Karman boundary condition vortex Voyager Golden Record vulgar fraction W and Z bosons W boson W state Walter Gerlach Walter Gordon (physicist) Walter Heitler Walter Ritz Walther Bothe Walther Gerlach Ward-Takahashi identity water wave wave equation wave function wave functions Wave interference
wave mechanics wave packet wave vector wave-function renormalization Wave-particle duality wave_packet Wavefunction Wavefunction collapse wavelength wavelet wavenumber wavepacket waves Wayne Itano weak decay weak force weak gauge boson Weak interaction weak interactions weak measurement weak nuclear
force webcomic well-behaved Wendell Furry Werner Ehrenberg Werner Heisenberg Wess-Zumino-Witten model Weyl Weyl quantization Wheeler's delayed choice experiment white White Dwarf white dwarf material white noise whole number Wick rotation Wiener measure Wiener process Wightman axioms Wigner 3-j symbol
Wigner distribution Wigner function Wigner quasi-probability distribution Wigner's friend wiki Wild ARMs 3 Wilhelm Wien Willard Gibbs William Chinowsky William D. Phillips William Gibson (novelist) William Rowan Hamilton Willis Lamb Willoughby Smith winding number wiretap WKB approximation Wojciech H. Zurek
Wolfgang Ernst Pauli Wolfgang Ketterle Wolfgang Pauli work function wormhole X boson x ray X rays X-ray x-rays Yakir Aharonov Yang-Mills existence and mass gap YBCO Yukawa interaction Z boson Zagreus (Doctor Who audio) Zeeman effect Zeno's paradoxes#The arrow paradox zero-point energy zig-zag zinc sulfide
Zorn's lemma
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Quantum Mechanics
Compiled by: To Scilesco
Date: 14.07.2006
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Articles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Adiabatic invariant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Adiabatic theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Aharonov-Bohm effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Atomic theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Auger electron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Bargmann’s limit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Bohr model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Boltzmon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Born probability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Bose–Einstein condensate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Bose-Einstein statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Bose gas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Bound state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Bra-ket notation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Breit equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Canonical commutation relation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Chladni’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Classical limit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Coherent state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Complementarity (physics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Complete set of commuting observables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Compton scattering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Compton wavelength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Conjugate variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Constraint algebra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Coupling constant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Creation and annihilation operators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Dark energy star . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Davisson-Germer experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
De Broglie hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Degenerate energy level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Degenerate matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Delayed choice quantum eraser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Diabatic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Dirac equation in the algebra of physical space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Dirac operator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Double-slit experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Duru-Kleinert transformation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Ehrenfest theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
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Einselection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Electronic density . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Electronic Hamiltonian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Electronic state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Elementary particle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Energy level splitting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Entanglement witness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
EP Quantum Mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Excited state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Exotic hadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Faddeev equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Fano resonance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Fermi-Dirac statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Fermi energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Fermi gas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Fermi liquid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Fermi’s golden rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Field emission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Finite potential well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Flux quantization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Fock matrix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Fock space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Fock state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Franck-Hertz experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Free particle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Functional integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Geiger-Marsden experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Gibbs paradox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Heisenberg picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Hilbert space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Hydrogen atom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Hydrogen-like atom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Hyperﬁne structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Imaginary time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm . . . . . . . 195
Incompleteness of quantum physics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Interaction picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
Internal conversion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
Interpretation of quantum mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
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Josephson effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Klein-Gordon equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256
Ladder operators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
Large Area Neutron Detector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
Lindblad equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
London moment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
Many-body problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
Matrix mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Matrix model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Measurement in quantum mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Molecular Hamiltonian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
Multiplicative quantum number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
Neutral particle oscillations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
Normalisable wavefunction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
Normal mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
Nuclear physics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
Observable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Oil-drop experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Open quantum system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Optical theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Parity (physics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Particle in a box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic potential) . . . . . . . 338
Particle in a ring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
Particle in a spherically symmetric potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345
Path integral formulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
Penrose Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
Peres-Horodecki criterion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
Photoelectric effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
Planck particle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Planck postulate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Planck’s law of black body radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Plum pudding model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388
Position operator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Potential energy surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Potential well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
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POVM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
Probability amplitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 399
Probability current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
Projective Hilbert space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Pure gauge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Quantum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Quantum 1/f noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409
Quantum acoustics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
Quantum biology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
Quantum chaos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411
Quantum Critical Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Quantum entanglement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 414
Quantum ﬁeld theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 421
Quantum ﬂuctuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 436
Quantum foam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 438
Quantum Hall effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 440
Quantum harmonic oscillator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 442
Quantum indeterminacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451
Quantum leap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 458
Quantum level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459
Quantum mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459
Quantum mechanics, philosophy and controversy . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
Quantum mineralogy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485
Quantum phase transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486
Quantum solid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486
Quantum state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 487
Quantum statistical mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 490
Quantum superposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 494
Quantum Theory Parallels to Consciousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 495
Quantum tomography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497
Quantum tunnelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497
Quantum vibration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503
Quantum well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 504
Quantum Zeno effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505
Quasistability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 506
QWiki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507
Range criterion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507
Relativistic particle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 508
Resonance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509
Ring wave guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 512
Ritz method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 514
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Rutherford scattering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517
Rydberg formula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 518
Scattering channel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 521
Scattering theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 522
Schrödinger equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 524
Schrödinger picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 531
Schrödinger’s cat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 532
Schrödinger’s cat in ﬁction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 540
Schwinger’s variational principle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 545
Selection rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 546
Semiclassical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 548
Separable states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 549
Shelter Island Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 552
Single particle reconstruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555
Slater determinant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 556
Spin-1/2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 557
Spin-orbital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 559
Squashed entanglement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 560
Squeezed coherent state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 564
SQUID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 571
Stark effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 576
Stationary state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 581
Stern-Gerlach experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 582
Subatomic particle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 588
Superdense coding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 592
Superselection sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 594
Supersymmetric quantum mechanics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 596
Thermal de Broglie wavelength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 601
Topological order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 603
Topological quantum number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 607
Transformation theory (quantum mechanics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608
T-symmetry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 609
Two interfering electron wave-packets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616
Ultraviolet catastrophe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 617
Uncertainty principle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 619
Unitarity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 630
Unitarity bound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 630
Variational method (quantum mechanics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 631
Variational perturbation theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 633
Wavefunction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 634
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Wave-particle duality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 644
Wien’s displacement law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 652
Wigner-Eckart theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 656
Wigner quasi-probability distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 656
Work function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 661
Zeeman effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 663
GNU Free Documentation License . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 669
List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 673
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 675
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An adiabatic invariant in general is a property of motion which is conserved
to exponential accuracy in the small parameter representing the typical rate of
change of the gross properties of the body. For periodic motion, the adiabatic
invariants are the action integrals

p dq taken over a period of the motion.
These are constants of the motion and remain so even when changes are made
in the system, as long as the changes are slow compared to the period of mo-
tion.
In plasma physics there are three adiabatic invariants of charged particle mo-
tion.
The magnetic moment of a gyrating particle,
µ =
1
2
mv
2

B
,
is a constant of the motion (as long as q/m does not change). In fact, it is in-
variant to all orders in an expansion in ω/ω
c
, so the magnetic moment remains
nearly constant even for changes at rates approaching the gyrofrequency.
There are some important situations in which the magnetic moment is not
invariant:
• Magnetic pumping: When µ is constant, the perpendicular particle energy
is proportional to B, so the particles can be heated by increasing B, but this
is a ’one shot’ deal because the ﬁeld cannot be increased indeﬁnitely. On
the other hand, if the collision frequency is larger than the pump frequen-
cy, µ is no longer conserved. In particular, collisions allow net heating by
transferring some of the perpendicular energy to parallel energy.
• Cyclotron heating: If B is oscillated at the cyclotron frequency, the condi-
tion for adiabatic invariance is violated and heating is possible. In particu-
lar, the induced electric ﬁeld rotates in phase with some of the particles and
continuously accelerates them.
• Magnetic cusps: The magnetic ﬁeld at the center of a cusp vanishes, so the
cyclotron frequency is automatically smaller than the rate of any changes.
Thus the magnetic moment is not conserved and particles are scattered
relatively easily into the loss cone.
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The longitudinal invariant of a particle trapped in a magnetic mirror,
J =

b
a
v
[[
ds,
where the integral is between the two turning points, is also an adiabatic in-
variant. This guarantees, for example, that a particle in the ionosphere moving
condition is violated in transit-time magnetic pumping, where the length of a
magnetic mirror is oscillated at the bounce frequency, resulting in net heating.
The total magnetic ﬂux Φ enclosed by a drift surface is the third adiabatic in-
variant, associated with the periodic motion of mirror-trapped particles drifting
around the axis of the system. Because this drift motion is relatively slow, Φ is
often not conserved in practical applications.
• lecture notes on the second adiabatic invariant
1
• lecture notes on the third adiabatic invariant
2
Principal Authors: Art Carlson, MathMartin, SimonP, Gurch, Linas
The adiabatic theorem is an important theorem in quantum mechanics which
provides the foundation for perturbative quantum ﬁeld theory.
There are different versions of this theorem. Max Born and V. A. Fock proved
the original version in 1928:
A physical system remains in its instantaneous eigenstate if a given per-
turbation is acting on it slowly enough and if there is a gap between the
eigenvalue and the rest of the Hamiltonian’s spectrum.
http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/plasma/lectures/node24.html
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Aharonov-Bohm effect
To be more precise, the adiabatic theorem does not tell us that there is any
ﬁnite lower bound for the duration over which we have to perform a pertur-
bation on the system in order to keep it in its instantaneous eigenstate. It just
tells that this is the case if the rate of change approaches zero!
In 1990 J. E. Evron and A. Elgart found a newversion of the adiabatic theorem
that does not require gaps.
• J. E. Evron, A. Elgart: Adiabatic Theorem without a Gap Condition
3
Principal Authors: Artur adib, Deco, SeventyThree, Conscious, Charles Matthews, BeteNoir
Aharonov-Bohm effect
The Aharonov-Bohm effect, sometimes called the Ehrenberg-Siday-
Aharonov-Bohm effect, is a quantum mechanical phenomenon by which a
charged particle is affected by electromagnetic ﬁelds in regions from which the
particle is excluded. The earliest form of this effect was predicted by Werner
Ehrenberg and R.E. Siday in 1949, and similar effects were later rediscovered
by Aharonov and Bohm in 1959. Such effects are predicted to arise from both
magnetic ﬁelds and electric ﬁelds, but the magnetic version has been easier
to observe. In general, the profound consequence of Aharonov-Bohm effects
is that knowledge of the classical electromagnetic ﬁeld acting locally on a
particle is not sufﬁcient to predict its quantum-mechanical behavior.
After the 1959 paper was published, Bohm was informed that the effect had
been predicted by Rory E. Siday and Werner Ehrenberg a decade earlier; Bohm
and Aharonov duly cited this in their second paper (Peat, 1997, p. 192).
The most commonly described case, sometimes called the Aharonov-Bohm
solenoid effect, is when the wave function of a charged particle passing
around a long solenoid experiences a phase shift as a result of the enclosed
magnetic ﬁeld, despite the magnetic ﬁeld being zero in the region through
which the particle passes. This phase shift has been observed experimentally
by its effect on interference fringes. (There are also magnetic Aharonov-Bohm
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Aharonov-Bohm effect
effects on bound energies and scattering cross sections, but these cases have
not been experimentally tested.) An electric Aharonov-Bohm phenomenon was
also predicted, in which a charged particle is affected by regions with different
electrical potentials but zero electric ﬁeld, and this has also seen experimental
conﬁrmation. A separate "molecular" Aharonov-Bohm effect was proposed for
nuclear motion in multiply-connected regions, but this has been argued to be
essentially different, depending only on local quantities along the nuclear path
(Sjöqvist, 2002).
A general review can be found in Peshkin and Tonomura (1989).
Magnetic Aharonov-Bohm effect
The magnetic Aharonov-Bohm effect can be seen as a result of the requirement
that quantum physics be invariant with respect to the gauge choice for the
vector potential A. This implies that a particle with charge q travelling along
some path P in a region with zero magnetic ﬁeld (B = 0 = ∇A) must acquire
a phase φ; given in SI units by
φ =
q

P
A dx,
with a phase difference ∆φ between any two paths with the same endpoints
therefore determined by the magnetic ﬂux Φ through the area between the
paths (via Stokes theorem and ∇A = B), and given by:
∆φ =

.
This phase difference can be observed by placing a shielded solenoid between
the slits of a double-slit experiment (or equivalent). A shielded solenoid en-
closes a magnetic ﬁeld B, but does not produce any magnetic ﬁeld outside of
its cylinder, and thus the charged particle (e.g. an electron) passing outside
experiences no classical effect. However, there is a (curl-free) vector potential
outside the solenoid with an enclosed ﬂux, and so the relative phase of particles
passing through one slit or the other is altered by whether the magnetically
shielded solenoid current is turned on. This corresponds to an observable shift
of the interference fringes on the observation plane.
The same phase effect is responsible for the quantized-ﬂux requirement in su-
perconducting loops. This quantization is due to the fact that the supercon-
ducting wave function must be single valued: its phase difference ∆φ around
a closed loop must be an integer multiple of 2π (with the charge q=2e for the
electron Cooper pairs), and thus the ﬂux Φ must be a multiple of h/2e. The
superconducting ﬂux quantum was actually predicted prior to Aharonov and
Bohm, by London (1948) using a phenomenological model.
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Aharonov-Bohm effect
Figure 1 Schematic of double-slit experiment in which Aharonov-Bohm effect can be observed:
electrons pass through two slits, interfering at an observation screen, with the interference pattern
shifted when a magnetic ﬁeld B is turned on in the shielded cylindrical solenoid.
The magnetic Aharonov-Bohm effect is also closely related to Dirac’s argument
that the existence of a magnetic monopole necessarily implies that both electric
and magnetic charges are quantized. A magnetic monopole implies a mathe-
matical singularity in the vector potential, which can be expressed as an in-
ﬁnitely long Dirac string of inﬁnitesimal diameter that contains the equivalent
of all of the 4πg ﬂux from a monopole "charge" g. Thus, assuming the absence
of an inﬁnite-range scattering effect by this arbitrary choice of singularity, the
requirement of single-valued wave functions (as above) necessitates charge-
quantization: 2qg/c must be an integer (in cgs units) for any electric charge
q and magnetic charge g.
The magnetic Aharonov-Bohm effect was experimentally conﬁrmed by Osak-
abe et al. (1986), following earlier work summarized in Olariu and Popèscu
(1984). Its scope and application continues to expand. Webb et al. (1985)
demonstrated Aharonov-Bohm oscillations in ordinary, non-superconducting
metallic rings; for a discussion, see Schwarzschild (1986) and Imry & Webb
(1989). Bachtold et al. (1999) detected the effect in carbon nanotubes; for a
discussion, see Kong et al. (2004).
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Aharonov-Bohm effect
Electric Aharonov-Bohm effect
Just as the phase of the wave function depends upon the magnetic vector po-
tential, it also depends upon the scalar electric potential. By constructing a
situation in which the electrostatic potential varies for two paths of a particle,
through regions of zero electric ﬁeld, an observable Aharonov-Bohm interfer-
ence phenomenon from the phase shift has been predicted; again, the absence
of an electric ﬁeld means that, classically, there would be no effect.
From the →Schrödinger equation, the phase of an eigenfunction with energy E
goes as exp(−iEt/). The energy, however, will depend upon the electrostatic
potential V for a particle with charge q. In particular, for a region with constant
potential V (zero ﬁeld), the electric potential energy qV is simply added to E,
resulting in a phase shift:
∆φ = −
qV t

,
where t is the time spent in the potential.
The initial theoretical proposal for this effect suggested an experiment where
charges pass through conducting cylinders along two paths, which shield the
particles from external electric ﬁelds in the regions where they travel, but still
allow a varying potential to be applied by charging the cylinders. This proved
difﬁcult to realize, however. Instead, a different experiment was proposed
involving a ring geometry interrupted by tunnel barriers, with a bias voltage V
relating the potentials of the two halves of the ring. This situation results in
an Aharonov-Bohm phase shift as above, and was observed experimentally in
1998.
Mathematical interpretation
In the terms of modern differential geometry, the Aharonov-Bohm effect can be
understood to be the holonomy of the complex-valued line bundle representing
the electromagnetic ﬁeld. The connection on the line bundle is given by the
electromagnetic potential A, and thus the electromagnetic ﬁeld strength is the
curvature of the line bundle F=dA. The integral of A around a closed loop is
the holonomy, which, by Stokes theorem, is the magnetic ﬁeld threading the
loop. Thus the wave function of the electron can be seen to be directly coupled
to the complex line bundle representing the electromagnetic ﬁeld.
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Aharonov-Bohm effect
References
• Aharonov, Y. and D. Bohm, "Signiﬁcance of electromagnetic potentials in
quantum theory," Phys. Rev. 115, 485–491 (1959).
• Bachtold, A., C. Strunk, J. P. Salvetat, J. M. Bonard, L. Forro, T. Nussbaumer
and C. Schonenberger
4
, “Aharonov-Bohm oscillations in carbon nanotubes”,
Nature 397, 673 (1999).
• Ehrenberg, W. and R. E. Siday, "The Refractive Index in Electron Optics and
the Principles of Dynamics," Proc. Phys. Soc. London Sect. B 62, 8–21
(1949).
• Imry, Y. and R. A. Webb, "Quantum Interference and the Aharonov-Bohm
Effect," Scientiﬁc American, 260(4), April 1989.
• Kong, J., L. Kouwenhoven, and C. Dekker, "Quantum change for nan-
otubes", Physics Web
5
(July 2004).
• London, F. "On the problem of the molecular theory of superconductivity,"
Phys. Rev. 74, 562–573 (1948).
• Murray, M. Line Bundles
6
, (2002).
• Olariu, S. and I. Iovitzu Popèscu, "The quantum effects of electromagnetic
ﬂuxes," Rev. Mod. Phys. 57, 339–436 (1985).
• Osakabe, N., T. Matsuda, T. Kawasaki, J. Endo, A. Tonomura, S. Yano, and
H. Yamada, "Experimental conﬁrmation of Aharonov-Bohm effect using a
toroidal magnetic ﬁeld conﬁned by a superconductor." Phys Rev A. 34(2):
815-822 (1986). Abstract and full text.
7
• Peat, F. David
8
, Inﬁnite Potential: The Life and Times of David Bohm
• Peshkin, M.
9
and Tonomura, A., The Aharonov-Bohm effect (Springer-
Verlag: Berlin, 1989). ISBN 3-540-51567-4.
• Schwarzschild, B. "Currents in Normal-Metal Rings Exhibit Aharonov-Bohm
Effect." Phys. Today 39, 17–20, Jan. 1986.
• Sjöqvist, E. "Locality and topology in the molecular Aharonov-Bohm effect,"
Phys. Rev. Lett. 89 (21), 210401/1–3 (2002).
http://pages.unibas.ch/phys-meso/
4
http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/17/7/3/1
5
6
http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRA/v34/i2/p815_1
7
http://www.fdavidpeat.com/
8
http://www.phy.anl.gov/theory/staff/mp.html
9
D
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Atomic theory
• van Oudenaarden, A., M. H. Devoret, Yu. V. Nazarov, and J. E. Mooij,
"Magneto-electric Aharonov-Bohm effect in metal rings," Nature 391, 768–
770 (1998).
• Webb, R., S. Washburn, C. Umbach, and R. Laibowitz. Phys. Rev. Lett. 54,
2696 (1985).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aharonov-Bohm_effect
Principal Authors: Stevenj, Linas, Liontooth, Reddi, CYD
Atomic theory
In chemistry and physics, atomic theory is a theory of the nature of matter.
It states that all matter is composed of atoms. The philosophical background
of the atomic theory is called atomism. The theory applies to the common
phases of matter, namely solids, liquids and gases, as directly experienced on
Earth. Strictly speaking, it is not the appropriate theory for plasmas or neutron
stars where unusual environments such as extremes of temperature or density
prevent atoms from forming.
Importance
Arguably, the atomic theory is one of the most important theories in the history
of science, with wide-ranging implications for both pure and applied science.
The theory is largely credited to John Dalton, an 18th- and 19th century British
chemist and physicist.
Modern chemistry (and biochemistry) is based upon the theory that all matter
is made up of atoms of different elements, which cannot be transmuted by
chemical means. In turn, chemistry has allowed for the development of the
pharmaceutical industry, the petrochemical industry, and many others.
Much of thermodynamics is understandable in terms of kinetic theory, whereby
gases are considered to be made up of either atoms or molecules, behaving in
accordance with Newton’s laws of motion. This was, in turn, a large driving
force behind the industrial revolution.
Indeed, many macroscopic properties of matter are best understood in terms
of atoms. Other examples include friction, material science and semiconductor
theory. The latter is particularly important, as it is the foundation of electronics.
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Atomic theory
Historical precursors
Early atomism
Main article: Atomism
From the 6th century BC, Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina philosophers in ancient
India developed the earliest atomic theories. The ﬁrst philosopher who formu-
lated ideas about the atom in a systematic manner was Kanada who lived in
the 6th century BC. Another Indian philosopher, Pakudha Katyayana who also
lived in the 6th century BC and was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha, had
also propounded ideas about the atomic constitution of the material world. In-
dian atomists believed that an atom could be one of up to six elements, with
each element having up to 24 properties. They developed detailed theories of
how atoms could combine, react, vibrate, move, and perform other actions,
and had particularly elaborate theories of how atoms combine, which explains
how atoms ﬁrst combine in pairs, and then group into trios of pairs, which are
the smallest visible units of matter. This parallels with the structure of mod-
ern atomic theory, in which pairs or triplets of supposedly fundamental quarks
combine to create most typical forms of matter. They had also suggested the
possibility of splitting an atom which, as we know today, is the source of atomic
energy. (See Indian atomism for more details.)
Democritus and Leucippus, Greek philosophers in the 5th century BC, present-
ed a theory of atoms. (See Atomism for more details.) The Greeks believed
that atoms were all made of the same material but had different shapes and
sizes, which determined the physical properties of the material. For instance,
the atoms of a liquid were thought to be smooth, allowing them to slide over
each other. None of these ideas, however, were founded in scientiﬁc experi-
mentation.
During the Middle Ages (the Islamic Golden Age), Islamic atomists develop
atomic theories that represent a synthesis of both Greek and Indian atomism.
(See Islamic atomism for more details.) Older Greek and Indian ideas were fur-
ther developed by Islamic atomists, along with new Islamic ideas, such as the
possibility of there being particles smaller than an atom. As Islamic inﬂuence
began spreading through Europe, the ideas of Islamic atomism, along with the
older ideas of Greek and Indian atomism, spread throughout Europe by the
end of the Middle Ages, where modern atomic theories began taking shape.
Birth of modern atomic theory
In 1808, John Dalton proposed that an element is composed of atoms of a sin-
gle, unique type, and that although their shape and structure was immutable,
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Atomic theory
atoms of different elements could combine to form more complex structures
(chemical compounds). He deduced this after the experimental discovery of
the law of multiple proportions — that is, if two elements form more than one
compound between them, then the ratios of the masses of the second element
which combine with a ﬁxed mass of the ﬁrst element will be ratios of small
whole numbers.
The experiment in question involved combining nitrous oxide (NO) with oxy-
gen (O
2
). In one combination, these gases formed dinitrogen trioxide (N
2
O
3
),
but when he repeated the combination with double the amount of oxygen (a
ratio of 1:2), they instead formed nitrogen dioxide (NO
2
).
4NO + O
2
→2N
2
O
3
4NO + 2O
2
→4NO
2
Atomic theory conﬂicted with the theory of inﬁnite divisibility, which states
that matter can always be divided into smaller parts. In 1827, biologist Robert
Brown observed that pollen grains ﬂoating in water constantly jiggled about
for no apparent reason. In 1905, Albert Einstein theorised that this Brownian
motion was caused by the water molecules continuously knocking the grains
about, and developed a mathematical theory around it. This theory was vali-
dated experimentally in 1911 by French physicist Jean Perrin.
Discovery of subatomic particles
For much of this time, atoms were thought to be the smallest possible divi-
sion of matter. However, in 1897, J.J. Thomson published his work proving
that cathode rays are made of negatively charged particles (electrons). Since
cathode rays are emitted from matter, this proved that atoms are made up of
subatomic particles and are therefore divisible, and not the indivisible atomos
postulated by Democritus. Physicists later invented a new term for such in-
divisible units, "elementary particles", since the word atom had come into its
common modern use.
Study of atomic structure
At ﬁrst, it was believed that the light electrons were distributed in rings or oth-
er orbits in a more or less uniform sea or cloud of positive charge (the plum
pudding model). However, an experiment conducted in 1909 by colleagues
of Ernest Rutherford demonstrated that atoms have a most of their mass and
also their positive charge concentrated in a very small fraction of their vol-
ume, a region which Rutherford assumed to be at the very center of the atom.
In the gold foil experiment, alpha particles (emitted by polonium) were shot
through a sheet of gold (striking a ﬂuorescent screen on the other side). The
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Atomic theory
experimenters expected all the alpha particles to pass through without signif-
icant deﬂection, given the uniform distribution of positive charge in the plum
pudding model. On the contrary, about 1 in 8000 of the alpha particles were
heavily deﬂected (by more than 90 degrees). This led Rutherford to propose
the planetary model of the atom in which pointlike electrons orbited in the
space around a massive compact nucleus like planets orbiting the Sun.
The nucleus was later discovered to contain protons, and further experimenta-
tion by Rutherford found that the nuclear mass of most atoms surpassed that
of the protons it possessed; this led him to postulate the existence of neutrons,
whose existence would be proven in 1932 by James Chadwick.
The planetary model of the atomstill had shortcomings. First, a moving electric
charge emits electromagnetic waves; according to classical electromagnetism,
an orbiting charge would steadily lose energy and spiral towards the nucleus,
colliding with it in a tiny fraction of a second. Second, the model did not
explain why excited atoms emit light only in certain discrete spectra.
Quantum theory revolutionized physics at the beginning of the 20
th
century
when Max Planck and Albert Einstein postulated that light energy is emitted or
absorbed in ﬁxed amounts known as quanta. In 1913, Niels Bohr used this idea
in his →Bohr model of the atom, in which the electrons could only orbit the
nucleus in particular circular orbits with ﬁxed angular momentum and energy.
They were not allowed to spiral into the nucleus, because they could not lose
energy in a continuous manner; they could only make quantum leaps between
ﬁxed energy levels. Bohr’s model was extended by Arnold Sommerfeld in 1916
to include elliptical orbits, using a quantization of generalized momentum.
The ad hoc Bohr-Sommerfeld model was extremely difﬁcult to use, but it made
impressive predictions in agreement with certain spectral properties. However,
the model was unable to explain multielectron atoms, predict transition rates
or describe ﬁne and hyperﬁne structure. In 1925, Erwin Schrödinger developed
a full theory of quantum mechanics, described by the →Schrödinger equation.
Together with Wolfgang Pauli’s exclusion principle, this allowed study of atoms
with great precision when digital computers became available. Even today,
these theories are used in the Hartree-Fock quantum chemical method to de-
termine the energy levels of atoms. Further reﬁnements of quantum theory
such as the Dirac equation and quantum ﬁeld theory made smaller impacts on
the theory of atoms.
Another model of historical interest, proposed by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1916, had
cubical atoms with electrons statically held at the corners. The cubes could
share edges or faces to form chemical bonds. This model was created to ac-
count for chemical phenomena such as bonding, rather than physical phenom-
ena such as atomic spectra.
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Auger electron
• History of thermodynamics
• Kinetic theory
• Development of Quantum Theory
• Quantum Chemistry
• John Dalton
Related lists
• Timeline of chemical element discovery
• Timeline of quantum mechanics, molecular physics, atomic physics, nuclear
physics, and particle physics
• Timeline of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and random processes
References
• Ancient Atomism
10
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_theory
Principal Authors: Vsmith, Brighterorange, Ragesoss, Voyajer, Karol Langner, Linas, Rho, Timmy2,
Dustimagic, Eric Forste
Auger electron
Auger emission (pronounced [o e]) is a phenomenon in physics in which the
emission of an electron from an atom causes the emission of a second electron.
This second ejected electron is called an Auger electron.
The name Auger electron comes from one of its discoverers, Pierre Victor
Auger. The name does not come from the similarly-named device, the auger.
When an electron is removed from a core level of an atom, leaving a vacancy,
an electron from a higher energy level may fall into the vacancy, resulting in a
release of energy. Although sometimes this energy is released in the form of an
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atomism-ancient/
10
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Bargmann’s limit
emitted photon, the energy can also be transferred to another electron, which
is then ejected from the atom.
Upon ejection the kinetic energy of the Auger electron corresponds to the dif-
ference between the energy of the initial electronic transition and the ioniza-
tion energy for the shell from which the Auger electron was ejected. These
energy levels depend on the type of atom and the chemical environment in
which the atom was located. Auger electron spectroscopy stimulates the emis-
sion of Auger electrons by bombarding a sample with either X-rays or energetic
electrons and measures the intensity of Auger electrons as a function of the
Auger electron energy. The resulting spectra can be used to determine the
identity of the emitting atoms and some information about their environment.
A similar Auger effect occurs in semiconductors. An electron and electron hole
can recombine giving up their energy to an electron in the conduction band,
increasing its energy.
The reverse effect is known as impact ionization.
History
The Auger emission process was discovered in the 1920s by Lise Meitner, an
Austrian physicist. Subsequently Pierre Victor Auger, a French Physicist, also
discovered the process. Auger reported the discovery in the journal Radium in
1925 and it was Auger that had the process named after him.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auger_electron
Principal Authors: AjAldous, Keenan Pepper, Srlefﬂer, Stokerm, Tristanb
Bargmann’s limit
In quantum mechanics, Bargmann’s limit, named for Valentine Bargmann,
provides an upper bound on the number N
l
of bound states in a system. It
takes the form
N
l

1
2l+1
2m

2

0
r[V (r)[
V <0
dr
Professor Hagen says, "The Bargmann limit provides, if not the best bound, a
pretty darn good one."
Note that the delta function potential attains this limit.
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Bohr model
References
• Bargmann, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 38 961 (1952)
• Schwinger, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 47 122 (1961)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bargmann%27s_limit
Principal Authors: TobinFricke, Covington, Amalas, Charles Matthews, Pjacobi
Bohr model
Figure 2 The Bohr model of the atom
In atomic physics, the Bohr model depicts the atom as a small, positive-
ly charged nucleus surrounded by waves of electrons in orbit — similar in
structure to the solar system, but with electrostatic forces providing attraction,
rather than gravity, and with waves spread over entire orbit instead of localized
planets.
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Bohr model
Introduced by Niels Bohr in 1913, the model’s key success was in explain-
ing the →Rydberg formula for the spectral emission lines of atomic hydrogen;
while the Rydberg formula had been known experimentally, it did not gain a
theoretical underpinning until the Bohr model was introduced.
The Bohr model is a primitive model of the hydrogen atom which cannot ex-
plain the ﬁne structure of the hydrogen atom nor any of the heavier atoms. As
a theory, it can be derived as a ﬁrst-order approximation of the hydrogen atom
in the broader and much more accurate quantum mechanics, and thus may be
considered to be an obsolete scientiﬁc theory. However, because of its simplic-
ity, the Bohr model is still commonly taught to introduce students to quantum
mechanics.
History
In the early 20th century, experiments by Ernest Rutherford and others had
established that atoms consisted of a diffuse cloud of negatively charged elec-
trons surrounding a small, dense, positively charged nucleus. Given this ex-
perimental data, it is quite natural to consider a planetary model for the atom,
with electrons orbiting a sun-like nucleus. However, a naive planetary model
has several difﬁculties, the most serious of which is the loss of energy by syn-
chrotron radiation.That is, an accelerating electric charge emits electromag-
netic waves which carry energy; thus, with each orbit around the nucleus, the
electron would radiate away a bit of its orbital energy, gradually spiralling in-
wards to the nucleus until the atom was no more. A quick calculation shows
that this would happen almost instantly; thus, the naive planetary theory can-
not explain why atoms are extremely long-lived.
The naive planetary model also failed to explain atomic spectra, the observed
discrete spectrum of light emitted by electrically excited atoms. Late 19th cen-
tury experiments with electric discharges through various low-pressure gasses
in evacuated glass tubes had shown that atoms will emit light (that is, electro-
magnetic radiation), but only at certain discrete frequencies. A naive planetary
model cannot explain this.
To overcome these difﬁculties, Niels Bohr proposed, in 1913, what is now
called the Bohr model of the atom. The key ideas were:
• The orbiting electrons existed in orbits that had discrete quantized energies.
That is, not every orbit is possible but only certain speciﬁc ones.
• The laws of classical mechanics do not apply when electrons make the jump
from one allowed orbit to another.
• When an electron makes a jump from one orbit to another the energy dif-
ference is carried off (or supplied) by a single quantum of light (called a
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Bohr model
photon) which has an energy equal to the energy difference between the
two orbitals.
• The allowed orbits depend on quantized (discrete) values of orbital angular
momentum, L according to the equation
L = n = n
h

Where n = 1,2,3, and is called the principal quantum number, and h is
Planck’s constant.
Assumption (4) states that the lowest value of n is 1. This corresponds to a
smallest possible radius of 0.0529 nm. This is known as the Bohr radius. Once
an electron is in this lowest orbit, it can get no closer to the proton.
The Bohr model is sometimes known as the semiclassical model of the atom,
as it adds some primitive quantization conditions to what is otherwise a clas-
sical mechanics treatment. The Bohr model is certainly not a full quantum
mechanical description of the atom. Assumption 2) states that the laws of clas-
sical mechanics don’t apply during a quantum jump, but it doesn’t state what
laws should replace classical mechanics. Assumption 4) states that angular
momentum is quantised but does not explain why.
Reﬁnements
Several enhancements to the Bohr model were proposed; most notably the
Sommerfeld model or Bohr-Sommerfeld model, which attempted to add
support for elliptical orbits to the Bohr model’s circular orbits. This model
the Sommerfeld-Wilson quantization condition

pdq = nh
where p is the generalized momentum conjugate to the angular generalized
coordinate q; the integral is the action of action-angle coordinates.
The Bohr-Sommerfeld model proved to be extremely difﬁcult and unwieldy
when its mathematical treatment was further ﬂeshed out. In particular, the ap-
plication of traditional perturbation theory from classical planetary mechanics
led to further confusions and difﬁculties. In the end, the model was abandoned
in favour of the full quantum mechanical treatment of the hydrogen atom, in
1925, using Schrödinger’s wave mechanics.
However, this is not to say that the Bohr model was without its successes. Cal-
culations based on the Bohr-Sommerfeld model were able to accurately explain
a number of more complex atomic spectral effects. For example, up to ﬁrst-
order perturbation, the Bohr model and quantum mechanics make the same
predictions for the spectral line splitting in the →Stark effect. At higher-order
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Bohr model
perturbations, however, the Bohr model and quantum mechanics differ, and
measurements of the Stark effect under high ﬁeld strengths helped conﬁrm the
correctness of quantum mechanics over the Bohr model.
The Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization condition as ﬁrst formulated can be viewed
as a rough early draft of the more sophisticated condition that the symplectic
form of a classical phase space M be integral; that is, that it lie in the image of
ˇ
H
2
(M, Z) →
ˇ
H
2
(M, R) →H
2
DR
(M, R) , where the ﬁrst map is the homo-
morphism of
ˇ
Cech cohomology groups induced by the inclusion of the integers
in the reals, and the second map is the natural isomorphism between the
ˇ
Cech
cohomology and the de Rham cohomology groups. This condition guarantees
that the symplectic form arise as the curvature form of a connection of a Her-
mitian line bundle. This line bundle is then called a prequantization in the
theory of geometric quantization.
Electron energy levels in hydrogen
The Bohr model is accurate only for one-electron systems such as the hydrogen
atom or singly-ionized helium. This section uses the Bohr model to derive the
energy levels of hydrogen.
The derivation starts with three simple assumptions:
1) All particles are wavelike, and an electron’s wavelength λ, is related to
its velocity v by:
λ =
h
m
e
v
where h is Planck’s Constant, and m
e
is the mass of the electron. Bohr
did not make this assumption (known as the de Broglie hypothesis) in
his original derivation, because it hadn’t been proposed at the time.
However it allows the following intuitive statement.
2) The circumference of the electron’s orbit must be an integer multiple of
its wavelength:
2πr = nλ
where r is the radius of the electron’s orbit, and n is a positive integer.
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Bohr model
3) The electron is held in orbit by the coulomb force. That is, the coulomb
force is equal to the centripetal force:
kq
2
e
r
2
=
m
e
v
2
r
where k = 1/(4π
0
), and q
e
is the charge of the electron.
These are three equations with three unknowns: λ, r, v. After solving this
system of equations to ﬁnd an equation for just v, it is placed into the equation
for the total energy of the electron:
Because of the virial theorem, the total energy simpliﬁes to
E = −
1
2
m
e
v
2
Substituting, one obtains the energy of the different levels of hydrogen:
Or, after plugging in values for the constants,
Thus, the lowest energy level of hydrogen (n = 1) is about -13.6 eV. The next
energy level (n = 2) is -3.4 eV. The third (n = 3) is -1.51 eV, and so on. Note
that these energies are less than zero, meaning that the electron is in a bound
state with the proton. Positive energy states correspond to the ionized atom
where the electron is no longer bound, but is in a scattering state.
Energy in terms of other constants
Starting with what we found above,
E
n
=
−m
e
q
4
e
8h
2

2
0
1
n
2
We can multiply top and bottom by c
2
, and we’ll arrive at
E
n
=
−m
e
c
2
q
4
e
8h
2
c
2

2
0
1
n
2
or re-grouping them to make it more clear:
E
n
= −
1
2
m
e
c
2

q
4
e
4h
2
c
2

2
0

1
n
2
From here we can now write the energy level equation in terms of other con-
stants to:
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Bohr model
E
n
=
−E
r
α
2
2n
2
where,
E
n
is the energy level
E
r
is the rest energy of the electron
α is the ﬁne structure constant
n is the principal quantum number.
Rydberg formula
The →Rydberg formula describes the transitions or quantum jumps between
one energy level and another. When the electron moves from one energy level
to another, a photon is given off. Using the derived formula for the different
’energy’ levels of hydrogen one may determine the ’wavelengths’ of light that a
hydrogen atom can give off.
The energy of photons that a hydrogen atom can give off are given by the
difference of two hydrogen energy levels:
E = E
i
−E
f
=
m
e
e
4
8h
2

2
0

1
n
2
f

1
n
2
i

where n
f
means the ﬁnal energy level, and n
i
means the initial energy
level. It is assumed that the ﬁnal energy level is less than the initial energy
level.
Since the energy of a photon is
E =
hc
λ
the wavelength of the photon given off is
1
λ
=
m
e
e
4
8ch
3

2
0

1
n
2
f

1
n
2
i

The above is known as the →Rydberg formula. This formula was known in
the nineteenth century to scientists studying spectroscopy, but there was no
theoretical justiﬁcation for the formula until Bohr derived it, more or less along
the lines above.
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Bohr model
Shortcomings
The Bohr model gives an incorrect value L = for the ground state orbital
angular momentum. The angular momentum in the true ground state is known
to be zero.
The Bohr model also has difﬁculty with or fails to explain:
• The spectra of larger atoms. At best, it can make some approximate predic-
tions about the emission spectra for atoms with a single outer-shell electron
(atoms in the lithium group.)
• The relative intensities of spectral lines; although in some simple cases,
it was able to provide reasonable estimates (for example, calculations by
Kramers for the →Stark effect).
• The existence of ﬁne structure and hyperﬁne structure in spectral lines.
• The →Zeeman effect - changes in spectral lines due to external magnetic
ﬁelds.
• →Franck-Hertz experiment provided early support for the Bohr model.
• Inert pair effect is adequately explained by means of the Bohr model.
• Lyman series
• →Schrödinger equation
References
Historical
• Niels Bohr (1913). " On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules (Part 1 of
3)
11
". Philosophical Magazine 26: 1-25.
• Niels Bohr (1913). "On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules, Part II
Systems Containing Only a Single Nucleus". Philosophical Magazine 26:
476-502.
• Niels Bohr (1913). "On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules, Part III".
Philosophical Magazine 26: 857-875.
• Niels Bohr (1914). "The spectra of helium and hydrogen". Nature 92: 231-
232.
http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Bohr/Bohr-1913a.html
11
D
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Boltzmon
• Niels Bohr (1921). " Atomic Structure
12
". Nature.
• A. Einstein (1917). "Zum Quantensatz von Sommerfeld und Epstein". Ver-
handlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft 19: 82-92. Reprint-
ed in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, A. Engel translator, (1997)
Princeton University Press, Princeton. 6 p.434. (Provides an elegant re-
formulation of the Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization conditions, as well as an
important insight into the quantization of non-integrable (chaotic) dynam-
ical systems.)
Modern
• Paul Tipler and Ralph Llewellyn (2002). Modern Physics (4th ed.). W. H.
Freeman. ISBN 0716743450.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohr_model
Principal Authors: Linas, JabberWok, Christopher Thomas, Tim Starling, MathKnight, Munchkinguy,
GoldenBoar, El C, Glenn
Boltzmon
A boltzmon (named after the nineteenth-century thermodynamicist Ludwig
Boltzmann) is a theoretical subatomic particle postulated to be created after
the explosion of a black hole.
The boltzmon was proposed as a means of explaining what happens to the in-
formation of objects consumed by black holes while still preserving purity. One
theory, proposed by the Dutch researcher Gerard ’t Hooft, is that information is
contained in the particles that Hawking-radiate from the black hole. The other
theory includes the boltzmon particle.
This theory postulates that a black hole leaves behind a remnant when it
explodes—a single particle that has been dubbed the boltzmon. A boltzmon
would be about the size of the Planck-Wheeler area, or 10
-66
cm
2
, which is
supposedly about as small as anything can be. It would contain the sum to-
tal of all the information ever consumed by the black hole, so each boltzmon
would be unique in the universe. While a typical particle has a few states (pos-
itive or negative electrical charge, integral or fractional spin, etc.), a boltzmon
http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Bohr-Nature-1921.html
12
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Bose–Einstein condensate
would have an inﬁnite number of states and as a result, would be highly un-
stable. If disturbed, it might make a hole in spacetime and vanish into it, thus
departing from our universe.
References
• Ferris, Timothy. The Whole Shebang, 1997 Simon & Schuster.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boltzmon
Born probability
In quantum mechanics, the Born probability is a probability of an event cal-
culated from a wavefunction or more generally from the density matrix. The
probability (or its density) equals the squared modulus of the complex ampli-
tude a
n
:
P = [a
n
[
2
The interpretation that the physical meaning of the wavefunction is proba-
bilistic was proposed by Max Born, and it became a pillar of the Copenhagen
interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_probability
Principal Authors: Jag123, Lumidek, Karol Langner, Conscious
Bose–Einstein condensate
A Bose–Einstein condensate is a phase of matter formed by bosons cooled to
temperatures very near to absolute zero. The ﬁrst such condensate was pro-
duced by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman in 1995 at the University of Colorado at
Boulder, using a gas of rubidium atoms cooled to 170 nanokelvins (nK). Under
such conditions, a large fraction of the atoms collapse into the lowest quantum
state, at which point quantum effects become apparent on a macroscopic scale.
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Bose–Einstein condensate
Figure 3 Velocity-distribution data conﬁrming the discovery of a new phase of matter, the Bose–
Einstein condensate, out of a gas of rubidium atoms. The false colors indicate the number of atoms
at each velocity, with red being the fewest and white being the most. The areas appearing white
and light blue are at the lowest velocities. Left: just before the appearance of the Bose–Einstein
condensate. Center: just after the appearance of the condensate. Right: after further evaporation,
leaving a sample of nearly pure condensate. The peak is not inﬁnitely narrow because of the
Heisenberg uncertainty principle: since the atoms are trapped in a particular region of space, their
velocity distribution necessarily possesses a certain minimum width.
Introduction
Condensates are extremely low temperature ﬂuids with properties that are cur-
rently not completely understood, such as spontaneously ﬂowing out of their
container. The effect is the consequence of quantum mechanics, which states
that systems can only acquire energy in discrete steps. Now, if a system is at
such a low temperature that it is in the lowest energy state, it is no longer
possible for it to reduce its energy, not even by friction. Therefore, without
friction, the ﬂuid will easily overcome gravity because of adhesion between the
ﬂuid and the container wall, and it will take up the most favorable position,
i.e. all around the container.
Theory
The collapse of the atoms into a single quantum state is known as Bose con-
densation or Bose–Einstein condensation. This phenomenon was predicted
in 1925 by Albert Einstein, by generalizing Satyendra Nath Bose’s work on the
statistical mechanics of (massless) photons to (massive) atoms. (The Einstein
manuscript, believed to be lost, was found in a library at Leiden University in
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Bose–Einstein condensate
2005.) The result of the efforts of Bose and Einstein is the concept of a →Bose
gas, governed by the →Bose-Einstein statistics, which describes the statisti-
cal distribution of identical particles with integer spin, now known as bosons.
Bosonic particles, which include the photon as well as atoms such as helium-4,
are allowed to share quantum states with each other. Einstein speculated that
cooling bosonic atoms to a very low temperature would cause them to fall (or
"condense") into the lowest accessible quantum state, resulting in a new form
of matter.
This transition occurs below a critical temperature, which for a uniform three-
dimensional gas consisting of non-interacting particles with no apparent inter-
nal degrees of freedom is given by:
T
c
=

n
ζ(3/2)

2/3
h
2
2πmk
B
where:
<dl><dd>
T
c
is the critical temperature,
n the particle density,
m the mass per boson,
h Planck’s constant,
k
B
the Boltzmann constant, and
ζ the Riemann zeta function; ζ(3/2) ≈ 2.6124.
</dd></dl>
Discovery
In 1938, Pyotr Kapitsa, John Allen and Don Misener discovered that helium-4
became a new kind of ﬂuid, now known as a superﬂuid, at temperatures below
2.17 kelvins (K) (lambda point). Superﬂuid helium has many unusual prop-
erties, including zero viscosity (the ability to ﬂow without dissipating energy)
and the existence of quantized vortices. It was quickly realized that the super-
ﬂuidity was due to Bose–Einstein condensation of the helium-4 atoms, which
are bosons. In fact, many of the properties of superﬂuid helium also appear in
the gaseous Bose–Einstein condensates created by Cornell, Wieman and Ket-
terle (see below). However, superﬂuid helium-4 is not commonly referred to
as a "Bose–Einstein condensate" because it is a liquid rather than a gas, which
means that the interactions between the atoms are relatively strong. The origi-
nal theory of Bose–Einstein condensation must be heavily modiﬁed in order to
describe it.
The ﬁrst "true" Bose–Einstein condensate was created by Eric Cornell, Carl Wie-
man, and co-workers at JILA on June 5, 1995. They did this by cooling a dilute
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Bose–Einstein condensate
vapor consisting of approximately 2000 rubidium-87 atoms to below 170 nK
using a combination of laser cooling (a technique that won its inventors Steven
Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, and William D. Phillips the 1997 Nobel Prize in
Physics) and magnetic evaporative cooling. About four months later, an in-
dependent effort led by Wolfgang Ketterle at MIT created a condensate made
allowing him to obtain several important results such as the observation of
quantum mechanical interference between two different condensates. Cornell,
Wieman and Ketterle won the 2001 Nobel Prize for their achievement.
The Bose–Einstein condensation also applies to quasiparticles in solids. A
magnon in an antiferromagnet carries spin 1 and thus obeys the Bose–Einstein
statistics. The density of magnons is controlled by an external magnetic ﬁeld,
which plays the role of the magnon chemical potential. This technique pro-
vides access to a wide range of boson densities from the limit of a dilute Bose
gas to that of a strongly interacting Bose liquid. A magnetic ordering observed
at the point of condensation is the analog of superﬂuidity. In 1999 Bose con-
densation of magnons was demonstrated in the antiferromagnet TlCuCl3 by
Oosawa et al. The condensation was observed at temperatures as large as 14
K. Such a high transition temperature (relative to that of atomic gases) is due to
a greater density achievable with magnons and a smaller mass (roughly equal
to the mass of an electron).
Unusual characteristics
Further experimentation by the JILA team in 2000 uncovered a hitherto un-
known property of Bose–Einstein condensate. Cornell, Wieman, and their
coworkers originally used rubidium-87, an isotope whose atoms naturally repel
each other making a more stable condensate. The JILA team instrumentation
now had better control over the condensate so experimentation was made on
naturally attracting atoms of another rubidium isotope, rubidium-85 (having
negative atom-atom scattering length). Through a process called Feshbach res-
onance involving a sweep of the magnetic ﬁeld causing spin ﬂip collisions, the
JILA researchers lowered the characteristic, discrete energies at which the ru-
bidium atoms bond into molecules making their Rb-85 atoms repulsive and
creating a stable condensate. The reversible ﬂip from attraction to repulsion
stems from quantum interference among condensate atoms which behave as
waves.
When the scientists raised the magnetic ﬁeld strength still further, the conden-
sate suddenly reverted back to attraction, imploded and shrank beyond detec-
tion, and then exploded, blowing off about two-thirds of its 10,000 or so atoms.
About half of the atoms in the condensate seemed to have disappeared from
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Bose–Einstein condensate
the experiment altogether, not being seen either in the cold remnant or the
expanding gas cloud. Carl Wieman explained that under current atomic theory
this characteristic of Bose–Einstein condensate could not be explained because
the energy state of an atom near absolute zero should not be enough to cause
an implosion; however, subsequent mean-ﬁeld theories have been proposed to
explain it.
Due to the fact that supernovae explosions are implosions, the explosion of a
collapsing Bose–Einstein condensate was named "bosenova."
The atoms that seem to have disappeared are almost certainly still around in
some form, just not in a form that could be detected in that current experiment.
Two likely possibilities are that they have formed into molecules consisting of
two bonded rubidium atoms, or they received enough energy from somewhere
to ﬂy away fast enough that they are out of the observation region before being
observed.
Current research
Compared to more commonly-encountered states of matter, Bose–Einstein con-
densates are extremely fragile. The slightest interaction with the outside world
can be enough to warm them past the condensation threshold, forming a nor-
mal gas and losing their interesting properties. It is likely to be some time
before any practical applications are developed.
Nevertheless, they have proved to be useful in exploring a wide range of ques-
tions in fundamental physics, and the years since the initial discoveries by the
JILA and MIT groups have seen an explosion in experimental and theoretical
activity. Examples include experiments that have demonstrated interference
between condensates due to wave-particle duality
13
, the study of superﬂuidity
and quantized vortices
14
, and the slowing of light pulses to very low speeds
using electromagnetically induced transparency
15
. Experimentalists have al-
so realized "optical lattices", where the interference pattern from overlapping
lasers provides a periodic potential for the condensate. These have been used
to explore the transition between a superﬂuid and a Mott insulator
16
, and may
be useful in studying Bose–Einstein condensation in less than three dimensions,
for example the Tonks-Girardeau gas.
Bose–Einstein condensates composed of a wide range of isotopes have been
produced
17
.
http://cua.mit.edu/ketterle_group/Projects_1997/Interference/Interference_BEC.htm
13
http://www.aip.org/pt/vol-53/iss-8/p19.html
14
http://www.europhysicsnews.com/full/26/article1/article1.html
15
http://qpt.physics.harvard.edu/qptsi.html
16
http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/18/6/1
17
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Bose–Einstein condensate
Related experiments in cooling fermions rather than bosons to extremely low
temperatures have created degenerate gases, where the atoms do not congre-
gate in a single state due to the Pauli exclusion principle. To exhibit Bose–
Einstein condensate, the fermions must "pair up" to form compound particles
(e.g. molecules or Cooper pairs) that are bosons. The ﬁrst molecular Bose–
Einstein condensates were created in November 2003 by the groups of Rudolf
Grimm at the University of Innsbruck, Deborah S. Jin at the University of Col-
orado at Boulder and Wolfgang Ketterle at MIT. Jin quickly went on to create
the ﬁrst fermionic condensate composed of Cooper pairs
18
.
• Atomic coherence
• →Bose gas
• Electromagnetically induced transparency
• Fermionic condensate
• Gas in a box
• Slow glass
• Slow light
• Superconductivity
• Superﬂuid
• Supersolid
• Super-heavy atom
• Tonks-Girardeau gas
• BEC Homepage
19
General introduction to Bose–Einstein condensation
• Nobel Prize in Physics 2001
20
- for the achievement of Bose–Einstein con-
densation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies
of the properties of the condensates
• Physics Today: Cornell, Ketterle, and Wieman Share Nobel Prize for Bose–
Einstein Condensates
21
• Bose–Einstein Condensates at JILA
22
• The Bose–Einstein Condensate at Utrecht University, the Netherlands
23
http://physicsweb.org/articles/news/8/1/14/1
18
19
http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/2001/index.html
20
http://www.physicstoday.org/pt/vol-54/iss-12/p14.html
21
22
http://www.bec.phys.uu.nl/
23
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Bose–Einstein condensate
• Alkali Quantum Gases at MIT
24
• Atom Optics at UQ
25
• Einstein’s manuscript on the Bose–Einstein condensate discovered at Leiden
University
26
• The revolution that has not stopped
27
PhysicsWeb article from June 2005
References
• S. N. Bose, Z. Phys. 26, 178 (1924)
• A. Einstein, Sitz. Ber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. (Berlin) 1, 3 (1925)
• L.D. Landau, J. Phys. USSR 5, 71 (1941)
• L. Landau (1941). "Theory of the Superﬂuidity of Helium II". Physical
Review 60: 356-358.
• M.H. Anderson, J.R. Ensher, M.R. Matthews, C.E. Wieman, and E.A. Cornell
(1995). "Observation of Bose–Einstein Condensation in a Dilute Atomic
Vapor"
28
. Science 269: 198-201.
• K.B. Davis, M.-O. Mewes, M.R. Andrews, N.J. van Druten, D.S. Durfee, D.M.
Kurn, and W. Ketterle (1995). "Bose–Einstein condensation in a gas of sodi-
um atoms". Physical Review Letters 75: 3969-3973..
• D. S. Jin, J. R. Ensher, M. R. Matthews, C. E. Wieman, and E. A. Cornell
(1996). "Collective Excitations of a Bose–Einstein Condensate in a Dilute
Gas". Physical Review Letters 77: 420-423.
• M. R. Andrews, C. G. Townsend, H.-J. Miesner, D. S. Durfee, D. M. Kurn,
and W. Ketterle (1997). "Observation of interference between two Bose
condensates". Science 275: 637-641..
• M. R. Matthews, B. P. Anderson, P. C. Haljan, D. S. Hall, C. E. Wieman, and
E. A. Cornell (1999). "Vortices in a Bose–Einstein Condensate". Physical
Review Letters 83: 2498-2501.
• E.A. Donley, N.R. Claussen, S.L. Cornish, J.L. Roberts, E.A. Cornell, and
C.E. Wieman (2001). "Dynamics of collapsing and exploding Bose–Einstein
condensates". Nature 412: 295-299.
• M. Greiner, O. Mandel, T. Esslinger, T. W. Hänsch, I. Bloch (2002). "Quan-
tum phase transition from a superﬂuid to a Mott insulator in a gas of ultra-
cold atoms". Nature 415: 39-44..
http://cua.mit.edu/ketterle_group/home.htm
24
http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/atomoptics/
25
http://www.lorentz.leidenuniv.nl/history/Einstein_archive/
26
http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/18/6/8/1
27
28
%3E2.0.CO%3B2-G
D
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Bose–Einstein condensate
• S. Jochim, M. Bartenstein, A. Altmeyer, G. Hendl, S. Riedl, C. Chin, J.
Hecker Denschlag, and R. Grimm (2003). "Bose–Einstein Condensation of
Molecules". Science 302: 2101-2103.
• Markus Greiner, Cindy A. Regal and Deborah S. Jin (2003). "Emergence
of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate from a Fermi gas". Nature 426:
537-540.
• M. W. Zwierlein, C. A. Stan, C. H. Schunck, S. M. F. Raupach, S. Gupta,
Z. Hadzibabic, and W. Ketterle (2003). "Observation of Bose–Einstein Con-
densation of Molecules". Physical Review Letters 91: 250401.
• C. A. Regal, M. Greiner, and D. S. Jin (2004). "Observation of Reso-
nance Condensation of Fermionic Atom Pairs". Physical Review Letters 92:
040403.
• C. J. Pethick and H. Smith, "Bose–Einstein Condensation in Dilute Gases",
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001.
• Lev P. Pitaevskii and S. Stringari, "Bose–Einstein Condensation", Clarendon
Press, Oxford, 2003.
• Mackie M, Suominen KA, Javanainen J., "Mean-ﬁeld theory of Feshbach-
resonant interactions in 85Rb condensates." Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Oct
28;89(18):180403.
• Oxford Experimental BEC Group. http://www-matterwave.physics.ox.ac.
uk/bec/bec.html
• T. Nikuni, M. Oshikawa, A. Oosawa, and H. Tanaka, (1999). "Bose–Einstein
Condensation of Dilute Magnons in TlCuCl3"
29
. Physical Review Letters 84:
5868.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose%E2%80%93Einstein_condensate
Principal Authors: Voyajer, CYD, Brian Jackson, Schneelocke, Michael Hardy, PAR, Matt Gies, Hfast-
edge, Fangz, R. Koot
http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.84.5868
29
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Bose-Einstein statistics
Bose-Einstein statistics
For other topics related to Einstein see Einstein (disambiguation).
In statistical mechanics, Bose-Einstein statistics (or more colloquially B-E
statistics) determines the statistical distribution of identical indistinguishable
bosons over the energy states in thermal equilibrium.
Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics apply when quantum effects have to
be taken into account and the particles are considered "indistinguishable". The
quantum effects appear if the concentration of particles (N/V) ≥ n
q
(where
n
q
is the quantum concentration). The quantum concentration is when the
interparticle distance is equal to the thermal de Broglie wavelength i.e. when
the wavefunctions of the particles are touching but not overlapping. As the
quantum concentration depends on temperature; high temperatures will put
most systems in the classical limit unless they have a very high density e.g.
a White dwarf. Fermi-Dirac statistics apply to fermions (particles that obey
the Pauli exclusion principle), Bose-Einstein statistics apply to bosons. Both
Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein become Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics at high
temperatures or low concentrations.
Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are often described as the statistics of "distin-
guishable" classical particles. In other words the conﬁguration of particle A in
state 1 and particle B in state 2 is different from the case where particle B is
in state 1 and particle A is in state 2. When this idea is carried out fully, it
yields the proper (Boltzmann) distribution of particles in the energy states, but
yields non-physical results for the entropy, as embodied in →Gibbs paradox.
These problems disappear when it is realized that all particles are in fact in-
distinguishable. Both of these distributions approach the Maxwell-Boltzmann
distribution in the limit of high temperature and low density, without the need
for any ad hoc assumptions. Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are particularly use-
ful for studying gases F-D statistics are most often used for the study of elec-
trons in solids. As such, they form the basis of semiconductor device theory
and electronics.
Bosons, unlike fermions, are not subject to the Pauli exclusion principle: an
unlimited number of particles may occupy the same state at the same time.
This explains why, at low temperatures, bosons can behave very differently
than fermions; all the particles will tend to congregate together at the same
lowest-energy state, forming what is known as a Bose-Einstein condensate.
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Bose-Einstein statistics
B-E statistics was introduced for photons in 1920 by Bose and generalized to
atoms by Einstein in 1924.
The expected number of particles in an energy state i for B-E statistics is:
n
i
=
g
i
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
−1
with
i
> µ and where:
n
i
is the number of particles in state i
g
i
is the degeneracy of state i

i
is the energy of the i -th state
µ is the chemical potential
k is Boltzmann’s constant
T is absolute temperature
exp is the exponential function
This reduces to M-B statistics for energies (
i
-µ ) » kT.
A Derivation of the Bose-Einstein distribution
Suppose we have a number of energy levels, labelled by index i, each level
having energy
i
and containing a total of n
i
particles. Suppose each level
contains g
i
distinct sublevels, all of which have the same energy, and which
are distinguishable. For example, two particles may have different momenta, in
which case they are distinguishable from each other, yet they can still have the
same energy. The value of g
i
associated with level i is called the "degeneracy"
of that energy level. Any number of bosons can occupy the same sublevel.
Let w(n,g) be the number of ways of distributing n particles among the g
sublevels of an energy level. There is only one way of distributing n particles
with one sublevel, therefore w(n,1) = 1. It’s easy to see that there are n + 1
ways of distributing n particles in two sublevels which we will write as:
w(n, 2) =
(n+1)!
n!1!
.
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Bose-Einstein statistics
With a little thought it can be seen that the number of ways of distributing n
particles in three sublevels is w(n,3) = w(n,2) + w(n-1,2) + ... + w(0,2) so
that
w(n, 3) =
¸
n
k=0
w(n −k, 2) =
¸
n
k=0
(n−k+1)!
(n−k)!1!
=
(n+2)!
n!2!
where we have used the following theorem involving binomial coefﬁcients:
¸
n
k=0
(k+a)!
k!a!
=
(n+a+1)!
n!(a+1)!
.
Continuing this process, we can see that w(n,g) is just a binomial coefﬁcient
w(n, g) =
(n+g−1)!
n!(g−1)!
.
The number of ways that a set of occupation numbers n
i
can be realized is the
product of the ways that each individual energy level can be populated:
W =
¸
i
w(n
i
, g
i
) =
¸
i
(n
i
+g
i
−1)!
n
i
!(g
i
−1)!

¸
i
(n
i
+g
i
)!
n
i
!(g
i
)!
where the approximation assumes that g
i
>> 1. Following the same procedure
used in deriving the →Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics, we wish to ﬁnd the set of
n
i
for which W is maximised, subject to the constraint that there be a ﬁxed
number of particles, and a ﬁxed energy. The maxima of W and ln(W) occur
at the value of N
i
and, since it is easier to accomplish mathematically, we will
maximise the latter function instead. We constrain our solution using Lagrange
multipliers forming the function:
f(n
i
) = ln(W) +α(N −
¸
n
i
) +β(E −
¸
n
i

i
)
Using the g
i
>> 1 approximation and using Stirling’s approximation for the
factorials (ln(x!) ≈ xln(x) −x) gives:
f(n
i
) =
¸
i
(n
i
+g
i
) ln(n
i
+g
i
) −n
i
ln(n
i
) −g
i
ln(g
i
) +α(N −
¸
n
i
) +β(E−
¸
n
i

i
)
Taking the derivative with respect to n
i
, and setting the result to zero and
solving for n
i
yields the Bose-Einstein population numbers:
n
i
=
g
i
e
α+β
i
−1
It can be shown thermodynamically that β = 1/kT where k is Boltzmann’s
constant and T is the temperature, and that α = -µ/kT where µ is the chemical
potential, so that ﬁnally:
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Bose-Einstein statistics
n
i
=
g
i
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
−1
Note that the above formula is sometimes written:
n
i
=
g
i
e

i
/kT
/z−1
where z = exp(µ/kT) is the absolute activity.
History
In the early 1920s Satyendra Nath Bose was intrigued by Einstein’s theory of
light waves being made of particles called photons. Bose was interested in
deriving Planck’s radiation formula, which Planck obtained largely by guessing.
In 1900 Max Planck had derived his formula by manipulating the math to
ﬁt the empirical evidence. Using the particle picture of Einstein, Bose was
able to derive the radiation formula by systematically developing a statistics of
massless particles without the constraint of particle number conservation. Bose
derived Planck’s Law of Radiation by proposing different states for the photon.
Instead of statistical independence of particles, Bose put particles into cells and
described statistical independence of cells of phase space. Such systems allow
two polarization states, and exhibit totally symmetric wavefunctions.
He was quite successful in that he developed a statistical law governing the
behaviour pattern of photons. However he was not able to publish his work,
because no journals in Europe would accept his paper being unable to under-
stand it. Bose sent his paper to Einstein who saw the signiﬁcance of it and he
used his inﬂuence to get it published.
• →Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
• →Fermi-Dirac statistics
• Parastatistics
• →Planck’s law of black body radiation
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose-Einstein_statistics
Principal Authors: PAR, Michael Hardy, Stevenj, Voyajer, Mct mht, Salix alba, Phys, Youandme
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Bose gas
Bose gas
An ideal Bose gas is a quantum-mechanical version of a classical ideal gas.
It is composed of bosons, which have an integral value of spin, and obey
→Bose-Einstein statistics. The statistical mechanics of bosons were developed
by Satyendra Nath Bose for photons, and extended to massive particles by Al-
bert Einstein who realized that an ideal gas of bosons would form a condensate
at a low enough temperature, unlike a classical ideal gas. This condensate is
known as a Bose-Einstein condensate.
The Thomas-Fermi approximation
The thermodynamics of an ideal Bose gas is best calculated using the grand
partition function. The grand partition function for a Bose gas is given by:
Z(z, β, V ) =

i

1 −ze
−β
i

−g
i
where each term in the product corresponds to a particular energy
i
, g
i
is the
number of states with energy
i
, z is the absolute activity, which may also be
expressed in terms of the chemical potential µ by:
z(β, µ) ≡ e
βµ
and β deﬁned as:
β ≡
1
kT
where k is Boltzmann’s constant and T is the temperature. All thermodynamic
quantities may be derived from the grand partition function and we will con-
sider all thermodynamic quantities to be functions of only the three variables
z , β (or T ), and V . All partial derivatives are taken with respect to one of these
three variables while the other two are held constant. It is more convenient to
deal with the dimensionless grand potential deﬁned as:
Ω = −ln(Z) =

i
g
i
ln

1 −ze
−β
i

Following the procedure described in the gas in a box article, we can apply the
Thomas-Fermi approximation which assumes that the average energy is large
compared to the energy difference between levels so that the above sum may
be replaced by an integral:
Ω ≈

0
ln

1 −ze
−βE

dg
D
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Bose gas
The degeneracy dg may be expressed for many different situations by the
general formula:
dg =
1
Γ(α)
E
α−1
E
α
c
dE
where α is a constant, E
c
is a "critical energy", and Γ is the Gamma function.
For example, for a massive Bose gas in a box, α=3/2 and the critical energy is
given by:
1
(βE
c
)
α
=
V f
Λ
3
where is the thermal wavelength. For a massive Bose gas in a harmonic trap
we will have α=3 and the critical energy is given by:
1
(βE
c
)
α
=
f
(ωβ)
3
where V(r)=mω
2
r
2
/2 is the harmonic potential. It is seen that E
c
is a function
of volume only.
We can solve the equation for the grand potential by integrating the Taylor
series of the integrand term by term, or by realizing that it is proportional to
the Mellin transform of the Li
1
(z exp(-β E)) where Li
s
(x) is the polylogarithm
function. The solution is:
Ω ≈ −
Li
α+1
(z)
(βE
c
)
α
The problem with this continuum approximation for a Bose gas is that the
ground state has been effectively ignored, giving a degeneracy of zero for zero
energy. This inaccuracy becomes serious when dealing with the Bose-Einstein
condensate and will be dealt with in the next section.
Inclusion of the ground state
The total number of particles is found from the grand potential by
N = −z
∂Ω
∂z

Li
α
(z)
(βE
c
)
α
The polylogarithmtermmust remain real and positive, and the maximumvalue
it can possibly have is at z=1 where it is equal to ζ(α) where ζ is the Riemann
zeta function. For a ﬁxed N , the largest possible value that β can have is a
critical value β
c
where
N =
ζ(α)

c
E
c
)
α
D
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Bose gas
This corresponds to a critical temperature T
c
=1/kβ
c
below which the Thomas-
Fermi approximation breaks down. The above equation can be solved for the
critical temperature:
T
c
=

N
ζ(α)

1/α
E
c
k
For example, for α = 3/2 and using the above noted value of E
c
yields
T
c
=

N
V fζ(3/2)

2/3
h
2
2πmk
Again, we are presently unable to calculate results below the critical tempera-
ture, because the particle numbers using the above equation become negative.
The problem here is that the Thomas-Fermi approximation has set the degen-
eracy of the ground state to zero, which is wrong. There is no ground state to
accept the condensate and so the equation breaks down. It turns out, howev-
er, that the above equation gives a rather accurate estimate of the number of
particles in the excited states, and it is not a bad approximation to simply "tack
on" a ground state term:
N = N
0
+
Li
α
(z)
(βE
c
)
α
where N
0
is the number of particles in the ground state condensate:
N
0
=
g
0
z
1−z
This equation can now be solved down to absolute zero in temperature. Figure
1 shows the results of the solution to this equation for α=3/2, with k=
c
=1
which corresponds to a gas of bosons in a box. The solid black line is the
fraction of excited states 1-N
0
/N for N =10,000 and the dotted black line is
the solution for N =1000. The blue lines are the fraction of condensed particles
N
0
/N The red lines plot values of the negative of the chemical potential µ and
the green lines plot the corresponding values of z . The horizontal axis is the
normalized temperature τ deﬁned by
τ =
T
T
c
It can be seen that each of these parameters become linear in τ
α
in the limit of
low temperature and, except for the chemical potential, linear in 1/τ
α
in the
limit of high temperature. As the number of particles increases, the condensed
and excited fractions tend towards a discontinuity at the critical temperature.
The equation for the number of particles can be written in terms of the nor-
malized temperature as:
D
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Bose gas
Figure 4 Figure 1: Various Bose gas parameters as a function of normalized temperature τ. The
value of α is 3/2. Solid lines are for N=10,000, dotted lines are for N=1000. Black lines are
the fraction of excited particles, blue are the fraction of condensed particles. The negative of the
chemical potential µ is shown in red, and green lines are the values of z. It has been assumed that
k =
c
=1.
N =
g
0
z
1−z
+N
Li
α
(z)
ζ(α)
τ
α
For a given N and τ, this equation can be solved for τ
α
and then a series
solution for z can be found by the method of inversion of series, either in
powers of τ
α
or as an asymptotic expansion in inverse powers of τ
α
. From
these expansions, we can ﬁnd the behavior of the gas near T =0 and in the
Maxwell-Boltzmann as T approaches inﬁnity. In particular, we are interested
in the limit as N approaches inﬁnity, which can be easily determined from
these expansions.
Thermodynamics
Adding the ground state to the equation for the particle number corresponds
to adding the equivalent ground state term to the grand potential:
Ω = g
0
ln(1 −z) −
Li
α+1
(z)
(βE
c
)
α
All thermodynamic properties may now be computed from the grand poten-
tial. The following table lists various thermodynamic quantities calculated in
D
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Bose gas
the limit of low temperature and high temperature, and in the limit of inﬁ-
nite particle number. An equal sign (=) indicates an exact result, while an
approximation symbol indicates that only the ﬁrst few terms of a series in τ
α
is
shown.
Quantity General T <T
c
T T
c
z = 1

ζ(α)
τ
α

ζ
2
(α)
2
α
τ

Vapor fraction
1 −
N
0
N
=
Li
α
(z)
ζ(α)
τ
α
= τ
α
= 1
Equation of state
PV β
N
= −

N
=
Li
α+1
(z)
ζ(α)
τ
α =
ζ(α+1)
ζ(α)
τ
α
≈ 1 −
ζ(α)
2
α+1
τ
α
Gibbs Free Energy
G = ln(z)
= ln(z) = 0
≈ ln

ζ(α)
τ
α

ζ(α)
2
α
τ
α
It is seen that all quantities approach the values for a classical ideal gas in the
limit of large temperature. The above values can be used to calculate other
thermodynamic quantities. For example, the relationship between internal en-
ergy and the product of pressure and volume is the same as that for a classical
ideal gas over all temperatures:
U =
∂Ω
∂β
= αPV
A similar situation holds for the speciﬁc heat at constant volume
C
v
=
∂U
∂T
= k(α + 1) Uβ
The entropy is given by:
TS = U +PV −G
Note that in the limit of high temperature, we have
TS = (α + 1) + ln

τ
α
ζ(α)

which, for α=3/2 is simply a restatement of the Sackur-Tetrode equation.
• Gas in a box
• Debye model
• Bose-Einstein condensate
D
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Bound state
References
• Huang, Kerson, "Statistical Mechanics", John Wiley and Sons, New York,
1967.
• A. Isihara, "Statistical Physics", Academic Press, New York, 1971.
• L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, "Statistical Physics, 3rd Edition Part 1",
Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1996.
• C. J. Pethick and H. Smith, "Bose-Einstein Condensation in Dilute Gases",
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004.
• Zijun Yan, "General Thermal Wavelength and its Applications", Eur. J. Phys,
21 (2000), 625-631. online
30
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose_gas
Principal Authors: PAR, Schneelocke, Tom davis, SimonP
Bound state
In physics, a bound state is a composite of two or more building blocks (parti-
cles or bodies) that behaves as a single object. In quantum mechanics (where
the number of particles is conserved), a bound state is a state in the →Hilbert
space that corresponds to two or more particles whose interaction energy is
negative, and therefore these particles cannot be separated unless energy is
spent. The energy spectrum of a bound state is discrete, unlike the continuous
spectrum of isolated particles. (Actually, it is possible to have unstable bound
states with a positive interaction energy provided that there is a "energy bar-
rier" that has to be tunnelled through in order to decay. This is true for some
In general, a stable bound state is said to exist in a given potential of some
dimension if stationary wavefunctions exist (normalized in the range of the
potential). The energy of these wavefunctions is negative.
In relativistic quantum ﬁeld theory, a stable bound state of n particles with
masses m
1
, ..., m
n
shows up as a pole in the S-matrix with a center of mass
energy which is less than m
1
+...+m
n
. An unstable bound state (see resonance)
shows up as a pole with a complex center of mass energy.
http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0143-0807/21/6/314/ej0614.pdf
30
D
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Bra-ket notation
Examples
• A proton and an electron can move separately; the total center-of-mass
energy is positive, and such a pair of particles can be described as an ionized
atom. Once the electron starts to "orbit" the proton, the energy becomes
negative, and bound states - namely the hydrogen atom - is formed. Only
the lowest energy bound state, the ground state is stable. The other excited
states are unstable and will decay into bound states with less energy by
emitting a photon.
• A nucleus is a bound state of protons and neutrons (nucleons).
• A positronium "atom" is an unstable bound state of an electron and a
positron. It decays into photons.
• The proton itself is a bound state of three quarks (two up and one down;
one red, one green and one blue). However, unlike the case of the hydrogen
atom, the individual quarks can never be isolated. See conﬁnement.
• Composite ﬁeld
• →Resonance
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bound_state
Principal Authors: Phys, SeventyThree, Dmr2, Conscious, Tony Sidaway
Bra-ket notation
Bra-ket notation is the standard notation for describing quantum states in the
theory of quantum mechanics. It can also be used to denote abstract vectors
and linear functionals in pure mathematics. It is so called because the inner
product of two states is denoted by a bracket, 'φ[ψ`, consisting of a left part,
'φ[, called the bra, and a right part, [ψ`, called the ket. The notation was
invented by Paul Dirac, and is also known as Dirac notation. It is also the
notation of choice in quantum computing.
D
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Bra-ket notation
Bras and kets
In quantum mechanics, the state of a physical system is identiﬁed with a vector
in a complex →Hilbert space, H. Each vector is called a "ket", and written as
[ψ`
where ψ denotes the particular ket, read as "psi ket."
Every ket [ψ` has a dual bra, written as
'ψ[
This is a continuous linear function from H to the complex numbers C, deﬁned
by:
'ψ[ρ` =

[ψ` , [ρ`

for all kets [ρ`
where ( , ) denotes the inner product deﬁned on the Hilbert space. The bra is
simply the conjugate transpose (also called the Hermitian conjugate) of the ket
and vice versa. The notation is justiﬁed by the Riesz representation theorem,
which states that a Hilbert space and its dual space are isometrically isomor-
phic. Thus, each bra corresponds to exactly one ket, and vice versa. This is not
always the case; on page 111 of Quantum Mechanics by Cohen-Tannoudji et al.
it is clariﬁed that there is such a relationship between bras and kets, so long as
the deﬁning functions used are square integrable. Consider a continuous basis
and a Dirac delta function or a sine or cosine wave as a wave function. Such
functions are not square integrable and therefore it arises that there are bras
that exist with no corresponding ket. This does not hinder quantum mechanics
because all physically realistic wave functions are square integrable.
Bra-ket notation can be used even if the vector space is not a Hilbert space. In
any Banach space B, the vectors may be notated by kets and the continuous
linear functionals by bras. Over any vector space without topology, we may
also notate the vectors by kets and the linear functionals by bras. In these more
general contexts, the bracket does not have the meaning of an inner product,
because the Riesz representation theorem does not apply.
Applying the bra 'φ[ to the ket [ψ` results in a complex number, called a "bra-
ket" or "bracket", which is written as
'φ[ψ`.
In quantum mechanics, this is the probability amplitude for the state ψto col-
lapse into the state φ.
D
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Bra-ket notation
Properties
Because each ket is a vector in a complex →Hilbert space and each bra-ket is
an inner product, it follows directly that bras and kets can be manipulated in
the following ways:
• Given any bra 'φ[, kets [ψ
1
` and [ψ
2
`, and complex numbers c
1
and c
2
,
then, since bras are linear functionals,
'φ[

c
1

1
` +c
2

2
`

= c
1
'φ[ψ
1
` +c
2
'φ[ψ
2
`.
• Given any ket [ψ`, bras 'φ
1
[ and 'φ
2
[, and complex numbers c
1
and c
2
, then,
by the deﬁnition of addition and scalar multiplication of linear functionals,

c
1

1
[ +c
2

2
[

[ψ` = c
1

1
[ψ` +c
2

2
[ψ`.
• Given any kets [ψ
1
` and [ψ
2
`, and complex numbers c
1
and c
2
, from the
properties of the inner product (with c* denoting the complex conjugate of
c),
c
1

1
` +c
2

2
` is dual to c

1

1
[ +c

2

2
[.
• Given any bra 'φ[ and ket [ψ`, an axiomatic property of the inner product
gives
'φ[ψ` = 'ψ[φ`

.
Linear operators
If A : H → H is a linear operator, we can apply A to the ket [ψ` to obtain
the ket (A[ψ`). Linear operators are ubiquitous in the theory of quantum me-
chanics. For example, hermitian operators are used to represent observable
physical quantities, such as energy or momentum, whereas unitary linear op-
erators represent transformative processes such as rotation or the progression
of time.
Operators can also be viewed as acting on bras from the right hand side. Com-
posing the bra 'φ[ with the operator A results in the bra ('φ[A), deﬁned as a
linear functional on H by the rule
D
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43
Bra-ket notation

'φ[A

[ψ` = 'φ[

A[ψ`

.
This expression is commonly written as
'φ[A[ψ`.
A convenient way to deﬁne linear operators on H is given by the outer product:
if 'φ[ is a bra and [ψ` is a ket, the outer product
[φ`'ψ[
denotes the rank one operator that maps the ket [ρ` to the ket [φ`'ψ[ρ` (where
'ψ[ρ` is a scalar multiplying the vector [φ`). One of the uses of the outer prod-
uct is to construct projection operators. Given a ket [ψ` of norm 1, the orthog-
onal projection onto the subspace spanned by [ψ` is
[ψ`'ψ[.
Composite bras and kets
Two Hilbert spaces V and W may form a third space V ⊗W by a tensor product.
In quantum mechanics, this is used for describing composite systems. If a
system is composed of two subsystems described by V and W respectively, then
the Hilbert space of the entire system is the tensor product of the two spaces.
(The exception to this is if the subsystems are actually identical particles. In
that case, the situation is a little more complicated.)
If [ψ` is a ket in V and [φ` is a ket in W, the tensor product of the two kets is a
ket in V ⊗W. This is written variously as
[ψ`[φ` or [ψ` ⊗[φ` or [ψφ` or [ψ, φ`.
Representations in terms of bras and kets
In quantum mechanics, it is often convenient to work with the projections of
state vectors onto a particular basis, rather than the vectors themselves. The
reason is that the former are simply complex numbers, and can be formulated
in terms of partial differential equations (see, for example, the derivation of
the position-basis →Schrödinger equation). This process is very similar to the
use of coordinate vectors in linear algebra.
For instance, the Hilbert space of a zero-spin point particle is spanned by a
position basis ¦[x`¦, where the label x extends over the set of position vectors.
D
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Bra-ket notation
Starting from any ket [ψ` in this Hilbert space, we can deﬁne a complex scalar
function of x, known as a wavefunction:
ψ(x) ≡ 'x[ψ`.
It is then customary to deﬁne linear operators acting on wavefunctions in terms
of linear operators acting on kets, by
Aψ(x) ≡ 'x[A[ψ`.
For instance, the momentum operator p has the following form:
pψ(x) ≡ 'x[p[ψ` = −i∇ψ(x).
One occasionally encounters an expression like
−i∇[ψ`.
This is something of an abuse of notation, though a fairly common one. The
differential operator must be understood to be an abstract operator, acting on
kets, that has the effect of differentiating wavefunctions once the expression is
projected into the position basis:
−i∇'x[ψ`.
For further details, see rigged Hilbert space.
• Feynman, Leighton and Sands (1965). The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bra-ket_notation
Principal Authors: CYD, MathKnight, AxelBoldt, Trewornan, Laurascudder, Mct mht, AugPi, Theresa
knott, Ancheta Wis
D
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Breit equation
Breit equation
The Breit equation is a relativistic wave equation derived by Gregory Breit in
1929 based on the Dirac equation, which formally describes two or more mas-
sive spin-1/2 particles (electrons, for example) interacting electromagnetically
to the ﬁrst order in perturbation theory. It accounts for magnetic interactions
and retardation effects to the order of 1/c
2
. When other quantum electrody-
namic effects are negligible, this equation has been shown to give results in
good agreement with experiment.
Introduction
The Breit equation is not only an approximation in terms of quantum mechan-
ics, but also in terms of relativity theory as it is not completely invariant with
respect to the Lorentz transformation. Just as does the Dirac equation, it treats
nuclei as point sources of an external ﬁeld for the particles it describes. For N
particles, the Breit equation has the form (r
ij
is the distance between particle i
and j ):

¸
i
ˆ
H
D
(i) +
¸
i>j
1
r
ij

¸
i>j
ˆ
B
ij
¸
Ψ = EΨ,
where
ˆ
H
D
(i) =

q
i
φ(r
i
) +c
¸
s=x,y,z
α
s
(i)π
s
(I) +α
0
(I)m
0
c
2

is the Dirac hamiltonian (see Dirac equation) for particle i at position r
i
and
φ(r
i
) is the scalar potential at that position; q
i
is the charge of the particle,
thus for electrons q
i
= - e.
The one-electron Dirac hamiltonians of the particles, along with their instan-
taneous Coulomb interactions 1/r
ij
, form the Dirac-Coulomb operator. To this,
Breit added the operator (now known as the Breit operator):
ˆ
B
ij
=
1
2r
ij
¸
a(i) a(j) +
(a(i)r
ij
)(a(j)r
ij
)
r
2
ij

,
where the Dirac matrices for electron i : a(i) = [α
x
(i),α
y
(i),α
z
(i)]. The two
terms in the Breit operator account for retardation effects to the ﬁrst order.
The wave function Ψ in the Breit equation is a spinor with 4
N
elements, since
each electron is described by a Dirac bispinor with 4 elements as in the Dirac
equation and total wave function is the cartesian product of these.
D
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Breit equation
Breit hamiltonians
The total hamiltonian of the Breit equation, sometimes called the Dirac-
Coulomb-Breit hamiltonian (H
DCB
) can be decomposed into the following
practical energy operators for electrons in electric and magnetic ﬁelds (also
called the Breit-Pauli hamiltonian)
1
, which have well-deﬁned meanings in
the interaction of molecules with magnetic ﬁelds (for instance for nuclear mag-
netic resonance):
ˆ
B
ij
=
ˆ
H
0
+
ˆ
H
1
+... +
ˆ
H
6
,
in which the consequitive partial operators are:

ˆ
H
0
=
¸
i
ˆ p
2
i
2m
i
+V is the nonrelativistic hamiltonian (m_¦i¦ is the stationary
mass of particle i ).

ˆ
H
1
= −
1
8c
2
¸
i
ˆ p
4
i
m
3
i
is connected to the dependence of mass on velocity:
E
2
kin

m
0
c
2

2
= m
2
v
2
c
2
.

ˆ
H
2
= −
¸
i>j
q
i
q
j
2r
ij
m
i
m
j
c
2
¸
ˆ p
i
ˆ p
j
+
r
ij
(r
ij
ˆ p
i
)ˆ p
j
r
2
ij

is a correction that partly ac-
counts for retardation and can be described as the interaction between the
magnetic dipole moments of the particles, which arise from the orbital mo-
tion of charges (also called orbit-orbit interaction).

ˆ
H
3
=
µ
B
c
¸
i
1
m
i
s
i

¸
F(r
ij
) ˆ p
i
+
¸
j>i
2q
i
r
3
ij
r
ij
ˆ p
j

is the classical interac-
tion between the orbital magnetic moments (from the orbital motion of
charge) and spin magnetic moments (also called spin-orbit interaction).
The ﬁrst term describes the interaction of a particles spin with its own or-
bital moment (F(r
i
) is the electric ﬁeld at the particles position), and the
second term between two different particles.

ˆ
H
4
=
ih
8πc
2
¸
i
q
i
m
2
i
ˆ p
i
F(r
i
) is a nonclassical term characteristic for Dirac
theory, sometimes called the Darwin term.

ˆ
H
5
= 4µ
2
B
¸
i>j

3
(s
i
s
j
)δ(r
ij
+
1
r
3
ij
¸
s
i
s
j

(s
i
r
ij
)(s
j
r
ij
)
r
2
ij

is the mag-
netic moment spin-spin interaction. The ﬁrst term is called the contact
interaction, because it is nonzero only when the particles are at the same
position; the second term is the interaction of the classical dipole-dipole
type.
D
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47
Canonical commutation relation

ˆ
H
6
= 2µ
B
¸
i

H(r
i
) s
i
+
q
i
m
i
c
A(r
i
) ˆ p
i

is the interaction between spin and
orbital magnetic moments with an external magnetic ﬁeld H.
Notes
• Note 1: H.A. Bethe, E.E. Salpeter, Quantum Mechanics of One- and Two-
Electron Atoms, Plenum Press, New York 1977, pg.181
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breit_equation
Principal Authors: Karol Langner, Neilc, CambridgeBayWeather
Canonical commutation relation
In physics, the canonical commutation relation is the relation
[x, p] = i
among the position x and momentum p of a point particle in one dimension,
where [x, p] = xp−px is the so-called commutator of x and p, i is the imaginary
unit and is the reduced Planck’s constant h/2π. This relation is attributed to
Heisenberg, and it implies his uncertainty principle.
Relation to classical mechanics
By contrast, in classical physics all observables commute and the commutator
would be zero; however, an analogous relation exists, which is obtained by
replacing the commutator with the Poisson bracket and the constant i with 1:
¦x, p¦ = 1
This observation led Dirac to postulate that, in general, the quantum counter-
parts
ˆ
f, ˆ g of classical observables f, g should satisfy
[
ˆ
f, ˆ g] = i

¦f, g¦.
In 1927, Hermann Weyl showed that a literal correspondence between a quan-
tum operator and a classical distribution in phase space could not hold. How-
ever, he did propose a mechanism, Weyl quantization, that underlies a mathe-
matical approach to quantization known as deformation quantization.
D
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Canonical commutation relation
Representations
According to the standard mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics,
quantum observables such as x and p should be represented as self-adjoint
operators on some →Hilbert space. It is relatively easy to see that two oper-
ators satisfying the canonical commutation relations cannot both be bounded.
The canonical commutation relations can be made tamer by writing them in
terms of the (bounded) unitary operators e
−ikx
and e
−iap
. The result is the so-
called Weyl relations. The uniqueness of the canonical commutation relations
between position and momentum is guaranteed by the Stone-von Neumann
theorem. The group associated with the commutation relations is called the
Heisenberg group.
Generalizations
The simple formula
[x, p] = i,
valid for the quantization of the simplest classical system, can be generalized
to the case of an arbitrary Lagrangian
L
. We identify canonical coordinates
(such as x in the example above, or a ﬁeld φ(x) in the case of quantum ﬁeld
theory) and canonical momenta π
x
(in the example above it is p, or more
generally, some functions involving the derivatives of the canonical coordinates
with respect to time).
π
i

∂L
∂(∂x
i
/∂t)
This deﬁnition of the canonical momentum ensures that one of the Euler-
Lagrange equations has the form

∂t
π
i
=
∂L
∂x
i
The canonical commutation relations then say
[x
i
, π
j
] = iδ
ij
where δ
ij
is the Kronecker delta.
Gauge invariance
Canonical quantization is performed, by deﬁnition, on canonical coordinates.
However, in the presence of an electromagnetic ﬁeld, the canonical momentum
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Canonical commutation relation
p is not gauge invariant. The correct gauge-invariant momentum (or "kinetic
momentum") is
p −eA/c
where e is the quantum of electric charge, and A is the vector potential and c
is the speed of light. Although this quantity is the "physical momentum" in that
it is the quantity to be identiﬁed with momentum in laboratory experiments, it
does not satisfy the canonical commutation relations; only the kinetic momen-
tum does that. This can be seen as follows.
The non-relativistic Hamiltonian for a quantized charged particle of mass m in
a classical electromagnetic ﬁeld is
H =
1
2m

p −
eA
c

2
+eφ
where A is the three-vector potential and φ is the scalar potential. This form
of the Hamiltonian, as well as the Schroedinger equation Hψ = i∂ψ/∂t, the
Maxwell equations and the Lorentz force law are invariant under the gauge
transformation
A →A
/
= A+∇Λ
φ →φ
/

1
c
∂Λ
∂t
ψ →ψ
/
= Uψ
H →H
/
= UHU

where
U = exp

ieΛ
c

and Λ = Λ(x, t) is the gauge function.
The canonical angular momentum is
L = r p
and obeys the canonical quantization relations
[L
i
, L
j
] = i
ijk
L
k
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50
deﬁning the Lie algebra for so(3), where
ijk
is the Levi-Civita symbol. Under
gauge transformations, the angular momentum transforms as
'ψ[L[ψ` →'ψ
/
[L
/

/
` = 'ψ[L[ψ` +
e
c
'ψ[r ∇Λ[ψ`
The gauge-invariant angular momentum (or "kinetic angular momentum") is
given by
K = r

p −
eA
c

which has the commutation relations
[K
i
, K
j
] = i
ij
k

K
k
+
e
c
x
k
(x B)

where
B = ∇A
is the magnetic ﬁeld. The inequivalence of these two formulations shows up in
the →Zeeman effect and the →Aharonov-Bohm effect.
• canonical quantization
• CCR algebra
• Lie derivative
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_commutation_relation
Principal Authors: Miguel, Ancheta Wis, Linas, Lumidek, Michael Hardy
Chladni’s law, named after Ernst Chladni, relates the frequency of modes of
vibration for ﬂat circular surfaces with ﬁxed center as a function of the numbers
m of diametric (linear) nodes and n of radial (circular) nodes. It is stated as
the equation
f = C(m+ 2n)
p
where C and p are coefﬁcients which depend on the properties of the plate.
D
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Classical limit
For ﬂat circular plates, p is roughly 2, but Chladni’s law can also be used to
describe the vibrations of cymbals, handbells, and church bells in which case p
can vary from 1.4 to 2.4. In fact, p can even vary for a single object, depending
on which family of modes is being examined.
• A Study of Vibrating Plates
31
by Derek Kverno and Jim Nolen
Principal Authors: Laurascudder, Michael Hardy, Choster
Classical limit
The classical limit is the ability of a physical theory to approximate or "recover"
classical mechanics when considered over special values of its parameters. The
classical limit is used with physical theories that predict non-classical behavior.
A postulate called the correspondence principle was introduced to quantum
theory by Niels Bohr; it states that, in effect, some kind of continuity argument
should apply to the classical limit of quantum systems as the value of Planck’s
constant tends to zero.
In quantum mechanics, due to the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, an elec-
tron can never be at rest; it must always have a non-zero kinetic energy, a result
not found in classical mechanics. For example, if we consider something very
large relative to an electron, like a baseball, the uncertainty principle predicts
that it cannot have zero kinetic energy, but the uncertainty in kinetic energy
is so small that the baseball can appear to be at rest, and hence appears to
obey classical mechanics. In general, if large energies and large objects (rel-
ative to the size and energy levels of an electron) are considered in quantum
mechanics, the result will appear to obey classical mechanics.
In general and special relativity, if we consider ﬂat space, small masses, and
small speeds (in comparison to the speed of light), we ﬁnd that objects once
again appear to obey classical mechanics.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_limit
31
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Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients
Principal Authors: Cyan, Michael Hardy, Charles Matthews, Salsb
Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients
In physics, the Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients are sets of numbers that arise
in calculations involving addition of angular momentum under the laws of
quantum mechanics.
In more mathematical terms, the CG coefﬁcients are used in representation
theory, particularly of compact Lie groups, to perform the explicit direct sum
decomposition of the tensor product of two irreducible representations into ir-
reducible representations, in cases where the numbers and types of irreducible
components are already known abstractly. The name derives from the German
mathematicians Alfred Clebsch (1833-1872) and Paul Gordan (1837-1912),
who encountered an equivalent problem in invariant theory.
In terms of classical mathematics, the CG coefﬁcients, or at least those asso-
ciated to the group SO(3), may be deﬁned much more directly, by means of
formulae for the multiplication of spherical harmonics. The addition of spins
in quantum-mechanical terms can be read directly from this approach. The
formulas below use Dirac’s bra-ket notation.
Formal deﬁnition and some results
The Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients are the numerical constants that express the
probability amplitude for the spins j
1
, j
2
with z-projections m
1
, m
2
with z projection m
[j
1
j
2
; jm` =
¸
j
1
m
1
=−j
1
¸
j
2
m
2
=−j
2
[j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
`'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm`
where 'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm` are the CG coefﬁcients.
m = m
1
+m
2
if 'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm` = 0.
The following holds:
[j
1
j
2
; jm` =
¸
j
1
m
1
=−j
1
¸
j
2
m
2
=−j
2
[j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
`'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm`
renaming m
1
to m
/
1
and m
2
to m
/
2
and applying the J
±
operator
J
±
[j
1
j
2
; jm` = (J

+J

)
¸
j
1
m
/
1
=−j
1
¸
j
2
m
/
2
=−j
2
[j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
m
/
2
`'j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
m
/
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm`
We get a some-what long equation:
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Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients

(j ∓m)(j ±m+ 1)[j
1
j
2
; j, m±1`
=
¸
m
/
1
¸
m
/
2

(j
1
∓m
/
1
)(j
1
±m
/
1
+ 1)[j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
±1, m
/
2
` +

(j
2
∓m
/
2
)(j
2
±m
/
2
+ 1)[j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
, m
/
2
±1`

'j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
m
/
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm`
and arbitrarily choosing one particular m
1
and m
2
and multiplying both sides
by a bra on the left (note that with the new m
1
and m
2
, m
1
+m
2
= m±1 when
the coefﬁcients are not 0)

(j ∓m)(j ±m+ 1)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; j, m±1`
=
¸
m
/
1
¸
m
/
2

(j
1
∓m
/
1
)(j
1
±m
/
1
+ 1)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
±1, m
/
2
` +

(j
2
∓m
/
2
)(j
2
±m
/
2
+ 1)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
, m
/
2
±1`

'j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
m
/
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm`
and summing, now that most elements of the sum are 0 (note that
'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; m
/
1
±1, m
/
2
` ≥ 0 if m
/
1
= m
1
∓1 or m
/
2
= m
2
) etc...

(j ∓m)(j ±m+ 1)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; j, m±1`
=

(j
1
∓m
1
+ 1)(j
1
±m
1
)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
∓1, m
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm`+

(j
2
∓m
2
+ 1)(j
2
±m
2
)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
, m
2

1[j
1
j
2
; jm`
replacing m with m∓ 1 so that again m
1
+ m
2
= m when the coefﬁcients are
not 0

(j ∓m+ 1)(j ±m)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
m
2
[j
1
j
2
; jm`
=

(j
1
∓m
1
+ 1)(j
1
±m
1
)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
∓ 1, m
2
[j
1
j
2
; j, m ∓ 1` +

(j
2
∓m
2
+ 1)(j
2
±m
2
)'j
1
j
2
; m
1
, m
2
∓1[j
1
j
2
; j, m∓1`
The above formula is useful for ﬁnding the last Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients,
when the other one or two coefﬁcients in the formula are known. Note that
there are sometimes only two coefﬁcients in the formula, the third being both
invalid (j < [m[) and multiplied by 0. Guessing one of the coefﬁcients, using
the formula to ﬁnd the rest and normalising so that the ﬁrst coefﬁcient becomes
correct, one can ﬁnd, for example (up to sign)

5
2
1; m
1
=
1
2
, m
2
= 1

5
2
1; j =
7
2
, m =
3
2

=

10
21
For more coefﬁcients, see table of Clebsch-Gordan coefﬁcients.
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Coherent state
• Wigner 3-j symbol
• 6-j symbol
• Spherical harmonics
• Associated Legendre polynomials
• Angular momentum
• Angular momentum coupling
• Java
TM
Clebsch-Gordan Coefﬁcient Calculator
32
References
• A.R. Edmonds, Angular Momentum in Quantum Mechanics, (1957) Prince-
ton University Press, ISBN 0-691-07912-9.
• E. U. Condon and G. H. Shortley, The Theory of Atomic Spectra, (1970)
Cambridge at the University Press, ISBN 521-09209-4 See chapter 3.
• Albert Messiah, Quantum Mechanics (Volume II), (1966) North Holland
Publishing, ISBN ???? (something that looks the same but doesn’t mention
1966 is ISBN 0720400457)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clebsch-Gordan_coefficients
Principal Authors: Cyp, Charles Matthews, Linas, ArnoldReinhold, JabberWok
Coherent state
In quantum mechanics a coherent state is a speciﬁc kind of quantum state of
the quantum harmonic oscillator whose dynamics most closely resemble the
oscillating behaviour of a classical harmonic oscillator system. It was the ﬁrst
example of quantum dynamics when Erwin Schrödinger derived it in 1926
while searching for solutions of the →Schrödinger equation that satisfy the
correspondence principle. The quantum harmonic oscillator and hence, the co-
herent state, arise in the quantum theory of a wide range of physical systems.
For instance, a coherent state describes the oscillating motion of the particle
http://www.gleet.org.uk/cleb/cgjava.html
32
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Coherent state
in a quadratic potential well. In the quantum theory of light (quantum elec-
trodynamics) and other bosonic quantum ﬁeld theories they were introduced
by the work of Roy J. Glauber. Here the coherent state of a ﬁeld describes an
oscillating ﬁeld, the closest quantum state to a classical sinusoidal wave such
as a continuous laser wave.
Figure 5 Figure 1: The electric ﬁeld, measured by optical homodyne detec-
tion, as a function of phase for three coherent states emitted by a Nd:YAG laser.
The amount of quantum noise in the electric ﬁeld is completely independent of
the phase. As the ﬁeld strength, i.e. the oscillation amplitude α of the coherent
state is increased, the quantum noise or uncertainty is constant at 1/2, and so
becomes less and less signiﬁcant. In the limit of large ﬁeld the state becomes
a good approximation of a noiseless stable classical wave. The average pho-
ton numbers of the three states from top to bottom are <n>=4.2, 25.2, 924.5
(source: link 1 and ref. 2)
Coherent states in quantum optics
In classical optics light is thought of as electromagnetic waves radiating from a
source. Speciﬁcally, coherent light is thought of as light that is emitted by many
such sources that are in phase. For instance a light bulb radiates light that is
the result of waves being emitted at all the points along the ﬁlament. Such
light is incoherent because the process is highly random in space and time (see
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Coherent state
Figure 6 Figure 2: The oscillating wave packet corresponding to the second coherent state de-
picted in Figure 1. At each phase of the light ﬁeld, the distribution is a Gaussian of constant
width.
thermal light). In a laser, however, light is emitted by a carefully controlled
system in processes that are not random but interconnected by stimulation and
the resulting light is highly ordered, or coherent. Therefore a coherent state
corresponds closely to the quantum state of light emitted by an ideal laser.
Semi-classically we describe such a state by an electric ﬁeld oscillating as a
stable wave.
Contrary to the coherent state, which is the most wave-like quantum state, the
→Fock state (e.g. a single photon) is the most particle-like state. It is indivisible
and contains only one quanta of energy. These two states are examples of the
opposite extremes in the concept of wave-particle duality. A coherent state
distributes its quantum-mechanical uncertainty equally, which means that the
phase and amplitude uncertainty are approximately equal. Conversely, in a
single-particle state the phase is completely uncertain.
Quantum mechanical deﬁnition
Mathematically, the coherent state [α` is deﬁned to be the eigenstate of the
annihilation operator a. Formally, this reads:
a[α` = α[α`
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Coherent state
Figure 7 Figure 3: Wigner function of the coherent state depicted in Figure 2. The distribution
is centered on state’s amplitude α and is symmetric around this point. The ripples are due to
experimental errors.
Since a is not hermitian,
α = [α[e

is complex. Here [α[ and θ are called the amplitude and phase of the state.
Physically, this formula means that a coherent state is left unchanged by the
detection (or annihilation) of a particle. Consequently, in a coherent state,
one has exactly the same probability to detect a second particle. Note, this
condition is necessary for the coherent state’s Poissonian detection statistics, as
discussed below. Compare this to a single-particle state (→Fock state): Once
one particle is detected, we have zero probability of detecting another.
For the following discussion we need to deﬁne the dimensionless X and P
quadratures. For a harmonic oscillator, x = (mωπ/h)
-1/2
X is the oscillating
particle’s position and p = (mωh/π)
-1/2
P is its momentum. For an optical
ﬁeld, E
R
= (hω/π
0
V)
1/2
cosθX; and E
I
= (hω/π
0
V)
1/2
sinθP; are the real and
imaginary components of the electric ﬁeld.
Erwin Schrödinger was searching for the most classical-like states when he ﬁrst
introduced coherent states. He described them as the quantum state of the
harmonic oscillator which minimizes the uncertainty relation with uncertainty
equally distributed in both X and P quadratures (ie. ∆X = ∆Y = 1/2). From
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Coherent state
Figure 8 Figure 4: The probability of detecting n photons, the photon number distribution, of the
coherent state in Figure 3. As is necessary for a Poissonian distribution the mean photon number is
equal to the variance of the photon number distribution. Bars refer to theory, dots to experimental
values.
the generalized uncertainty relation, it is shown that such a state [α> must
obey the equation
(P −'P`)[α` = i(X −'X`)[α`
In the general case, if the uncertainty is not equally distributed in the X and P
component, the state is called a squeezed coherent state.
If this formula is written back in terms of a and a

, it becomes:
a[α` = ('X` +i'P`)[α`
The coherent state’s location in the complex plane (phase space) is centered
at the position and momentum of a classical oscillator of the same phase θ
and amplitude (or the same complex electric ﬁeld value for an electromagnetic
wave). As shown in Figure 2, the uncertainty, equally spread in all directions, is
represented by a disk with diameter 1/2. As the phase increases the coherent
state circles the origin and the disk neither distorts nor spreads. This is the
most similar a quantum state can be to a single point in phase space.
Since the uncertainty (and hence measurement noise) stays constant at 1/2 as
the amplitude of the oscillation increases, the state behaves more and more
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Coherent state
Figure 9 Figure 5: Phase space plot of a coherent state. This shows that the uncertainty
in a coherent state is equally distributed in all directions. The horizontal and vertical axes
are the X and P quadratures, respectively (see text). The red dots on the x-axis trace out
the boundaries of the quantum noise in Figure 1.
like a sinusoidal wave, as shown in Figure 1. Conversely, since the vacuum
state [0> is just the coherent state with α=0, all coherent states have the same
uncertainty as the vacuum. Therefore one can interpret the quantum noise of
a coherent state as being due to the vacuum ﬂuctuations.
Furthermore, it is sometimes useful to deﬁne a coherent state simply as the
vacuum state displaced to a location α in phase space. Mathematically this is
done by the action of the displacement operator D(α):
[α` = e
αa

−α

a
[0` = D(α)[0`
This can be easily obtained, as can virtually all results involving coherent states,
using the representation of the coherent state in the basis of Fock states:
[α` = e

[α[
2
2
¸

n=0
α
n

n!
[n`.
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Coherent state
A stable classical wave has a constant intensity. Consequently, the probability
of detecting n photons in a given amount of time is constant with time. This
condition ensures there will be shot noise in our detection. Speciﬁcially, the
probability of detecting n photons is Poissonian:
P(n) = e
−'n`
'n`
n
n!
Similarly, the average photon number in coherent state <n>=<a

a>=[α[
2
and the variance (∆n)
2
= Var(a

a)=[α[
2
, identical to the variance of the Pois-
sonian distribution. Not only does a coherent state go to a classical sinusoidal
wave in the limit of large α but the detection statistics of it are equal to that of
a classical stable wave for all values of α.
This also follows from the fact that for the prediction of the detection results
at a single detector (and time) any state of light can always be modelled as a
collection of classical waves (see degree of coherence). However, for the pre-
diction of higher-order measurement like intensity correlations (which mea-
sure the degree of nth-order coherence) this is not true. The coherent state is
unique in the fact that all n-orders of coherence are equal to 1. It is perfectly
coherent to all orders.
There are other reasons why a coherent state can be considered the most clas-
sical state. Roy J. Glauber coined the term "coherent state" and proved they are
produced when a classical electrical current interacts with the electromagnetic
ﬁeld. In the process he introduced the coherent state to quantum optics. In
general when a quantum state of light is split at a beamsplitter, the two output
modes are entangled. Aharonov proved that coherent states are the only pure
states of light that remain unentangled (and thus classical) when split into two
states.
From Figure 5, simple geometry gives ∆θ=1/2[α[. From this we can see that
there is a tradeoff between number uncertainty and phase uncertainty ∆θ∆n
= 1/2, the number-phase uncertainty relation. This is not a formal uncertainty
relation: there is no uniquely deﬁned phase operator in quantum mechanics.
Mathematical characteristics
The coherent state does not display all the nice mathematical features of a
→Fock state; for instance two different coherent states are not orthogonal:
'β[α` = e

1
2
([β[
2
+[α[
2
−2β

α)
= δ(α −β)
so that if the oscillator is in the quantum state [α> it is also with nonzero
probability in the other quantum state [β> (but the farther apart the states are
situated in phase space, the lower the probability is). However, since they obey
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Coherent state
a closure relation, any state can be decomposed on the set of coherent states.
They hence form an overcomplete basis in which one can diagonally decom-
pose any state. This is the premise for the Sudarshan-Glauber P representation.
Another difﬁculty is that a

has no eigenket (and a has no eigenbra). The fol-
lowing formal equality is the closest substitute and turns out to be very useful
for technical computations:
a

[α` =

∂α
+
α

2

[α`
Coherent states of Bose-Einstein condensates
• A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) is a collection of boson atoms that are
all in the same quantum state. An approximate theoretical description of
its properties can be derived by assuming the BEC is in a coherent state.
However, unlike photons atoms interact with each other so it now appears
that it more likely to be one of the squeezed coherent states mentioned
above.
Generalizations
• In quantum ﬁeld theory and string theory, a generalization of coherent
states to the case of inﬁnitely many degrees of freedom is used to deﬁne
a vacuum state with a different vacuum expectation value from the original
vacuum.
• →Quantum ﬁeld theory
• Quantum optics
• Electromagnetic ﬁeld
• degree of coherence
• quantum coherence
• Quantum states of the light ﬁeld
33
http://gerdbreitenbach.de/gallery
33
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Complementarity (physics)
References
• E. Schrödinger, Naturwissenschaften 14 (1926) 664.
• R.J. Glauber, Phys. Rev. 131 (1963) 2766.
• Loudon, Rodney, The Quantum Theory of Light (Oxford University Press,
2000), [ISBN 0198501773]
• G. Breitenbach, S. Schiller, and J. Mlynek, "Measurement of the quantum
states of squeezed light", Nature, 387, 471 (1997)
34
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherent_state
Principal Authors: J S Lundeen, Gerd Breitenbach, Laussy, Charles Matthews, JerryFriedman
Complementarity (physics)
In physics, complementarity is a basic principle of quantum theory, and refers
to effects such as the wave-particle duality, in which different measurements
made on a system reveal it to have either particle-like or wave-like properties.
Niels Bohr is usually associated with this concept; in the orthodox form, it is
stated that a quantum mechanical system consisting of a boson or fermion can
either behave as a particle or as wave, but never simultaneously as both. A less
orthodox interpretation is the "duality condition," described by the inequality
proven by Jaeger, Shimony, and Vaidman (G. Jaeger, A. Shimony, and L. Vaid-
man, Phys. Rev. A, Vol. 51, 54 (1995)), and later by Englert (B. Englert, Phys.
Rev. Lett., Vol. 77, 2154 (1996)), which allows wave and particle attributes
to co-exist, but postulates that a stronger manifestation of the particle nature
leads to a weaker manifestation of the wave nature and vice versa.
→Wave-particle duality is considered to be one of the distinguishing character-
istics of quantum mechanics, whose theoretical and experimental development
has been honoured by more than a few Nobel Prizes for Physics. It has been
discussed by prominent physicists for the last 100 years, from the time of Al-
bert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, onwards. On the basis of
Bohr’s principle of complementarity, it is indeed universally accepted that the
observation of two complementary properties, such as position and momen-
tum, requires mutually exclusive experimental measurements.
The emergence of complementarity in a system occurs when one considers the
circumstances under which one attempts to measure its properties; as Bohr
http://www.exphy.uni-duesseldorf.de/Publikationen/1997/N387/471z.htm
34
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Complementarity (physics)
noted, the principle of complementarity "implies the impossibility of any sharp
separation between the behaviour of atomic objects and the interaction with
the measuring instruments which serve to deﬁne the conditions under which
the phenomena appear." It is important to distinguish, as did Bohr in his origi-
nal statements, the principle of complementarity froma statement of the uncer-
tainty principle. For a technical discussion of contemporary issues surrounding
complementarity in physics, see, e.g.,
35
(from which parts of this discussion
were drawn.)
Various neutron interferometry experiments demonstrate the subtleness of the
notions of duality and complementarity in an interesting way. In order to pass
through the interferometer, the neutron must act as a wave. Yet upon passage,
the neutron is subject to gravitation, which one would think only particles, and
not waves, are subject to. As the neutron interferometer is rotated through
Earth’s gravitational ﬁeld a phase change between the two arms of the inter-
ferometer is created, resulting in a change in the constructive and destructive
interference of the neutron waves on exit from the interferometer. Note that
in order to understand the interference effect one must concede that a single
neutron takes both paths through the interferometer at the same time: a sin-
gle neutron must "be in two places at once", as it were. Since the two paths
through a neutron interferometer can be as far as ﬁve to 15 cm apart, the effect
is hardly microscopic. This is not in contrast to traditional double-slit experi-
ments (or mirror interferometer) where the slits (or mirrors) can be arbitrary
far apart. So in interference and diffraction experiments neutron behaves the
same way as a photon (or an electron) of corresponding wavelength.
The mathematics of two-slit diffraction
This section reviews the mathematical formulation of the double-aperture ex-
periment (see Fig.1). The formulation is in terms of the diffraction and in-
terference of waves. The culmination of the develpment is a presentation of
two numbers that characterizes the visibility of the interference fringes in the
experiment, linked together as the Englert-Greenberger duality relation.The
next will then discuss the orthodox quantum mechanical interpretation of the
duality relation in terms of wave-particle duality. Of this experiment, Richard
Feynman once said that it “has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality
it contains the only mystery´´.
The wave function in the Young double-aperture experiment can be written as
Ψ
Total
(x) = Ψ
A
(x) + Ψ
B
(x).
http://citebase.eprints.org/cgi-bin/citations?id=oai:arXiv.org:quant-ph/0003073
35
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Complementarity (physics)
The function
Ψ
A
(x) = C
A
Ψ
0
(x −x
A
)
is the wave function associated with the pinhole at A centered on x
A
; a similar
relation holds for pinhole B. The variable x is a position in space downstream
of the slits. The constants C
A
and C
B
are proportionality factors for the cor-
responding wave amplitudes, and Ψ
0
(x) is the single hole wave function for
an aperture centered on the origin. The single-hole wave-function is taken to
be that of Fraunhofer diffraction; the pinhole shape is irrelevant, and the pin-
holes are considred to be idealized. The wave is taken to have a ﬁxed incident
momentum p
0
= h/λ:
Ψ
0
(x) ∝
e
ip
0
[x[/
[x[
where [x[ is the radial distance from the pinhole.
To distinguish which pinhole a photon passed through, one needs some mea-
sure of the distinguishability between pinholes. Such a measure is given by
D =

[C
A
[
2
−[C
B
[
2
[C
A
[
2
+[C
B
[
2

= [P
A
−P
B
[,
where
P
A
=
[C
A
[
2
[C
A
[
2
+[C
B
[
2
and
P
B
=
[C
B
[
2
[C
A
[
2
+[C
B
[
2
are the probabilities of ﬁnding that the particle passed through aperture A or
aperture B.
We have in particular D = 0 for two symmetric holes and D = 1 for a single
aperture (perfect distinguishability). In the far-ﬁeld of the two pinholes the two
waves interfere and produce fringes. The intensity of the interference pattern
at a point y in the focal plane (denoted by (F) in the image) is given by
I(y) ∝ 1 +V cos (p
y
d/ +φ)
where p
y
= h/λ sin(α) is the momentum of the particle along the y direc-
tion, φ = Arg(C
A
) − Arg(C
B
) is a ﬁxed phase shift, and d is the separa-
tion between the two pinholes. The angle α from the horizontal is given by
sin(α) · tan(α) = y/L where L is the distance between the aperture screen
and the far ﬁeld analysis plane. If a lens is used to observe the fringes in the
D
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Complementarity (physics)
rear focal plane (F), the angle is given by sin(α) · tan(α) = y/f where f is
the focal length of the lens.
The visibility of the fringes is deﬁned by
V =
I
max
−I
min
I
max
+I
min
where max and min denote the maximum and minimum intensity of the
fringes. Equivalently, this can be written as
V = 2
[C
A
C

B
[
[C
A
[
2
+[C
B
[
2
.
In a single hole experiment, the fringe visibility will be zero (as there are no
fringes); that is, V = 0. On the other hand, for a two slit conﬁguration, where
the two slits are indistinguishable, one has perfect visibility; that is, V = 1 or
[C
A
[ = [C
B
[ = 1/

2. It is straighforward to see that the duality relation
V
2
+D
2
= 1
is always true.
The above presentation was limited to a pure quantum state. More generally,
for a mixture of quantum states, one will have
V
2
+D
2
≤ 1.
For the remainder of the development, the light source will be assumed to
be a laser, so that V
2
+ D
2
= 1 can be assumed to hold, following from the
coherence properties of laser light.
Complementarity
The mathematical discussion presented above does not require quantum me-
chanics at its heart. In particular, the derivation is essentially valid for waves of
any sort. With slight modiﬁcations to account for the squaring of amplitudes,
the derivation could be applied to, for example, sound waves or water waves
in a ripple tank.
In order for the relation to be a precise formulation of Bohr complementarity
one must introduce wave-particle duality in the discussion. This means one
must consider both wave and particle behavior of light on an equal footing.
Wave-particle duality implies that one must A) use the unitary evolution of
the wave before the observation and B) consider the particle aspect after the
detection (this is called the Heisenberg-von Neumann collapse postulate). In-
deed since one could only observe the photon in one point of space (a photon
can not be absorbed twice) this implies that the meaning of the wave function
D
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Complementarity (physics)
is essentially statistical and can not be confused with a classical wave (like it
exists in air or water).
In this context the direct observation of a photon in the aperture plane pre-
cludes the following recording of the same photon in (F). Reciprocally the ob-
servation in (F) means that we did not absorb the photon before. If both holes
are open this implies that we don’t know where we would have detected the
photon in the aperture plane. D deﬁnes thus the distinguishability of the two
holes A and B.
A maximal value of distinguishability D = 1 means that only one hole (say A)
is open. If now we detect the photon at (F), we know that that photon would
have been detected in A necessarily. Conversely, D = 0 means that both holes
are open and play a symmetric role. If we detect the photon at (F), we don’t
know where the photon would have been detected in the aperture plane and
D = 0 characterizes our ignorance.
Similarly, if D = 0 then V = 1 and this means that a statistical accumulation
of photons at (F) will build up an interference pattern with maximal visibility.
Conversely, D = 1 implies V = 0 and thus, no fringes will appear after a
statistical recording of several photons.
The above treatment formalizes wave particle duality for the double-slit exper-
iment.
• Afshar experiment
• →Wave-particle duality
• →Quantum entanglement
• →Quantum indeterminacy
• Bethold-Georg Englert, Marlan O Scully & Herbert Walther, Quantum Op-
tical Tests of Complementarity , Nature, Vol 351, pp 111-116 (9 May
1991). Demonstrates that quantum interference effects are destroyed by
irreversible object-apparatus correlations ("measurement"), not by Heisen-
berg’s uncertainty principle itself. See also The Duality in Matter and Light
Scientiﬁc American, (December 1994)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementarity_%28physics%29
Principal Authors: Danko Georgiev MD, Linas, Dewain Belgard, Enormousdude, Arcturus
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Compton scattering
Complete set of commuting observables
In quantum mechanics, a complete set of commuting observables (CSCO) is
a set of commuting operators whose eigenvalues completely specify the state
of a system.
For example, in the case of the hydrogen atom, the Hamiltonian H, the angular
momentum L and its projection L
z
along any arbitrary z axis form a CSCO (if
one ignores the spin of the proton and of the electron as well as the movement
of the proton).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_set_of_commuting_observables
Principal Authors: TobinFricke, Conscious, Gazpacho
Compton scattering
In physics, Compton scattering or the Compton effect, is the decrease in
energy (increase in wavelength) of an X-ray or gamma ray photon, when it
interacts with matter. The amount the wavelength increases by is called the
Compton shift. Although nuclear compton scattering exists, what is meant by
Compton scattering usually is the interaction involving only the electrons of
an atom. Compton effect was observed by Arthur Holly Compton in 1923, for
which he earned the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics.
The effect is important because it demonstrates that light cannot be explained
purely as a wave phenomenon. Thomson scattering, the classical theory of
charged particles scattered by an electromagnetic wave, cannot explain any
shift in wavelength. Light must behave as if it consists of particles in order to
explain the Compton scattering. Compton’s experiment convinced physicists
that light can behave as a stream of particles whose energy is proportional to
the frequency.
The interaction between high energy photons and electrons results in the elec-
tron being given part of the energy (making it recoil), and a photon containing
the remaining energy being emitted in a different direction from the original,
so that the overall momentum of the system is conserved. If the photon still
has enough energy left, the process may be repeated.
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Compton scattering
Compton scattering occurs in all materials and predominantly with photons
of medium energy, i.e. about 0.5 to 3.5 MeV. It is also observed that high-
energy photons; photons of visible light of higher frequency, for example, have
sufﬁcient energy to even eject the bound electrons fromthe atom(photoelectric
effect).
The Compton shift formula
For differential cross section of Compton scattering, see Klein-Nishina formula.
Figure 10 Compton Scattering (in the rest frame of the target)
Compton used a combination of three fundamental formulas representing the
various aspects of classical and modern physics, combining them to describe
the quantum behavior of light.
• Light as a particle, as noted previously in the photoelectric effect.
• Relativistic dynamics Special Theory of Relativity
• Trigonometry - Law of cosines
The ﬁnal result gives us the Compton scattering equation:
λ
2
=
h
m
e
c
(1 −cos θ) +λ
1
where
λ
1
is the wavelength of the photon before scattering,
λ
2
is the wavelength of the photon after scattering,
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Compton scattering
m
e
is the mass of the electron,
h/(m
e
c) is known as the →Compton wavelength,
θ is the angle by which the photon’s heading changes,
h is Planck’s constant, and
c is the speed of light.
Collectively, the Compton wavelength is 2.4310
-12
meter.
Derivation
We use that:
E
γ
+E
e
= E
γ
/ +E
e
/
(Conservation of energy, where E
γ
is the energy of a photon before the collision
and E
e
is the energy of an electron before collision — its rest mass). The
variables with a prime are used for those after the collision.
And:
p
γ
+ p
e
= p
γ
/ + p
e
/
(Conservation of momentum, with the p
e
= 0 because we assume that the
electron is at rest.)
We then use E = hf = pc:
p
e
/ = p
γ
− p
γ
/
p
e
/
2
= ( p
γ
− p
γ
/ )
2
p
e
/
2
= p
γ
2
−2 p
γ
p
γ
/ + p
γ
/
2
p
e
/ p
e
/ = p
γ
p
γ
−2 p
γ
p
γ
/ + p
γ
/ p
γ
/
p
e
/
2
cos(0) = p
2
γ
cos(0) −2 p
γ
p
γ
/ cos(θ) +p
2
γ
/
cos(0)
The cos(θ) term appears because the momenta are spatial vectors, all of which
lie in a single 2D plane, thus their inner product is the product of their norms
D
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Compton scattering
multiplied by the cosine of the angle between them.
substituting p
γ
with
hf
c
and p
γ
/ with
hf
/
c
, we derive
p
2
e
/
=
h
2
f
2
c
2
+
h
2
f
/2
c
2

2h
2
ff
/
cos θ
c
2
Now we ﬁll in for the energy part:
E
γ
+E
e
= E
γ
/ +E
e
/
hf +mc
2
= hf
/
+

(p
e
/ c)
2
+ (mc
2
)
2
We solve this for p
e’
:
(hf +mc
2
−hf
/
)
2
= (p
e
/ c)
2
+ (mc
2
)
2
(hf+mc
2
−hf
/
)
2
−m
2
c
4
c
2
= p
2
e
/
Then we have two equations for p
2
e
/
, which we equate:
(hf+mc
2
−hf
/
)
2
−m
2
c
4
c
2
=
h
2
f
2
c
2
+
h
2
f
/2
c
2

2h
2
ff
/
cos θ
c
2
Now it’s just a question of rewriting:
h
2
f
2
+h
2
f
/2
−2h
2
ff
/
+ 2h(f −f
/
)mc
2
= h
2
f
2
+h
2
f
/2
−2h
2
ff
/
cos θ
−2h
2
ff
/
+ 2h(f −f
/
)mc
2
= −2h
2
ff
/
cos θ
hff
/
−(f −f
/
)mc
2
= hff
/
cos θ
hff
/
(1 −cos θ) = (f −f
/
)mc
2
h
c
λ
/
c
λ
(1 −cos θ) =

c
λ

c
λ
/

mc
2
h
c
λ
/
c
λ
(1 −cos θ) =

/
λλ
/

λ
/
λ

mc
2
h(1 −cos θ) =
λ
/
c
λ
c

/
λ
/
λ

λλ
/

mc
2
h(1 −cos θ) =

λ
/
c

λ
c

mc
2
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Compton scattering
h
mc
(1 −cos θ) = λ
/
−λ
Applications
Compton scattering is of prime importance to radiobiology, as it happens to be
the most probable interaction of high energy X rays with atomic nuclei in living
beings and is applied in radiation therapy.
Compton scattering has on occasion been proposed as an alternative explana-
tion for the phenomenon of the redshift by opponents of the Big Bang theory,
although this is not generally accepted because the inﬂuence of the Compton
scattering would be noticeable in the spectral lines of distant objects and this
is not observed.
In material physics, Compton scattering can be used to probe the wave function
of the electrons in matter in the momentum representation.
Compton Scatter is an important effect in Gamma spectroscopy, as it is possible
for the gamma rays to scatter out of the detectors used. Compton suppression
is used to detect stray scatter gamma rays to counteract this effect.
• Thomson scattering
• →Photoelectric effect
• Timeline of cosmic microwave background astronomy
• Peter Debye
• Sunyaev Zel’dovich effect
• Walther Bothe
• List of astronomical topics
• List of physics topics
• Compton Effect
36
(PDF ﬁle) by Michael Brandl for Project PHYSNET
37
.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compton_scattering
Principal Authors: Pt, Eteq, Fresheneesz, Eleassar777, Omegatron, Silenced, Reddi, Pfalstad, Niven,
AugPi
http://35.9.69.219/home/modules/pdf_modules/m219.pdf
36
http://physnet2.pa.msu.edu/
37
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Compton wavelength
Compton wavelength
The Compton wavelength λ of a particle is given by
λ =
h
mc
= 2π

mc
,
where
h is the Planck constant,
m is the particle’s mass,
c is the speed of light.
The Compton wavelength of the electron is approximately 2.4 10
-12
meters.
The Compton wavelength can be thought of as a fundamental limitation on
measuring the position of a particle, taking quantum mechanics and special
relativity into account. This depends on the mass m of the particle. To see
this, note that we can measure the position of a particle by bouncing light off
it - but measuring the position accurately requires light of short wavelength.
Light with a short wavelength consists of photons of high energy. If the energy
of these photons exceeds mc
2
, when one hits the particle whose position is
being measured the collision may have enough energy to create a new particle
of the same type. This renders moot the question of the original particle’s
location.
This argument also shows that the Compton wavelength is the cutoff below
which quantum ﬁeld theory– which can describe particle creation and annihi-
lation – becomes important.
We can make the above argument a bit more precise as follows. Suppose we
wish to measure the position of a particle to within an accuracy ∆x . Then
the uncertainty relation for position and momentum says that ∆x∆p ≥ /2
so the uncertainty in the particle’s momentum satisﬁes ∆p ≥

2∆x
Using the
relativistic relation between momentum and energy, when ∆p exceeds mc then
the uncertainty in energy is greater than mc
2
, which is enough energy to
create another particle of the same type. So, with a little algebra, we see
there is a fundamental limitation ∆x ≥

2mc
So, at least to within an order
of magnitude, the uncertainty in position must be greater than the Compton
wavelength h/mc .
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Compton wavelength
The Compton wavelength can be contrasted with the de Broglie wavelength,
which depends on the momentum of a particle and determines the cutoff be-
tween particle and wave behavior in quantum mechanics.
For fermions, the Compton wavelength sets the cross-section of interactions.
For example, the cross-section for Thomson scattering of a photon from an
electron is equal to (8π/3)α
2
λ
2
e
, where α is the ﬁne-structure constant and
λ
e
is the Compton wavelength of the electron. For gauge bosons, the Compton
wavelength sets the effective range of the Yukawa interaction: since the photon
is massless, electromagnetism has inﬁnite range.
The Compton wavelength of the electron is one of a trio of related units of
length, the other two being the Bohr radius a
0
r
e
. The Compton wavelength is built from the electron mass m
e
, Planck’s con-
stant h and the speed of light c. The Bohr radius is built from m
e
, h and the
electron charge e. The classical electron radius is built from m
e
, c and e. Any
one of these three lengths can be written in terms of any other using the ﬁne
structure constant α:
r
e
=
αλ
e

= α
2
a
0
The Planck mass is special because ignoring factors of 2π and the like, the
Compton wavelength for this mass is equal to its Schwarzschild radius. This
special distance is called the Planck length. This is a simple case of dimensional
analysis: the Schwarzschild radius is proportional to the mass, whereas the
Compton wavelength is proportional to the inverse of the mass.
• Length Scales in Physics: the Compton Wavelength
38
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compton_wavelength
Principal Authors: Joke137, John Baez, MagnaMopus, Rmrfstar, Wigie
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/lengths.html#compton_wavelength
38
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Constraint algebra
Conjugate variables
In physics, especially in quantum mechanics, conjugate variables are pairs
of variables that share an uncertainty relation. The terminology comes from
classical Hamiltonian mechanics, but also appears in quantum mechanics and
engineering.
Examples of canonically conjugate variables include the following:
• Time and frequency: the longer a musical note is sustained, the more pre-
cise we know its frequency (but it spans more time). Conversely, a very
short musical note becomes just a click, and so one can’t know its frequen-
cy very accurately.
• Position and momentum: precise measurements of position lead to ambi-
guity of momentum, and v.v.
• Doppler and range: the more we know about how far away a radar target
is, the less we can know about the exact velocity of approach or retreat, and
vice versa. In this case, the two dimensional function of doppler and range
A pair of conjugate variables are often Fourier transform duals of one-another,
or more generally are related through Pontryagin duality. The duality relations
lead naturally to an uncertainty relation between them.
A more precise mathematical deﬁnition, in the context of Hamiltonian mechan-
ics, is given in the article canonical coordinates.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugate_variables
Principal Authors: Linas, Charles Matthews, Glogger, Demoscn, Arthur Rubin
Constraint algebra
In theoretical physics, a constraint algebra is a linear space of all constraints
and all of their polynomial functions or functionals whose action on the physi-
cal vectors of the →Hilbert space should be equal to zero.
For example, in electromagnetism, the equation for the Gauss’ law

E = ρ
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Coupling constant
is an equation of motion that does not include any time derivatives. This is why
it is counted as a constraint, not a dynamical equation of motion. In quantum
electrodynamics, one ﬁrst constructs a Hilbert space in which Gauss’ law does
not hold automatically. The true Hilbert space of physical states is constructed
as a subspace of the original Hilbert space of vectors that satisfy
(∇

E(x) −ρ(x))[ψ` = 0.
In more general theories, the constraint algebra may be a noncommutative
algebra.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constraint_algebra
Coupling constant
In physics, a coupling constant, usually denoted g, is a number that deter-
mines the strength of an interaction. Usually the Lagrangian or the Hamiltoni-
an of a system can be separated into a kinetic part and an interaction part. The
coupling constant determines the strength of the interaction part with respect
to the kinetic part, or between two sectors of the interaction part. For example,
the electric charge of a particle is a coupling constant.
A coupling constant plays an important role in dynamics. For example, one
often sets up hierarchies of approximation based on the importance of various
coupling constants. In the motion of a large lump of magnetized iron, the
gravitational forces are more important than the magnetic forces because of
the relative coupling constants. However, in classical mechanics one usually
makes these decisions directly by comparing forces.
Fine structure constant
The coupling constant comes into its own in a quantum ﬁeld theory. A special
role is played in relativistic quantum theories by coupling constants which are
dimensionless, ie, are pure numbers. For example, the ﬁne-structure constant,
α =
e
2

0
c
(where e is the charge of an electron,
0
is the permittivity of free space,
is Dirac’s constant and c is the speed of light) is such a dimensionless cou-
pling constant that determines the strength of the electromagnetic force on an
electron.
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Coupling constant
Gauge coupling
In a non-Abelian gauge theory, the gauge coupling parameter, g, appears in
the Lagrangian as
1
4g
2
Tr G
µν
G
µν
(where G is the gauge ﬁeld tensor) in some conventions. In another widely
used convention, G is rescaled so that the coefﬁcient of the kinetic term is 1/4
and g appears in the covariant derivative. This should be understood to be
similar to a dimensionless version of the electric charge deﬁned as

0
α.
Weak and strong coupling
In a quantum ﬁeld theory with a dimensionless coupling constant, g, if it is
(much) smaller than one, then one says that the theory is weakly coupled. In
this case it is well described by an expansion in powers of g, called perturbation
theory. If the coupling constant is of order one or larger, the theory is said to
be strongly coupled. An example of the latter is the hadronic theory of strong
interactions (which is why it is called strong in the ﬁrst place). In such a case
non-perturbative methods have to be used to investigate the theory.
Running coupling
Figure 11 Virtual particles renormalize the coupling
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Coupling constant
One can probe a quantum ﬁeld theory at short times or distances by changing
the wavelength or momentum, k of the probe one uses. With a high frequency,
ie, short time probe, one sees virtual particles taking part in every process. The
reason this can happen, seemingly violating the conservation of energy is the
uncertainty relation
∆E∆t ≥
which allows such violations at short times. The previous remark only applies
to some formulations of QFT, in particular, canonical quantization in the inter-
action picture. In other formulations, the same event is described by "virtual"
particles going off the mass shell. Such processes renormalize the coupling
and make it dependent on the scale, k at which one observes the coupling.
The phenomenon of scale dependence of the coupling, g(k) is called running
coupling in a quantum ﬁeld theory.
Beta-function
The beta function β(g) of a quantum ﬁeld theory measures the running of a
coupling parameter. It is deﬁned by the relation:
β(g) = k
∂g
∂k
=
∂g
∂ ln k
.
For most theories the beta function is positive, so that the coupling is increasing
in k (equivalently, the coupling rises as the scale at which the theory is observed
becomes shorter). This is also the case in quantum electrodynamics (QED). At
low energy, i.e. long distances, α ≈ 1/137. At the scale of the Z boson, about
90 GeV, α ≈ 1/127.
In a classical ﬁeld theory in which a scale change is an invariance (symmetry)
of the theory, the beta function breaks this scale invariance. Since this is a
quantum effect arising directly from the uncertainty principle, a non-zero beta
function implies a scale anomaly in such a quantum ﬁeld theory.
Landau pole and asymptotic freedom
We noted that QED is weakly coupled at long distances, but the coupling in-
creases at short distances. This increase was ﬁrst noticed by Lev Landau who
showed that QED becomes strongly coupled at high energy, and in fact the
coupling becomes inﬁnite at asympototically high energy. This phenomenon is
called the Landau pole.
In non-Abelian gauge theories, the beta function is negative, as ﬁrst found
by Frank Wilczek, David Politzer and David Gross. As a result the coupling
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Coupling constant
decreases at short distances. Furthermore, the coupling decreases logarithmi-
cally, a phenomenon known as asymptotic freedom. The coupling decreases
approximately as
α
s
(k
2
) ≡
g
2
s
(k
2
)

1
β
0
ln(k
2

2
)
where β
0
is a constant computed by Wilczek, Gross and Politzer.
QCD scale
In quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the quantity is called the QCD scale.
The value is
Λ
MS
= 217
+25
−23
MeV
This value is to be used at a scale above the bottom quark mass of about 5 GeV.
The meaning of
MS
is given in the article on dimensional regularization.
Charge, colour charge, etc
In quantum ﬁeld theory, since the size of the interaction term is absorbed into
the notion of the coupling constant (more correctly coupling parameter, since
it runs), the word charge is freed up for another use. One says, for example,
that the electrical charge of an electron is -1 and that of any observable particle
is an integer multiple of this. The notion of charge is now exactly the same as
the representation of the gauge group to which the particle belongs. Thus the
colour charge of a quark is ﬁxed at 4/3 since it belongs to the fundamental
representation of SU(3), and the colour charge of a gluon is 8 since it belongs
This difference in the notion of charge in classical and quantum ﬁeld theory is
alluded to in a shorthand phrase that is sometimes used: "charge in units of
the positron charge".
String theory
A remarkably different situation exists in string theory. Each perturbative de-
scription of string theory depends on a string coupling constant. However, in
the case of string theory, these coupling constants are not pre-determined, ad-
justable, or universal parameters; rather they are dynamical scalar ﬁelds that
can depend on the position in space and time and whose values are determined
dynamically.
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Creation and annihilation operators
• →Quantum ﬁeld theory, especially quantum electrodynamics and quantum
chromodynamics
• Canonical quantization, renormalization and dimensional regularization
• ﬁne structure constant
• gravitational coupling constant
• An introduction to quantum ﬁeld theory, by M.E.Peskin and H.D.Schroeder,
ISBN 0201503972
• The Nobel Prize in Physics 2004 – Information for the Public
39
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coupling_constant
Principal Authors: Bambaiah, Phys, Xerxes314, Ricky81682, Cmdrjameson
Creation and annihilation operators
In physics, an annihilation operator is an operator that lowers the number
of particles in a given state by one. A creation operator is an operator that
increases the number of particles in a given state by one, and it is the adjoint
of the annihilation operator. Depending on the context, the identity of the
particles in question varies; for example, in quantum chemistry and many-
body theory the creation and annihilation operators often act on electrons.
Annihilation and creation operators can also refer speciﬁcally to the ladder
operators for the quantum harmonic oscillator. In the latter case, the raising
operator is interpreted as a creation operator, adding a quantum of energy to
the oscillator system. Vice versa for the lowering operator. In many subﬁelds of
physics and chemistry, using these operators instead of a wavefunction picture,
is known as second quantization.
The mathematics behind the creation and the annihilation operators is identical
as the formulae for ladder operators that appear in the quantum harmonic
oscillator. For example, the commutator of the annihilation and the creation
operator associated with the same state equals one; all other commutators
vanish.
http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/2004/public.html
39
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Creation and annihilation operators
While the concept of creation and annihilation operators is well deﬁned for free
ﬁeld theories, in interacting QFTs, they can only be deﬁned in the interaction
picture, which does not exist according to Haag’s theorem.
Derivation of bosonic creation and annihilation op-
erators
In the context of the quantum harmonic oscillator, we reinterpret the ladder
operators as creation and annihilation operators, adding or subtracting ﬁxed
quanta of energy to the oscillator system. Creation/annihilation operators are
different for bosons (integer spin) and fermions (half-integer spin). This is
because their wavefunctions have different symmetry properties.
Suppose the wavefunctions are dependent on N properties. Then
For bosons: ψ(1,2,3,4,...N) = ψ(2,1,3,4,...N)
For fermions: ψ(1,2,3,4,...N) = -ψ(2,1,3,4,...N)
For now let’s just consider the case of bosons because fermions are more com-
plicated.
dent quantum harmonic oscillator

2
2m
d
2
dx
2
+
1
2

2
x
2

ψ(x) = Eψ(x)
Make a coordinate substitution to nondimensionalize the differential equation
x ≡

q.
and the Schrödinger equation for the oscillator becomes
ω
2

d
2
dq
2
+q
2

ψ(q) = Eψ(q).
Notice that the quantity hω = hν is the same energy as that found for light
quanta and that the parenthesis in the Hamiltonian can be written as

d
2
dq
2
+q
2
=

d
dq
+q

d
dq
+q

+
d
dq
q −q
d
dq
The last two terms in that equation form the commutator of q with its deriva-
tive. So let’s calculate that commutator [ q, ∂/∂q ]

q
d
dq

d
dq
q

f(q) = q
df
dq

d
dq
(qf(q)) = −f(q)
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Creation and annihilation operators
In other words [ q, d/dq ] = - 1 or [ d/dq, q ] = 1.
Therefore
1
2
ω

d
2
dq
2
+q
2

= ω

−d/dq+q

2

d/dq+q

2

+
1
2
ω
If we deﬁne
a

1

2

d
dq
+q

as the "creation operator" or the "raising operator" and
a ≡
1

2

+
d
dq
+q

as the "annihilation operator" or the "lowering operator"
the Hamiltonian becomes
H = ω

a

a +
1
2

.
This Hamiltonian is signiﬁcantly simpler than the original form. Further sim-
pliﬁcations of this equation enables one to derive all the properties listed above
thus far.
Letting p = - i d/dq, where p is the nondimensionalized momentum operator
a

=
1

2
(q −ip)
a =
1

2
(q +ip).
Substituting backwards, the laddering operators are recovered.
Mathematical details
The operators derived above are actually a speciﬁc instance of a more gener-
alized class of creation and annihilation operators. The more abstract (and
hence more applicable) form of the operators satisfy the properties below.
Let H be the one-particle →Hilbert space. To get the bosonic CCR algebra, look
at the algebra generated by a(f ) for any f in H. The operator a(f ) is called an
annihilation operator and the map a(.) is antilinear. Its adjoint is a

(f ) which
is linear in H.
For a boson,
[a(f), a(g)] = [a

(f), a

(g)] = 0
[a(f), a

(g)] = 'f[g`,
where we are using bra-ket notation.
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Creation and annihilation operators
For a fermion, the anticommutators are
¦a(f), a(g)¦ = ¦a ∗ (f), a ∗ (g)¦ = 0
¦a(f), a ∗ (g)¦ = 'f[g`.
A CAR algebra.
Physically speaking, a(f ) removes (i.e. annihilates) a particle in the state [f >
wheareas a

(f ) creates a particle in the state [f >.
The free ﬁeld vacuum state is the state with no particles. In other words,
a(f)[0` = 0
where [0> is the vacuum state.
If [f > is normalized so that <f [f >=1, then a

(f ) a(f ) gives the number of
particles in the state [f >.
Note that the creation and annihilation operators are "generalized complex
conjugates" of each other. Usually, the notation is chosen in such a way that
the a

(f ) is the creation operator, and a(f ) is the annihilation operator. The

reminds us that something "extra" is being added to the system. The topic can
be misleadingly confusing if this is not done.
Notational caveats and considerations
In quantum mechanics, Dirac bra-ket notation is often used. However, there is
some ambiguity in this notation, particularly when there is the need to differ-
entiate between these things:
• The lowest energy state
• The zero state
• The vacuum state
• The zero ket
Often, these are all interchangeably notated as [0>, or even [ >. As a result, it
is necessary to read carefully, and consider the context in which the notation is
used.
For example, in the quantum harmonic oscillator, the ground state has the
property that when the annihilation operator b is applied to it, it satisﬁes b[0>
= 0[ > = 0
The intermediate step is rarely indicated as it is considered necessary only
when more conceptual/mathematical rigour is needed.
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Creation and annihilation operators
In this example, the lowest energy state is denoted as [0>. It is labeled as the
"zero state", but it is important to emphasize that any state can be labeled as the
"zero" state. The zero state is often used as a reference state to other quantum
states. Therefore, the [0> state need not be the state with the absolutely lowest
energy. In the case of the harmonic oscillator, it is due to the particulars of the
mathematics that the ground state is chosen to be [0>. The vacuum state is
the state where no quanta is available to be extracted. This special null state
is denoted by [ >. This vacuum state is also known as the "zero ket" because
there are zero particles in the state. Unfortunately, the lowest energy state [0>
is also known as the "zero ket" for the different reason that the state is labeled
as "zero". Care must be taken that the four concepts listed above are not mixed
together.
Sometimes, the terms "null state" and "empty state" are used interchangeably
for [> and [0>. The meaning for this usage is again dependent on the context.
The vacuum state
The vacuum state is a conceptual state which has no particles. The state is
usually denoted as [0>, not the "empty ket" [ >. Interestingly enough, no
actual function actually represents the [0> state, but for notational purposes,
we deﬁne the vacuum state as being normalized such that <0[0> = 1 and that
[0> is orthogonal to all other states of the form [N>, where N is any indexing
of quantum states for a particular system.
Energy spectra
In a quantum mechanical system, the range of discrete energies allowed in a
system may be either ﬁnite, or inﬁnite, or "semi-inﬁnite".
In a system where the energies are conﬁned to be semi-inﬁnite on the interval
[constant, ∞) such as the quantum harmonic oscillator, the vacuum state [ >,
(different from [0>) needs to be introduced in order to make the theory of
creation and annihilation operators consistent. The lowest energy allowed in a
semi-inﬁnite energy system is known as the ground state. Since it is often used
as the reference state, it is denoted by [0>. However, this state is not empty -
the vacuum state [ > is introduced to disambiguate these two states.
In a system where the range of energies is (-∞, ∞), the vacuum state is almost
always denoted by [0>. There is no need for the "null" state [ > as [0> already
is sufﬁcient to denote "emptiness". There is also no "ground state" present,
which is why the notational ambiguity arises. This interpretation arises directly
from the relativistic formalism of quantum mechanics by Paul Dirac, which
later became one of the foundations for quantum ﬁeld theory. One of the
shortcomings of quantum ﬁeld theory however, is its allowance of energy states
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Dark energy star
tending to inﬁnity. The attempt to resolve this problem is very much an active
part of quantum mechanical research today.
In summary for inﬁnite and semi inﬁnite systems
COMMON NOTATION FOR STATES
infinite semi-infinite
ground state none [0>
vacuum state [0> [ >
There is no [ > state needed for inﬁnite-ranged-energy-systems in quantum
mechanics.
• Bogolibov transformations - arises in the theory of quantum optics. Also
transliterated as Bogolubov transformations’
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_and_annihilation_operators
Principal Authors: HappyCamper, Laurascudder, Phys, Salsb, Sunev
Dark energy star
A dark-energy star is a hypothetical compact astrophysical object which a
minority of physicists feel might constitute an alternative explanation for ob-
servations of astronomical black hole candidates.
The concept was proposed by physicist George Chapline. The theory states that
infalling matter is converted into vacuum energy, or dark energy as the matter
falls through the event horizon. The space within the event horizon would end
up with a large value for the cosmological constant, and have negative pressure
to exert against gravity. There would be no information destroying singularity.
Theory
In March 2005, physicist George Chapline claimed that quantum mechanics
makes it a "near certainty" black holes do not exist and are instead dark energy
stars. The dark energy star is a different concept than that of a gravastar.
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Dark energy star
Dark-energy stars were ﬁrst proposed due to the fact that in quantum physics,
absolute time is required, however in general relativity, an object falling to-
wards a black hole would to an outside observer seem to have time pass in-
ﬁnitely slowly at the event horizon. The object itself would feel as if time
ﬂowed normally.
In order to reconcile quantum mechanics with black holes, Chapline theorized
that a phase transition in the phase of space occurs at the event horizon. He
based his ideas on the physics of superﬂuids. As a column of superﬂuid grows
taller, at some point, density increases slowing down the speed of sound so
that it approaches zero. However, at that point, quantum physics makes sound
waves dissipate their energy into the superﬂuid, so that the zero sound speed
condition is never encountered.
In the dark-energy star hypothesis, infalling matter approaching the event hori-
zon decay into successively lighter particles. Nearing the event horizon, envi-
ronmental effects accelerate proton decay. This may account for high energy
cosmic ray sources and positron sources in the sky. When the matter falls
through the event horizon, the energy equivalent of some or all of that matter
is converted into dark energy. This negative pressure counteracts the mass the
star gains, avoiding a singularity.
The negative pressure also gives a very high number for the cosmological con-
stant. As there is no singularity to evaporate, Hawking radiation may not exist
in this model of black holes.
Furthermore ’primordial’ dark-energy stars could form by ﬂuctuations of space-
time itself which is analogous to "blobs of liquid condensing spontaneously out
of a cooling gas." This not only alters the understanding of black holes but has
the potential to explain the dark energy and dark matter that are indirectly
observed.
• Gravastar
• acoustic metric
• analog model of gravity
• Stellar mass black hole
• Dark Energy Stars
40
• MPIE Galactic Center Research
41
http://www.llnl.gov/tid/lof/documents/pdf/317506.pdf
40
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De Broglie hypothesis
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_energy_star
Principal Authors: RoyBoy, Hillman, Phys, Algri, Christopher Thomas
Davisson-Germer experiment
In 1927 at Bell Labs, Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer ﬁred slow moving
electrons at a crystalline nickel target. The angular dependence of the reﬂect-
ed electron intensity was measured, and was determined to have the same
diffraction pattern as those predicted by Bragg for X-Rays.
This experiment, like Arthur Compton’s proof of the particle-like nature of
light, proved the wave-like nature of matter and completed the wave-particle
duality hypothesis, which was a fundamental step in quantum theory.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davisson-Germer_experiment
Principal Authors: Linas, Gershwinrb, Tone, Charles Matthews, Wiccan Quagga
De Broglie hypothesis
In physics, the de Broglie hypothesis is the statement that all matter has a
wave-like nature (wave-particle duality). The de Broglie relations show that
the wavelength is inversely proportional to the momentum of a particle and
that the frequency is directly proportional to the particle’s kinetic energy. The
hypothesis was advanced by Louis de Broglie in 1923 in his PhD thesis
42
; he
was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1929 for this work, which made
him the ﬁrst person to receive a Nobel Prize on a PhD thesis.
The de Broglie relations
The ﬁrst de Broglie equation relates the wavelength to the particle momentum
as
λ =
h
p
=
h
mv

1 −
v
2
c
2
http://www.mpe.mpg.de/ir/GC/index.php
41
L. de Broglie, PhD thesis, reprinted in Ann. Found. Louis de Broglie 17 (1992) p. 22.
42
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De Broglie hypothesis
where λ is the particle’s wavelength, h is Planck’s constant, p is the particle’s
momentum, m is the particle’s rest mass, v is the particle’s velocity, and c is
the speed of light in a vacuum.
The greater the energy, the larger the frequency and the shorter (smaller) the
wavelength. Given the relationship between wavelength and frequency, it fol-
lows that short wavelengths are more energetic than long wavelengths. The
second de Broglie equation relates the frequency of a particle to the kinetic
energy such that
f =
E
k
h
=
mc
2
h

¸
1

1−
v
2
c
2
−1
¸

where f is the frequency and E
k
is the kinetic energy. The two equations are
often written as
p = k
E
k
= ω
where is Dirac’s constant, k is the wavenumber, and ω is the angular frequen-
cy.
See the article on group velocity for detail on the argument and derivation of
the de Broglie relations.
Experimental conﬁrmation
In 1927 at Bell Labs, Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer ﬁred slow-moving
electrons at a crystalline nickel target. The angular dependence of the reﬂected
electron intensity was measured, and was determined to have the same diffrac-
tion pattern as those predicted by Bragg for X-Rays. Before the acceptance of
the De Broglie hypothesis, diffraction was a property that was only exhibited
by waves. Therefore, the presence of any diffraction effects by matter, demon-
strated the wave-like nature of matter. When the De Broglie wavelength was
inserted into the Bragg condition, the observed diffraction pattern was predict-
ed, thereby experimentally conﬁrming the De Broglie hypothesis for electrons.
This was a pivotal result in the development of quantum mechanics. Just as
Arthur Compton demonstrated the particle nature of light, the →Davisson-
Germer experiment showed the wave-nature of matter, and completed the the-
ory of wave-particle duality. For physicists this idea was important because it
means that not only can any particle exhibit wave characteristics, but that one
can use wave equations to describe phenomena in matter if one uses the de
Broglie wavelength.
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De Broglie hypothesis
Since the original Davisson-Germer experiment for electrons, the De Broglie
hypothesis has been conﬁrmed for other elementary particles. Recent experi-
ments even conﬁrm the relations for macromolecules, which are normally con-
sidered too large to undergo quantum mechanical effects. In 1999, a research
team in Vienna demonstrated diffraction for molecules as large as fullerenes.
43
Wavelength of large objects
Theoretically, all objects, not just sub-atomic particles, exhibit wave properties
according to the De Broglie Hypothesis.
Consider the following example:
A baseball has a mass of 0.15 kg and is thrown by a professional baseball player
at 40 m/s. The de Broglie wavelength of the baseball is given by:
m = 0.15kg
v = 40m/s (about 90 mph)
λ =
h
p
where p = mv
λ =
6.62610
−34
kgm
2
/s
0.15kg40m/s
λ = 1.10 10
−34
m
This wavelength is considerably smaller than the diameter of a proton (about
10
−15
m) and is approaching the Planck Length. As such, the wave-like proper-
ties of this baseball are so small as to be unobservable.
• →Bohr model
References
• Steven S. Zumdahl, Chemical Principles 5th Edition, (2005) Houghton Mif-
ﬂin Company.
• Tipler, Paul A. and Ralph A. Llewellyn (2003). Modern Physics. 4th ed.
New York; W. H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-4345-0. pp. 203-4,
222-3, 236.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Broglie_hypothesis
Arndt, M., O. Nairz, J. Voss-Andreae, C. Keller, G. van der Zouw, A. Zeilinger (14 October 1999).
43
"Wave-particle duality of C60". Nature 401: 680-682.
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Degenerate energy level
Principal Authors: Linas, Teply, Cdang, Blinken, Dataphile
Degenerate energy level
This article refers to physical states having the same energy. For other uses
of the word degeneracy, see degeneracy (disambiguation).
In physics two or more physical states are said to be degenerate if they are
both at the same energy level; the energy level is said to be degenerate if it
contains two or more such states. The number of occupation states available
at a particular energy level is called the level’s degeneracy.
In quantum theory, this usually pertains to electronic conﬁgurations and the
electron energy levels, where different possible occupation states for particles
may be related by symmetry. The usage comes from the fact that degener-
ate eigenstates correspond to identical eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian. Since
eigenvalues correspond to roots of the characteristic equation, degeneracy here
has the same meaning as the common mathematical usage of the word.
If the symmetry is broken by a perturbation, such as applying an external elec-
tric ﬁeld, this can change the energies of the states, causing energy level split-
ting.
• Density of states
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_energy_level
Principal Authors: Jheald, Tim Starling, Linas, Karol Langner
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Degenerate matter
Degenerate matter
Degenerate matter is matter which has sufﬁciently high density that the dom-
inant contribution to its pressure arises from the Pauli exclusion principle. The
pressure maintained by a body of degenerate matter is called the degeneracy
pressure, and arises because the Pauli principle forbids the constituent parti-
cles from occupying identical quantum states. Therefore, reducing the volume
requires forcing the particles into higher-energy quantum states. The species of
fermion are sometimes identiﬁed, so that we may speak of electron degeneracy
pressure, neutron degeneracy pressure, and so forth.
Unlike a classical ideal gas, whose pressure is proportional to its temperature
(P = nkT, where P is pressure, n is particles per unit volume, k is Boltzmann’s
constant, and T is temperature), the pressure exerted by degenerate matter
depends only weakly on its temperature. In particular, the pressure remains
nonzero even at absolute zero temperature. At relatively low densities, the
pressure of a fully degenerate gas is given by P = Kn
5/3
, where K depends on
the properties of the particles making up the gas. At very high densities, where
most of the particles are forced into quantum states with relativistic energies,
the pressure is given by P = K
/
n
4/3
, where K
/
again depends on the properties
of the particles making up the gas.
Exotic examples of degenerate matter include neutronium, strange matter,
metallic hydrogen and white dwarf matter. Degeneracy pressure contributes
to the pressure of conventional solids, but these are not usually considered to
be degenerate matter as a signiﬁcant contribution to their pressure is provid-
ed by the interplay between the electrical repulsion of atomic nuclei and the
screening of nuclei from each other by electrons allocated among the quantum
states determined by the nuclear electrical potentials. In metals it is useful to
treat the conduction electrons alone as a degenerate, free electron gas while
the majority of the electrons are regarded as occupying bound quantum states.
This contrasts with the case of the degenerate matter that forms the body of a
white dwarf where all the electrons would be treated as occupying free particle
momentum states.
Degenerate gases
Degenerate gases are gases composed of fermions that have a particular conﬁg-
uration which usually forms at high densities. Fermions are subatomic particles
with half-integer spin. Their behaviour is regulated by a set of quantum me-
chanical rules called the →Fermi-Dirac statistics. One particular rule is the
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Degenerate matter
Pauli exclusion principle that states that there can be only one fermion occu-
pying each quantum state which also applies to electrons that are not bound
to a nucleus but merely conﬁned to a ﬁxed volume, such as the deep interior
of a star. Such particles as electrons, protons, neutrons, and neutrinos are all
fermions and obey Fermi-Dirac statistics.
A fermion gas in which all the energy states below a critical value, designated
Fermi energy, are ﬁlled is called a fully degenerate fermion gas. The electron
gas in ordinary metals and in the interior of white dwarf stars constitute two
examples of a degenerate electron gas. Most stars are supported against their
own gravitation by normal gas pressure. White dwarf stars are supported by
the degeneracy pressure of the electron gas in their interior. For white dwarfs
the degenerate particles are the electrons while for neutron stars the degener-
ate particles are neutrons.
Electron degeneracy
In ordinary gas, most of the energy levels called n-spheres of only certain dis-
crete energy states available to electrons are unﬁlled and the electrons are free
to move about. As particle density is increased in a ﬁxed volume, electrons
progressively ﬁll the lower energy states and additional electrons are forced
to occupy states of higher energy. Therefore, degenerate gases strongly resist
further compression because the electrons cannot move to lower energy levels
which are already ﬁlled due to the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The degenerate
electrons are locked into place because all of the lower energy shells are ﬁlled
up so they no longer move freely as in a normal gas. Even though thermal en-
ergy may be extracted from the gas, it still may not cool down, since electrons
cannot give up energy by moving to a lower energy state. This increases the
pressure of the fermion gas termed degeneracy pressure. In a degenerate gas,
the average pressure is high enough to keep material from being compressed
by gravity.
Under high densities the matter becomes a degenerate gas when the electrons
are all stripped from their parent atoms. In the core of a star once hydrogen
burning in nuclear fusion reactions stops, it becomes a collection of positively
charged ions, largely helium and carbon nuclei, ﬂoating in a sea of electrons
which have been stripped from the nuclei. Degenerate gas is an almost perfect
conductor of heat and does not obey the ordinary gas laws. White dwarfs are
luminous not because they are generating any energy but rather because they
have trapped a large amount of heat. Normal gas exerts higher pressure when
it is heated and expands, but the pressure in a degenerate gas does not depend
on the temperature. When gas become super-compressed, particles position
right up against each other to produce degenerate gas that behaves more like
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Degenerate matter
a solid. In degenerate gases the kinetic energies of electrons are quite high and
the rate of collision between electrons and other particles is quite low, there-
fore degenerate electrons can travel great distances at velocities that approach
the speed of light. Instead of temperature, the pressure in a degenerate gas
depends only on the speed of the degenerate particles; however, adding heat
does not increase the speed. Pressure is only increased by the mass of the parti-
cles which increases the gravitational force pulling the particles closer together.
Therefore, the phenomenon is opposite of that normally found in matter where
if the mass of the matter is increased, the object becomes bigger. In degenerate
gas, when the mass is increased, the pressure is increased, and the particles
become spaced closer together, so the object becomes smaller. Degenerate gas
can be compressed to very high densities, typical values being in the range of
10
7
grams per cubic centimetre.
There is an upper limit to the mass of an electron-degenerate object, the Chan-
drasekhar limit, beyond which electron degeneracy pressure cannot support
the object against collapse. The limit is approximately 1.44 solar masses for
objects with compositions similar to the sun. The mass cutoff changes with the
chemical composition of the object, as this affects the ratio of mass to num-
ber of electrons present. Celestial objects below this limit are white dwarf
stars, formed by the collapse of the cores of stars which run out of fuel. Dur-
ing collapse, an electron-degenerate gas forms in the core, providing sufﬁcient
degeneracy pressure as it is compressed to resist further collapse. Above this
mass limit, a neutron star (supported by neutron degeneracy pressure) or a
black hole may be formed instead.
Proton degeneracy
Sufﬁciently dense matter containing protons experiences proton degeneracy
pressure, in a manner similar to the electron degeneracy pressure in electron-
degenerate matter. As protons and electrons occur in roughly equal numbers
in most forms of matter, proton degeneracy is usually modelled as a correction
to the equations of state of electron-degenerate matter, as opposed to the dom-
inant source of degeneracy pressure (which would require proton-degenerate
matter that was free of electrons).
Neutron degeneracy
Neutron degeneracy is analogous to electron degeneracy and is demonstrat-
ed in neutron stars, which are supported by the pressure from a degenerate
neutron gas. This happens when a stellar core above 1.44 solar masses (the
Chandrasekhar limit) collapses and is not halted by the degenerate electrons.
As the star collapses, the →Fermi energy of the electrons increases to the point
where it is energetically favorable for them to combine with protons to produce
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Degenerate matter
neutrons (via inverse beta decay, also termed "neutralization"). The result of
this collapse, for the simplest models of neutron-degenerate matter, is an ex-
tremely compact star composed almost entirely of a degenerate neutron gas.
Neutrons in a degenerate neutron gas are spaced much more closely than elec-
trons in an electron-degenerate gas, because the more massive neutron has a
much shorter wavelength at a given energy. In the case of neutron stars and
white dwarf stars, this is compounded by the fact that the pressures within neu-
tron stars are much higher than those in white dwarfs. The pressure increase
is caused by the fact that the compactness of neutron stars causes gravitation-
al forces to be much higher than in a less compact body with similar mass,
resulting in a star on the order of a thousand times smaller than a white dwarf.
There is an upper limit to the mass of a neutron-degenerate object, the Tolman-
Oppenheimer-Volkoff limit, which is analogous to the Chandrasekhar limit for
electron-degenerate objects. The precise limit is unknown, as it depends on the
equations of state of neutron-degenerate matter, for which a highly accurate
model is not yet available. Above this limit, a neutron star may collapse into
a black hole, or into other, denser forms of degenerate matter (such as quark
matter) if these forms exist and have suitable properties (mainly related to
degree of compressibility, or "stiffness", described by the equations of state).
Quark degeneracy
At densities greater than those supported by neutron degeneracy, quark matter
is expected to occur. Several variations of this have been proposed that rep-
resent quark-degenerate states. Strange matter is a degenerate gas of quarks
that is often assumed to contain strange quarks in addition to the usual up and
down quarks. Color superconductor materials are degenerate gases of quarks
in which quarks pair up in a manner similar to Cooper pairing in electrical
superconductors. The equations of state for the various proposed forms of
quark-degenerate matter vary widely, and are usually also poorly deﬁned, due
to the difﬁculty modelling strong force interactions.
Quark-degenerate matter may occur in the cores of neutron stars, depending
on the equations of state of neutron-degenerate matter. It may also occur in
quark stars, formed by the collapse of objects above the Tolman-Oppenheimer-
Volkoff mass limit for neutron-degenerate objects. Whether quark-degenerate
matter forms at all in these situations depends on the equations of state of
both neutron-degenerate matter and quark-degenerate matter, both of which
are poorly known.
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Degenerate matter
Speculative types of degenerate matter
Preon degeneracy
Preons are subatomic particles proposed to be the constituents of quarks, which
become composite particles in preon-based models. If preons exist, preon-
degenerate matter might occur at densities greater than that which can be
supported by quark-degenerate matter. The properties of preon-degenerate
matter depend very strongly on the model chosen to describe preons, and the
existence of preons is not assumed by the majority of the scientiﬁc community,
due to conﬂicts between the preon models originally proposed and experimen-
tal data from particle accelerators.
• Degenerate star
• White dwarf (degenerate dwarf) - white dwarf material - electron-
degenerate matter
• Neutron star - neutron matter - neutron-degenerate matter
• Quark star - quark matter - quark-degenerate matter
• Preon star - preon matter - preon-degenerate matter
• Pauli Exclusion Principle
• Uncertainty Principle
• Detailed mathematical explanation of degenerate gases
44
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_matter
Principal Authors: Voyajer, Christopher Thomas, Alan Peakall, Eyu100, Roadrunner
http://ircamera.as.arizona.edu/astr_250/Lectures/Lec17_sml.htm
44
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Delayed choice quantum eraser
Delayed choice quantum eraser
A delayed choice quantum eraser is a combination between a quantumeraser
experiment and Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment. This experiment has
actually been performed and published by Yoon-Ho Kim, R. Yu, S.P. Kulik, Y.H.
Shih, and Marlon O. Scully
45
Phys.Rev.Lett. 84 1-5 (2000). This experiment
was designed to investigate a very peculiar result of the well known double slit
experiment of quantum mechanics, the dual wave particle nature of light, and
in fact all matter.
Introduction
In the double slit experiment, a photon passes through a double slit apparatus,
in which the photon must pass either through one or the other of two slits, and
then registers on a detector, which can determine where the photon reaches
the detector, like an image projected on a screen. If one allows many photons
to individually pass through either slit A or slit B and doesn’t know which slit
they passed through, an interference pattern emerges on the detector. The
interference pattern indicates that the light beam is in fact made up of waves.
However, if one somehow observes which of the two slits each photon actually
passes through, a different result will be obtained. In this case, each photon
hits the detector after going through only one slit and a single concentration
of hits in the middle of the detection ﬁeld. This result is consistent with light
behaving as individual particles, like tiny bullets. The very odd thing about
this is that a different outcome results based on whether or not the photon is
observed after it goes through the slit but before it hits the detector.
In a quantum eraser experiment, one arranges to detect which one of the slits
the photon passes through, but also construct the experiment in such a way that
this information can be "erased" after the fact. It turns out that if one observes
which slit the photon passes through, the "no interference" or particle behavior
will result, which is what quantum mechanics predicts, but if the quantum
information is "erased" regarding which slit the photon passed through, the
photons revert to behaving like waves.
However, Kim, et al. have shown that it is possible to delay the choice to erase
the quantum information until after the photon has actually hit the target. But,
again, if the information is "erased," the photons revert to behaving like waves,
even if the information is erased after the photons have hit the detector.
http://xxx.lanl.gov/pdf/quant-ph/9903047
45
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Delayed choice quantum eraser
The experiment
The experimental setup, described in much more detail at
46
, is as follows. First,
generate a photon and pass it through a double slit apparatus. After the photon
goes through slit A or B, a special crystal (one at each slit) uses spontaneous
parametric down conversion (SPDC) to convert the photon into two identical
entangled photons with 1/2 the frequency of the original photon. One of these
photons continues to the target detector, while the other entangled photon is
deﬂected by a prism to bounce off a mirror some distance away. Now, if the
second photon (coming from slit A or slit B) is observed, it is known which
slit the original photon went through, so the photon behaves like a particle. If
the second photon’s paths from slit A and B are combined, the which-way path
is not observed, and the ﬁrst photon behaves like a wave. The experimenter
can choose to observe or not observe the which-way information by erasing (or
detecting) information about the second photon’s path.
The results from Kim, et al. have shown that, in fact, observing the second pho-
ton’s path will determine the particle or wavelike behavior of the ﬁrst photon
at the detector, even if the second photon is not observed until after the ﬁrst
photon arrives at the detector. In other words, the delayed choice to observe
or not observe the second photon will change the outcome of an event in the
past.
Discussion
In terms of the conventional way of viewing the physical universe, this result
seems to be a paradox. This experiment demonstrates the possibility of ob-
serving both particle-like and wave-like behavior of a photon using quantum
entanglement. Furthermore, the behavior of the photon at the primary detec-
tor can be changed even after the registration of the event by the detector.
In their paper, Kim, et al.
47
explain that the concept of complementarity is one
of the most basic principles of quantum mechanics. According to the Heisen-
berg Uncertainty Principle, it is not possible to measure both precise position
and momentum of a quantum particle at the same time. In other words, posi-
tion and momentum are complementary. In 1927, Niels Bohr described com-
plementarity as “wave-like” and “particle-like” behavior of a quantum particle.
this has come to be known as the wave-particle duality of quantum mechan-
ics. The double-slit experiment is a good example of this concept. Feynman
believed that this was the basic mystery of quantum mechanics. The actual
http://xxx.lanl.gov/pdf/quant-ph/9903047
46
http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/quant-ph/pdf/9903/9903047.pdf
47
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Delayed choice quantum eraser
mechanisms that enforce complementarity vary from one experimental situa-
tion to another. In the double-slit experiment, the common wisdom is that the
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle makes it impossible to determine which slit
the photon passes through without at the same time disturbing it enough to
destroy the interference pattern. However, in 1982, Scully and Druhl found
a way around the position-momentum uncertainty obstacle and proposed a
quantum eraser to obtain which-path or particle-like information without in-
troducing large uncontrolled phase factors to disturb the interference. They
found that the interference pattern disappears when which-path information
is obtained, even if this information was obtained without directly observing
the original photon. Even more surprising was that, if you somehow "erase"
the which-path information, the interference pattern reappears! And, perhaps
most provocative of all, you can delay the "choice" to "erase" or "observe" the
which-path information and still restore the interference pattern, even after
the original photon has been "observed" at the primary detector!
How can this be? It would seem that the "choice" to observe or erase the which-
path information can change the position where the photon is recorded on the
detector, even after it should have already been recorded.
One explanation of this paradox would be that this is a kind of time travel.
In other words, the delayed "choice" to "erase" or "observe" the which-path
information of the original photon can change the outcome of an event in the
past. Another explanation would be that in fact both outcomes occur. The
universe itself exists in a superposition of states in which either the original
photon goes through slit A or slit B and in which the which-path information
either "observed" or "erased". This is described in detail in the Everett many-
worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
• basic delayed choice experiment
48
• delayed choice quantum eraser
49
• the notebook of philosophy and physics
50
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_choice_quantum_eraser
http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/basic_delayed_choice.htm
48
http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/kim-scully/kim-scully-web.htm
49
http://www.bottomlayer.com/
50
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Dirac equation in the algebra of physical space
Diabatic
In quantum chemistry, the potential energy surfaces are obtained within the
adiabatic or Born-Oppenheimer approximation. This corresponds to a repre-
sentation of the molecular wave function where the variables corresponding to
the molecular geometry and the electronic degrees of freedom are separated.
The non separable terms are due to the nuclear kinetic energy terms in the
molecular Hamiltonian and are said to couple the potential energy surfaces. In
the neighbourhood of an avoided crossing or conical intersection, these terms
cannot be neglected. One therefore usually performs one unitary transforma-
tion from the adiabatic representation to the so-called diabatic representation
in which the nuclear kinetic energy operator is diagonal. In this representation,
the coupling is due to the electronic energy and is a scalar quantity which is
much more easy to estimate numerically.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabatic
Principal Authors: TimBentley, Elfguy
Dirac equation in the algebra of physical
space
The Dirac equation, as the relativistic equation that describes spin 1/2 particles
in quantum mechanics can be written in terms of the Algebra of physical space
(APS), which is a case of a Clifford algebra or geometric algebra that is based
in the use of paravectors.
The Dirac equation in APS, including the electromagnetic interaction, reads
i
¯
∂Ψe
3
+e
¯
AΨ = m
¯
Ψ

Another form of the Dirac equation in terms of the Space time algebra was
given earlier by D. Hestenes.
In general, the Dirac equation in the formalism of geometric algebra has the
advantage of providing a direct geometric interpretation.
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Dirac equation in the algebra of physical space
Relation with the standard form
The Dirac equation can be written also as
i∂
¯
Ψ

e
3
+eA
¯
Ψ

= mΨ
The standard form is obtained multiplying the spinor with the projector P =
1
2
(1+e
3
). Without electromagnetic interaction, the following matrix is obtained
from the two previous equivalent forms of the Dirac equation

0 i
¯

i∂ 0

¯
Ψ

P
3
ΨP
3

= m

¯
Ψ

P
3
ΨP
3

This colum of projected spinors are related to the spinors in the Weyl represen-
tation. This is more evident identifying the right and left Weyl spinors as
¯
Ψ

P
3
= ψ
L
ΨP
3
= ψ
R
so that

0 i∂
0
+i∇
i∂
0
−i∇ 0

ψ
L
ψ
R

= m

ψ
L
ψ
R

In the matrix representation each expression is replaced by a 2 by 2 matrix,
including ψ
L
and ψ
R
. The nabla operator can be written in terms of the Pauli
matrices as
∇ →σ ∇.
On the other hand, only the ﬁrs column of each spinor is taken
ψ
L,R
→FirstColum(ψ
L,R
),
so the Dirac equation becomes

0 1
1 0

0
+

0 σ
−σ 0

· ∇

ψ
L
ψ
R

= m

ψ
L
ψ
R

,
from which, the standard relativistic covariant form of the Dirac equation is
found

µ

µ
ψ = mψ.
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Dirac equation in the algebra of physical space
Spinor expansion in a null basis
The spinor Ψ can be expanded in a null basis as follows
Ψ = ψ

1
¯
P
3
−ψ

2
P
3
e
1

3
P
3

4
e
1
P
3
,
where each coefﬁcient is extracted from the spinor such that
ψ
1
= 2'P
3
¯
Ψ

P
3
`
S
ψ
2
= 2'e
1
¯
P
3
¯
Ψ

P
3
`
S
ψ
3
= 2'P
3
ΨP
3
`
S
ψ
4
= 2'e
1
¯
P
3
ΨP
3
`
S
This expansion is cleanly related with the colum spinor in the Weyl represen-
tation so that the Weyl spinor components are
Ψ →

ψ
1
ψ
2
ψ
3
ψ
4

Similarly, the spinor components in the Pauli-Dirac representation are calculat-
ed as
Ψ →

ψ
3

1
ψ
4

2
ψ
3
−ψ
1
ψ
4
−ψ
2

Current
The current is deﬁned as
J = ΨΨ

,
which satisﬁes the continuity equation

¯
∂J

S
= 0
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Dirac equation in the algebra of physical space
Second order Dirac equation
An application of the Dirac equation on itself leads to the second order Dirac
equation
(−∂
¯
∂ +A
¯
A)Ψ−i(2e

A
¯

S
+eF)Ψe
3
= m
2
Ψ
Free particle solutions
Positive energy solutions
A solution for the free particle with momentum p = p
0
+p and positive energy
p
0
> 0 is
Ψ =

p
m
R(0) exp(−i 'p¯ x`
S
e
3
).
This solution is unimodular
Ψ
¯
Ψ = 1
and the current resembles the classical proper velocity
u =
p
m
J = ΨΨ

=
p
m
Negative energy solutions
A solution for the free particle with negative energy and momentum p =
−[p
0
[ −p = −p
/
is
Ψ = i

p
/
m
R(0) exp(i 'p
/
¯ x`
S
e
3
),
This solution is anti-unimodular
Ψ
¯
Ψ = −1
and the current resembles the classical proper velocity u =
p
m
J = ΨΨ

= −
p
m
,
but with a remarkable feature: "the time runs backwards"
dt

=

p
m

S
< 0
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Dirac operator
Dirac Lagrangian
The Dirac Lagrangian is
L = 'i∂
¯
Ψ

e
3
¯
Ψ−eA
¯
Ψ

¯
Ψ−mΨ
¯
Ψ`
0
• Paravector
• Algebra of physical space
• Geometric algebra
References
• Baylis, William(2002). Classical eigenspinors and the Dirac equation, Phys.
Rev. A 45, 4293–4302 (1992)
• Hestenes D., Observables, operators, and complex numbers in the Dirac
theory, J. Math. Phys. 16, 556 (1975)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac_equation_in_the_algebra_of_physical_space
Dirac operator
In mathematics and quantum mechanics, a Dirac operator is a differential
operator that is a formal square root, or half-iterate, of a second-order operator
such as a Laplacian. The original case which concerned Paul Dirac was to
factorise formally an operator for Minkowski space, to get a form of quantum
theory compatible with special relativity; to get the relevant Laplacian as a
product of ﬁrst-order operators he introduced spinors.
In general, let D be a ﬁrst-order differential operator acting on a vector bundle
V over a Riemannian manifold M.
If
D
2
= ∆,
with ∆ being the Laplacian of V , D is called a Dirac operator.
In high-energy physics, this requirement is often relaxed: only the second-order
part of D
2
must equal the Laplacian.
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Dirac operator
Examples
1. −i∂
x
is a Dirac operator on the tangent bundle over a line.
2: We now consider a simple bundle of importance in physics: The conﬁgura-
tion space of a particle with spin
1
/
2
conﬁned to a plane, which is also the base
manifold. Physicists generally think of wavefunctions ψ: R
2
→ C
2
which they
write

χ(x, y)
η(x, y)

where x and y are the usual coordinate functions on R
2
. χ speciﬁes the prob-
ability amplitude for the particle to be in the spin-up state, and similarly for η.
The so-called spin-Dirac operator can then be written
D = −iσ
x

x
−iσ
y

y
,
where σ
i
are the Pauli matrices. Note that the anticommutation relations for
the Pauli matrices make the proof of the above deﬁning property trivial. Those
relations deﬁne the notion of a Clifford algebra.
3: The most famous Dirac operator describes the propagation of a free electron
in three dimensions and is elegantly written
D = γ
µ

µ
using Einstein’s summation convention and even more elegantly as
D = ∂/
using the Feynman slash notation.
• Clifford algebra
• Connection
• Dolbeault operator
• Heat kernel.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac_operator
Principal Authors: Phys, Charles Matthews, Dreamy224, Dcarlson, Rex the ﬁrst
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Double-slit experiment
Double-slit experiment
The double-slit experiment or two-slit experiment consists of letting light
diffract through two slits producing fringes on a screen. These fringes or inter-
ference patterns have light and dark regions corresponding to where the light
waves have constructively and destructively interfered. The experiment can
also be performed with a beam of electrons or atoms, showing similar interfer-
ence patterns; this is taken as evidence of the "wave-particle duality" predicted
by quantum physics. Note, however, that a double-slit experiment can also be
performed with water waves in a ripple tank; the explanation of the observed
wave phenomena does not require quantum mechanics in any way. The phe-
nomenon is quantum mechanical only when quantum particles - such as atoms,
electrons, or photons - manifest as waves.
Importance to physics
Although the double-slit experiment is now often referred to in the context
of quantum mechanics, it was originally performed by the English scientist
Thomas Young some time around 1805 in an attempt to resolve the question of
whether light was composed of particles (the "corpuscular" theory), or rather
consisted of waves traveling through some aether, just as sound waves travel
in air.
The interference patterns observed in the experiment seemed to discredit the
corpuscular theory, and the wave theory of light remained well accepted un-
til the early 20th century, when evidence began to accumulate which seemed
instead to conﬁrm the particle theory of light.
The double-slit experiment, and its variations, then became a classic Gedanken-
experiment (thought experiment) for its clarity in expressing the central puz-
zles of quantum mechanics; although in this form the experiment was not ac-
tually performed with anything other than light until 1961, when Claus Jöns-
son of the University of Tübingen performed it with electrons. (C Jönsson,
Zeitschrift für Physik 161, 454; C. Jönsson 1974 "Electron diffraction at mul-
tiple slits", American Journal of Physics 42 4-11), and not until 1974 in the
form of "one electron at a time", in a laboratory at the University of Milan, by
researchers led by Pier Giorgio Merli, of LAMEL-CNR Bologna.
The results of the 1974 experiment were published and even made into a short
ﬁlm, but did not receive wide attention. The experiment was repeated in 1989
by Tonomura et al at Hitachi in Japan. Their equipment was better, reﬂecting
15 years of advances in electronics and a dedicated development effort by the
Hitachi team. Their methodology was more precise and elegant, and their
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Double-slit experiment
results agreed with the results of Merli’s team. Although Tonomura asserted
that the Italian experiment had not detected electrons one at a time - a key to
demonstrating the wave-particle paradox - single electron detection is clearly
visible in the photos and ﬁlm taken by Merli and his group.
In September 2002, the double-slit experiment of Claus Jönsson was voted "the
most beautiful experiment" by readers of Physics World.
Explanation of experiment
In Young’s original experiment, sunlight passes ﬁrst through a single slit, and
then through two thin vertical slits in otherwise solid barriers, and is then
viewed on a rear screen.
When either slit is covered, a single peak is observed on the screen from the
light passing through the other slit.
But when both slits are open, instead of the sum of these two singular peaks
that would be expected if light were made of particles, a pattern of light and
dark fringes is observed.
This pattern of fringes was best explained as the interference of the light waves
as they recombined after passing through the slits, much as waves in water re-
combine to create peaks and swells. In the brighter spots, there is "constructive
interference", where two "peaks" in the light wave coincide as they reach the
screen. In the darker spots, "destructive interference" occurs where a peak and
a trough occur together.
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Double-slit experiment
Figure 12
Replicating Young’s experiment
This experiment can easily be demonstrated in just the way that Young demon-
strated it to the Royal Society of London. An assistant outside used mirrors
to direct sunlight at a pinhole opening. The beam from the opening was then
bisected by "a slip of card". To make things easier, a modern experimenter
could replace the sunlight and mirrors with a laser pointer covered, except for
a pinhole, by black paper. Splitting the beam with a small strip of notecard will
produce a visible interference pattern when the beam is projected across the
room.
51
Quantum version of experiment
By the 1920s, various other experiments (such as the photoelectric effect) had
demonstrated that light interacts with matter only in discrete, "quantum"-sized
packets called photons.
If sunlight is replaced with a light source that is capable of producing just one
photon at a time, and the screen is sensitive enough to detect a single photon,
Young’s experiment can, in theory, be performed one photon at a time – with
identical results.
If either slit is covered, the individual photons hitting the screen, over time,
create a pattern with a single peak. But if both slits are left open, the pattern of
photons hitting the screen, over time, again becomes a series of light and dark
fringes. This result seems to both conﬁrm and contradict the wave theory. On
the one hand, the interference pattern conﬁrms that light still behaves much
like a wave, even though we send it one particle at a time. On the other hand,
each time a photon with a certain energy is emitted, the screen detects a pho-
ton with the same energy. Under the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum
http://www.cavendishscience.org/phys/tyoung/tyoung.htm
51
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Double-slit experiment
theory, an individual photon is seen as passing through both slits at once, and
interfering with itself, producing the interference pattern.
A remarkable reﬁnement of the double-slit experiment consists of putting a
detector at each of the two slits, to determine which slit the photon passes
through on its way to the screen (If the photon or electron passes through
only one slit - which it must do, as, by deﬁnition, a photon or an electron is
a quantum, or "packet" of energy which cannot be subdivided - then logically
it cannot interfere with itself and produce an interference pattern). When the
experiment is arranged in this way, the fringes disappear.
The Copenhagen interpretation posits the existence of probability waves which
describe the likelihood of ﬁnding the particle at a given location. Until the
particle is detected at any location along this probability wave, it effectively
exists at every point. Thus, when the particle could be passing through either of
the two slits, it will actually pass through both, and so an interference pattern
results. But if the particle is detected at one of the two slits, then it can no
longer be passing through both - it must exist at one or the other, and so no
interference pattern appears.
The many worlds interpretation states that the particle not only goes through
both slits but that it is detected at every possible ﬁnal location as well – but in
different, mutually unobservable worlds.
This is similar to the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics provided
by Richard Feynman (although Feynman stresses that this is merely a math-
ematical description, not an attempt to describe some "real" process that we
cannot see), in which a particle such as a photon takes every possible path
through space-time to get from point A to point B. In the double-slit experi-
ment, point A might be the emitter, and point B the screen upon which the
interference pattern appears, and a particle takes every possible path - through
both slits at once - to get from A to B. When a detector is placed at one of
the slits, the situation changes, and we now have a different point B at the
detector, and a new path between the detector and the screen - upon which
the interference pattern no longer appears).
Conditions for interference
A necessary condition for obtaining an interference pattern in a double-slit
experiment concerns the difference in pathlength between two paths that light
can take to reach a zone of constructive interference on the viewing screen.
This difference must be the wavelength of the light that is used, or a multiple
of this wavelength. (See illustration.
52
) If a beam of sunlight is let in, and that
http://schools.matter.org.uk/Content/Interference/formula.html
52
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Double-slit experiment
beam is allowed to fall immediately on the double slit, then the fact that the
Sun is not a point source degrades the interference pattern. The light from a
source that is not a point source behaves like the light of many point sources
side by side. Each can create an interference pattern, but the interference
patterns of each of the many-side-by-side sources does not coincide on the
screen, so they average each other out, and no interference pattern is seen.
The presence of the ﬁrst slit is necessary to ensure that the light reaching the
double slit is light from a single point source. The path length from the single
slit to the double slit is equally important for obtaining the interference pattern
as the path from the double slit to the screen.
Newton’s rings show that light does not have to be coherent in order to produce
an interference pattern. Newton’s rings can be readily obtained with plain
sunlight.
53
More rings are discernible if for example light from a Sodium lamp
is used, since Sodium lamp light is only a narrow band of the spectrum. Light
from a Sodium lamp is incoherent. Other examples of interference patterns
from incoherent light are the colours of soap bubbles and of oil ﬁlms on water.
In general, interference patterns are clearer when monochromatic or near-
monochromatic light is used. Laserlight is as monochromatic as light can be
made, therefore laserlight is used to obtain an interference pattern.
If the two slits are illuminated by coherent waves, but with polarizations per-
pendicular with respect to each other, the interference pattern disappears.
Results observed
The bright bands observed on the screen happen when the light has interfered
constructively – where a crest of a wave meets a crest. The dark regions show
destructive interference – a crest meets a trough.

d
=
x
L
nλ =
xd
L
where
is the wavelength of the light
d is the separation of the slits
Newton’s rings. Newton’s Rings from Eric Weisstein’s World of Physics(http://scienceworld.wolfram.
53
com/physics/NewtonsRings.html)
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Double-slit experiment
x is the distance between the bands of light (also called fringe distance)
L is the distance from the slits to the screen
n is the order of maxima observed (Central Maximum is n=1)
This is only an approximation and depends on certain conditions.
It is possible to work out the wavelength of light using this equation and the
above apparatus. If d and L are known and x is observed, then can be easily
calculated.
A detailed treatment of the mathematics of double-slit interference in the con-
text of quantum mechanics is given in the article on Englert-Greenberger dual-
ity.
Shape of interference fringes
The theoretical shapes of the interference fringes observed in Young’s double
slit experiment are straight lines which is easily proved.
In case two pinholes are used instead of slits, as in the original Young’s exper-
iment, hyperbolic fringes are observed. This is because the difference in paths
travelled by the light from the two sources is a constant for a fringe which is
the property of a hyperbola.
If the two sources are placed on a line perpendicular to the screen, the shape
of the interference fringes is circular as the individual paths travelled by light
from the two sources are always equal for a given fringe. This can be done in
simpler way by placing a mirror parallel to a screen at a distance and a source
of light just above the mirror. (Note the extra phase difference of π due to
reﬂection at the interface of a denser medium)
• Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-testing problem
• Quantum eraser experiment
• Quantum coherence
Video Demonstration
• From Movie "Down the Rabbit Hole" (sequel to What the Bleep Do We
Know!?) Clip of Double Split Experiment
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Double-slit experiment
http://www.whatthebleep.com/trailer/doubleslit.wm.low.html (The down-
load time over a modem connection is very slow, and playback is interrupted
so frequently that it may be impossible to understand.)
References
• Tipler, Paul (2004). Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Electricity, Mag-
netism, Light, and Elementary Modern Physics, 5th ed., W. H. Freeman.
ISBN 0716708108.
• Gribbin, John (1999). Q is for Quantum: Particle Physics from A to Z.
Weidenfeld & Nicholson. ISBN 0753806851.
• Feynman, Richard P. (1988). QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter.
Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691024170.
• Simple Derivation of Interference Conditions
54
• The Double Slit Experiment
55
• Double-Slit in Time
56
• Keith Mayes explains the Double Slit Experiment in plain English
57
• Carnegie Mellon department of physics, photo images of Newton’s rings
58
• Java demonstration of double slit experiment
59
• Double-slit experiment animation
60
• Double-slit experiment cartoon animation
61
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment
Principal Authors: Eequor, Linas, The Anome, Reddi, Samboy, Pfalstad, Laurascudder, Afshar, Cleonis,
Lumidek
http://schools.matter.org.uk/Content/Interference/formula.html
54
http://physicsweb.org/article/world/15/9/1
55
56
http://www.thekeyboard.org.uk/Quantum%20mechanics.htm
57
http://physdemo.phys.cmu.edu/newton_rings.htm
58
59
http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Franz.Embacher/KinderUni2005/waves.gif
60
61
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Duru-Kleinert transformation
Duru-Kleinert transformation
The Duru-Kleinert transformation, named after H. Duru and Hagen Klein-
ert, is a mathematical method for solving path integrals of physical systems
with singular potentials, which is necessary for the solution of all atomic path
integrals due to the presence of Coulomb potentials (singular like 1/r). The
Duru-Kleinert transformation replaces the diverging time-sliced path integral
of Richard Feynman (which thus does not exist) by a well-deﬁned convergent
one.
Papers
• H. Duru and H. Kleinert, Solution of the Path Integral for the H-Atom, Phys.
Letters B 84, 185 (1979)
62
• H. Duru and H. Kleinert, Quantum Mechanics of H-Atom from Path Inte-
grals, Fortschr. d. Phys. 30, 401 (1982)
63
• H. Kleinert, Path Integrals in Quantum Mechanics, Statistics, Polymer
Physics, and Financial Markets 3. ed., World Scientiﬁc (Singapore, 2004)
64
65
)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duru-Kleinert_transformation
Principal Authors: Tobias Bergemann, Michael Hardy, Phys, Conscious
http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/65/65.pdf
62
http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/83/83.pdf
63
http://www.worldscibooks.com/physics/5057.html
64
http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/b5
65
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Ehrenfest theorem
Ehrenfest theorem
The Ehrenfest theorem, named after Paul Ehrenfest, relates the time deriva-
tive of the expectation value for a quantum mechanical operator to the com-
mutator of that operator with the Hamiltonian of the system. It is
d
dt
'A` =
i

'[H, A]`
where A is some QM operator and <A> is its expectation value. Notice how
neatly Ehrenfest’s theorem ﬁts into the →Heisenberg picture of quantum me-
chanics.
Ehrenfest’s theorem is closely related to Liouville’s theorem from Hamiltonian
mechanics, which involves the Poisson bracket instead of a commutator. In
fact, it is a general rule of thumb that a theorem in quantum mechanics which
contains a commutator can be turned into a theorem in Classical mechanics by
changing the commutator into a Poisson bracket and multiplying by i.
The theorem can be shown to follow from the →Lindblad equation, a master
equation for the time evolution of a mixed state.
Derivation
Suppose some system is presently in a quantum state Φ. If we want to know
the instantaneous time derivative of the expectation value of A, that is, by
deﬁnition
d
dt
'A` =
d
dt

Φ

AΦ dV =

dt

AΦ dV +

Φ

dA
dt

Φ dV +

Φ

A

dt

dV
=

dt

AΦ dV +

Φ

A

dt

dV,
where we are integrating over all space, and we have assumed the operator A is
time independent, so that its derivative is zero. If we apply the →Schrödinger
equation, we ﬁnd that

dt
=
1
i

and

dt
=
−1
i
Φ

H

=
−1
i
Φ

H.
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Ehrenfest theorem
Notice H = H

because the Hamiltonian is hermitian. Placing this into the
above equation we have
d
dt
'A` =
1
i

Φ

(AH −HA)Φ dV =
1
i
'[A, H]` =
i

'[H, A]`.
General example
For the very general example of a massive particle moving in a potential, the
Hamiltonian is simply
H =
p
2
2m
+V (r)
where r is just the location of the particle. Suppose we wanted to know the
instantaneous change in momentum p. Using Ehrenfest’s theorem, we have
d
dt
'p` =
1
i
'[p, H]` =
1
i
'[p, V (r)]`
since p commutes with itself. When represented in coordinate space, the mo-
mentum operator p = −i∇, so
d
dt
'p` =

Φ

V (r)∇Φ dV −

Φ

∇(V (r)Φ) dV.
After applying a product rule, we have
d
dt
'p` = '−∇V (r)` = 'F`,
but we recognize this as Newton’s second law. This is an example of the corre-
spondence principle, the result manifests as Newton’s second law in the case of
having so many particles that the net motion is given exactly by the expectation
value of a single particle.
Notes
• ↑ In →Bra-ket notation
d
dt
'φ[x` =
−1
i
'φ[
ˆ
H[x` =
−1
i
'φ[x`H =
−1
i
Φ

H
where
ˆ
H is the Hamiltonian operator, and H is the Hamiltonian represent-
ed in coordinate space (as is the case in the derivation above). In other
words, we applied the adjoint operation to the entire Schrödinger equation,
which ﬂipped the order of operations for H and Φ.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehrenfest_theorem
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Electronic density
Principal Authors: Michael Hardy, Hyandat, WMDickson, Pathﬁnder, Brienanni
Einselection
Einselection is short for environmentally-induced superselection, a nickname
coined by Wojciech H. Zurek. Einselection is the quantum process whereby the
environment persistently monitors a quantum system, causing decoherence be-
tween its states. The decoherence process selects a certain subset of states from
the enormous →Hilbert space. These ’pointer states’ are stable despite environ-
mental interaction, which explains the emergence of a preferred basis in quan-
tum measurement. The einselected states lack coherence, and therefore do not
exhibit the quantum behaviours of entanglement and superposition. Since only
quasi-local, essentially classical states survive the decoherence process, einse-
lection can in many ways explain the emergence of a (seemingly) classical
reality in a fundamentally quantum universe (at least to local observers).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einselection
Principal Authors: Conscious, Mo0, Icairns, ShaneKing, Jag123
Electronic density
In quantum mechanics, and in particular in quantum chemistry, the electron-
ic density ρ corresponding to an N-electron wavefunction Ψ
(N)
is the one-
electron function given by
ρ(x) =

dx
2
... dx
N

(N)
(x, x
2
, ..., x
N
)[
2
In the case Ψ
(N)
is a →Slater determinant made of N spin orbitals ϕ
k
:
ρ(x) =
1
N
¸
N
k=1

k
(x)[
2
The two-electron electronic density is given by
ρ(x, x
/
) =

dx
3
... dx
N

(N)
(x, x
/
, x
3
, ..., x
N
)[
2
Those quantities are particularly important in the context of density functional
theory.
The coordinates x used here are the spin-spatial coordinates.
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Electronic Hamiltonian
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_density
Principal Authors: Vb, Gsp
Electronic Hamiltonian
The Electronic Hamiltonian is an operator in quantum mechanics (and in par-
ticular quantumchemistry) which describes the motions of electrons and nuclei
in a polyatomic molecule. The terminology is sometimes used interchange-
ably to mean either the Electronic molecular Hamiltonian or the full electronic
Hamiltonian. The latter includes a kinetic energy operator corresponding to
the contributions from the nuclei.
There are a number of interrelated concepts associated with the term "Elec-
tronic Hamiltonian". These include the following:
• Full electronic Hamiltonian
• Electronic Hamiltonian
• Nuclear Hamiltonian
• Clampled Hamiltonian
Depending on the context, "full electronic Hamiltonian" may be used inter-
changeably with "electronic Hamiltonian". Furthermore, the "Clamped Hamil-
tonian" or may be used interchangeably with "Electronic Hamiltonian". The
latter is usually used only when discussing various methods associated with
the Born-Oppenheimer approximation.
Full electronic Hamiltonian
Let R denote the vector of nuclear coordinates, and r the vector of electronic
coordinates.
The full electronic Hamiltonian consists of 5 terms. They are
• The kinetic energy operators for each nuclei in the system;
• The kinetic energy operators for each electron in the system;
• The potential energy between the electrons and nuclei - the total electron-
nucleus Coulombic attraction in the system;
• The potential energy arising from Coulombic electron-electron repulsions
• The potential energy arising from Coulombic nuclei-nuclei repulsions - al-
so known as the nuclear repulsion energy. See electric potential for more
details.
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Electronic Hamiltonian
Hence, the full electronic Hamiltonian is
ˆ
H
el
=
ˆ
T
n
+
ˆ
T
e
+
ˆ
U
en
+
ˆ
U
ee
+
ˆ
U
nn
Electronic Hamiltonian and potential energy surfaces
Very often, the electronic Hamiltonian is deﬁned to be
ˆ
H
e
=
ˆ
T
e
+
ˆ
U
en
+
ˆ
U
nn
+
ˆ
U
ee
so that the full Hamiltonian would be written as
ˆ
H
el
=
ˆ
H
e
+
ˆ
T
n
.
In this case, the kinetic energy operator
ˆ
T
n
would be known as the nuclear
Hamiltonian. The electronic Hamiltonian contains all three potential terms
because their sum
ˆ
V (r, R) =
ˆ
U
en
+
ˆ
U
nn
+
ˆ
U
ee
is the expression which gives rise to the physically meaningful potential energy
surfaces ubiquitous in chemistry, for ﬁxed nuclear geometry R.
Written in atomic units, the electronic Hamiltonian becomes:
ˆ
H
el
=

i

1
2

2
i

i

a
Z
a
|r
i
−d
a
|
+
1
2

i

j=i
1
|r
i
−r
j
|
+
1
2

a

b=a
Z
a
Z
b
|d
a
−d
b
|
where
• r
i
is the vector position of electron i with vector components in Bohr radii,
• Z
a
is the charge of ﬁxed nucleus a in units of the elementary charge,
• d
a
is the vector position of nucleus a with vector components in Bohr radii.
Electronic molecular Hamiltonian
The electronic molecular Hamiltonian is the term of the molecular Hamilto-
nian obtained when the molecular geometry is frozen. This is also known as
the clamped Hamiltonian or clamped Hamiltonian approximation. With-
in the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, the electronic Hamiltonian is said to
depend adiabatically on the molecular geometry. Its discrete eigenvalues are
called potential energy surfaces and the corresponding eigenstates the elec-
tronic states of the molecule. The electronic states are labelled according to
their group representation and spin multiplicity.
D
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Elementary particle
By deﬁnition, the adiabatic states are diagonal in the electronic Hamiltonian.
A consequence is that it is not diagonal in the kinetic energy operator. The off
diagonal terms of this operator are known as the nonadiabatic operator.
Strictly diabatic states do not exist in general, although in the ideal case, it
is diagonal in the kinetic energy operator, and off diagonal in the electronic
Hamiltonian. In other words, the diabatic states minimize the magnitude of
the contributions of the nonadiabatic operator.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Hamiltonian
Principal Authors: HappyCamper, Ian Pitchford
Electronic state
Electronic state is a quantum state of a system consisting of electrons (usually
orbitals or chemical bonds in crystals or molecules). The state with lowest
energy is called ground state, states with higher energy are excited states.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_state
Elementary particle
For the novel by Michel Houellebecq, see The Elementary Particles.
In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle
not known to have substructure; that is, it is not made up of smaller particles.
If an elementary particle truly has no substructure, then it is one of the basic
particles of the universe from which all larger particles are made. In the mod-
ern theory of particle physics, the Standard Model, the quarks, leptons, and
gauge bosons are elementary particles.
6667
and baryons such as the proton and neutron) and even whole atoms were once
regarded as elementary particles.
Gribbon, John (2000). Q is for Quantum - An Encyclopedia of Particle Physics. Simon & Schuster.
66
ISBN 068485578X.
Clark, John, E.O. (2004). The Essential Dictionary of Science. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0760746168.
67
D
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Elementary particle
Elementary particles are grouped according to spin: particles normally associ-
ated with matter are fermions, having spin 1/2; they are divided into twelve
ﬂavours. Particles associated with fundamental forces are bosons, having spin
1 (or 2 for gravity).
68
• Fermions:
Quarks — up, down, strange, charm, bottom, top
Leptons — electron, muon, tau, electron neutrino, muon neutrino, tau
neutrino
• Bosons:
Gauge bosons – gluon, W and Z bosons, photon
Other bosons — Higgs boson, graviton
Standard Model
Main article: Standard Model
The Standard Model of particle physics contains 12 ﬂavours of elementary
fermions ("matter particles"), plus their corresponding antiparticles, as well
as elementary bosons that mediate the forces and the still undiscovered Higgs
boson. However, the Standard Model is widely considered to be a provisional
theory rather than a truly fundamental one, since it is fundamentally incom-
patible with Einstein’s general relativity. There are likely to be hypothetical el-
ementary particles not described by the Standard Model, such as the graviton,
the particle that would carry the gravitational force or the sparticles, supersym-
metric partners of the ordinary particles.
Fundamental fermions
Main article: fermion
The 12 fundamental fermionic ﬂavours are divided into three generations of
four particles each. Six of the particles are quarks. The remaining six are
Veltman, Martinus (2003). Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics. World Scientiﬁc. ISBN
68
981238149X.
D
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Elementary particle
leptons, three of which are neutrinos, and the remaining three of which have
an electric charge of -1: the electron and its two cousins, the muon and the tau
lepton.
First generation
• electron: e
-
• electron-neutrino: ν
e
• up quark: u
• down quark: d
Second generation
• muon: µ
-
• muon-neutrino: ν
µ
• charm quark: c
• strange quark: s
Third generation
• tau lepton: τ
-
• tau-neutrino: ν
τ
• top quark: t
• bottom quark: b
Table 1 Particle Generations
Antiparticles
Main article: antimatter
There are also 12 fundamental fermionic antiparticles which correspond to
these 12 particles. The positron e
+
corresponds to the electron and has an
electric charge of +1 and so on:
First generation
• positron: e
+
• electron-antineutrino: ¯ ν
e
• up antiquark: ¯ u
• down antiquark:
¯
d
Second generation
• positive muon: µ
+
• muon-antineutrino: ¯ ν
µ
• charm antiquark: ¯ c
• strange antiquark: ¯ s
Third generation
• positive tau lepton: τ
+
• tau-antineutrino: ¯ ν
τ
• top antiquark:
¯
t
• bottom antiquark:
¯
b
Table 2 Antiparticles
Quarks
Main article: quark
Quarks and antiquarks have never been detected to be isolated, a fact explained
by conﬁnement. Every quark carries one of three color charges of the strong in-
teraction; antiquarks similarly carry anticolor. Color charged particles interact
via gluon exchange in the same way that charged particles interact via photon
exchange. However, gluons are themselves color charged, resulting in an am-
pliﬁcation of the strong force as color charged particles are separated. Unlike
the electromagnetic force which diminishes as charged particles separate, col-
or charged particles feel increasing force; effectively, they can never separate
from one another.
However, color charged particles may combine to form color neutral compos-
ite particles called hadrons. A quark may pair up to an antiquark: the quark
has a color and the antiquark has the corresponding anticolor. The color and
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Elementary particle
anticolor cancel out, forming a color neutral meson. Or three quarks can ex-
ist together: one quark is "red", another "blue", another "green". These three
colored quarks together form a color neutral baryon. Or three antiquarks can
exist together: one antiquark is "antired", another "antiblue", another "anti-
green". These three anticolored antiquarks form a color neutral antibaryon.
Quarks also carry fractional electric charges, but since they are conﬁned within
hadrons whose charges are all integral, fractional charges have never been
isolated. Note that quarks have electric charges of either +2/3 or -1/3, whereas
antiquarks have corresponding electric charges of either -2/3 or +1/3.
Evidence for the existence of quarks comes from deep inelastic scattering: ﬁr-
ing electrons at nuclei to determine the distribution of charge within nucleons
(which are baryons). If the charge is uniform, the electric ﬁeld around the pro-
ton should be uniform and the electron should scatter elastically. Low-energy
electrons do scatter in this way, but above a particular energy, the protons de-
ﬂect some electrons through large angles. The recoiling electron has much
less energy and a jet of particles is emitted. This inelastic scattering suggests
that the charge in the proton is not uniform but split among smaller charged
particles: quarks.
Fundamental bosons
Main article: boson
In the Standard Model, vector (spin-1) bosons (gluons, photons, and the W
and Z bosons) mediate forces, while the Higgs boson (spin-0) is responsible for
particles having intrinsic mass.
Gluons
Main article: gluon
Gluons are the mediators of the strong interaction and carry both colour and
anticolour. Although gluons are massless, they are never observed in detectors
due to colour conﬁnement; rather, they produce jets of hadrons, similar to sin-
gle quarks. The ﬁrst evidence for gluons came from annihilations of electrons
and positrons at high energies which sometimes produced three jets — a quark,
an antiquark, and a gluon.
Electroweak bosons
Main article: W and Z bosons
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Elementary particle
There are three weak gauge bosons: W
+
, W
-
, and Z
0
; these mediate the weak
interaction. The massless photon mediates the electromagnetic interaction.
Higgs boson
Main article: higgs boson
Although the weak and electromagnetic forces appear quite different to us at
everyday energies, the two forces are theorized to unify as a single electroweak
force at high energies. This prediction was clearly conﬁrmed by measurements
of cross-sections for high-energy electron-proton scattering at the HERA col-
lider at DESY. The differences at low energies is a consequence of the high
masses of the W and Z bosons, which in turn are a consequence of the Higgs
mechanism. Through the process of spontaneous symmetry breaking, the Hig-
gs selects a special direction in electroweak space that causes three electroweak
particles to become very heavy (the weak bosons) and one to remain massless
(the photon). Although the Higgs mechanism has become an accepted part of
the Standard Model, the Higgs boson itself has not yet been observed in detec-
tors. Indirect evidence for the Higgs boson suggests its mass lies below about
200 GeV. In this case, the LHC experiments will be able to discover this last
missing piece of the Standard Model.
Beyond the Standard Model
Although all experimental evidence conﬁrms the predictions of the Standard
Model, many physicists ﬁnd this model to be unsatisfactory due to its many
undetermined parameters, many fundamental particles, the non-observation
of the Higgs boson and other more theoretical considerations such as the hi-
erarchy problem. There are many speculative theories beyond the Standard
Model which attempt to rectify these deﬁciencies.
Grand uniﬁcation
Main article: grand uniﬁcation theory
One extension of the Standard Model attempts to combine the electroweak in-
teraction with the strong interaction into a single ’grand uniﬁed theory’ (GUT).
Such a force would be spontaneously broken into the three forces by a Higgs-
like mechanism. The most dramatic prediction of grand uniﬁcation is the ex-
istence of X bosons, which cause proton decay. However, the non-observation
of proton decay at Super-Kamiokande rules out the simplest GUTs, including
SU(5) and SO(10).
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Elementary particle
Supersymmetry
Main article: supersymmetry
symmetries to the Lagrangian. These symmetries exchange fermionic particles
with bosonic ones. Such a symmetry predicts the existence of supersymmet-
ric particles, abbreviated as sparticles, which include the sleptons, squarks,
neutralinos and charginos. Each particle in the Standard Model would have a
superpartner whose spin differs by 1/2 from the ordinary particle. Due to the
breaking of supersymmetry, the sparticles are much heavier than their ordi-
nary counterparts; they are so heavy that existing particle colliders would not
be powerful enough to produce them. However, some physicists believe that
sparticles will be detected when the Large Hadron Collider at CERN begins
running.
String theory
Main article: string theory
According to string theorists, each kind of fundamental particle corresponds to
a different pattern of fundamental string. All strings are essentially the same,
although they may be open (lines) or closed (loops). Different particles differ
in the coordination of their strings. Modern string theories include supersym-
metry, making them superstring theories.
One particular prediction of string theory is the existence of extremely massive
counterparts of ordinary particles due to vibrational excitations of the funda-
mental string. Another important prediction of string theory is the existence
of a massless spin-2 particle behaving like the graviton. By predicting gravity,
string theory uniﬁes quantum mechanics with general relativity, making it the
ﬁrst consistent theory of quantum gravity.
One problem with string theory is that it predicts that the number of dimen-
sions for spacetime much greater than 4 (the number of observed dimensions).
These extra dimensions are supposedly compactiﬁed or rolled-up. Other relat-
ed theories such as brane theories contain extended extra dimensions, which
are hidden from us by our conﬁnement to a brane.
Preon theory
Main article: preon
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Elementary particle
According to preon theory there are one or more orders of particles more fun-
damental than those (or most of those) found in the Standard Model. The most
fundamental of these are normally called preons, which is derived from "pre-
quarks". In essence, preon theory tries to do for the Standard Model what the
Standard Model did for the particle zoo that came before it. Most models as-
sume that almost everything in the Standard Model can be explained in terms
of three to half a dozen more fundamental particles and the rules that govern
their interactions. Interest in preons has waned since the simplest models were
experimentally ruled out in the 1980’s.
• →Subatomic particle
• Particle physics
• List of particles
References
• Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe, W.W.Norton & Company, 1999, ISBN
0-393-05858-1.
• Greene, Brian, " Elementary particles
69
". The Elegant Universe, NOVA (PBS)
70
, * Unsolved Mysteries. Be-
yond The Standard Model
71
, * What is the World Made of? The Naming of
Quarks
72
• University of California: Particle Data Group
73
74
• CERNCourier: Season of Higgs and melodrama
75
• Pentaquark information page
76
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_particle
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/part-flash.html
69
70
71
72
http://pdg.lbl.gov/
73
74
http://www.cerncourier.com/main/article/41/2/17
75
http://plato.phy.ohiou.edu/~hicks/thplus.htm
76
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Principal Authors: AugPi, Xerxes314, Glenn, Sadi Carnot, Reddi
Energy level splitting
Energy level splitting occurs in physics when the degenerate energy levels of
two or more states are split because of external ﬁelds or other effects. The
term is most commonly used in quantum theory in reference to the electron
conﬁguration in atoms or molecules.
Examples
• The →Zeeman effect - the splitting of electronic levels in an atom because
of an external magnetic ﬁeld.
• The →Stark effect - splitting because of an external electric ﬁeld.
• The Jahn-Teller effect - splitting of electronic levels in a molecule because
breaking the symmetry lowers the energy when the degenerate orbitals are
partially ﬁlled.
• Energy level
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_level_splitting
Principal Authors: AnonUser, GangofOne, Donbert, Karol Langner, Itub
Entanglement witness
In quantum information theory, an entanglement witness is an object of geo-
metric nature which distinguishes an entangled state from separable ones.
Details
We ﬁrst recall a fewpreliminary facts before giving the main result which shows
the existence of entanglement witnesses.
Let a composite quantum system have state space H
A
⊗ H
B
. A mixed state ρ
is then a trace-class positive operator on the state space which has trace 1. We
can view the family of states as a subset of the real Banach space generated
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Entanglement witness
by the Hermitian trace-class operators, with the trace norm. A mixed state ρ is
separable if it can be approximated, in the trace norm, by states of the form
ξ =
¸
k
i=1
p
i
ρ
A
i
⊗ρ
B
i
,where ρ
A
i
’s and ρ
B
i
’s are pure states on the subsystems A and B respectively. So
the family of separable states is the closed convex hull of pure product states.
We will make use of the following variant of Hahn-Banach theorem:
Theorem Let S
1
and S
2
be convex closed sets in a real Banach space and one
of them is compact, then there exists a bounded functional f separating the
two sets.
This is a generalization of the fact that, in real Euclidean space, given a convex
set and a point outside, there always exists an afﬁne subspace separating the
two. The afﬁne subspace manifests itself as the functional f. In the present
context, the family of separable states is a convex set in the space of trace
class operators. If ρ is an entangled state (thus lying outside the convex set),
then by theorem above, there is a functional f separating ρ from the separable
states. It is this functional f, or its identiﬁcation as an operator, that we call
an entanglement witness. There are more than one hyperplane separating a
closed convex set and a point lying outside of it. So for an entangled state there
are more than one entanglement witnesses. Recall the fact that the dual space
of the Banach space of trace-class operators is isomorphic to the set of bounded
operators. Therefore we can identify f with a Hermitian operator A. Therefore,
modulo a few details, we have shown the existence of an entanglement witness
given an entangled state:
Theorem For every entangled state ρ, there exists a Hermitian operator A such
that Tr(A ρ) < 0 and Tr(Aσ) ≥ 0, for all separable state σ.
When both H
A
and H
B
have ﬁnite dimensions, there is no difference between
trace-class and Hilbert-Schmidt operators. So in that case A can be given by
Riesz representation theorem. As an immediate corollary, we have:
Theorem A mixed state σ is separable if and only if
Tr(Aσ) ≥ 0
for any bounded operator A satisfying Tr(A P ⊗Q) ≥ 0, for all product pure
state P ⊗Q.
If a state is separable, clearly the desired implication from the theorem must
hold. On the other hand, given an entangled state, one of its entanglement
witnesses will violate the given condition.
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EP Quantum Mechanics
Thus if a bounded functional f of the trace-class Banach space and f is positive
on the product pure states, then f, or its identiﬁcation as a Hermitian operator,
is an entanglement witness. Such a f indicates the entanglement of some state.
Using the isomorphism between entanglement witnessnes and non-completlely
positive maps, it was shown (by the Horodecki’s) that
Theorem A mixed state σ ∈ L(H
A
) ⊗ L(H
B
) is separable if for every positive
map from bounded operators on H
B
to bounded operators on H
A
, the op-
erator (I
A
⊗ Λ)(σ) is positive, where I
A
is the identity map on L(H
A
), the
bounded operators on H
A
.
References
• R.B. Holmes. Geometric Functional Analysis and Its Applications, Springer-
Verlag, 1975.
• M. Horodecki, P. Horodecki, R. Horodecki, Separability of Mixed States:
Necessary and Sufﬁcient Conditions, Physics Letters A 210, 1996.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entanglement_witness
EP Quantum Mechanics
In physics, EP quantum mechanics is a theory of motion of point particles,
partly included in the framework of quantum trajectory representation the-
ories of quantum mechanics, based upon an equivalence postulate similar
in content to the equivalence principle of general relativity, rather than on
the traditional Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The equiv-
alence postulate states that all one-particle systems can be connected by a
non-degenerate coordinate transformation, more precisely by a map over the
cotangent bundle of the position manifold, so that there exists a quantum ac-
tion function S(q) transforms as a scalar ﬁeld. Here, the action is deﬁned as
dS(q) = p
i
(q)dq
i
is the canonical one-form. This property is the heart of the EP formulation
of quantum mechanics. An immediate consequence of the EP is the removal
of the rest frame. The theory is based on symmetry properties of Schwarzian
derivative and on the quantum stationary Hamilton-Jacobi equation (QSHJE),
which is a partial differential equation for the quantum action function S(q),
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Excited state
the quantum version of the Hamilton-Jacobi equations differing from the clas-
sical one for the presence of a quantum potential term
Q(q) =

2
4m
¦S(q), q¦
with ¦, ¦ denoting the Schwarzian derivative. The QSHJE can be demonstrat-
ed to imply the →Schrödinger equation with square-summability of the wave
function, and thus quantization of energy, due to continuity conditions of the
quantum potential, without any assumption on the probabilistic interpretation
of the wave function. The theory, which is a work in progress, may or may
not include probabilistic interpretation as a consequence OR a hidden variable
description of trajectories.
References
• Alon E. Faraggi, M. Matone (2000) "The Equivalence Postulate of Quantum
Mechanics", International Journal of Modern Physics A, Volume 15, Issue
13, pp. 1869-2017. arXiv hep-th/9809127
77
• G. Bertoldi, Alon E. Faraggi, M. Matone (2000) "Equivalence principle,
higher dimensional Mobius group and the hidden antisymmetric tensor of
Quantum Mechanics", Class. Quantum Grav. 17 (2000) 3965–4005. arXiv
hep-th/9909201
78
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EP_Quantum_Mechanics
Principal Authors: Matteoeo, Pjacobi, Enochlau
Excited state
In quantum mechanicsan excited state of a system (such as an atom, molecule
or nucleus) is any quantum state of the system that has a higher energy than
the ground state (that is, more energy than the absolute minimum).
The lifetime (see resonance) of a system in an excited state is usually short:
spontaneous or induced emission of a quantum of energy (such as a photon or
a phonon) usually occurs shortly after the system is promoted to the excited
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9809127
77
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9909201
78
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Excited state
state, returning the system to a state with lower energy (a less excited state or
the ground state).
Example: the hydrogen atom
A simple example of this concept comes by considering the hydrogen atom.
The ground state of the hydrogen atom corresponds to having the atom’s single
electron in the lowest possible orbit (that is, the spherically symmetric "1s"
wavefunction, which has the lowest possible quantum numbers). By giving
the atom additional energy (for example, by the absorption of a photon of an
appropriate energy), the electron is able to move into an excited state (one
with one or more quantum numbers greater than the minimum possible). If
the photon has too much energy, the electron will cease to be bound to the
atom, and the atom will become ionised.
Once the electron is in its excited state, we deem the hydrogen atom to be in its
excited state. The atommay return to a lower excited state, or the ground state,
by emitting a photon with a characteristic energy. Emission of photons from
atoms in various excited states leads to an electromagnetic spectrum showing
a series of characteristic emission lines (including, in the case of the hydrogen
atom, the Lyman series, the Balmer series, the Paschen series, the Brackett
series.)
• Picture of a hydrogen atom changing from ground state to an excited state
79
• →Rydberg formula
• →Quantum state
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excited_state
Principal Authors: Andrewwall, Bensaccount, ALoan, Vogon, Conscious
http://www.klimaforschung.net/kernreaktion/Orbital01.gif
79
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Exotic hadrons are subatomic particles made of quarks and bound by the
strong interaction that are not predicted by the simple quark model. That is,
they do not have the same quark content as ordinary hadrons: exotic baryons
have more than just the three quarks of ordinary baryons, and exotic mesons
do not have one quark and one antiquark like ordinary mesons. Experimental
signatures for exotic hadrons have been seen recently but remain a topic of
controversy in particle physics.
The Faddeev equations are equations that describes, at once, all the possible
exchanges/interactions in a system of three particles in a fully quantum me-
chanical formulation. They can be solved iteratively with powerful computer
codes.
In general, Faddeev equations need as input a potential that describes the in-
teraction between two individual particles. It is also possible to introduce a
term in the equation in order to take also three-body forces into account.
The Faddeev equations are the most often used non-perturbative formulation of
the quantum-mechanical three-body problem. Unlike the three body problem
in classical mechanics, the quantum three body problem is uniformly soluble.
In nuclear physics, the off the energy shell nucleon-nucleon interaction has
been studied by analyzing (n,2n) and (p,2p) reactions on deuterium targets,
using the Faddeev Equations. The nucleon-nucleon interaction is expanded
(approximated) as a series of separable potentials. The Coulomb interaction
between two protons is a special problem, in that its expansion in separable
potentials does not converge, but this is handled by matching the Faddeev
solutions to long range coulomb solutions, instead of to plain waves.
Separable potentials are interactions that do not preserve a particle’s location.
Ordinary local potentials can be expressed as sums of separable potentials.
The physical nucleon-nucleon interaction, which involves exchange of mesons,
is not expected to be either local or separable.
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
Principal Authors: David R. Ingham, Charles Matthews, Freakofnurture, Conscious, Philipum
Fano resonance
In physics, a Fano resonance, in contrast with a Breit-Wigner resonance, is
a resonance for which the corresponding proﬁle in the cross-section has the
so-called Fano shape, i.e. it can be ﬁtted with a function proportional to:
(qΓ
res
/2+E−E
res
)
2
(E−E
res
)
2
+(Γ
res
/2)
2
.
The E
res
and Γ
res
parameters are the standard Breit-Wigner parameters (po-
sition and width of the resonance, respectively). The q parameter is the so-
called Fano parameter. It is interpreted (within the Feshbach-Fano partioning
theory) as the ratio between the resonant and direct (background) scattering
probability. In the case the direct scattering probability is vanishing, the q pa-
rameter becomes inﬁnite and the Fano formula is boiling down to the usual
Breit-Wigner (Lorentzian) formula:
1
(E−E
res
)
2
+(Γ
res
/2)
2
.
The classical reference is U. Fano, Phys. Rev. 124, 1866 (1961).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fano_resonance
Principal Authors: Michael Hardy, Vipul
Fermi-Dirac statistics
In statistical mechanics, Fermi-Dirac statistics is a particular case of particle
statistics developed by Enrico Fermi and Paul Dirac that determines the sta-
tistical distribution of fermions over the energy states for a system in thermal
equilibrium. In other words, it is a probability of a given energy level to be
occupied by a fermion. Fermions are particles which are indistinguishable and
obey the Pauli exclusion principle, i.e., no more than one particle may occu-
py the same quantum state at the same time. Statistical thermodynamics is
used to describe the behaviour of large numbers of particles. A collection of
non-interacting fermions is called a →Fermi gas.
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
Figure 13 Fermi-Dirac distribution as a function of /µ plotted for 4 different tem-
peratures. Occupancy transitions are smoother at higher temperatures.
F-D statistics was introduced in 1926 by Enrico Fermi and Paul Dirac and ap-
plied in 1927 by Arnold Sommerfeld to electrons in metals.
For F-D statistics, the expected number of particles in states with energy
i
is
n
i
=
g
i
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
+1
where:
n
i
is the number of particles in state i,

i
is the energy of state i,
g
i
is the degeneracy of state i (the number of states with energy
i
),
µ is the chemical potential (Sometimes the →Fermi energy E
F
is used
D
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
k is Boltzmann’s constant, and
T is absolute temperature.
In the case where µ is the →Fermi energy E
F
and g
i
= 1 , the function is called
the Fermi function:
F(E) =
1
e
(
i
−E
F
)/kT
+1
Figure 14 Fermi-Dirac distribution as a function of temperature. More states are
occupied at higher temperatures.
Which distribution to use
Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics apply when quantum effects have to
be taken into account and the particles are considered "indistinguishable". The
quantum effects appear if the concentration of particles (N/V) ≥ n
q
(where
n
q
is the quantum concentration). The quantum concentration is when the
interparticle distance is equal to the thermal de Broglie wavelength i.e. when
the wavefunctions of the particles are touching but not overlapping. As the
quantum concentration depends on temperature; high temperatures will put
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
most systems in the classical limit unless they have a very high density e.g.
a White dwarf. Fermi-Dirac statistics apply to fermions (particles that obey
the Pauli exclusion principle), Bose-Einstein statistics apply to bosons. Both
Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein become Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics at high
temperatures or low concentrations.
Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are often described as the statistics of "distin-
guishable" classical particles. In other words the conﬁguration of particle A in
state 1 and particle B in state 2 is different from the case where particle B is
in state 1 and particle A is in state 2. When this idea is carried out fully, it
yields the proper (Boltzmann) distribution of particles in the energy states, but
yields non-physical results for the entropy, as embodied in →Gibbs paradox.
These problems disappear when it is realized that all particles are in fact in-
distinguishable. Both of these distributions approach the Maxwell-Boltzmann
distribution in the limit of high temperature and low density, without the need
for any ad hoc assumptions. Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are particularly use-
ful for studying gases F-D statistics are most often used for the study of elec-
trons in solids. As such, they form the basis of semiconductor device theory
and electronics.
A derivation
Consider a single-particle state of a multiparticle system, whose energy is .
For example, if our system is some quantum gas in a box, then a state might
be a particular single-particle wave function. Recall that, for a grand canonical
ensemble in general, the grand partition function is
Z =
¸
s
e
−(E(s)−µN(s))/kT
where
E(s) is the energy of a state s,
N(s) is the number of particles possessed by the system when in the state s,
µ denotes the chemical potential, and
s is an index that runs through all possible microstates of the system.
In the present context, we take our system to be a ﬁxed single-particle state
(not a particle). So our system has energy n when the state is occupied by
n particles, and 0 if it is unoccupied. Consider the balance of single-particle
states to be the reservoir. Since the system and the reservoir occupy the same
D
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
Figure 15 Fermi-Dirac distribution as a function of . High energy states are less
probable. Or, low energy states are more probable.
physical space, there is clearly exchange of particles between the two (indeed,
this is the very phenomenon we are investigating). This is why we use the
grand partition function, which, via chemical potential, takes into considera-
tion the ﬂow of particles between a system and its thermal reservoir.
For fermions, a state can only be either occupied by a single particle or unoccu-
pied. Therefore our system has multiplicity two: occupied by one particle, or
unoccupied, called s
1
and s
2
respectively. We see that E(s
1
) = , N(s
1
) = 1,
and E(s
2
) = 0, N(s
2
) = 0. The partition function is therefore
Z =
¸
2
i=1
e
−(E(s
i
)−µN(s
i
))/kT
= e
−(−µ)/kT
+ 1.
For a grand canonical ensemble, probability of a system being in the microstate
s
α
is given by
P(s
α
) =
e
−(E(s
α
)−µN(s
α
)
Z
.
Our state being occupied by a particle means the system is in microstate s
1
,
whose probability is
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
¯ n = P(s
1
) =
e
−(E(s
1
)−µN(s
1
))/kT
Z
=
e
−(−µ)/kT
e
−(−µ)/kT
+1
=
1
e
(−µ)/kT
+1
.
¯ n is called the Fermi-Dirac distribution. For a ﬁxed temperature T, ¯ n() is the
probability that a state with energy will be occupied by a fermion. Notice ¯ n is
a decreasing function in . This is consistent with our expectation that higher
energy states are less likely to be occupied.
Note that if the energy level has degeneracy g

, then we would make the
simple modiﬁcation:
¯ n = g

1
e
(−µ)/kT
+1
.
This number is then the expected number of particles in the totality of the
states with energy .
For all temperature T, ¯ n(µ) =
1
2
, that is, the states whose energy is µ will
always have equal probability of being occupied or unoccupied.
In the limit T → 0, ¯ n becomes a step function (see graph above). All states
whose energy is below the chemical potential will be occupied with probability
1 and those states with energy above µ will be unoccupied. The chemical
potential at zero temperature is called →Fermi energy, denoted by E
F
, i.e.
E
F
= µ(T = 0).
It may be of interest here to note that, in general the chemical potential is
temperature-dependent. However, for systems well below the Fermi tempera-
ture T
F
=
E
F
k
, it is often sufﬁcient to use the approximation µ ≈ E
F
.
Another derivation
In the previous derivation, we have made use of the grand partition function
(or Gibbs sum over states). Equivalently, the same result can be achieved by
directly analysing the multiplicities of the system.
Suppose there are two fermions placed in a system with four energy levels.
There are six possible arrangements of such a system, which are shown in the
diagram below.

1

2

3

4
A * *
B * *
C * *
D * *
E * *
F * *
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
Each of these arrangements is called a microstate of the system. Assume that,
at thermal equilibrium, each of these microstates will be equally likely, subject
to the constraints that there be a ﬁxed total energy and a ﬁxed number of
particles.
Depending on the values of the energy for each state, it may be that total
energy for some of these six combinations is the same as others. Indeed, if we
assume that the energies are multiples of some ﬁxed value , the energies of
each of the microstates become:
A: 3
B: 4
C: 5
D: 5
E: 6
F: 7
So if we know that the system has an energy of 5, we can conclude that it
will be equally likely that it is in state C or state D. Note that if the particles
were distinguishable (the classical case), there would be twelve microstates
altogether, rather than six.
Now suppose we have a number of energy levels, labelled by index i , each
level having energy
i
and containing a total of n
i
particles. Suppose each level
contains g
i
distinct sublevels, all of which have the same energy, and which
are distinguishable. For example, two particles may have different momenta, in
which case they are distinguishable from each other, yet they can still have the
same energy. The value of g
i
associated with level i is called the "degeneracy"
of that energy level. The Pauli exclusion principle states that only one fermion
can occupy any such sublevel.
Let w(n, g) be the number of ways of distributing n particles among the g
sublevels of an energy level. Its clear that there are g ways of putting one
particle into a level with g sublevels, so that w(1, g) = g which we will write
as:
w(1, g) =
g!
1!(g−1)!
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Fermi-Dirac statistics
We can distribute 2 particles in g sublevels by putting one in the ﬁrst sublev-
el and then distributing the remaining n - 1 particles in the remaining g - 1
sublevels, or we could put one in the second sublevel and then distribute the
remaining n - 1 particles in the remaining g - 2 sublevels, etc. so that w’(2, g)
= w(1, g - 1) + w(1,g - 2) + ... + w(1, 1) or
w(2, g) =
¸
g−1
k=1
w(1, g −k) =
¸
g−1
k=1
(g−k)!
1!(g−k−1)!
=
g!
2!(g−2)!
where we have used the following theorem involving binomial coefﬁcients:
¸
g
k=n
k!
n!(k−n)!
=
(k+1)!
(n+1)!(k−n)!
Continuing this process, we can see that w(n, g) is just a binomial coefﬁcient
w(n, g) =
g!
n!(g−n)!
The number of ways that a set of occupation numbers n
i
can be realized is the
product of the ways that each individual energy level can be populated:
W =
¸
i
w(n
i
, g
i
) =
¸
i
g
i
!
n
i
!(g
i
−n
i
)!
Following the same procedure used in deriving the Maxwell-Boltzmann distri-
bution, we wish to ﬁnd the set of n
i
for which W is maximised, subject to the
constraint that there be a ﬁxed number of particles, and a ﬁxed energy. We
constrain our solution using Lagrange multipliers forming the function:
f(n
i
) = ln(W) +α(N −
¸
n
i
) +β(E −
¸
n
i

i
)
Again, using Stirling’s approximation for the factorials and taking the deriva-
tive with respect to n
i
, and setting the result to zero and solving for n
i
yields
the Fermi-Dirac population numbers:
n
i
=
g
i
e
α+β
i
+1
It can be shown thermodynamically that β = 1/kT where k is Boltzmann’s
constant and T is the temperature, and that α = -µ/kT where µ is the chemical
potential, so that ﬁnally:
n
i
=
g
i
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
+1
Note that the above formula is sometimes written:
n
i
=
g
i
e

i
/kT
/z+1
where z = exp(µ/kT) is the absolute activity.
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Fermi energy
• →Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
• →Bose-Einstein statistics
• Parastatistics
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi-Dirac_statistics
Principal Authors: Mct mht, PAR, Unc.hbar, Fresheneesz, Tim Starling
Fermi energy
In physics and →Fermi-Dirac statistics, the Fermi energy (E
F
) of a system of
non-interacting fermions is the smallest possible increase in the ground state
energy when exactly one particle is added to the system. It is equivalent to the
chemical potential of the system in its ground state at absolute zero. It can also
be interpreted as the maximum energy of an individual fermion in this ground
state. The Fermi energy is one of the central concepts of condensed matter
physics.
Fermi level
The Fermi level is the top of the collection of electron energy levels at abso-
lute zero temperature. Since fermions cannot exist in identical energy states
(see the exclusion principle), at absolute zero, electrons pack into the lowest
available energy states and build up a "Fermi sea" of electron energy states.
80
In this state (at 0 K), the average energy of an electron is given by:
E
av
=
3
5
E
f
where E
f
is the fermi energy.
The Fermi momentum is the momentum of fermions at the Fermi surface. The
Fermi momentum is given by:
p
F
=

2m
e
E
f
where m
e
is the mass of the electron.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/solids/fermi.html
80
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Fermi energy
This concept is usually applied in the case of dispersion relations between the
energy and momentum that do not depend on the direction. In more general
cases, one must consider the Fermi energy.
The Fermi velocity is the average velocity of an electron in an atom at absolute
zero. This average velocity corresponds to the average energy given above. The
Fermi velocity is deﬁned by:
V
f
=

2E
f
m
e
where m
e
is the mass of the electron.
Below the Fermi temperature, a substance gradually expresses more and more
quantum effects of cooling. The Fermi temperature is deﬁned by:
T.f =
E
f
k
where k is the Boltzmann constant.
Quantum mechanics
According to quantum mechanics, fermions – particles with a half-integer spin,
usually 1/2, such as electrons – follow the Pauli exclusion principle, which
states that multiple particles may not occupy the same quantum state. Con-
sequently, fermions obey →Fermi-Dirac statistics. The ground state of a non-
interacting fermion system is constructed by starting with an empty system
and adding particles one at a time, consecutively ﬁlling up the lowest-energy
unoccupied quantum states. When the desired number of particles has been
reached, the Fermi energy is the energy of the highest occupied molecular or-
bital (HOMO). Within conductive materials, this is equivalent to the lowest
unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO), however within other materials there
will be a signiﬁcant gap between the HOMO and LUMO on the order of 2-3 eV.
This gap does exist in conductors, however it is inﬁnitesimally small.
Free electron gas
In the free electron gas, the quantum mechanical version of an ideal gas of
fermions, the quantum states can be labelled according to their momentum.
Something similar can be done for periodic systems, such as electrons moving
in the atomic lattice of a metal, using something called the "quasi-momentum"
(see Bloch wave). In either case, the Fermi energy states reside on a surface in
momentum space known as the Fermi surface. For the free electron gas, the
Fermi surface is the surface of a sphere; for periodic systems, it generally has a
contorted shape (see Brillouin zones). The volume enclosed by the Fermi sur-
face deﬁnes the number of electrons in the system, and the topology is directly
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Fermi energy
related to the transport properties of metals, such as electrical conductivity.
The study of the Fermi surface is sometimes called Fermiology. The Fermi
surfaces of most metals are well studied both theoretically and experimentally.
The Fermi energy of the free electron gas is related to the chemical potential
by the equation
µ = E
F
¸
1 −
π
2
12

kT
E
F

2
+
π
4
80

kT
E
F

4
+

where E
F
is the Fermi energy, k is the Boltzmann constant and T is tempera-
ture. Hence, the chemical potential is approximately equal to the Fermi energy
at temperatures of much less than the characteristic Fermi temperature E
F
/k.
The characteristic temperature is on the order of 10
5
K for a metal, hence at
room temperature (300 K), the Fermi energy and chemical potential are essen-
tially equivalent. This is signiﬁcant since it is the chemical potential, not the
Fermi energy, which appears in →Fermi-Dirac statistics.
• fermi gas
• semiconductors
• electrical engineering
• electronics
• thermodynamics
References
• Table of fermi energies, velocities, and temperatures for various elements
81
.
• a discussion of fermi gases and fermi temperatures
82
.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_energy
Principal Authors: Fresheneesz, Tim Starling, The Anome, CYD, Tantalate
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/fermi.html
81
http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/15/4/7
82
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Fermi gas
Fermi gas
A Fermi gas, or Free electron gas, is a collection of non-interacting fermions.
It is the quantum mechanical version of an ideal gas, for the case of fermionic
particles. Electrons in metals and semiconductors and neutrons in a neutron
star can be approximately considered Fermi gases. The energy distribution
of the fermions in a Fermi gas in thermal equilibrium is determined by their
density, the temperature and the set of available energy states, via →Fermi-
Dirac statistics. By the Pauli principle, no quantum state can be occupied by
more than one fermion, so the total energy of the Fermi gas at zero temperature
is larger than the product of the number of particles and the single-particle
ground state energy. For this reason, the pressure of a Fermi gas is nonzero
even at zero temperature, in contrast to that of a classical ideal gas. This so-
called degeneracy pressure stabilizes a neutron star (a Fermi gas of neutrons)
or a White Dwarf star (a Fermi gas of electrons) against the inward pull of
gravity.
It is possible to deﬁne a Fermi temperature below which the gas can be consid-
ered degenerate. This temperature depends on the mass of the fermions and
the energy density of states. For metals, the electron gas’s Fermi temperature
is generally many thousands of kelvins, so they can be considered degenerate.
The maximum energy of the fermions at zero temperature is called the →Fermi
energy. The Fermi energy surface in momentum space is known as the Fermi
surface.
Since interactions are neglected by deﬁnition, the problem of treating the equi-
librium properties and dynamical behaviour of a Fermi gas reduces to the study
of the behaviour of single independent particles. As such, it is still relatively
tractable and forms the starting point for more advanced theories (such as
Fermi liquid theory or perturbation theory in the interaction) which take into
account interactions to some degree of accuracy.
• Gas in a box
• →Bose gas
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_gas
Principal Authors: PAR, SimonP, Tantalate, Schneelocke, Tom davis
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Fermi liquid
Fermi liquid
A Fermi liquid is a generic term for a quantum mechanical liquid of fermions
that arises under certain physical conditions—when the temperature is sufﬁ-
ciently low, and when the system is translationally invariant. The interaction
between the particles of the many-body system does not need to be small (see
e.g. electrons in a metal). The phenomenological theory of Fermi liquids,
which was introduced by the Russian physicist Lev Davidovich Landau in 1956,
explains why some of the properties of an interacting fermion system are very
similar to those of the →Fermi gas (i.e. non-interacting fermions), and why
other properties differ.
Liquid He-3 is a Fermi liquid at low temperatures (but not low enough to be in
its superﬂuid phase.) He-3 is an isotope of Helium, with 2 protons, 1 neutron
and 2 electrons per atom; because there is an odd number of fermions inside
the atom, the atom itself is also a fermion. The electrons in a normal (non-
superconducting) metal also form a Fermi liquid.
The Fermi liquid is qualitatively analogous to the non-interacting Fermi gas, in
the following sense: The system’s dynamics and thermodynamics at low ex-
citation energies and temperatures may be described by substituting the non-
interacting fermions with so-called quasiparticles, each of which carries the
same spin, charge and momentum as the original particles. Physically these
may be thought of as being particles whose motion is disturbed by the sur-
rounding particles and which themselves perturb the particles in their vicinity.
Each many-particle excited state of the interacting system may be described by
listing all occupied momentum states, just as in the non-interacting system. As
a consequence, quantities such as the heat capacity of the Fermi liquid behave
qualitatively in the same way as in the Fermi gas (e.g. the heat capacity rises
linearly with temperature).
However, the following differences to the non-interacting Fermi gas arise:
• The energy of a many-particle state is not simply a sum of the single-particle
energies of all occupied states. Instead, the change in energy for a giv-
en change δn
k
in occupation of states k contains terms both linear and
k
(for the Fermi gas, it would only be linear, δn
k

k
, where
k
denotes the single-particle energies). The linear contribution corresponds
to renormalized single-particle energies, which involve, e.g., a change in
the effective mass of particles. The quadratic terms correspond to a sort of
"mean-ﬁeld" interaction between quasiparticles, which is parameterized by
so-called Landau Fermi liquid parameters and determines the behaviour of
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Fermi liquid
density oscillations (and spin-density oscillations) in the Fermi liquid. Still,
these mean-ﬁeld interactions do not lead to a scattering of quasi-particles
with a transfer of particles between different momentum states.
• Speciﬁc heat, compressibility, spin-susceptibility and other quantities show
the same qualitative behaviour (e.g. dependence on temperature) as in the
Fermi gas, but the magnitude is (sometimes strongly) changed.
• In addition to the mean-ﬁeld interactions, some weak interactions between
quasiparticles remain, which lead to scattering of quasiparticles off each
other. Therefore, quasiparticles acquire a ﬁnite lifetime. However, at low
enough energies above the Fermi surface, this lifetime becomes very long,
such that the product of excitation energy (expressed in frequency) and
lifetime is much larger than one. In this sense, the quasiparticle energy is
still well-deﬁned (in the opposite limit, Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation
would prevent an accurate deﬁnition of the energy).
• Green’s function and momentum distribution of quasiparticles behave as
for the fermions in the Fermi gas (apart from the broadening of the delta
peak in the Green’s function by the ﬁnite lifetime).
• The structure of the "bare" particles (as opposed to quasiparticle) Green’s
function is similar to that in the Fermi gas (where, for a given momen-
tum, the Green’s function in frequency space is a delta peak at the re-
spective single-particle energy). The delta peak in the density-of-states
dition (and in contrast to the quasiparticle Green’s function), its weight
(integral over frequency) is suppressed by a quasiparticle weight factor
0 < Z < 1. The remainder of the total weight is in a broad "incoherent
background", corresponding to the strong effects of interactions on the
fermions at short time-scales.
• The distribution of particles (as opposed to quasiparticles) over momentum
states at zero temperature still shows a discontinuous jump at the Fermi
surface (as in the Fermi gas), but it does not drop from 1 to 0: the step is
only of size Z.
• In a metal the resistance at low temperatures is dominated by electron-
electron scattering in combination with Umklapp scattering. For a Fermi
liquid, the resistance fromthis mechanismvaries as T
2
, which is often taken
as an experimental check for Fermi liquid behaviour (in addition to the
linear temperature-dependence of the speciﬁc heat), although it only arises
in combination with the lattice.
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Fermi’s golden rule
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_liquid
Principal Authors: CYD, Dschwen, RedWolf, Itai, Jofox
Fermi’s golden rule
In quantum physics, Fermi’s golden rule is a way to calculate the transition
rate between two eigenstates of a quantum system using time-dependent per-
turbation theory, which means it’s an approximation.
We consider the system to begin in an eigenstate [i` of a given Hamiltonian H
0
.
We consider the effect of a time-independent perturbing Hamiltonian H
/
.
The one-to-many transition probability per unit of time from the state [i` to a
set of states [f` is given, to ﬁrst order in the perturbation, by:
T
i→f
=

['f[H
/
[i`[
2
ρ
where ρ is the density of ﬁnal states, and < f [ H’ [ i > is the matrix element (in
bra-ket notation) of the perturbation, H’, between the ﬁnal and initial states.
Fermi’s golden rule is valid when H
/
is time-independent, [i` is an eigenstate of
the unperturbed Hamiltonian, the states [f` form a continuum, and the initial
state has not been signiﬁcantly depleted (eg, by scattering into the ﬁnal states).
The most common way to derive the equation is to start with time-dependent
perturbation theory and to take the limit for absorption under the assumption
that the time of the measurement is much larger than the time needed for the
transition.
Although named after Fermi, most of the work leading to the Golden Rule was
done by Dirac.
83
• Derivation using time-dependent perturbation theory
84
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi%27s_golden_rule
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/fermi.html
83
http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~schwitte/PHY362L/QMnote.pdf
84
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Field emission
Principal Authors: Donvinzk, Laurascudder, Jheald, MikeMorley, Alfredo.correa
Field emission
Also known as Fowler-Nordheim tunneling, ﬁeld emission is a form of quan-
tum tunneling in which electrons pass through a barrier in the presence of a
high electric ﬁeld. This phenomenon is highly dependent on both the prop-
erties of the material and the shape of the particular cathode, so that higher
aspect ratios produce higher ﬁeld emission currents. The current density pro-
duced by a given electric ﬁeld is governed by the Fowler-Nordheim equation.
Applications of ﬁeld emission include its use as an electron source in ﬂash
memory, electron microscopy, MEMS systems, and ﬁeld emission displays.
In the ﬁeld of vacuum electronics, ﬁeld emission is seen as an alternative to
thermionic emission, with advantages such as dramatically higher efﬁciency,
less scatter of emitted electrons, faster turn-on times, compactness, and, in
many cases, redundancy. Some disadvantages include lower current per emis-
sion source and, often, lower overall current density. Field emission limits the
maximum operating voltage for high voltage vacuum devices such as vacuum
capacitors and vacuum switches.
Vacuum tubes based on thermionic emission require several minutes to warm
up before they can be used; by contrast, the function of ﬁeld emission devices
is effectively instantaneous, allowing switching times of many megahertz. The
ability to modulate the electron source, rather than modifying a stream of elec-
trons from a constant source (i.e., by velocity modulation), has allowed many
vacuum devices to be greatly simpliﬁed. For instance, the Klystrode functions
much like the two-chamber Klystron, without the need for a ﬁrst chamber.
• Cold cathode
• Field emission - Fowler-Nordheim tunneling, Principles of Semiconductor
Devices, Bart Van Zeghbroeck, 1997
85
85
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Finite potential well
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_emission
Principal Authors: Ajdecon, Bert Hickman, Pjacobi, Heron, Adoarns
Finite potential well
The ﬁnite potential well (also known as the ﬁnite square well) is a simple
problem from quantum mechanics. It is an extension of the inﬁnite potential
well, in which a particle is conﬁned to a box, but one which has ﬁnite - not
inﬁnite - potential walls. This means unlike the inﬁnite potential well, there
is a probability associated with the particle being found outside of the box.
The quantum mechanical interpretation is unlike the classical interpretation,
where if the total energy of the particle is less than potential energy barrier of
the walls it cannot be found outside the box. In the quantum interpretation,
there is a probability of the particle being outside the box even when the energy
of the particle is less than the potential energy barrier of the walls.
The particle in a 1-dimensional box
For the 1-dimensional case on the x-axis, the time-independent Schrödinger
equation can be written as:

2
2m
d
2
ψ
dx
2
+V (x)ψ = Eψ (1)
where
=
h

h is Planck’s constant
m is the mass of the particle
ψ is the (complex valued) wavefunction that we want to ﬁnd
V (x) is a function describing the potential at each point x and
E is the energy, a real number.
For the case of the particle in a 1-dimensional box of length L, the potential
is zero inside the box, but rises abruptly to a value Γ at x = -L/2 and x =
L/2. The wavefunction is considered to be made up of different wavefuctions
at different ranges of x, depending on whether x is inside or outside of the box.
Therefore the wavefunction is deﬁned such that:
ψ =

ψ
1
, if x < −L/2 (the region outside the box)
ψ
2
, if −L/2 < x < L/2 (the region inside the box)
ψ
3
if x > L/2 (the region outside the box)
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Finite potential well
Inside the box
For the region inside the box V(x) = 0 and Equation 1 reduces to:

2
2m
d
2
ψ
2
dx
2
= Eψ
2
Letting
k =

2mE

the equation becomes
d
2
ψ
2
dx
2
= −k
2
ψ
2
This is a well studied differential equation and eigenvalue problem with a gen-
eral solution of:
ψ
2
= Asin(kx) +Bcos(kx)
Hence:
E =
k
2

2
2m
Here, A and B can be any complex numbers, and k can be any real number (k
must be real because E is real).
Outside the box
For the region outside of the box, V(x) = Γ and Equation 1 becomes:

2
2m
d
2
ψ
1
dx
2
= (E −Γ)ψ
1
There are two possible families of solutions, depending on whether E is less
than Γ (the particle is bound in the potential) or E is greater than Γ (the
particle is free).
For a free particle, E > Γ, and letting
κ =

2m(E−Γ)

produces
d
2
ψ
1
dx
2
= −κ
2
ψ
1
with the same solution form as the inside-well case:
ψ
1
= C sin(κx) +Dcos(κx)
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Finite potential well
This analysis will ﬁrst focus on the bound state, where Γ > E. Letting
α =

2m(Γ−E)

produces
d
2
ψ
1
dx
2
= α
2
ψ
1
where the general solution is exponential:
ψ
1
= Fe
−αx
+Ge
αx
Similarly, for the other region outside the box:
ψ
3
= He
−αx
+Ie
αx
Now in order ﬁnd the speciﬁc solution for the problemat hand, we must specify
the appropriate boundary conditions and ﬁnd the values for A , B , F , G , H
and I that satisfy those conditions.
Finding wavefunctions for the bound state
Solutions to the Schrödinger equation must be continuous, and continuously
differentiable. These requirements are boundary conditions on the differential
equations previously derived.
In this case, the ﬁnite potential well is symmetrical, so symmetry can be ex-
ploited to reduce the necessary calculations.
Summarizing the previous section:
ψ =

ψ
1
, if x < −L/2 (the region outside the box)
ψ
2
, if −L/2 < x < L/2 (the region inside the box)
ψ
3
if x > L/2 (the region outside the box)
where we found ψ
1
, ψ
2
and ψ
3
to be:
ψ
1
= Fe
−αx
+Ge
αx
ψ
2
= Asin(kx) +Bcos(kx)
ψ
3
= He
−αx
+Ie
αx
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Flux quantization
We see that as x goes to −∞, the F term goes to inﬁnity. Likewise, as x goes to
+∞, the I term goes to inﬁnity. As the wave function must be ﬁnite for all x,
this means we must set F = I = 0, and we have:
ψ
1
= Ge
αx
and ψ
3
= He
−αx
Next, we know that the overall ψ function must be continuous and differen-
tiable. In other words the values of the functions and their derivatives must
match up at the dividing points:
• →Potential well
• Inﬁnite potential well
• →Quantum tunnelling
References
• Grifﬁths, David J. (2005). Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, 2
nd
ed.,
Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131118927.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite_potential_well
Flux quantization
Flux quantization is a quantum phenomenon in which the magnetic ﬁeld is
quantized in the unit of h/2e, also known variously as ﬂux quanta, ﬂuxoids,
vortices or ﬂuxons.
Flux quantization occurs in Type II superconductors subjected to a magnetic
ﬁeld. Below a critical ﬁeld H
c1
, all magnetic ﬂux is expulsed according to the
Meissner effect and perfect diamagnetism is observed, exactly as in a Type I
superconductor. Up to a second critical ﬁeld value, H
c2
, ﬂux penetrates in
discrete units while the bulk of the material remains superconducting. Both
critical ﬁelds are temperature dependent, and tabulated values are the zero-
temperature extrapolation unless otherwise noted.
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Fock matrix
• Flux pinning
• Magnetic ﬂux quantum
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flux_quantization
Principal Authors: Charles Matthews, Stevelihn, Eldereft, Art LaPella, Zowie
Fock matrix
In quantum mechanics, the Fock matrix is a matrix approximating the single-
electron energy operator of a given quantum system in a given set of basis
vectors.
It is most often formed in computational chemistry when attempting to solve
the Roothaan equations for an atomic or molecular system. The Fock matrix
is actually an approximation to the true Hamiltonian operator of the quantum
system. It includes the effects of electron-electron repulsion only in an average
way. Importantly, because the Fock operator is a one-electron operator, it does
not include the electron correlation energy.
The Fock matrix is deﬁned by the Fock operator. For the restricted case which
assumes closed-shell orbitals and single-determinantal wavefunctions, the Fock
operator for the ﬁrst electron is given by:
ˆ
F(1) =
ˆ
H
core
(1) +
¸
n
j=1
[2
ˆ
J
j
(1) −
ˆ
K
j
(1)]
where:
ˆ
F(i)
is the Fock operator for the i -th electron in the system,
ˆ
H
core
(i)
is the core Hamiltonian for the i -th electron,
n
is the total number of orbitals in the system (equal to half the number of elec-
trons),
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Fock space
ˆ
J
j
(i)
is the Coulomb operator, deﬁning the repulsive force between the j -th and i -th
electrons in the system,
ˆ
K
j
(i)
is the exchange operator, deﬁning the effect of exchanging the two electrons.
• Roothaan equations
• Hartree-Fock
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fock_matrix
Principal Authors: Edsanville, Agentsoo, Charles Matthews, Remuel, Njerseyguy
Fock space
The Fock space is an algebraic system (→Hilbert space) used in quantum me-
chanics to describe quantum states with a variable or unknown number of
particles. It is named for V. A. Fock.
Technically, the Fock space is the Hilbert space made from the direct sum of
tensor products of single-particle Hilbert spaces:
F
ν
(H) =
¸

n=0
S
ν
H
⊗n
where S
ν
is the operator which symmetrizes or antisymmetrizes the space,
depending on whether the Hilbert space describes particles obeying bosonic (ν
= +) or fermionic (ν = -) statistics respectively. H is the single particle Hilbert
space. It describes the quantum states for a single particle, and to describe the
quantum states of systems with n particles, or superpositions of such states,
one must use a larger Hilbert space, the Fock space, which contains states for
unlimited and variable number of particles. →Fock states are the natural basis
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Fock space
Example
An example of a state of the Fock space is
[Ψ`
ν
= [φ
1
, φ
2
, , φ
n
`
ν
describing n particles, one of which has wavefunction φ
1
, another φ
2
and so on
up to the n
th
particle, where each φ
i
is any wavefunction from the single parti-
cle Hilbert space H. When we speak of one particle in state φ
i
it must be borne
in mind that in quantum mechanics identical particles are indistinguishable,
and in a same Fock space all particles are identical (to describe many species
of particles, make the tensor products of as many different Fock spaces). It
is one of the most powerful features of this formalism that states are intrin-
sically properly symmetrized. So that for instance, if the above state [Ψ>
-
is
fermionic, it will be 0 if two (or more) of the φ
i
are equal, because by the Pauli
exclusion principle no two (or more) fermions can be in the same quantum
state. Also, the states are properly normalized, by construction.
A useful and convenient basis for this space is the occupancy number basis. If

i
> is a basis of H, then we can agree to denote the state with n
0
particles in
state [ψ
0
>, n
1
particles in state [ψ
1
>, ..., n
k
particles in state [ψ
k
> by
[n
0
, n
1
, , n
k
`
ν
,
with each n
i
taking the value 0 or 1 for fermionic particles and 0,1,2,... for
bosonic particles.
Such a state is called a →Fock state. Since [ψ
i
> are understood as the steady
states of the free ﬁeld, i.e., a deﬁnite number of particles, a Fock state describes
an assembly of non-interacting particles in deﬁnite numbers. The most general
pure state is the linear superposition of Fock states.
Two operators of paramount importance are the creation and annihilation op-
erators, which upon acting on a Fock state respectively remove and add a par-
ticle, in the ascribed quantum state. They are denoted a

i
) and a(φ
i
) re-
spectively, with φ
i
referring to the quantum state [φ
i
` in which the particle is
removed or added. It is often convenient to work with states of the basis of H
so that these operators remove and add exactly one particle in the given state.
These operators also serve as a basis for more general operators acting on the
Fock space, for instance the number operator giving the number of particles in
a speciﬁc state [φ
i
` is a

i
)a(φ
i
).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fock_space
Principal Authors: Phys, Stupidmoron, Laussy, Maury Markowitz, Charles Matthews
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Franck-Hertz experiment
Fock state
A Fock state, in quantum mechanics, is any state of the →Fock space with a
well-deﬁned number of particles in each state. The name is for V. A. Fock.
If we limit to a single mode for simplicity (doing so we formally describe a mere
harmonic oscillator), a Fock state is of the type [n> with n an integer value.
This means that there are n quanta of excitation in the mode. [0> corresponds
to the ground state (no excitation). It is different from 0 which is the null
vector.
Fock states form the most convenient basis of the Fock space. They are deﬁned
to obey the following relations in the bosonic algebra:
a

[n` =

n + 1[n + 1`
a[n` =

n[n −1`
[n` =
1

n!
(a

)
n
[0`
with a (resp. a

) the annihilation (resp. creation) bose operator. Similar
relations hold for fermionic algebra.
This allows to check that <a

a>=n and Var(a

a)=0, i.e., that measuring the
number of particles a

a in a Fock state returns always a deﬁnite value with no
ﬂuctuation.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fock_state
Principal Authors: Digitalme, Phys, Unyoyega, Charles Matthews, Laussy
Franck-Hertz experiment
In physics, the Franck-Hertz experiment was an early physics experiment that
provided support for the Bohr model of the atom, a precursor to quantum me-
chanics. In 1914, physicists James Franck and Gustav Ludwig Hertz sought to
experimentally probe the energy levels of the atom. The now-famous Franck-
Hertz experiment elegantly supported Niels Bohr’s model of the atom, with
electrons orbiting the nucleus with speciﬁc, discrete energies. Franck and Hertz
were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1925 for this work.
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Franck-Hertz experiment
The experiment
The classic experiment involved a tube containing low pressure gas and bound-
ed at each end by an electrode, and containing a mesh accelerating grid near
the ground electrode. (This ’ground’ was actually held very slightly negative, so
that electrons had to have a small amount of kinetic energy to reach it.) Instru-
ments were ﬁtted to measure the current passing between the electrodes, and
to adjust the potential difference (the voltage) between the cathode (negative
electrode) and the accelerating grid.
• At low voltages–up to 7 volts when the tube contained mercury vapour–
the current through the tube increased steadily with increasing potential
difference. The higher voltage increased the electric ﬁeld in the tube and
electrons were drawn more forcefully towards and through the accelerating
grid.
• At 7 volts the current drops sharply, almost back to zero.
• The current increases steadily once again if the voltage is increased further,
until 11.9 volts is reached (exactly 7+4.9 volts).
• At 11.9 volts a similar sharp drop is observed.
• This series of dips in current at 4.9 volt increments will visibly continue to
potentials of at least 100 volts.
Franck and Hertz were able to explain their experiment in terms of elastic
and inelastic collisions. At low potentials, electrons acquired only a modest
amount of kinetic energy. When they encountered mercury atoms in the tube,
they participated in elastic collisions. The total amount of kinetic energy in
the system remained the same. (Since electrons are signiﬁcantly less massive
than mercury atoms, this meant that the electrons held on to the vast majority
of that energy, too.) Higher potentials served to drive more electrons to the
ground and increase the observed current.
The lowest energy electronic excitation a mercury atom can participate in re-
quires 4.9 electron volts (eV). When the accelerating potential reached 4.9
volts, each electron possessed exactly that amount of energy when it reached
the anode grid. Consequently, a collision between a mercury atom and an elec-
tron at that point could be inelastic. Its kinetic energy could be converted into
potential energy, and used to excite the mercury atom. With the loss of all
of its kinetic energy, the electron can no longer overcome the slight negative
potential at the ground electrode, and the measured current drops sharply.
As the voltage is increased, electrons will participate in one inelastic collision,
lose their 4.9 eV, but then continue to be accelerated. In this manner, the
current rises again after the accelerating potential exceeds 4.9 V. At 9.8 V, the
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Free particle
situation changes again. There, each electron now has just enough energy to
participate in two inelastic collisions, excite two mercury atoms, and then be
left with no kinetic energy. Once again, the observed current drops. At intervals
of 4.9 volts this process will repeat; each time the electrons will undergo one
A similar pattern is observed with neon gas, but at intervals of approximately
19 volts. The process is identical, just with a much different threshold. One
additional difference is that a glow will appear near the accelerating grid at 19
volts–one of the transitions of relaxing neon atoms emits red-orange light. This
glow will move closer to the cathode with increasing accelerating potential, to
whatever point in the tube the electrons acquire the 19 eV required to excite
a neon atom. At 38 volts two distinct glows will be visible: one between the
cathode and grid, and one right at the accelerating grid. Higher potentials will
result in additional glowing regions in the tube, spaced at 19 volt intervals.
The Franck-Hertz experiment conﬁrmed Bohr’s quantized model of the atom
by demonstrating that atoms could indeed only absorb (and be excited by)
speciﬁc amounts of energy (quanta).
References
• The Franck-Hertz Experiment at Hyperphysics
86
• Up-to-date literature on the Franck-Hertz Experiment
87
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franck-Hertz_experiment
Principal Authors: Icairns, TenOfAllTrades, Mac Davis, Linas, Pnicolet
Free particle
In physics, a free particle is a particle that, in some sense, is not bound. In the
classical case, this is represented with the particle not being inﬂuenced by any
external force.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/FrHz.html
86
http://users.skynet.be/P.Nicoletopoulos/references.html
87
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Free particle
Classical Free Particle
The classical free particle is characterized simply by a ﬁxed velocity. The mo-
mentum is given by
p = mv
and the energy by
E =
1
2
mv
2
where m is the mass of the particle and v is the vector velocity of the particle.
Non-Relativistic Quantum Free Particle
The →Schrödinger equation for a free particle is:

2
2m

2
ψ(r, t) = i

∂t
ψ(r, t)
The solution for a particular momentum is given by a plane wave:
ψ(r, t) = e
i(kr−ωt)
with the constraint

2
k
2
2m
= ω
where r is the position vector, t is time, k is the wave vector, and ω is the
angular frequency. Since the integral of ψψ
*
over all space must be unity, there
will be a problem normalizing this momentum eigenfunction. This will not be a
problem for a general free particle which is somewhat localized in momentum
and position. (See particle in a box for a further discussion.)
The expectation value of the momentum p is
'p` = 'ψ[ −i∇[ψ` = k
The expectation value of the energy E is
'E` = 'ψ[i

∂t
[ψ` = ω
Solving for k and ω and substituting into the constraint equation yields the fa-
miliar relationship between energy and momentum for non-relativistic massive
particles
'E` =
'p`
2
2m
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Functional integration
where p=[p[. The group velocity of the wave is deﬁned as
v
g
= dω/dk = dE/dp = v
where v is the classical velocity of the particle. The phase velocity of the wave
is deﬁned as
v
p
= ω/k = E/p = p/2m = v/2
A general free particle need not have a speciﬁc momentum or energy. In this
case, the free particle wavefunction may be represented by a superposition of
free particle momentum eigenfunctions:
ψ(r, t) =

A(k)e
i(kr−ωt)
dk
where the integral is over all k-space.
Relativistic free particle
There are a number of equations describing relativistic particles. For a descrip-
tion of the free particle solutions, see the individual articles.
• The →Klein-Gordon equation describes charge-neutral, spinless, relativistic
quantum particles
• The Dirac equation describes the relativistic electron (charged, spin 1/2)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_particle
Principal Authors: PAR, Linas, Lupin, Sverdrup, Karol Langner
Functional integration
functional integration (sociology).
Functional integration is a collection of results in mathematics and physics
where the domain of an integral is no longer a region of space, but a space
of functions. Functional integrals arise in probability, in the study of partial
differential equations and in Feynman’s approach to the quantum mechanics
of particles and ﬁelds.
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Functional integration
In an ordinary integral there is a function to be integrated—the integrand—and
a region of space over which to integrate the function—the domain of integra-
tion. The process of integration consists of adding the values of the integrand
at each point of the domain of integration. Making this procedure rigorous
requires a limiting procedure, where the domain of integration is divided into
smaller and smaller regions. For each small region the value of the integrand
cannot vary much so it may be replaced by a single value. In a functional
integral the domain of integration is a space of functions. For each function
the integrand returns a value to add up. Making this procedure rigorous poses
challenges that are the topic of research in the beginning of the 21st century.
Functional integration was introduced by Wiener in 1921 in his studies of
Brownian motion. He developed a rigorous method —now known as the
Wiener measure— for assigning a probability to a particle’s random path. Feyn-
man developed another functional integral, the path integral, useful for com-
puting the quantum properties of systems. In Feynman’s path integral, the clas-
sical notion of a unique trajectory for a particle is replaced by an inﬁnite sum
of classical paths, each weighed differently according to its classical properties.
Functional integration is central to quantization techniques in theoretical
physics. The algebraic properties of functional integrals are used to develop
series used to calculate properties in quantum electrodynamics and the stan-
dard model.
The problem of functional integration
Integration of functions is a summation. If the domain of integration is the
square [0,&nbsp;1] &times; [0,&nbsp;1], the integral is computed by breaking
the region into small rectangles. Each rectangle serves as the base of a prism
whose height is any value of the function within the rectangle. The integral is
the sum of the volumes (base height) of all the prisms. If the rectangles are
small enough and the function smooth, the process converges.
A functional is a function that associates a number to a function. This is in
distinction to common functions that associate numbers to other numbers. Ex-
amples of functionals include the functional that is one for any function, or the
functional the returns the integral of the function over a domain.
By analogy with integration of functions, functional integration is a summa-
tion procedure where the domain of integration is a space of functions and the
functional integral an addition of cylinders (just like the prisms in ordinary in-
tegration) with the functional as the height and some amount (or measure) of
function space as the base. The “area” of the functions can be represented by
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Functional integration
Dω , the functional by F[ω] (square brackets are often used to distinguish func-
tionals from common functions), the space of functions by I and the functional
integral by

I
Dω F[ω] . (1)
The result of integrating a functional is to be a number. Developing a deﬁni-
tion to equation (1) that has properties similar to ordinary integration is the
problem of the deﬁnition of functional integration. There is no general the-
ory to make sense of this formal expression as there is for the conventional
integration.
In functional integration there are different spaces to consider:
• The functions ω take values from a ν-dimensional space called space-time.
This is how many dimensions are used to specify a point in the domain of
ω. Space-time in often assumed to be a subset of R
ν
, the Euclidean space
with ν dimensions. In applications of functional integration, the functions
ω represent particle paths (in which case ν = 1) or a physical ﬁeld such as
the vector potential (in which case ν = 4).
• The space for the range of the functions ω also varies depending on appli-
cations. This space is locally a subset of R
κ
. In applications it can be R
3
, as
in the quantum mechanics; or a more complicated space, such as a tangent
bundle as in the case of quantum chromodynamics.
• The domain of integration is a function space, and likely to be inﬁnite di-
mensional.
A deﬁnition of functional integration, by analogy with common integration, is
expected to satisfy certain properties. Functional integration should be itself
a linear functional, such that

Dω (F+α G) =

Dω F + α

Dω G. Volumes
in functional space should be invariant under translation. A ball in functional
space centered around a function f or that same function plus a constant should
result in the same value for the functional integral. Also, if the functional
space happens to be ﬁnite dimensional, then the functional integral should be
related to the ordinary integration. These conditions are impossible to satisfy
for functional integrals.
Attempting to directly generalize the notion of volume in functional space has
not led to a useful theory of functional integration. Discretization of the func-
tional integral in equation (1) could be an approach towards its deﬁnition. For
the case of one-dimensional paths (ν=1 and κ=1), the functional integration
is replaced by an n-dimensional integral and the functional is computed from
the value of the path ω and n points. The functional integral would then be
the value of the n-dimensional integral in the limit of n going to inﬁnity:
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Functional integration

Dω F(ω) = lim
n→∞

1

2
. . .

n
F(ω
1
, . . . , ω
n
) (2)
The “size” of a function space can be computed from this expression by using
the simple functional F[ω]=1. Choosing a function space where each ω
i
varies
over limited range of length W, the n-dimensional integral is equal to W
n
.
This will diverge to inﬁnity or converge to zero in the limit. Building a theory
of integration when the value of the integral can only be zero or inﬁnity is not
very interesting.
Most of the cylinders that contribute to the functional integral (2) correspond
to discontinuous functions. In Brownian motion or in the path integral formu-
lation of quantum mechanics, the paths are continuous. Both applications did
not generalize the notion of volume to functional spaces, as in equation (1),
but rather generalized the notion of a Gaussian integral. In applications, the
functional being integrated is related to an action functional S arising from
classical mechanics. Action functionals can be written as the sum of two terms,
S
0
+ S
i
, with S
0
involving the derivative of the function squared. For exam-
ple, for the case of one-dimensional paths
S
0
[ω] =

˙ ω
2
2
.
Smooth paths lead to small values of the functional, and large variations of
the path (as if almost discontinuous) lead to large values of the functional.
Introducing a term exp(-S
0
) into the functional integral should dampen the
effects of discontinuous paths. This leads to Gaussian functional integrals.
Gaussian integration
Instead of generalizing the notion of volume to inﬁnite dimensions, the Gaus-
sian integral can be generalized. If M is a positive nn symmetric matrix, and
x and J are n-dimensional vectors, the basic Gaussian integral can be used to
show that

Dxe

1
2
xMx+xJ
=
1

[ det M[
e
1
2
J
1
M
J
The integration variables have been abbreviated with Dx=(2π )
-n/2
dx
1
...dx
n
.
The determinant and the matrix operations in the result of the many-
dimensional Gaussian can be interpreted in terms of inﬁnite-dimensional ob-
jects. This result then can be used as the basis for the deﬁnition of a functional
integral. The action functional S of a path x(t) can be approximated by a
discretization of the time domain of the path into n+1 pieces of length a. At
these time values the path assumes the values x
0
, ..., x
n+1
. The two end points
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Functional integration
x
0
and x
n+1
remain ﬁxed and are not part of the n-fold integration. The dis-
cretized action S can be put in the form x∆x + xJ. The matrix ∆ is similar to
a discretized Laplace operator, the vector J will have only two non-zero entries
and the vector x runs from x
1
to x
n
. The determinant of ∆ and the inverse
matrix ∆
-1
can be evaluated as a function of the number of discretization steps
n. The determinant is n+1. The inverse matrix is a matrix with entries of order
one divided by the determinant.
Using a limit of iterated Gaussians it is possible to deﬁne a functional integral
for paths (ν=1). With the notation O(1) to indicate a matrix with entries of
order one, the iterated Gaussian integral

Dxe

1
2
xMx+xJ
=

a
n+1
n+1

1/2
e
1
2a(n+1)
O(1)
will converge if the entire expression is divided by a
(n+1)/2
.
In the case of a spacetime of more than one dimension, generalizations of
the Gaussian integral will not converge. This is at the root of many of the
difﬁculties in quantum ﬁeld theory, as the Gaussian integral corresponds to the
quantum ﬁeld theory with no interactions. The difﬁculty in generalizing the
Gaussian integral is that the growth of the determinant in the result cannot
be removed by a rescaling. (The determinant of the operator in ν spacetime
dimensions grows as 2nν.) In physics it is common to refer to the divergence
due to the determinant as an infrared divergence and the divergence due to
the limit of the discretization a going to zero as an ultraviolet divergence.
Due to the behavior of Gaussian integrals, in one spacetime dimension (ν=1)
it becomes possible to deﬁne a functional integral of the form

Dxe
−S[x]
.
In the applications of functional integration to quantum mechanics the action
S[x] is pure imaginary and the exponential is an oscillating function. This leads
to further difﬁculties relating to conditional convergence. In spacetime dimen-
sions greater than one (ν ≥ 2), it is not known how to deﬁne a functional inte-
gral without resorting to regularization procedures that do away with many of
the properties of integration.
Approaches to path integrals
Functional integrals where the space of integration are paths (ν = 1) can be
deﬁned in many different ways. The deﬁnitions fall in two different classes: the
constructions derived fromWiener’s theory yield a integral based on a measure;
whereas the constructions following Feynman’s path integral do not. Even
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Functional integration
within these two broad divisions, the integrals are not identical, that is, they
are deﬁned for different classes of functions.
The Wiener integral
In the Wiener integral a probability is assigned to a class of Brownian motion
paths. The class consists of the paths w that are known to go through a small
region of space at a given time. The passage through different regions of space
is assumed independent of each other and the distance between any two points
of the Brownian path is assumed to be Gaussian distributed with a variance that
depends on the time t and on a diffusion constant D:
Prob(w(s +t), t[w(s), s) =
1

2πDt
exp

[[w(s+t)−w(s)[[
2
2Dt

The probability for the class of paths can be found by multiplying the probabil-
ities of starting in one region and then being at the next. The Wiener measure
can be developed by considering the limit of many small regions.
• Ito and Stratanovich calculus
The Feynman integral
• Trotter formula
• The Kac idea of Wick rotations.
• Using x-dot-dot-squared or i S[x] + x-dot-squared.
• The Cartier DeWitt-Morette relies on integrators rather than measures
• Feynman path integral
• Partition function
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_integration
Principal Authors: Michael Hardy, Miguel, XaosBits, Phys, The Anome
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Geiger-Marsden experiment
Geiger-Marsden experiment
The Geiger-Marsden experiment (also called the Gold foil experiment or the
Rutherford experiment) was an experiment done by Hans Geiger and Ernest
Marsden in 1909, under the direction of Ernest Rutherford at the Physical Lab-
oratories of the University of Manchester which led to the downfall of the plum
pudding model of the atom.
They measured the deﬂection of alpha particles directed normally onto a sheet
of very thin gold foil. Under the prevailing plum pudding model, the alpha
particles should all have been deﬂected by, at most, a few degrees. However
they observed that a very small percentage of particles were deﬂected through
angles much larger than 90 degrees. From this observation Rutherford con-
cluded that the atom contained a very small positive charge which could repel
the alpha particles if they came close enough, subsequently developed into the
→Bohr model.
Methodology
Geiger and Marsden bombarded a number of different metal foils with alpha
particles generated from a tube of radium bromide gas. A low power micro-
scope was used to count the scattering of these particles, a procedure requiring
many hours in a darkened room watching for tiny ﬂashes of light as the scat-
tered particles struck a zinc sulﬁde scintillant screen.
A variety of different foils were used such as aluminium, iron, gold and lead
along with different thicknesses of gold foil made by packing several pieces of
very thin foil together. Given the very high mass and momentum of an alpha
particle, the expectation was that the particles would pass through having been
deﬂected by a tiny angle at most, with the number of particles penetrating
falling off as the thickness of foil (and the atomic weight of its material) was
increased; the remainder being absorbed.
However they were astonished to ﬁnd that although this was generally true,
around 1 in 8000 particles were reﬂected through more than 90 degrees even
with a single sheet of extremely thin, 6x10
-8
metre (or about 200 atoms) thick,
gold foil, an observation completely at odds with the predictions of the plum
pudding model.
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Geiger-Marsden experiment
Conclusions
The result was completely unpredicted, prompting Rutherford to later com-
ment "It was almost as incredible as if you ﬁred a ﬁfteen-inch shell at a piece
of tissue paper and it came back and hit you".
Early in 1911 Rutherford published a revised model of the atom, known as the
Rutherford atom. The observations indicated that a model of the atom with a
diffuse positive charge was incorrect and that it was instead concentrated. He
concluded that the atom is mostly empty space, with most of the atom’s mass
concentrated in a tiny center, the nucleus, and electrons being held in orbit
around it by electrostatic attraction. The nucleus was around 10
-15
meters in
diameter, in the centre of a 10
-10
metre diameter atom. Those alpha particles
that had come into proximity with the nucleus had been strongly deﬂected
whereas the majority had passed at a relatively great distance to it.
Rutherford’s model was developed by Niels Bohr into the →Bohr model pro-
posed in 1913. The Rutherford atom had a number of problems, in particular
electrons should radiate electromagnetic energy and rapidly spiral into the nu-
cleus.
• List of famous experiments
References
• Geiger H. & Marsden E. (1909). "On a Diffuse Reﬂection of the α-
Particles"
88
. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series A 82: 495–500.
• Rutherford E. (1911). "The Scattering of α and β Particles by Matter and the
Structure of the Atom"
89
. Philosophical Magazine, Series 6 21: 669–688.
• JPEG images of Rutherford’s 1911 paper
90
• Description of the experiment, from the New Mexico Institute of Mining
and Technology
91
• Short biography of Ernest Rutherford
92
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geiger-Marsden_experiment
http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/GM-1909.html
88
http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Rutherford-1911/Rutherford-1911.html
89
http://www.math.ubc.ca/~cass/rutherford/rutherford.html
90
http://www.physics.nmt.edu/~raymond/classes/ph13xbook/node193.html
91
http://www.phy.hr/~dpaar/fizicari/xrutherf.html
92
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Principal Authors: Jll, Fastﬁssion, Sjakkalle, Raul654, Malcolm Farmer
In statistical mechanics, a simple derivation of the entropy of an ideal gas,
based on the Boltzmann distribution yields an expression for the entropy which
is not an extensive variable as it must be, leading to an apparent paradox
known as the Gibbs paradox. The difﬁculty is resolved by requiring the par-
ticles be indistinguishable which results in "correct Boltzmann counting". The
resulting equation for the entropy of a classical ideal gas is extensive, and is
known as the Sackur-Tetrode equation.
If you have a ﬁxed volume of an ideal gas, the measurement of the total en-
tropy within the volume should not change if you were to divide the volume
into two (or more) equal partitions, then remove the partitions. However, if
you calculate the total entropy by measuring (and adding up) the position and
momentum of each individual particle inside the volume (and keep track of
each particle separately), then the entropy you calculate will change depend-
ing on whether you add and remove partitions inside the ﬁxed volume. This
discrepancy is called the Gibb’s Paradox. The paradox is resolved by concluding
that every particle is indistinguishable from every other particle in the volume,
thus you cannot measure entropy by measuring particles as if each were indi-
vidually identiﬁable.
If we have an ideal gas of energy U, volume V and with N particles, then we
can represent the state of the gas by specifying the 3D momentum vector and
the 3D position vector for each of the N particles. This can be thought of as
specifying the coordinates of a point in a 6N-dimensional phase space, where
each of the axes corresponds to one of the momentum or position coordinates
of one of the particles. The set of all possible points that the gas could ever
occupy in phase space is speciﬁed by the constraint that the gas will have a
particular energy:
U =
1
2m
¸
N
i=1
¸
3
j=1
p
2
ij
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and be contained inside of the volume V (let’s say V is a box of side X so that
X
3
=V):
0 ≤ x
ij
≤ X
where [p
i1
, p
i2
, p
i3
] and [x
i1
, x
i2
, x
i3
] are the vector momentum and position
of particle i. The ﬁrst constraint deﬁnes the surface of a 3N-dimensional hy-
1/2
and the second is a 3N-dimensional hypercube
of volume V
N
. These combine to form a 6N-dimensional "hypercylinder". Just
as the area of the wall of a cylinder is the circumference of the base times the
height, so the area φ of the wall of this hypercylinder is:
φ(U, V, N) = V
N

3N
2
(2mU)
3N−1
2
Γ(3N/2)

(1)
The entropy is proportional to the logarithm of the number of states that
the gas could have while satisfying these constraints. Another way of stating
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is to say that we cannot specify a volume in
phase space smaller than h
3N
where h is Planck’s constant. The above "area"
must really be a shell of thickness h, so we therefore write the entropy as:
S = k log(φh/h
3N
)
where k is the constant of proportionality, Boltzmann’s constant. Using Stir-
ling’s approximation for the Gamma function, and keeping only terms of order
N the entropy becomes:
S(=?) kN log
¸
V

U
N
3
2

+
3
2
kN

5
3
+ log
4πm
3h
2

This quantity is not extensive as can be seen by considering two identical vol-
umes with the same particle number and the same energy. Suppose the two
volumes are separated by a barrier in the beginning. Removing or reinserting
the wall is reversible, but the entropy difference after removing the barrier is
δS = k [2N log(2V ) −N log V −N log V ] = 2kN log 2 > 0
which is in contradiction to thermodynamics. This is the Gibbs paradox. It was
resolved by J.W. Gibbs himself, by postulating that the gas particles are in fact
indistinguishable. This means that all states that differ only by a permutation
of particles should be considered as the same point. For example, if we have
a 2-particle gas and we specify AB as a state of the gas where the ﬁrst particle
(A) has momentum p
1
and the second particle (B) has momentum p
2
, then
this point as well as the BA point where the B particle has momentum p
1
and
the A particle has momentum p
2
should be counted as the same point. It can
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Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger state
be seen that for an N-particle gas, there are N! points which are identical in
this sense, and so to calculate the volume of phase space occupied by the gas
we must divide Equation 1 by N!. This will give for the entropy:
S = kN log
¸

V
N

U
N
3
2

+
3
2
kN

5
3
+ log
4πm
3h
2

which can be easily shown to be extensive. This is the Sackur-Tetrode equation.
Principal Authors: PAR, Marco Krohn, Charles Matthews, Kjkolb, Linas
Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger state
In physics, in the area of quantum information theory, a Greenberger-Horne-
Zeilinger state is a certain type of entangled quantum state.
Deﬁnition
The GHZ state is an entangled quantum state in an M dimensions:
[GHZ` =
[0`
⊗M
+[1`
⊗M

2
.
Most notably the 3-qubit GHZ state is: [GHZ` =
[000`+[111`

2
.
Properties
Apparently there is no standard measure of multi-partite entanglement, but
many measures deﬁne the GHZ to be maximally entangled.
Another important property of the GHZ state is that when we trace over one of
the three systems
Tr
3
(([000` +[111`)('000[ +'111[)) = [00`'00[ +[11`'11[
which is a mixed state.
On the other hand, if we were to measure any of subsystems we will leave
behind either [00` or [11` which are not entangled. Thus, we say that the
GHZ is maximally entangled. This is unlike the W state which leaves bipartite
entanglements even when we measure one of its subsystems.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger_state
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Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics)
Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics)
The quantum Hamiltonian is the physical state of a system, which may be
characterized as a ray in an abstract →Hilbert space (or, in the case of ensem-
bles, as a trace class operator with trace 1). (See →Mathematical formulation
of quantum mechanics)
Physically observable quantities are described by self-adjoint operators acting
on the Hilbert space. For example, the Hilbert space associated with the spin
degrees of freedom of a spin-1/2 particle is C
2
, while the Hilbert space associat-
ed to a spinless particle moving on a line is L
2
(R), the space of complex-valued
and square-integrable (with respect to the Lebesgue measure) functions on the
real line.
The quantum Hamiltonian H is the observable corresponding to the total en-
ergy of the system. If the state space is ﬁnite dimensional, then it is of course
bounded. In the inﬁnite dimensional case, it is almost always unbounded,
therefore not deﬁned everywhere.
In introductory physics literature, the following is considered either as a deﬁ-
nition or an axiom:
The eigenkets (eigenvectors) of H, denoted [a`
(using Dirac Bra-ket notation), provide an orthonormal basis for
the Hilbert space. The spectrum of allowed energy levels of the system
is given by the set of eigenvalues, denoted ¦E
a
¦, solving the equation:
H[a` = E
a
[a`.
Since H is a Hermitian operator, the energy is always a real number.
From a mathematically rigorous point of view, care must be taken with the
above axiom. Operators on inﬁnite-dimensional Hilbert spaces need not have
eigenvalues (notice in the inﬁnite-dimensional case, the set of eigenvalues
need not coincide with the spectrum, which can always safely assumed to
be nonempty). However, all routine quantum mechanical calculations can be
done using the physical formulation.
As with all observables, the spectrum of the Hamiltonian are the possible out-
comes when one measures the total energy of a system. Like any other self
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Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics)
adjoint operator, the spectrum of the Hamiltonian can be decomposed, via its
spectral measures, into discrete, absolutely continuous, and singular parts. The
discrete spectrum can be associated to eigenvectors, which in turn usually are
the bound states of the system. The absolutely continuous spectrum corre-
spond to the free states. The singular spectrum, interesting enough, are phys-
ically impossible outcomes. For example, consider the ﬁnite potential well,
which admits bound states with discrete negative energies and free states with
continuous positive energies.
The Hamiltonian generates the time evolution of quantum states. If [ψ(t)` is
the state of the system at time t, then
H[ψ(t)` = i

∂t
[ψ(t)`.
where is h-bar. This equation is known as the →Schrödinger equation. (It
takes the same form as the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, which is one of the rea-
sons H is also called the Hamiltonian.) Given the state at some initial time (t =
0), we can integrate it to obtain the state at any subsequent time. In particular,
if H is independent of time, then
[ψ(t)` = exp

iHt

[ψ(0)`.
In physical literature, the exponential operator on the right hand side is deﬁned
by the power series. One might note that taking polynomials of unbounded
and not everywhere deﬁned operators makes no mathematical sense, much
less power series. Rigorously, to take functions of unbounded operators, one
requires a functional calculus. In the case of the exponential function, the con-
tinuous, or just the holomorphic functional calculus sufﬁces. We note again,
however, that for common calculations the physicist’s formulation is quite pro-
ﬁcient.
By the *-homomorphism property of the Borel functional calculus, the operator
U = exp

iHt

is an unitary operator, and is a common form of the time evolution operator
(also called the propagator). If the Hamiltonian is time-independent, ¦U(t)¦
form a one parameter unitary group (more than a semigroup); this gives rise
to the physical principle of detailed balance.
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Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics)
Energy eigenket degeneracy, symmetry, and conser-
vation laws
In many systems, two or more energy eigenstates have the same energy. A
simple example of this is a free particle, whose energy eigenstates have wave-
functions that are propagating plane waves. The energy of each of these plane
waves is inversely proportional to the square of its wavelength. A wave prop-
agating in the x direction is a different state from one propagating in the y
direction, but if they have the same wavelength, then their energies will be the
same. When this happens, the states are said to be degenerate.
It turns out that degeneracy occurs whenever a nontrivial unitary operator U
commutes with the Hamiltonian. To see this, suppose that [a> is an energy
eigenket. Then U[a> is an energy eigenket with the same eigenvalue, since
UH[a` = UE
a
[a` = E
a
(U[a`) = H (U[a`).
Since U is nontrivial, at least one pair of [a` and U[a` must represent distinct
states. Therefore, H has at least one pair of degenerate energy eigenkets. In
the case of the free particle, the unitary operator which produces the symmetry
is the rotation operator, which rotates the wavefunctions by some angle while
otherwise preserving their shape.
The existence of a symmetry operator implies the existence of a conserved
observable. Let G be the Hermitian generator of U:
U = I −iG+O(
2
)
It is straightforward to show that if U commutes with H, then so does G:
[H, G] = 0
Therefore,

∂t
'ψ(t)[G[ψ(t)` =
1
i
'ψ(t)[[G, H][ψ(t)` = 0
In obtaining this result, we have used the Schrödinger equation, as well as its
dual,
'ψ(t)[H = −i

∂t
'ψ(t)[.
Thus, the expected value of the observable G is conserved for any state of the
system. In the case of the free particle, the conserved quantity is the angular
momentum.
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Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics)
Hamilton’s equations
Hamilton’s equations in classical Hamiltonian mechanics have a direct analogy
in quantum mechanics. Suppose we have a set of basis states ¦[n`¦, which need
not necessarily be eigenstates of the energy. For simplicity, we assume that they
are discrete, and that they are orthonormal, i.e.,
'n
/
[n` = δ
nn
/
Note that these basis states are assumed to be independent of time. We will
assume that the Hamiltonian is also independent of time.
The instantaneous state of the system at time t, [ψ (t)`, can be expanded in
terms of these basis states:
[ψ(t)` =
¸
n
a
n
(t)[n`
where
a
n
(t) = 'n[ψ(t)`
The coefﬁcients a
n
(t) are complex variables. We can treat them as coordinates
which specify the state of the system, like the position and momentum coor-
dinates which specify a classical system. Like classical coordinates, they are
generally not constant in time, and their time dependence gives rise to the
time dependence of the system as a whole.
The expectation value of the Hamiltonian of this state, which is also the mean
energy, is
'H(t)` ≡ 'ψ(t)[H[ψ(t)` =
¸
nn
/ a

n
/
a
n
'n
/
[H[n`
where the last step was obtained by expanding [ψ (t)` in terms of the basis
states.
Each of the a
n
(t)s actually corresponds to two independent degrees of
freedom, since the variable has a real part and an imaginary part. We
now perform the following trick: instead of using the real and imaginary
parts as the independent variables, we use a
n
(t) and its complex conju-
gate a
n
*(t). With this choice of independent variables, we can calculate
the partial derivative
∂'H`
∂a

n
/
=
¸
n
a
n
'n
/
[H[n` = 'n
/
[H[ψ`
By applying Schrödinger’s equation and using the orthonormality of the basis
states, this further reduces to
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Heisenberg picture
∂'H`
∂a

n
/
= i
∂a
n
/
∂t
Similarly, one can show that
∂'H`
∂a
n
= −i
∂a

n
∂t
If we deﬁne "conjugate momentum" variables π
n
by
π
n
(t) = ia

n
(t)
then the above equations become
∂'H`
∂π
n
=
∂a
n
∂t
,
∂'H`
∂a
n
= −
∂π
n
∂t
which is precisely the form of Hamilton’s equations, with the a
n
s as the gen-
eralized coordinates, the π
n
s as the conjugate momenta, and 'H` taking the
place of the classical Hamiltonian.
• Hamiltonian mechanics
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamiltonian_%28quantum_mechanics%29
Principal Authors: CYD, Lethe, Mct mht, Enormousdude, Oleg Alexandrov, Looxix, SeventyThree
Heisenberg picture
In physics, the Heisenberg picture is that formulation of quantum mechanics
where the operators (observables and others) are time-dependent and the state
vectors are time-independent. It stands in contrast to the →Schrödinger picture
in which operators are constant and the states evolve in time.
The "Heisenberg Picture" is not to be confused with matrix mechanics which
is sometimes called Heisenberg quantum mechanics.
Mathematical details
In quantum mechanics in the Heisenberg picture the state vector, [ψ> does
not change with time, and an observable A satisﬁes
d
dt
A = (i)
−1
[A, H] +

∂A
∂t

classical
.
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Heisenberg picture
In some sense, the Heisenberg picture is more natural and fundamental than
the →Schrödinger picture, especially for relativistic theories. Lorentz invari-
ance is manifest in the Heisenberg picture.
Moreover, the similarity to classical physics is easily seen: by replacing the
commutator above by the Poisson bracket, the Heisenberg equation becomes
an equation in Hamiltonian mechanics.
By the Stone-von Neumann theorem, the Heisenberg picture and the
→Schrödinger picture are unitarily equivalent.
Deriving Heisenberg’s equation
Suppose we have an observable A (which is a Hermitian linear operator). The
expectation value of A for a given state [ψ(t)> is given by:
'A`
t
= 'ψ(t)[A[ψ(t)`
or if we write following the →Schrödinger equation
[ψ(t)` = e
−iHt/
[ψ(0)`
(where H is the Hamiltonian and hbar is Planck’s constant divided by 2π) we
get
'A`
t
= 'ψ(0)[e
iHt/
Ae
−iHt/
[ψ(0)`,
and so we deﬁne
A(t) := e
iHt/
Ae
−iHt/
.
Now,
d
dt
A(t) =
i

He
iHt/
Ae
−iHt/
+

∂A
∂t

classical
+
i

e
iHt/
A (−H)e
−iHt/
(differentiating according to the product rule),
=
i

e
iHt/
(HA−AH) e
−iHt/
+

∂A
∂t

classical
=
i

(HA(t) −A(t)H) +

∂A
∂t

classical
(the last passage is valid since exp(-iHt/hbar) commutes with H)
=
i

[H, A(t)] +

∂A
∂t

classical
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Hilbert space
(where [X, Y] is the commutator of two operators and deﬁned as [X, Y] :=
XY - YX)
So we get
d
dt
A(t) =
i

[H, A(t)] +

∂A
∂t

classical
.
for a Time independent observable A and using Jacobi identity and integration
by parts respect to time we get:
A = C +
t
i
[A, H] +
t
2

2
[A, [A, H]] where C is a constant operator, due to the
relationship between Poisson Bracket and Commutators this relation also
holds for classical mechanics
• →Interaction picture
• →Quantum mechanics
• →Schrödinger equation
• →Bra-ket notation
• →Matrix mechanics
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heisenberg_picture
Principal Authors: Lethe, Pjacobi, -Ril-, Karl-H, MathKnight, MarSch, GangofOne, GregorB, Naar
Hilbert space
In mathematics, a Hilbert space is a generalization of Euclidean space that is
not restricted to ﬁnite dimensions. Thus it is an inner product space, which
means that it has notions of distance and of angle (especially the notion of or-
thogonality or perpendicularity). Moreover, it satisﬁes a more technical com-
pleteness requirement which ensures that limits exist when expected, which
facilitates various deﬁnitions from calculus. Hilbert spaces allow geometric in-
tuition to be applied to certain inﬁnite dimensional functional spaces. They
provide a context with which to formalize and generalize the concepts of the
Fourier series in terms of arbitrary orthogonal polynomials and of the Fourier
transform, which are central concepts from functional analysis. Hilbert spaces
are of crucial importance in the mathematical formulation of quantum me-
chanics.
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Hilbert space
Introduction
Hilbert spaces were named after David Hilbert, who studied them in the con-
text of integral equations. John von Neumann originated the designation "der
abstrakte Hilbertsche Raum" in his famous work on unbounded Hermitian op-
erators published in 1929. Von Neumann was perhaps the mathematician who
most clearly recognized their importance as a result of his seminal work on the
foundations of quantum mechanics begun with Hilbert and Lothar (Wolfgang)
Nordheim and continued with Eugene Wigner. The name "Hilbert space" was
soon adopted by others, for example by Hermann Weyl in his book The The-
ory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics published in 1931 (English language
paperback ISBN 0486602699).
The elements of an abstract Hilbert space are sometimes called "vectors". In
applications, they are typically sequences of complex numbers or functions. In
quantum mechanics for example, a physical system is described by a complex
Hilbert space which contains the "wavefunctions" that stand for the possible
states of the system. See mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics for
details. The Hilbert space of plane waves and bound states commonly used in
quantum mechanics is known more formally as the rigged Hilbert space.
Deﬁnition
Every inner product <,> on a real or complex vector space H gives rise to a
norm [[[[ as follows:
[[x[[ =

'x, x`.
In any normed space, the open balls constitute a compatible topology; any
normed vector space is a topological vector space (and even a uniform struc-
ture) and therefore so is any inner product space.
The Cauchy criterion may be deﬁned for sequences in this space (as it can
in any uniform space): a sequence ¦x
n
¦
n
is a Cauchy sequence if for every
natural number N there is a real number such that for all m, n > N, [[x
n

x
m[[ < . We call H a Hilbert space if it is complete with respect to this norm, that is if every Cauchy sequence converges to an element in the space. Every Hilbert space is thus also a Banach space (a complete normed space), but not vice versa.
All ﬁnite-dimensional inner product spaces (such as Euclidean space with the
ordinary dot product) are Hilbert spaces. However, the inﬁnite-dimensional ex-
amples are much more important in applications. These applications include:
• The theory of unitary group representations
• The theory of square integrable stochastic processes
• The Hilbert space theory of partial differential equations, in particular for-
mulations of the Dirichlet problem
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Hilbert space
• Spectral analysis of functions, including theories of wavelets
• Mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics
The inner product allows one to adopt a "geometrical" view and use geomet-
rical language familiar from ﬁnite dimensional spaces. Of all the inﬁnite-
dimensional topological vector spaces, the Hilbert spaces are the most "well-
behaved" and the closest to the ﬁnite-dimensional spaces.
One goal of Fourier analysis is to write a given function as a (possibly inﬁ-
nite) sum of multiples of given base functions. This problem can be studied
abstractly in Hilbert spaces: every Hilbert space has an orthonormal basis, and
every element of the Hilbert space can be written in a unique way as a sum of
multiples of these base elements.
Examples
In these examples, we will assume the underlying ﬁeld of scalars is C, although
the deﬁnitions apply to the case in which the underlying ﬁeld of scalars is R.
Euclidean spaces
C
n
with the inner product deﬁnition
'x, y` =
¸
n
k=1
x
k
y
k
where the bar over a complex number denotes its complex conjugate.
Sequence spaces
Much more typical are the inﬁnite dimensional Hilbert spaces however. If B is
any set, we deﬁne the sequence space little l
2
over B, denoted by

2
(B) =

x : B →C

b∈B
|x(b)|
2
< ∞

This space becomes a Hilbert space with the inner product
'x, y` =
¸
b∈B
x(b)y(b)
for all x and y in l
2
(B). B does not have to be a countable set in this deﬁnition,
although if B is not countable, the resulting Hilbert space is not separable. In
a sense made more precise below, every Hilbert space is isomorphic to one the
form l
2
(B) for a suitable set B. If B=N, we write simply l
2
.
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Hilbert space
Lebesgue spaces
These are function spaces associated to measure spaces (X, M, µ), where M is
a σ-algebra of subsets of X and µ is a countably additive measure on M. Let
L
2
µ
(X) be the space of complex-valued square-integrable measurable func-
tions on X, modulo equality almost everywhere. Square integrable means the
integral of the square of its absolute value is ﬁnite. Modulo equality almost
everywhere means functions are identiﬁed if and only if they are equal outside
of a set of measure 0.
The inner product of functions f and g is here given by
'f, g` =

X
f(t)g(t) dµ(t)
One needs to show:
• That this integral indeed makes sense;
• The resulting space is complete.
These are technically easy facts, and the interested reader should consult the
Halmos reference below, Section 42. Note that the use of the Lebesgue integral
ensures that the space will be complete. See L
p
space for further discussion of
this example.
Sobolev spaces
Sobolev spaces, denoted by H
s
or W
s,2
, are another example of Hilbert spaces,
and are used very often in the ﬁeld of Partial differential equations.
Operations on Hilbert spaces
Given two (or more) Hilbert spaces, we can combine them into a single Hilbert
space by taking their direct sum or their tensor product.
Bases
An important concept is that of an orthonormal basis of a Hilbert space H:
this is a family ¦e
k
¦
k ∈ B
of H satisfying:
• Elements are normalized: Every element of the family has norm 1: [[e
k
[[ =
1 for all k in B
• Elements are orthogonal: Every two different elements of B are orthogonal:
<e
k
, e
j
> = 0 for all k, j in B with k = j.
• Dense span: The linear span of B is dense in H.
We also use the expressions orthonormal sequence and orthonormal set.
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Hilbert space
Examples of orthonormal bases include:
• the set ¦(1,0,0),(0,1,0),(0,0,1)¦ forms an orthonormal basis of R
3
• the sequence ¦f
n
: n ∈ Z¦ with f
n
(x) = exp(2πinx) forms an orthonormal
basis of the complex space L
2
([0,1])
• the family ¦e
b
: b ∈ B¦ with e
b
(c) = 1 if b=c and 0 otherwise forms an
orthonormal basis of l
2
(B).
Note that in the inﬁnite-dimensional case, an orthonormal basis will not be a
basis in the sense of linear algebra; to distinguish the two, the latter basis is
also called a Hamel basis. That the span of the basis vectors is dense means
that every vector in the space can be written as the limit of an inﬁnite series
and the orthogonality implies that this decomposition is unique.
Using Zorn’s lemma, one can showthat every Hilbert space admits an orthonor-
mal basis; furthermore, any two orthonormal bases of the same space have the
same cardinality. A Hilbert space is separable if and only if it admits a count-
able orthonormal basis.
Since all inﬁnite-dimensional separable Hilbert spaces are isomorphic, and
since almost all Hilbert spaces used in physics are separable, when physicists
talk about the Hilbert space they mean any separable one.
If ¦e
k
¦
k ∈ B
is an orthonormal basis of H, then every element x of H may be
written as
x =
¸
k∈B
'e
k
, x`e
k
Even if B is uncountable, only countably many terms in this sum will be non-
zero, and the expression is therefore well-deﬁned. This sum is also called the
Fourier expansion of x.
If ¦e
k
¦
k ∈ B
is an orthonormal basis of H, then H is isomorphic to l
2
(B) in the
following sense: there exists a bijective linear map Φ : H →l
2
(B) such that
'Φ(x) , Φ(y)` = 'x, y`
for all x and y in H.
Orthogonal complements and projections
If S is a subset of a Hilbert space H, we deﬁne the set of vectors orthogonal to
S
S
perp
= ¦x ∈ H : 'x, s` = 0 ∀s ∈ S¦
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Hilbert space
S
perp
is a closed subspace of H and so forms itself a Hilbert space. If V is a
closed subspace of H, then V
perp
is called the orthogonal complement of V. In
fact, every x in H can then be written uniquely as x = v + w, with v in V
and w in V
perp
. Therefore, H is the internal Hilbert direct sum of V and V
perp
.
The linear operator P
V
: H → H which maps x to v is called the orthogonal
projection onto V.
Theorem. The orthogonal projection P
V
is a self-adjoint linear operator on H
of norm ≤ 1 with the property P
V
2
= P
V
operator E such that E
2
= E is of the form P
V
, where V is the range of E. For
every x in H, P
V
(x) is the unique element v of V which minimizes the distance
[[x - v[[.
This provides the geometrical interpretation of P
V
(x): it is the best approxima-
tion to x by elements of V.
Reﬂexivity
An important property of any Hilbert space is its reﬂexivity. In fact, more is
true: one has a complete and convenient description of its dual space (the
space of all continuous linear functions from the space H into the base ﬁeld),
which is itself a Hilbert space. Indeed, the Riesz representation theorem states
that to every element φ of the dual H there exists one and only one u in H
such that
φ(x) = 'u, x`
for all x in H and the association φ ↔ u provides an antilinear isomorphism
between H and H. This correspondence is exploited by the bra-ket notation
popular in physics but frowned upon by mathematicians.
Bounded operators
For a Hilbert space H, the continuous linear operators A : H →H are of partic-
ular interest. Such a continuous operator is bounded in the sense that it maps
bounded sets to bounded sets. This allows to deﬁne its norm as
A = sup{ Ax : x ≤ 1 } .
The sum and the composition of two continuous linear operators is again con-
tinuous and linear. For y in H, the map that sends x to <y, Ax> is linear and
continuous, and according to the Riesz representation theorem can therefore
be represented in the form
'A

y, x` = 'y, Ax`.
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Hilbert space
This deﬁnes another continuous linear operator A
*
: H →H, the adjoint of A.
The set L(H) of all continuous linear operators on H, together with the addition
and composition operations, the norm and the adjoint operation, forms a C
*
-
algebra; in fact, this is the motivating prototype and most important example
of a C
*
-algebra.
An element A of L(H) is called self-adjoint or Hermitian if A
*
= A. These
operators share many features of the real numbers and are sometimes seen as
generalizations of them.
An element U of L(H) is called unitary if U is invertible and its inverse is given
by U
*
. This can also be expressed by requiring that <Ux, Uy> = <x, y> for
all x and y in H. The unitary operators form a group under composition, which
can be viewed as the automorphism group of H.
Unbounded operators
If a linear operator has a closed graph and is deﬁned on all of a Hilbert space,
then, by the closed graph theorem in Banach space theory, it is necessarily
bounded. However, if we allow ourselves to deﬁne a linear map that is deﬁned
on a proper subspace of the Hilbert space, then we can obtain unbounded
operators.
In quantummechanics, several interesting unbounded operators are deﬁned on
a dense subspace of Hilbert space. It is possible to deﬁne self-adjoint unbound-
ed operators, and these play the role of the observables in the mathematical
formulation of quantum mechanics.
Examples of self-adjoint unbounded operator on the Hilbert space L
2
(R) are:
• A suitable extension of the differential operator
[Af](x) = i
d
dx
f(x),
where i is the imaginary unit and f is a differentiable function of compact
support.
• The multiplication by x operator:
[Bf](x) = xf(x).
These correspond to the momentum and position observables, respectively.
Note that neither A nor B is deﬁned on all of H, since in the case of A the
derivative need not exist, and in the case of B the product function need not
D
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Hilbert space
be square integrable. In both cases, the set of possible arguments form dense
subspaces of L
2
(R).
• Topologies on the set of operators on a Hilbert space
• Operator algebra
• Reproducing kernel Hilbert space
• Rigged Hilbert space
• Mathematical analysis
• Functional analysis
• Harmonic analysis
References
• Jean Dieudonné, Foundations of Modern Analysis, Academic Press, 1960.
• Paul Halmos, Measure Theory, D. van Nostrand Co, 1950.
• David Hilbert, Lothar Nordheim, and John von Neumann, "Über die Grund-
lagen der Quantenmechanik," Mathematische Annalen, volume 98, pages
1-30, 1927.
• John von Neumann, "Allgemeine Eigenwerttheorie Hermitescher Funktion-
aloperatoren," Mathematische Annalen, volume 102, pages 49-131, 1929.
• Hermann Weyl, The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics, Dover
Press, 1950. This book was originally published in German in 1931.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_space
Principal Authors: CSTAR, Jitse Niesen, Michael Hardy, Vilemiasma, Lupin, Lethe, Paul August, Zun-
dark
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Hydrogen atom
Hydrogen atom
An hydrogen atom is an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. It is
composed of a single negatively-charged electron circling a single positively-
charged proton which is the nucleus of the hydrogen atom. The electron is
bound to the proton by the Coulomb force.
The hydrogen atom has special signiﬁcance in quantum mechanics and quan-
tum ﬁeld theory as a simple physical system for which the solution to the
→Schrödinger equation is analytical, from which the positions of energy levels
(thus, the frequencies of the hydrogen spectral lines) can be calculated.
In 1913, Niels Bohr had deduced the spectral frequencies of the hydrogen atom
making several assumptions (see The Bohr Model). The results of Bohr for the
frequencies and underlying energy values are conﬁrmed by the full quantum-
mechanical analysis which uses the Schrödinger equation, as was shown in
1925/26. The solution of the Schrödinger equation goes much further, because
it also yields the shape of the electron’s wave function ("orbital") for the various
possible quantum-mechanical states - thus explaining the anisotropic character
of atomic bonds. The Schrödinger equation also applies to more complicated
atoms and molecules, however, in most cases the solution is not analytical and
either computer calculations are necessary or some simplifying assumptions
Solution of Schrödinger equation: Overview of re-
sults
The solution of the Schrödinger equation for the hydrogen atom uses the fact
that the Coulomb potential produced by the nucleus is isotropic (it only de-
pends on the distance to the nucleus). Although the resulting energy eigen-
functions (the "orbitals") are not necessarily isotropic themselves, their de-
pendence on the angular coordinates follows completely generally from this
isotropy of the underlying potential: The states are not only eigenstates of
the Hamiltonian, but also eigenstates of the angular momentum operator (so
called spherical harmonics). This corresponds to the fact that angular mo-
mentum is conserved in the orbital motion of the electron around the nucleus.
Therefore, the energy eigenstates may be classiﬁed by two angular momen-
tum quantum numbers, l and m (integer numbers). The "angular momentum"
quantum number l = 0, 1, 2, ... determines the magnitude of the angular
momentum. The "magnetic" quantum number m = -l, .., +l determines the
projection of the angular momentum on the (arbitrarily chosen) z-axis.
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Hydrogen atom
In addition, the radial dependence of the wave functions has to be found. It
is only here that the details of the 1/r Coulomb potential enter (leading to
Laguerre polynomials in r). This leads to a third quantumnumber, the principal
quantum number n = 1, 2, 3, ... Note that the angular momentum quantum
number can run only up to n - 1, i.e. l = 0, 1, ..., n - 1.
Due to angular momentum conservation, states of the same l but different m
have the same energy (this holds for all problems with rotational symmetry).
In addition, for the hydrogen atom, the states of the same n are also degenerate
(i.e. they have the same energy); but this is a specialty and it is no longer true
for more complicated atoms which have a (effective) potential differing from
the form 1/r (due to the presence of the inner electrons shielding the nucleus
potential).
Taking into account the spin of the electron adds a last quantum number, the
projection of the electrons spin along the z axis, which can take on two values.
Therefore, any eigenstate of the electron in the hydrogen atom is described
fully by four quantum numbers. According to the usual rules of quantum me-
chanics, the actual state of the electron may be any superposition of these
states. This explains also why the choice of z-axis for the quantization of angu-
lar momentum is immaterial: An orbital of given l and m’ obtained for another
preferred axis z’ can always be represented as a suitable superposition of the
various states of different m (but same l) that have been obtained for z.
Mathematical summary of eigenstates of hydrogen
atom
Main article: hydrogen-like atom
The normalized position wavefunctions, given in spherical coordinates are:
ψ
nlm
(θ, φ, r) =

2
na
0

3
(n−l−1)!
2n[(n+l)!]
e
−ρ/2
ρ
l
L
2l+1
n−l−1
(ρ) Y
l,m
(θ, φ)
where:
• ρ =
2r
na
0
and a
0
• L
2l+1
n−l−1
(ρ) are the Generalized Laguerre polynomials of degree n-l-1.
• Y
l,m
(θ, φ) is a spherical harmonic.
The eigenvalues are:
• For Angular momentum operator:
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Hydrogen atom
L
2
[n, l, m` =
2
l(l + 1)[n, l, m`
L
z
[n, l, m` = m[n, l, m`
• For the Hamiltonian:
H[n, l, m` = E
n
[n, l, m`
where
E
n
= −
mc
2
Z
2
α
2
2n
2
= −
m
2
2

Ze
2

0

2
1
n
2
and α is the ﬁne structure constant
and in hydrogen atom Z=1.
Visualizing the hydrogen electron orbitals
The image to the right shows the ﬁrst few hydrogen atom orbitals (energy
eigenfunctions). These are cross-sections of the probability density that are
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Hydrogen atom
color-coded (black=zero density, white=highest density). The angular mo-
mentum quantum number l is denoted in each column, using the usual spec-
troscopic letter code ("s" means l = 0; "p": l = 1; "d": l = 2). The main
quantum number n (= 1, 2, 3, ...) is marked to the right of each row. For
all pictures the magnetic quantum number m has been set to 0, and the cross-
sectional plane is the xz-plane (z is the vertical axis). The probability density
in three-dimensional space is obtained by rotating the one shown here around
the z-axis.
The "ground state", i.e. the state of lowest energy, in which the electron is
usually found, is the ﬁrst one, the "1s" state (n = 1, l = 0).
An image with more orbitals is also available (up to higher numbers n and l).
Note the number of black lines that occur in each but the ﬁrst orbital. These
are "nodal lines" (which are actually nodal surfaces in three dimensions). Their
total number is always equal to n - 1, which is the sum of the number of radial
nodes (equal to n - l - 1) and the number of angular nodes (equal to l ).
Features going beyond the Schrödinger solution
There are several important effects that are neglected by the Schrödinger equa-
tion and which are responsible for certain small but measurable deviations of
the real spectral lines from the predicted ones:
• Although the maximum effective speed of the electron in hydrogen is only
1/137th of the speed of light there is an increase in the electron’s mass, as
predicted by special relativity. For heavier elements, this is more signiﬁcant
(see
93
).
• The spin of the electron has a magnetic moment attached to it. Even when
there is no external magnetic ﬁeld, within the inertial frame of the moving
electron the electric ﬁeld of the nucleus partly acts like a magnetic ﬁeld.
This effect is also explained by special relativity, and it leads to the so-called
spin-orbit coupling, i.e. an inﬂuence of the electron’s orbital motion around
the nucleus onto its spin.
Both of these features (and more) are incorporated in the relativistic Dirac
equation, whose predictions come still closer to experiment. It can still be
solved exactly for the hydrogen atom. The resulting states now must be clas-
siﬁed by the total angular momentum number j (arising through the coupling
between electron spin and orbital angular momentum). States of the same j
and the same n are still degenerate.
93
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Hydrogen atom
• There are always vacuum ﬂuctuations of the electromagnetic ﬁeld, accord-
ing to quantum mechanics. This means in particular that the electron un-
dergoes a kind of "jitter" motion. As a consequence, the degeneracy be-
tween states of the same j but different l is lifted. This has been demonstrat-
ed in the famous Lamb-Rutherford experiment and was the starting point
for the development of the theory of Quantum electrodynamics (which is
able to deal with these vacuum ﬂuctuations and employs the famous Feyn-
man diagrams for approximations using perturbation theory). This effect is
now called Lamb shift.
For these developments, it was essential that the solution of the Dirac equation
for the hydrogen atom could be worked out exactly, such that any experimen-
tally observed deviation had to be taken seriously as a signal of failure of the
theory.
• Hydrogen
• quantum mechanics
• quantum chemistry
• quantum ﬁeld theory
• quantum state
References
• Grifﬁths, David (1995). Introduction to QuantumMechanics. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-111892-7.
Section 4.2 deals with the hydrogen atom speciﬁcally, but all of Chapter 4 is
relevant.
• Bransden, B.H.; C.J. Joachain (1983). Physics of Atoms and Molecules.
London: Longman. ISBN 0-582-44401-2.
• Physics of hydrogen atom on Scienceworld
94
• Interactive graphical representation of orbitals
95
• Applet which allows viewing of all sorts of hydrogenic orbitals
96
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/HydrogenAtom.html
94
http://webphysics.davidson.edu/faculty/dmb/hydrogen/
95
96
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Hydrogen-like atom
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_atom
Principal Authors: Oo64eva, DÅ‚ugosz, Edsanville, The Anome, Anville, Michael Hardy, John C PI,
WAS 4.250, Jsalazar, Karol Langner
Hydrogen-like atom
Hydrogen-like atoms (or hydrogenic atoms) are atoms with one single elec-
tron. Like the hydrogen atom, hydrogen-like atoms are one of the few quan-
tum mechanical problems which can be exactly solved. Atoms or ions whose
valence shell is made of one single electron (e.g. alkali metals) have similar
chemical bonding or spectroscopic propreties to hydrogen-like atoms.
The simplest atomic orbitals are those that occur in an atom with a single
electron, such as the hydrogen atom. In this case the atomic orbitals are the
eigenstates of the hydrogen Hamiltonian. They can be obtained analytically
(see →Hydrogen atom). An atom of any other element ionized down to a
single electron is very similar to hydrogen, and the orbitals take the same form.
For atoms with two or more electrons, the governing equations can only be
solved with the use of methods of iterative approximation. Orbitals of multi-
electron atoms are qualitatively similar to those of hydrogen, and in the sim-
plest models, they are taken to have the same form. For more rigorous and
precise analysis, numerical approximations must be used. Atomic orbitals
are often expanded in a basis set of Slater-type orbitals which are orbitals of
hydrogen-like atoms with arbitrary nuclear charge Z.
A given (hydrogen-like) atomic orbital is identiﬁed by unique values of three
quantum numbers: n, l, and m
l
. The rules restricting the values of the quantum
numbers, and their energies (see below), explain the electron conﬁguration of
the atoms and the periodic table.
The stationary states (quantum states) of the hydrogen-like atoms are its atom-
ic orbital. However, in general, an electron’s behavior is not fully described by
a single orbital. Electron states are best represented by time-depending "mix-
tures" (linear combinations) of multiple orbitals. See Linear combination of
atomic orbitals molecular orbital method.
The quantum number n ﬁrst appeared in the →Bohr model. It determines,
among other things, the distance of the electron from the nucleus; all electrons
with the same value of n lay at the same distance. Modern quantum mechanics
conﬁrms that these orbitals are closely related. For this reason, orbitals with
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Hydrogen-like atom
the same value of n are said to comprise a "shell". Orbitals with the same value
of n and also the same value of l are even more closely related, and are said to
comprise a "subshell".
Mathematical characterization
Derivation
Atomic orbitals are solutions to the →Schrödinger equation. In this case, the
potential term is the potential given by Coulomb’s law:
V = −
1

0
Ze
2
r
where
• The ﬁrst term is a constant, usually abbreviated by the letter k,
• Z is the atomic number,
• e is the elementary charge,
• r is the magnitude of the distance from the nucleus.
The wavefunction is a function of three spatial variables, so that after removing
the time-dependence, the Schrödinger equation is a partial differential equa-
tion in three variables (see separation of variables). However, since the poten-
tial is spherically symmetric, it is proﬁtable to write the equation in spherical
coordinates. In this form, any individual eigenfunction ψ can be written as a
product of three single-variable functions, often denoted as follows:
ψ(r, θ, φ) = R(r)f(θ)g(φ)
(where θ represents the polar angle (colatitude) and φ the azimuthal angle.) It
can further be reduced to three separate equations, each in one variable.
Two separations are required, resulting in two separation constants. A third
arbitrary constant results from the application of boundary conditions to R.
The equations given below use a form of the separation constants that seems
arbitrary, but it simpliﬁes matters later on.
1
R(r)
d
dr

r
2 dR
dr

+
2µr
2

2
(E −V (r)) = l(l + 1)
1
g(φ)
d
2
g(φ)

2
= −m
2
l(l + 1) sin
2
(θ) +
sin(θ)
f(θ)
d

sin(θ)
df

= m
2
where:
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Hydrogen-like atom
• h is the reduced Planck constant (
h

), and
• µ is the reduced mass of the electron vis-à-vis the nucleus.
Results
In addition to and m, a third arbitrary integer, called n, emerges from the
boundary conditions placed on R. The functions R, f and g that solve the equa-
tions above depend on the values of these integers, called quantum numbers.
As a result, it is customary to subscript the functions with the values of the
quantum numbers they depend on. The forms of the functions are:
ψ = C
nlm
R
nl
(r) f
lm
(θ) g
m
(φ)
R
nl
(r) = e

Zr
na
µ

2Zr
na
µ

l
L
2l+1
n−l−1

2Zr
na
µ

f
lm
(θ) =
(sin θ)
[m[
2
l
l!

d
d(cos θ)

l+[m[
(cos
2
(θ) − 1)
l
(the associated Legendre
functions)
g
m
(φ) = e
imφ
n, l, m are integer numbers, with the restrictions:
n = 1, 2, 3, ...
l = 0, 1, 2, ..., n −1
m = −l, −(l −1), ..., 0, ..., l −1, l
where:
• L
2l+1
n−l−1
are the generalized Laguerre polynomials.
• a
µ
is deﬁned by:
a
µ
=
4πε
0

2
µe
2
Note that a
µ
is approximately equal to a
0
• i is the imaginary number.
• C
nlm
is a normalization constant. Since the wavefunction must be normal-
ized (

R
3
|Ψ|
2
d
3
r = 1
), by calculating this integral we get:
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Hydrogen-like atom
C
nlm
=
¸

2Z
na
µ

3
(n−l−1)!
2n(n+l)!

1/2
The functions f and g are usually consolidated into the function Y (θ, φ) =
f(θ)g(φ). This function is a spherical harmonic.
Thus, the complete expression for the normalized wavefunctions is:
ψ
nlm
(θ, φ, r) =

2Z
na
µ

3
(n−l−1)!
2n[(n+l)!]
e
−Zr/na
µ

2Zr
na
µ

l
L
2l+1
n−l−1

2Zr
na
µ

Y
l,m
(θ, φ)
Angular momentum
Each atomic orbital is associated with an angular momentum L. It is a vector,
and its magnitude is given by:
[L[ =

l(l + 1)
The projection of this vector onto any arbitrary direction is quantized. If the
arbitrary direction is called z, the quantization is given by:
L
z
= m
l

where m
l
is restricted as described above. This value is always less than the
total angular momentum. Thus, if the L-vector is measured in some direction,
it will not lie entirely in that direction; part of it will lie in perpendicular direc-
tions. This allows the uncertainty principle to stand. It mandates that no two
components of L may be known at once. If one component were known to be
equal to the total L, the other two would necessarily be zero.
These two relations do not give the total angular momentum of the electron.
For that, electron spin must be included.
This quantization of angular momentum closely parallels that proposed by
Niels Bohr (see →Bohr model) in 1913, with no knowledge of wavefunctions.
• Positronium
• Exotic atom
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Hyperﬁne structure
References
• Tipler, Paul & Ralph Llewellyn (2003). Modern Physics (4th ed.). New
York: W. H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-4345-0
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen-like_atom
Principal Authors: Pfalstad, John C PI, Eequor, JimR, Achoo5000
Hyperﬁne structure
In atomic physics, hyperﬁne structure is a small perturbation in the energy
levels (or spectra) of atoms or molecules due to the magnetic dipole-dipole
interaction, arising from the interaction of the nuclear magnetic dipole with
the magnetic ﬁeld of the electron.
Theory
According to classical thinking, the electron moving around the nucleus has a
magnetic dipole moment, because it is charged. The interaction of this mag-
netic dipole moment with the magnetic moment of the nucleus (due to its spin)
However, due to the electron’s spin, there is also hyperﬁne splitting for s-shell
electrons, which have zero orbital angular momentum. In this case, the mag-
netic dipole interaction is even stronger, as the electron probability density
does not vanish inside the nucleus (r = 0).
The amount of correction to the Bohr energy levels due to hyperﬁne splitting
of the hydrogen atom is on the order of:
m
m
p
α
4
mc
2
where
m is the mass of an electron
m
p
is the mass of a proton
α is the ﬁne structure constant (1/137.036)
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Hyperﬁne structure
c is the speed of light.
For atoms other than hydrogen, the nuclear spin

I and the total electron angu-
lar momentum

J =

L+

S get coupled, giving rise to the total angular momen-
tum

F =

J +

I. The hyperﬁne splitting is then
∆E
hfs
= − µ
I

B
J
=
a
2
[F(F + 1) −I(I + 1) −J(J + 1)],
where
a =
g
I
µ
N

B
J

J(J+1)
,
with µ
N
the magnetic dipole moment of the nucleus.
This interaction obeys the Lande interval rule: The energy level is split into
(J +I) −[J −I[ + 1 energy levels, where J denotes the total electron angular
momentum and I denotes the nuclear spin.
With ∆E
hfs
≈ , the hyperﬁne splitting is a much smaller perturbation than
the ﬁne structure.
In a more advanced treatment, one also has to take the nuclear magnetic
quadrupole moment into account. This is sometimes (?) referred to as "hy-
perﬁne structure anomaly".
History
The optical hyperﬁne structure was already observed in 1881 by Albert Abra-
ham Michelson. It could, however, only be explained in terms of quantum
mechanics in the 1920s. Wolfgang Pauli proposed the existence of a small
nuclear magnetic moment in 1924.
In 1935, M. Schiiler and T. Schmidt proposed the existence of a nuclear
quadrupole moment in order to explain anomalies in the hyperﬁne structure.
Applications
Astrophysics
As the hyperﬁne splitting is very small, the transition frequencies usually are
not optical, but in the range of radio- or microwave frequencies.
Hyperﬁne structure gives the 21 cm line observed in HI region in interstellar
medium.
Carl Sagan and Frank Drake considered the hyperﬁne transition of hydrogen to
be a sufﬁciently universal phenomenon so as to be used as a base unit of time
and length on the Pioneer plaque and later Voyager Golden Record.
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Hyperﬁne structure
Nuclear technology
The AVLIS and MLIS processes use hyperﬁne splitting caused by differences be-
tween the mass of atomic nucleus for uranium-235 and uranium-238 to selec-
tively photoionize only the uranium-235 atoms and then separate the ionized
particles from the non-ionized ones. Precisely tuned dye lasers are used as the
sources of the necessary exact wavelength radiation.
Use in deﬁning the SI second and meter
The hyperﬁne structure transition can be used to make a microwave notch
ﬁlter with very high stability, repeatability and Q factor, which can thus be
used as a basis for very precise atomic clocks. Typically, the hyperﬁne structure
transition frequency of a particular isotope of caesium or rubidium atoms is
used as a basis for these clocks.
Due to the accuracy of hyperﬁne structure transition-based atomic clocks, they
are now used as the basis for the deﬁnition of the second. One second is now
deﬁned to be exactly 9,192,631,770 cycles of the hyperﬁne structure transition
frequency of caesium-133 atoms.
Since 1983, the meter is deﬁned by declaring the speed of light in a vacuum to
be exactly 299,792,458 metres per second. Thus:
The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time
interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second.
Qubit in ion-trap quantum computing
The hyperﬁne states of a trapped ion are commonly used for storing qubits in
ion-trap quantum computing. They have the advantage of having a very long
lifetimes, experimentally exceeding 10 min (compared to 1 s for metastable
electronic levels).
The frequency associated with the states’ energy separation is in the microwave
region, making it possible to drive hyperﬁne transitions using microwave radia-
tion. However, at present no emitter is available that can be focused to address
a particular ion from a sequence. Instead, a pair of laser pulses can be used
to drive the transition, by having their frequency difference (detuning) equal
to the required transition’s frequency. This is essentially a stimulated Raman
transition.
• Energy levels
• Quantum numbers
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Imaginary time
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperfine_structure
Principal Authors: The Anome, LAk loho, ArnoldReinhold, Icairns, Linas
Imaginary time
Imaginary time is a concept derived from quantum mechanics. It is used
to describe models of the universe in physical cosmology. Stephen Hawking
popularized the concept of imaginary time in his book A Brief History of Time.
Imaginary time is difﬁcult to visualize. If we imagine "regular time" as a hor-
izontal line with "past" on one side and "future" on the other, then imaginary
time would run perpendicular to this line as the imaginary numbers run per-
pendicular to the real numbers in the complex plane. However, imaginary time
is not imaginary in the sense that it is unreal or made-up—it simply runs in a
direction different from the type of time we experience. In essence, imaginary
time is a way of looking at the time dimension as if it were a dimension of
space: you can move forward and backward along imaginary time, just like
you can move right and left in space.
The concept is useful in cosmology because it can help smooth out gravitational
singularities in models of the universe (see Hartle-Hawking state. Singularities
pose a problem for physicists because they are areas where known physical
laws do not apply. The Big Bang, for example, appears as a singularity in "reg-
ular time." But when visualized with imaginary time, the singularity is removed
and the Big Bang functions like any other point in spacetime.
The No-Boundary Universe and imaginary time
To further illustrate this concept, imagine spacetime as the surface of the Earth,
with all three space dimensions combined into the "east-west" axis, and the
imaginary time dimension running along the "north-south" axis. In this model,
spacetime is both ﬁnite and boundless—like the surface of the Earth, it has a
ﬁnite area, but lacks any edge or boundary.
The "North Pole" in this model would be analogous to the Big Bang. It is the
"northernmost" point on the surface of the earth, just as it is the "earliest" point
of time in the universe. But in the imaginary time/space cosmology, the Big
Bang/north pole is not a singularity; it is a point of spacetime just like any
other. If you travel "north" or "before" the Big Bang, physics would not break
down, you would simply encounter more of the universe.
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
It must be noted that this globe visualization of the No-Boundary Universe is
not without faults. The visualization suggests that space will expand until it
reaches an "equator" and then contract, due to gravity, until it becomes the
South Pole, or the Big Crunch. However, current models of the universe sug-
gest that space will continue to expand faster and faster. Imaginary time, as a
quantum mechanics concept, is perhaps more accurately integrated with cos-
mology via the wavefunction model of the universe.
• Wick rotation
• Euclidean quantum gravity
• The Beginning of Time
97
— Lecture by Stephen Hawking which discusses
imaginary time.
• Stephen Hawking’s Universe: Strange Stuff Explained
98
— PBS site on
imaginary time
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imaginary_time
Implicate and Explicate Order according to
David Bohm
The physicist David Bohm proposed a conception of order which is radically
different from most conceptions of order, and in doing so made a distinction
between the Implicate and Explicate Order, which he characterised as fol-
lows:
In the enfolded [or Implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dom-
inant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence
of different elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection
of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time,
along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as
forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear
http://www.hawking.org.uk/text/public/bot.html
97
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/hawking/strange/html/imaginary.html
98
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
in what is called the "explicate" or "unfolded" order, which is a special and
distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the Implicate
Orders (Bohm, 1980, p. xv).
David Bohm’s challenges to some generally prevail-
ing views
In proposing this new notion of order, Bohm explicitly challenged a number of
tenets that are fundamental to much scientiﬁc work. The tenets challenged by
Bohm include:
• That phenomena are reducible to fundamental particles and laws describing
the behaviour of particles, or more generally to any static (i.e. unchanging)
entities, whether separate events in space-time, quantum states, or static
entities of some other nature.
• Related to (1), that human knowledge is most fundamentally concerned
with mathematical prediction of statistical aggregates of particles.
• That an analysis or description of any aspect of reality (e.g. quantumtheory,
the speed of light) can be unlimited in its domain of relevance.
• That the Cartesian coordinate system, or its extension to a curvilinear sys-
tem, is the deepest conception of underlying order as a basis for analysis
and description of the world.
• That there is ultimately a sustainable distinction between reality and
thought, and that there is a corresponding distinction between the observer
and observed in an experiment or any other situation (other than a dis-
tinction between relatively separate entities valid in the sense of Explicate
Order).
• That it is, in principle, possible to formulate a ﬁnal notion concerning the
nature of reality; e.g. a Theory of Everything.
Bohm’s proposals have at times been ’dismissed’ largely on the basis of such
tenets, without due consideration necessarily given to the fact that they had
been challenged by Bohm.
Bohm’s paradigm is inherently antithetical to reductionism, in most forms, and
accordingly can be regarded as a form of ontological holism. On this, Bohm
noted of prevailing views among physicists: "the world is assumed to be consti-
tuted of a set of separately existent, indivisible and unchangeable ’elementary
particles’, which are the fundamental ’building blocks’ of the entire universe
there seems to be an unshakable faith among physicists that either such parti-
cles, or some other kind yet to be discovered, will eventually make possible a
complete and coherent explanation of everything" (Bohm, 1980, p. 173).
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
Figure 16 A Helium Atom and its constituent particles: an exam-
ple of a small collection of the posited building blocks of the uni-
verse
In Bohm’s conception of order, then, primacy is given to the undivided whole,
and the Implicate Order inherent within the whole, rather than to parts of the
whole, such as particles, quantum states, and continua. For Bohm, the whole
encompasses all things, structures, abstractions and processes, including pro-
cesses that result in (relatively) stable structures as well as those that involve
metamorphosis of structures or things. In this view, parts may be entities nor-
mally regarded as physical, such as atoms or sub-atomic particles, but they
may also be abstract entities, such as quantum states. Whatever their nature
and character, according to Bohm, these parts are considered in terms of the
whole, and in such terms, they constitute relatively autonomous and indepen-
dent "sub-totalities". The implication of the view is, therefore, that nothing is
entirely separate or autonomous.
Bohm (1980, p. 11) said: "The new form of insight can perhaps best be called
Undivided Wholeness in Flowing Movement. This view implies that ﬂow is, in
some sense, prior to that of the ‘things’ that can be seen to form and dissolve
in this ﬂow". According to Bohm, a vivid image of this sense of analysis of
the whole is afforded by vortex structures in a ﬂowing stream. Such vortices
can be relatively stable patterns within a continuous ﬂow, but such an analysis
does not imply that the ﬂow patterns have any sharp division, or that they
are literally separate and independently existent entities; rather, they are most
fundamentally undivided. Thus, according to Bohm’s view, the whole is in
continuous ﬂux, and hence is referred to as the holomovement (movement of
the whole).
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
Figure 17 A vortex in a stream- a relatively stable pat-
tern which occurs within a continuous ﬂow of liquid
Quantum theory and relativity theory
A key motivation for Bohm in proposing a new notion of order was what he
saw as the incompatibility of quantum theory with relativity theory, in terms of
certain features of the theoris as observed in relevant experimental contexts.
Bohm (1980, p. xv) summarised the state of affairs he perceived to exist in the
following terms:
in relativity, movement is continuous, causally determinate and well
deﬁned, while in quantum mechanics it is discontinuous, not causally
determinate and not well-deﬁned. Each theory is committed to its own
notions of essentially static and fragmentary modes of existence (relativity
to that of separate events connectible by signals, and quantum mechanics
to a well-deﬁned quantum state). One thus sees that a new kind of theory
is needed which drops these basic commitments and at most recovers some
essential features of the older theories as abstract forms derived from a
deeper reality in which what prevails is unbroken wholeness.
Bohm maintained that relativity and quantum theory are in basic contradic-
tion in these essential respects, and that a new notion of order should begin
with that which both point toward: undivided wholeness. This should not be
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
taken, however, to imply that he considered such powerful theories should be
discarded. Nevertheless, he argued that each was relevant in a certain con-
text - i.e. a set of interrelated conditions within the Explicate Order - rather
than having unlimited relevance, and that apparent contradictions stem from
attempts to overgeneralize by superposing the theories on one another, imply-
ing greater generality or broader relevance than is ultimately warranted. Thus,
Bohm (1980, pp. 156-167) argued: "... in sufﬁciently broad contexts such
analytic descriptions cease to be adequate ... ’the law of the whole’ will gen-
erally include the possibility of describing the ’loosening’ of aspects from each
other, so that they will be relatively autonomous in limited contexts ... how-
ever, any form of relative autonomy (and heteronomy) is ultimately limited by
holonomy, so that in a broad enough context such forms are seen to be mere-
ly aspects, relevated in the holomovement, rather than disjoint and separately
existent things in interaction".
Hidden variable quantum theory
Bohm proposed a hidden variable theory of quantum physics (see Bohm inter-
pretation). According to Bohm, a key motivation for doing so was purely to
show the possibility of such theories. On this, Bohm (1980, p. 81) said "... it
should be kept in mind that before this proposal was made there had existed
the widespread impression that no conceptions of hidden variables at all, not
even if they were abstract, and hypothetical, could possibly be consistent with
the quantum theory". Bohm (1980, p. 110) also claimed that "the demon-
stration of the possibility of theories of hidden variables may serve in a more
general philosophical sense to remind us of the unreliability of conclusions
based on the assumption of the complete universality of certain features of a
given theory, however general their domain of validity seems to be". Another
aspect of Bohm’s motivation was to point out a confusion he perceived to exist
in quantum theory. On the dominant approaches in quantum theory, he said:
"...we wish merely to point out that this whole line of approach re-establishes
at the abstract level of statistical potentialities the same kind of analysis into
separate and autonomous components in interaction that is denied at the more
concrete level of individual objects".
Quantum entanglement
Central to Bohm’s schema are correlations between observables of entities
which seem separated by great distances in the Explicate Order (such as a
particular electron here on earth and an alpha particle in one of the stars in the
Abell 1835 galaxy, the farthest galaxy from Earth known to humans), manifes-
tations of the Implicate Order. Within quantum theory there is entanglement
of such objects.
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
This view of order necessarily departs from any notion which entails signalling,
and therefore causality. The correlation of observables does not imply a causal
inﬂuence, and in Bohm’s schema the latter represents ’relatively’ independent
events in space-time; and therefore Explicate Order.
He also used the term unfoldment to characterise processes in which the Ex-
plicate Order becomes relevant (or "relevated"). Bohm likens unfoldment also
to the decoding of a television signal to produce a sensible image on a screen.
The signal, screen, and television electronics in this analogy represent the Im-
plicate Order whilst the image produced represents the Explicate Order. He
also uses an interesting example in which an ink droplet can be introduced
into a highly viscous substance (such as glycerine), and the substance rotat-
ed very slowly such that there is negligible diffusion of the substance. In this
example, the droplet becomes a thread which, in turn, eventually becomes in-
visible. However, by rotating the substance in the reverse direction, the droplet
can essentially reform. When it is invisible, according to Bohm, the order of
the ink droplet as a pattern can be said to be implicate within the substance.
In another analogy, Bohm asks us to consider a pattern produced by making
small cuts in a folded piece of paper and then, literally, unfolding it. Widely
separated elements of the pattern are, in actuality, produced by the same origi-
nal cut in the folded piece of paper. Here the cuts in the folded paper represent
the Implicate Order and the unfolded pattern represents the Explicate Order.
The hologram as analogy for the Implicate Order
Bohm employed the hologram as a means of characterising Implicate Order,
noting that each region of a photographic plate in which a hologram is ob-
servable contains within it the whole three-dimensional image, which can be
viewed from a range of perspectives. That is, each region contains a whole
and undivided image. In Bohm’s words: "There is the germ of a new notion
of order here. This order is not to be understood solely in terms of a regular
arrangement of objects (eg., in rows) or as a regular arrangement of events
(e.g. in a series). Rather, a total order is contained, in some implicit sense, in
each region of space and time. Now, the word ’implicit’ is based on the verb ’to
implicate’. This means ’to fold inward’ ... so we may be led to explore the no-
tion that in some sense each region contains a total structure ’enfolded’ within
it". (Bohm, 1980, p. 149). Bohm noted that although the hologram conveys
undivided wholeness, it is nevertheless static.
In this view of order, laws represent invariant relationships between explicate
entities and structures, and thus Bohm maintained that in physics, the Expli-
cate Order generally reveals itself within well-constructed experimental con-
texts as, for example, in the sensibly observable results of instruments. With
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
Figure 18 In a holographic reconstruction, each region of a photographic plate
contains the whole image
respect to Implicate Order, however, Bohm (1980, p. 147) asked us to consider
the possibility instead "that physical law should refer primarily to an order of
undivided wholeness of the content of description similar to that indicated by
the hologram rather than to an order of analysis of such content into separate
parts ".
A common grounding for consciousness and matter
The Implicate Order represents the proposal of a general metaphysical concept
in terms of which it is claimed that matter and consciousness might both be
understood, in the sense that it is proposed that both matter and conscious-
ness: (i) enfold the structure of the whole within each region, and (ii) involve
continuous processes of enfoldment and unfoldment. For example, in the case
of matter, entities such as atoms may represent continuous enfoldment and un-
foldment which manifests as a relatively stable and autonomous entity that can
be observed to follow a relatively well-deﬁned path in space-time. In the case
of consciousness, Bohm pointed toward evidence presented by Karl Pribram
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
Figure 19 Karl Pribram and colleagues have presented evidence which indicates that memories
do not in general appear to be localized in speciﬁc regions of brains
that memories may be enfolded within every region of the brain rather than
being localized (for example in particular regions of the brain, cells, or atoms).
Bohm (1980, p. 205) went on to say: "As in our discussion of matter in gen-
eral, it is now necessary to go into the question of how in consciousness the
Explicate Order is what is manifest ... the manifest content of consciousness
is based essentially on memory, which is what allows such content to be held
in a fairly constant form. Of course, to make possible such constancy it is also
necessary that this content be organized, not only through relatively ﬁxed as-
sociation but also with the aid of the rules of logic, and of our basic categories
of space, time causality, universality, etc. ... there will be a strong background
of recurrent stable, and separable features, against which the transitory and
changing aspects of the unbroken ﬂow of experience will be seen as ﬂeeting
impressions that tend to be arranged and ordered mainly in terms of the vast
totality of the relatively static and fragmented content of [memories]". Bohm
also claimed that "as with consciousness, each moment has a certain Explicate
Order, and in addition it enfolds all the others, though in its own way. So the
relationship of each moment in the whole to all the others is implied by its total
content: the way in which it ’holds’ all the others enfolded within it". Bohm
characterises consciousness as a process in which at each moment, content that
was previously implicate is presently explicate, and content which was previ-
ously explicate has become implicate. He said: "One may indeed say that our
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
memory is a special case of the process described above, for all that is recorded
is held enfolded within the brain cells and these are part of matter in general.
The recurrence and stability of our own memory as a relatively independent
sub-totality is thus brought about as part of the very same process that sus-
tains the recurrence and stability in the manifest order of matter in general.
It follows, then, that the explicate and manifest order of consciousness is not
ultimately distinct from that of matter in general" (Bohm, 1980, p. 208).
Connections with other works
Many, along with Bohm himself, have seen strong connections between his
ideas and ideas from the East. There are particularly strong connections to
Buddhism, for which Einstein also shared sympathy. Some proponents of al-
ternative religions (such as shamanism) claim a connection with their belief
systems as well.
Bohm may have known that his idea is a striking analogy to "intensional and
extensional aboutness" to which R. A. Fairthorne (1969) insightfully referred
information scientists (although a Google search reveals that few paid atten-
tion to this suggestion). John Searle treated aboutness and network in his
Intentionality (1983), contemporarily with Bohm’s Wholeness (1983)! Sear-
le’s concept of aboutness is in sharp contrast to, and is as odd as Bohm’s idea
of wholeness. As the former is to the content, so the latter is to the context as
the ultimate determiner of meaning. The holistic view of context, hence an-
other striking analogy of wholeness, was ﬁrst put forward in The Meaning of
Meaning by C. K. Ogden & I. A. Richards (1923), including the literary, psycho-
logical, and external. These are respectively analogous to Karl Popper’s world
3, 2, and 1 appearing in his Objective Knowledge (1972 and later ed.). Bohm’s
worldview of "undivided wholeness" is contrasted with Popper’s three divided
worlds. The direct causality among these and other authorships may be ac-
tually evident in the Implicate Order, though apparently not in the Explicate
Order in spite of a great deal of reasonable doubt in terms of locality, ethnicity,
ideology, academic tendency, and so on. Bohm and Popper favored Einstein
above all.
Suppose that someone intends to convey a deﬁnite thought or story with the
following word string:
woman, street, crowd, trafﬁc, noise, haste, thief, bag, loss, scream, police,
.....
which looks almost non-sensical as a whole. Then, what will happen to us lis-
teners? We have a dictionary, but we cannot simply sum up the meanings of
individual words. That "a whole is more than the sum of the parts" is too plain
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
a saying. There seems to be no grammar to which the speaker might have con-
formed. He merely suggests rather than tells the story, which in other words is
implied or implicit in the word string. From this awkward symbology we can
guess the story with varying accuracies, if we are ready to take risks. In this
case, the meaning of such symbology may be said to be connotative, implicit,
implicate or intensional, in contrast to denotative, explicit, explicate or exten-
sional. Consult a dictionary for these words. Note that the more context that
unfolds, the less uncertainty remains folded. Most importantly, note that inter-
pretation or making sense of Explicate in Implicate Order, that is, aboutness in
wholeness or in context is an outstanding analogy as well as the very principle
of subject indexing as a prerequisite of information retrieval that has now be-
come an everyday concern. This principle’s actual implication for and impact
on a number of other disciplines should be unfolded if any. Why not unfold
who on earth played an inspiring or leading role in shaping contextualism in
the spotlight?
Figure 20 Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts of life exist
because of the whole, but also in order to sustain it
Bohm’s views also connect with those of Immanuel Kant in some key respects.
For example, Kant held that the parts of an organism, such as cells, simultane-
ously exist in order to sustain the whole, and depend upon the whole for their
own existence and functioning. Also, as noted by Bohm, Kant proposed that
the process of thought plays an active role in organizing knowledge, which
implies theoretical insights are instrumental to the process of acquiring factual
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
knowledge. This perspective is also congruent with an analysis of the function
of measurement in physical science by Thomas Kuhn in 1961.
Figure 21 For Bohm, life is a continuous ﬂowing process of enfoldment and unfoldment involving
relatively autonomous entities. DNA ’directs’ the environment to form a living thing. Life can be
said to be implicate in ensembles of atoms that ultimately form life.
There are also connections to views expressed by Stuart Kauffman, who not-
ed Kant’s perspective on organisms in his book At Home in the Universe in a
section given the evocative title An Unrepentant Holism. Kauffman’s concept
of an autocatalytic set, as it was originally conceived in terms of molecules,
elaborates on Kant’s perspective in terms of modern scientiﬁc concepts. In his
later book Investigations, Kauffman attempts to deﬁne, or at least character-
ize, the notion of an autonomous agent. If viewed as "relatively autonomous",
this concept is potentially congruous with Bohm’s view. Bohm’s views are also
echoed in Kauffman’s (2000, p. 137) statement: "... our incapacity to prestate
the conﬁguration space of the biosphere is not a failure to prestate the conse-
quences of the primitives, it appears to be a failure to prestate the primitives
themselves". Kauffman suggests that such a failure may stem from more gen-
erally applicable foundations applicable also within physics. Consistent with
Bohm, this potentially calls into question whether we should presuppose that
it is possible (even in principle) to formulate a ﬁnal and complete theory of
everything.
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Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
• Brahman
• Buddhism
• Holographic principle
• Immanuel Kant
• Laminar ﬂow
• Mind’s eye
• Noumenon
• Parable of the cave
• Plato
• Samsara
• Taoism
• Unobservables
References
• Bohm, D. (1980). Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London: Routledge.
ISBN 0-710-00971-2
• Kauffman, S. (1995). At Home in the Universe. New York: Oxford Universi-
ty Press. hardcover: ISBN 0-19-509599-5, paperback ISBN 0-19-511130-3
• Kauffman, S. (2000). Investigations. New York: Oxford University Press.
• Kuhn, T.S. (1961). The function of measurement in modern physical sci-
ence. ISIS, 52, 161-193.
• Talbot, M. (1991). The Holographic Universe. Harpercollins
• Interview with David Bohm
99
– An interview with Bohm concerning this
particular subject matter conducted by F. David Peat.
• Excerpt from The Holographic Universe
100
– Parallels some of the experi-
ences of 18th century Swedish mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg, with David
Bohm’s ideas.
http://www.fdavidpeat.com/interviews/bohm.htm
99
http://www.soultravel.nu/2004/040907-swedenborg/index.asp
100
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Incompleteness of quantum physics
101
- An Essay by a young Bohm-
enthusiast concerning the Interconnectedness of Everything using the Bohm
model using a practical analogy.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicate_and_Explicate_Order_according_to_David_Bohm
Principal Authors: Goethean, Holon, Floorsheim, Togo, Ciprianman
Incompleteness of quantum physics
Incompleteness of quantum physics is the assertion that the state of a phys-
ical system, as formulated by quantum mechanics, does not give a complete
description for the system. A complete description is one which uniquely de-
termines the values of all its measurable properties. The existence of inde-
terminacy for some measurements is a characteristic of quantum mechanics;
moreover, bounds for indeterminacy can be expressed in a quantitative form
by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Incompleteness can be understood in two fundamentally different ways:
• QM is incomplete because it is not the "right" theory; the right theory would
provide descriptive categories to account for all observable behavior and
not leave "anything to chance".
• QM is incomplete, but it accurately reﬂects the way nature is.
Incompleteness understood as 1) is now considered highly controversial, since
it contradicts the impossibility of a hidden variables theory which is shown by
Bell test experiments. There are many variants of 2) which is widely considered
to be the more orthodox view of quantum mechanics.
Einstein’s argument for the incompleteness of quan-
tum physics
Albert Einstein may have been the ﬁrst person to carefully point out the radical
effect the new quantum physics would have on our notion of physical state.
For a historical background of Einstein’s thinking in regard to QM, see Jankiw
and Kleppner [2000], although his best known critique was formulated in the
EPR thought experiment. See Bell [1964].
101
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Incompleteness of quantum physics
According to Fuchs [2002], Einstein developed a very good argument for in-
completeness:
The best [argument of Einstein] was in essence this. Take two spatially sep-
arated systems A and B prepared in some entangled quantum state [ψ
AB
>.
By performing the measurement of one or another of two observables on
system A alone, one can immediately write down a new state for system B.
Either the state will be drawn from one set of states
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Incompleteness of quantum physics
’s argument shows that quantum state is not a complete description of a physical system,
according to Fuchs [2002]:
Thus one must take it seriously that the new state (either a [φ
i
B
> or [η
i
B
>) represents
information about system B. In making a measurement on A, one learns something about B,
but that is where the story ends. The state change cannot be construed to be something more
physical than that. More particularly, the ﬁnal state itself for B cannot be viewed as more
than a reﬂection of some tricky combination of one’s initial information and the knowledge
gained through the measurement. Expressed in the language of Einstein, the quantum state
cannot be a “complete” description of the quantum system.
Reality of incompleteness
Although Einstein was one of the ﬁrst to formulate the necessary incompleteness of quantum
physics, he never fully accepted it. In a 1926 letter to Max Born, he made a remark that is now
famous:
Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me it is not yet the real
thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old
One. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.
Einstein was mistaken according to Steven Hawking in Does God Play Dice
102
,
Einstein’s view was what would now be called, a hidden variable theory. Hidden variable
theories might seem to be the most obvious way to incorporate the Uncertainty Principle into
physics. They form the basis of the mental picture of the universe, held by many scientists,
and almost all philosophers of science. But these hidden variable theories are wrong. The
British physicist, John Bell, who died recently, devised an experimental test that would
distinguish hidden variable theories. When the experiment was carried out carefully, the
results were inconsistent with hidden variables. Thus it seems that even God is bound by the
Uncertainty Principle, and can not know both the position, and the speed, of a particle. So
God does play dice with the universe. All the evidence points to him being an inveterate
gambler, who throws the dice on every possible occasion.
Chris Fuchs [2002] summed up the reality of the necessary incompleteness of information in
quantum physics as follows, attributing this idea to Einstein "He [Einstein] was the ﬁrst person to
say in absolutely unambiguous terms why the quantum state should be viewed as information
(or, to say the same thing, as a representation of one’s beliefs and gambling commitments,
credible or otherwise).
Incompleteness, it seems, is here to stay: The theory prescribes that no matter how much we
know about a quantum system—even when we have maximal information about it—there will
always be a statistical residue. There will always be questions that we can ask of a system for
which we cannot predict the outcomes. In quantum theory, maximal information is simply not
complete information [Caves and Fuchs 1996]. But neither can it be completed.
The kind of information about the physical world that is available to us according to Fuchs [2002]
is “the potential consequences of our experimental interventions into nature” which is the subject
matter of quantum physics.
Relational Quantum Physics
According to Relational Quantum Physics [Laudisa and Rovelli 2005], the way distinct physical
systems affect each other when they interact (and not of the way physical systems "are") exhausts
all that can be said about the physical world. The physical world is thus seen as a net of
interacting components, where there is no meaning to the state of an isolated system. A physical
system (or, more precisely, its contingent state) is described by the net of relations it entertains
with the surrounding systems, and the physical structure of the world is identiﬁed as this net of
relationships. In other words, “Quantum physics is the theoretical formalization of the
experimental discovery that the descriptions that different observers give of the same events are
not universal.”
The concept that quantum mechanics forces us to give up the concept of a description of a
system independent from the observer providing such a description; that is the concept of the
absolute state of a system. I.e., there is no observer independent data at all. According to Zurek
[1982], “Properties of quantum systems have no absolute meaning. Rather they must be always
characterized with respect to other physical systems.”
Does this mean that there is no relation whatsoever between views of different observers?
Certainly not. According to Rovelli [1996] “It is possible to compare different views, but the
process of comparison is always a physical interaction (and all physical interactions are quantum
mechanical in nature).”
References
• A. Einstein, B. Podolsky, and N. Rosen, "Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical
Reality Be Considered Complete?" Phys. Rev. 47, 777–780 (1935).
• J. S. Bell,"On the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox", Physics 1, (1964) 195-200. Reprinted in
Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
• W. Pauli, letter to M. Fierz dated 10 August 1954, reprinted and translated in K. V.
Laurikainen, Beyond the Atom: The Philosophical Thought of Wolfgang Pauli, Springer-Verlag,
Berlin, 1988 , p. 226.
• Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Beyond: Encounters and Conversations, translated by A. J.
Pomerans, Harper & Row, New York, 1971, pp. 63–64.
• Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Bernard Diu and Franck Laloë, Mecanique quantique (see also
Quantum Mechanics translated from the French by Susan Hemley, Nicole Ostrowsky, and Dan
Ostrowsky; John Wiley & Sons 1982) Hermann, Paris, France. 1977.
• P.S. Hanle, Indeterminacy before Heisenberg: The Case of Franz Exner and Erwin
Schrödinger, Hist. Stud. Phys. Sci. 10, 225 (1979).
• A. Peres and W.H. Zurek, Is quantum theory universally valid? Am. J. Phys. 50, 807
(1982).
• Wojciech Zurek Physics Review Letters. D26 1862. 1982.
• M. Jammer, "The EPR Problem in Its Historical Development", in Symposium on the
Foundations of Modern Physics: 50 years of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen
Gedankenexperiment, edited by P. Lahti and P. Mittelstaedt (World Scientiﬁc, Singapore,
1985), pp. 129–149.
• A. Fine, The Shaky Game: Einstein Realism and the Quantum Theory, University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, 1986.
• Thomas Kuhn. Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912 Chicago
University Press. 1987.
• A. Peres, Quantum Theory: Concepts and Methods, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1993.
• C. M. Caves and C. A. Fuchs, Quantum Information: How Much Information in a State
Vector?, in The Dilemma of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen – 60 Years Later, edited by A. Mann
and M. Revzen, Ann. Israel Phys. Soc. 12, 226–257 (1996).
• Carlo Rovelli. "Relational quantum mechanics” International Journal of Theoretical Physics
35 1637-1678. 1996.
• Omnes, R. (1999). Understanding Quantum Mechanics. Princeton: Princeton University
Press.
• R. Jackiw and D. Kleppner, One Hundred Years of Quantum Physics, Science, Vol. 289 Issue
5481, p893, August 2000.
• Orly Alter and Yoshihisa Yamamoto. Quantum Measurement of a Single System, John
Wiley and Sons. 2001.
• Christopher Fuchs, Quantum mechanics as quantum information (and only a little more), in
A. Khrenikov (ed.) Quantum Theory: Reconstruction of Foundations (Växjo: Växjo University
Press, 2002).
• Joos, E.; et al. (2003). Decoherence and the Appearance of a Classical World in Quantum
Theory, 2nd edition, Berlin: Springer.
• Zurek, Wojciech H. (2003). "Decoherence and the transition from quantum to classical —
REVISITED", arXiv: quant-ph/0306072
103
(An updated version of PHYSICS TODAY, 44:36-44
(1991) article)
• Zurek, Wojciech H. (2003). ""Decoherence, einselection, and the quantum origins of the
classical"". Reviews of Modern Physics 75 (715). arXiv: quant-ph/0105127
104
.
• Asher Peres and Daniel Terno, "Quantum Information and Relativity Theory", Rev. Mod.
Phys. 76 (2004) 93.
• Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, Alfred
Knopf 2004.
• Schlosshauer, Maximilian (23 February 2005). ""Decoherence, the Measurement Problem,
and Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics"". Reviews of Modern Physics 76(2004):
1267–1305. arXiv: quant-ph/0312059
105
, DOI: 10.1103/RevModPhys.76.1267
106
.
• Federico Laudisa and Carlo Rovelli. "Relational Quantum Mechanics" The Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2005 Edition).
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Interaction picture
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incompleteness_of_quantum_physics
Interaction picture
In quantum mechanics, the Interaction picture (or Dirac picture) is an in-
termediate between the →Schrödinger picture and the →Heisenberg picture.
Whereas in the other two pictures either the state vector or the operators carry
time dependence, in the interaction picture both carry part of the time depen-
dence of observables.
Warning: Operator equations which hold in the interaction picture don’t nec-
essarily hold in the Schrödinger or the Heisenberg picture. This is because the
operators A
I
, A
S
and A
H
are not the same but are related by unitary transfor-
mations. Unfortunately, most textbooks and articles omit the subscript which
can often lead to confusion and mistakes when an unwary student applies an
equation for one picture to another picture.
Switching pictures
To switch into the interaction picture, we divide the Schrödinger picture Hamil-
tonian into two parts, H
S
= H
0,S
+H
1,S
. Then the state vector is deﬁned as

I
(t)` = e
iH
0,S
t/

S
(t)`
Operators transform between the pictures as
A
I
= e
iH
0
t/
A
S
e
−iH
0
t/
.
The →Schrödinger equation then becomes in this picture:
i
d
dt

I
(t)` = H
1,I

I
(t)`.
This equation is referred to as the Schwinger- Tomonaga equation.
The purpose of this picture is to shunt all the time dependence due to H
0
onto
the operators, leaving only H
1, I
affecting the time-dependence of the state
vectors.
The interaction picture is convenient when considering the effect of a small
interaction term, H
1, S
, being added to the Hamiltonian of a solved system,
H
0, S
. By switching into the interaction picture, you can use time-dependent
perturbation theory to ﬁnd the effect of H
1, I
.
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Internal conversion
References
• Townsend, John S. (2000). A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics,
2nd ed.. Sausalito, CA: University Science Books. ISBN 1891389130.
• →Bra-ket notation
• →Schrödinger equation
• Haag’s theorem
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interaction_picture
Principal Authors: Laurascudder, Phys, Elroch, Charles Matthews, Pjacobi
Internal conversion
Internal conversion (chemistry).
Internal conversion is a radioactive decay process where an excited nucleus
interacts with an electron in one of the lower electron shells causing the elec-
tron to be emitted. This is not to be confused with a photoelectric effect where
a photon emitted from the nucleus interacts with the electron.
The internal conversion process is not actually the photoelectric ejection of an
atomic electron, as the nucleus does not actually emit a gamma ray in the ﬁrst
place in this process. What happens is that the wavefunction of an inner shell
electron penetrates the nucleus (ie there is a ﬁnite probability of the electron
being found in the nucleus) and when this is the case the electron takes the
energy of the nuclear transition without an intermediary gamma ray being
produced. The energy of the emitted electron is equal to the transition energy
minus the binding energy of the electron. Most internal conversion electrons
come from the K shell as this electron has the highest probability of being found
inside the nucleus.
After the electron has been emitted, the atom is left with a vacancy in one of
the inner electron shells. This hole will be ﬁlled with an electron from one of
the higher shells and subsequently a characteristic x-ray or →Auger electron
will be emitted.
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Internal conversion is favoured when the energy gap between nuclear levels
is small, and is also the only mode of de-excitation for 0+ -> 0+ (i.e. E0)
transitions. It is the predominant mode of de-excitation whenever the initial
and ﬁnal spin states are the same, but the multi-polarity rules for nonzero
initial and ﬁnal spin states do not necessarily forbid the emission of a gamma
ray in such a case.
The tendency towards internal conversion can be determined by the internal
conversion coefﬁcient, which is empirically determined by the ratio of de-
excitations that go by the emission of electrons to those that go by gamma
emission.
References
Krane, Kenneth S. (1988). Introductory Nuclear Physics. J. Wiley & Sons. ISBN
0-471-80553-X.
• HyperPhysics
107
• Internal conversion coefﬁcient
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_conversion
Principal Authors: Sunborn, GangofOne, Jpau, AjAldous, Bensaccount
Interpretation of quantum mechanics
An interpretation of quantum mechanics is an attempt to answer the ques-
tion, What exactly is quantum mechanics talking about? The question has its
historical roots in the nature of quantum mechanics itself which was consid-
ered as a radical departure from previous physical theories. However, quantum
mechanics has been described as "the most precisely tested and most successful
theory in the history of science" (c.f. Jackiw and Kleppner, 2000.)
107
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Historical background
The operational meaning of the technical terms used by researchers in quan-
tum theory (such as wavefunctions and matrix mechanics) progressed through
various intermediate stages. For instance Schrödinger originally viewed the
wavefunction associated to the electron as the charge density of an object
smeared out over an extended, possibly inﬁnite, volume of space. Max Born
later proposed its interpretation as the probability distribution in the space of
great difﬁculty in accepting some of the more radical consequences of the the-
ory, such as quantum indeterminacy. Even if these matters could be treated as
’teething troubles’, they have lent importance to the activity of interpretation.
It should not, however, be assumed that most physicists consider quantum
mechanics as requiring interpretation, other than very minimal instrumentalist
interpretations, which are discussed below. The Copenhagen interpretation, as
of 2006, appears to be the most popular one among scientists, followed by the
many worlds and consistent histories interpretations. But it is also true that
most physicists consider non-instrumental questions (in particular ontological
questions) to be irrelevant to physics. They fall back on Paul Dirac’s point
of view, later expressed in the famous dictum: "Shut up and calculate" often
(perhaps erroneously) attributed to Richard Feynman (see
108
).
Obstructions to direct interpretation
The perceived difﬁculties of interpretation reﬂect a number of points about the
orthodox description of quantum mechanics, including:
• The abstract, mathematical nature of the description of quantum mechan-
ics.
• The existence of what appear to be non-deterministic and irreversible pro-
cesses in quantum mechanics.
• The phenomenon of entanglement, and in particular, the higher correla-
tions between remote events than would be expected in classical theory.
• The complementarity of possible descriptions of reality.
First, the accepted mathematical structure of quantum mechanics is based on
fairly abstract mathematics, such as →Hilbert spaces and operators on those
Hilbert spaces. In classical mechanics and electromagnetism, on the other
hand, properties of a point mass or properties of a ﬁeld are described by re-
al numbers or functions deﬁned on two or three dimensional sets. These have
http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-57/iss-5/p10.html
108
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direct, spatial meaning, and in these theories there seems to be less need to
provide a special interpretation for those numbers or functions.
Further, the process of measurement plays an apparently essential role in the
theory. It relates the abstract elements of the theory, such as the wavefunction,
to operationally deﬁnable values, such as probabilities. Measurement inter-
acts with the system state, in somewhat peculiar ways, as is illustrated by the
double-slit experiment.
The mathematical formalism used to describe the time evolution of a non-
relativistic system proposes two somewhat different kinds of transformations:
• Reversible transformations described by unitary operators on the state
space. These transformations are determined by solutions to the
→Schrödinger equation.
• Non-reversible and unpredictable transformations described by mathemat-
ically more complicated transformations (see quantum operations). Exam-
ples of these transformations are those that are undergone by a system as a
result of measurement.
A restricted version of the problem of interpretation in quantum mechanics
consists in providing some sort of plausible picture, just for the second kind
of transformation. This problem may be addressed by purely mathematical
reductions, for example by the many-worlds or the consistent histories inter-
pretations.
In addition to the unpredictable and irreversible character of measurement pro-
cesses, there are other elements of quantum physics that distinguish it sharply
from classical physics and which cannot be represented by any classical pic-
ture. One of these is the phenomenon of entanglement, as illustrated in the
EPR paradox, which seemingly violates principles of local causality.
Another obstruction to direct interpretation is the phenomenon of complemen-
tarity, which seems to violate basic principles of propositional logic. Comple-
mentarity says there is no logical picture (obeying classical propositional logic)
that can simultaneously describe and be used to reason about all properties
of a quantum system S. This is often phrased by saying that there are "com-
plementary" sets A and B of propositions that can describe S, but not at the
same time. Examples of A and B are propositions involving a wave descrip-
tion of S and a corpuscular description of S. The latter statement is one part
of Niels Bohr’s original formulation, which is often equated to the principle of
complementarity itself.
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Complementarity is not usually taken to mean that classical logic fails, al-
though Hilary Putnam did take that view in his paper Is logic empirical?. In-
stead complementarity means that composition of physical properties for S
(such as position and momentum both having values in certain ranges) using
propositional connectives does not obey rules of classical propositional logic.
As is now well-known (Omnès, 1999) the "origin of complementarity lies in the
noncommutativity of operators" describing observables in quantum mechanics.
Problematic status of pictures and interpretations
The precise ontological status, of each one of the interpreting pictures, remains
a matter of philosophical argument.
In other words, if we interpret the formal structure X of quantum mechanics by
means of a structure Y (via a mathematical equivalence of the two structures),
what is the status of Y? This is the old question of saving the phenomena, in a
new guise.
Some physicists, for example Asher Peres and Chris Fuchs, seem to argue that
an interpretation is nothing more than a formal equivalence between sets of
rules for operating on experimental data. This would suggest that the whole
exercise of interpretation is unnecessary.
Instrumentalist interpretation
Any modern scientiﬁc theory requires at the very least an instrumentalist de-
scription which relates the mathematical formalism to experimental practice
and prediction. In the case of quantum mechanics, the most common in-
strumentalist description is an assertion of statistical regularity between state
preparation processes and measurement processes. That is, if a measurement
of a real-valued quantity is performed many times, each time starting with the
same initial conditions, the outcome is a well-deﬁned probability distribution
over the real numbers; moreover, quantum mechanics provides a computation-
al instrument to determine statistical properties of this distribution, such as its
expectation value.
Calculations for measurements performed on a system S postulate a →Hilbert
space H over the complex numbers. When the system S is prepared in a pure
state, it is associated with a vector in H. Measurable quantities are associated
with Hermitian matrices acting on H: these are referred to as observables.
Repeated measurement of an observable A for S prepared in state ψ yields a
distribution of values. The expectation value of this distribution is given by the
expression
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'ψ[A[ψ`.
This mathematical machinery gives a simple, direct way to compute a statis-
tical property of the outcome of an experiment, once it is understood how to
associate the initial state with a vector, and the measured quantity with an
observable (that is, a speciﬁc Hermitian matrix).
As an example of such a computation, the probability of ﬁnding the system
in a given state [φ` is given by computing the expectation value of a (rank-1)
projection operator
Π = [φ`'φ[
The probability is then the non-negative real number given by
P = 'ψ[Π[ψ` = ['ψ[φ`[
2
.
By abuse of language, the bare instrumentalist description can be referred to
as an interpretation, although this usage is somewhat misleading since instru-
mentalism explicitly avoids any explanatory role; that is, it does not attempt to
Summary of common interpretations of QM
Properties of interpretations
An interpretation can be characterized by whether it satisﬁes certain properties,
such as:
• Realism
• Completeness
• Local realism
• Determinism
To explain these properties, we need to be more explicit about the kind of
picture an interpretation provides. To that end we will regard an interpretation
as a correspondence between the elements of the mathematical formalism M
and the elements of an interpreting structure I, where:
• The mathematical formalism consists of the Hilbert space machinery of ket-
vectors, self-adjoint operators acting on the space of ket-vectors, unitary
time dependence of ket-vectors and measurement operations. In this con-
text a measurement operation can be regarded as a transformation which
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quantum operations for a formalization of this concept.
• The interpreting structure includes states, transitions between states, mea-
surement operations and possibly information about spatial extension of
these elements. A measurement operation here refers to an operation which
returns a value and results in a possible system state change. Spatial infor-
mation, for instance would be exhibited by states represented as functions
on conﬁguration space. The transitions may be non-deterministic or proba-
bilistic or there may be inﬁnitely many states. However, the critical assump-
tion of an interpretation is that the elements of I are regarded as physically
real.
In this sense, an interpretation can be regarded as a semantics for the mathe-
matical formalism.
In particular, the bare instrumentalist view of quantum mechanics outlined in
the previous section is not an interpretation at all since it makes no claims
The current use in physics of "completeness" and "realism" is often considered
to have originated in the paper (Einstein et al., 1935) which proposed the EPR
paradox. In that paper the authors proposed the concept "element of reality"
and "completeness" of a physical theory. Though they did not deﬁne "element of
reality", they did provide a sufﬁcient characterization for it, namely a quantity
whose value can be predicted with certainty before measuring it or disturbing
it in any way. EPR deﬁne a "complete physical theory" as one in which every
element of physical reality is accounted for by the theory. In the semantic view
of interpretation, an interpretation of a theory is complete if every element
of the interpreting structure is accounted for by the mathematical formalism.
Realism is a property of each one of the elements of the mathematical formal-
ism; any such element is real if it corresponds to something in the interpreting
structure. For instance, in some interpretations of quantum mechanics (such as
the many-worlds interpretation) the ket vector associated to the system state is
assumed to correspond to an element of physical reality, while in others it does
not.
Determinism is a property characterizing state changes due to the passage of
time, namely that the state at an instant of time in the future is a function of the
state at the present (see time evolution). It may not always be clear whether a
particular interpreting structure is deterministic or not, precisely because there
may not be a clear choice for a time parameter. Moreover, a given theory may
have two interpretations, one of which is deterministic, and the other not.
Local realism has two parts:
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• The value returned by a measurement corresponds to the value of some
function on the state space. Stated in another way, this value is an element
of reality;
• The effects of measurement have a propagation speed not exceeding some
universal bound (e.g., the speed of light). In order for this to make sense,
measurement operations must be spatially localized in the interpreting
structure.
A precise formulation of local realism in terms of a local hidden variable theory
was proposed by John Bell.
Bell’s theorem and its experimental veriﬁcation restrict the kinds of properties
a quantum theory can have. For instance, Bell’s theorem implies quantum
mechanics cannot satisfy local realism.
Consistent histories
The consistent histories generalizes the conventional Copenhagen interpreta-
tion and attempts to provide a natural interpretation of quantum cosmology.
The theory is based on a consistency criterion that then allows the history of a
system to be described so that the probabilities for each history obey the addi-
tive rules of classical probability while being consistent with the →Schrödinger
equation.
According to this interpretation, the purpose of a quantum-mechanical theory
is to predict probabilities of various alternative histories.
Many worlds
The many-worlds interpretation (or MWI) is an interpretation of quantum me-
chanics that rejects the non-deterministic and irreversible wavefunction col-
lapse associated with measurement in the Copenhagen interpretation in favor
of a description in terms of quantum entanglement and reversible time evolu-
tion of states. The phenomena associated with measurement are explained by
decoherence which occurs when states interact with the environment. As result
of the decoherence the world-lines of macroscopic objects repeatedly split into
mutally unobservable, branching histories – distinct universes within a greater
multiverse.
The Copenhagen Interpretation
The Copenhagen interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics for-
mulated by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg while collaborating in Copen-
hagen around 1927. Bohr and Heisenberg extended the probabilistic inter-
pretation of the wavefunction, proposed by Max Born. The Copenhagen in-
terpretation rejects questions like "where was the particle before I measured
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its position" as meaningless. The act of measurement causes an instantaneous
"collapse of the wave function". This means that the measurement process ran-
domly picks out exactly one of the many possibilities allowed for by the state’s
wave function, and the wave function instantaneously changes to reﬂect that
pick.
Quantum Logic
Quantum logic can be regarded as a kind of propositional logic suitable for un-
derstanding the apparent anomalies regarding quantum measurement, most
notably those concerning composition of measurement operations of comple-
mentary variables. This research area and its name originated in the 1936
paper by Garrett Birkhoff and John von Neumann, who attempted to reconcile
some of the apparent inconsistencies of classical boolean logic with the facts
related to measurement and observation in quantum mechanics.
The Bohm interpretation
The Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics is an interpretation postulated
by David Bohm in which the existence of a non-local universal wavefunction
allows distant particles to interact instantaneously. The interpretation gener-
alizes Louis de Broglie’s pilot wave theory from 1927, which posits that both
wave and particle are real. The wave function ’guides’ the motion of the par-
ticle, and evolves according to the Schrödinger equation. The interpretation
assumes a single, nonsplitting universe (unlike the Everett many-worlds inter-
pretation) and is deterministic (unlike the Copenhagen interpretation). It says
the state of the universe evolves smoothly through time, without the collapsing
of wavefunctions when a measurement occurs, as in the Copenhagen inter-
pretation. However, it does this by assuming a number of hidden variables,
namely the positions of all the particles in the universe, which, like probability
amplitudes in other interpretations, can never be measured directly.
Transactional interpretation
The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) by John
Cramer is an unusual interpretation of quantum mechanics that describes
quantum interactions in terms of a standing wave formed by retarded
(forward-in-time) and advanced (backward-in-time) waves. The author argues
that it avoids the philosophical problems with the Copenhagen interpretation
and the role of the observer, and resolves various quantum paradoxes.
Consciousness causes collapse
Consciousness causes collapse is the speculative theory that observation by a
conscious observer is responsible for the wavefunction collapse. It is an attempt
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to solve the Wigner’s friend paradox by simply stating that collapse occurs at
the ﬁrst "conscious" observer. Supporters claim this is not a revival of sub-
stance dualism, since (in a ramiﬁcation of this view) consciousness and objects
are entangled and cannot be considered as distinct. The consciousness causes
collapse theory can be considered as a speculative appendage to almost any in-
terpretation of quantum mechanics and most physicists reject it as unveriﬁable
and introducing unnecessary elements into physics.
Relational Quantum Mechanics
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Relational QuantumMe-
chanics is an interpretation of Quantum mechanics which:
discards the notions of absolute state of a system, absolute value of its
physical quantities, or absolute event. The theory describes only the way
systems affect each other in the course of physical interactions. State and
physical quantities refer always to the interaction, or the relation, between
two systems. Nevertheless, the theory is assumed to be complete. The
physical content of quantum theory is understood as expressing the net of
relations connecting all different physical systems.
(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Federico Laudisa, Università degli
Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
Modal Interpretations of Quantum Theory
Modal interpretations of Quantum mechanics were ﬁrst conceived of in 1972
by B. van Fraassen, in his paper “A formal approach to the philosophy of sci-
ence.” However, this term now is used to describe a larger set of models that
grew out of this approach. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes
several versions:
• The Copenhagen Variant
• Kochen-Dieks-Healey Interpretations
• Motivating Early Modal Interpretations, based on the work of R. Clifton, M.
Dickson and J. Bub.
Comparison
At the moment, there is no experimental evidence that would allow us to dis-
tinguish between the various interpretations listed below. To that extent, the
physical theory stands, and is consistent with, itself and with reality; troubles
come only when one attempts to "interpret" it. Nevertheless, there is active
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research in attempting to come up with experimental tests which would allow
differences between the interpretations to be experimentally tested.
Some of the most common interpretations are summarized here (however, the
assignment of values in this table is not without controversy, for the precise
meanings of some of the concepts involved are unclear and, in fact, the subject
of the very controversy itself):
Interpretation Deterministic? Waveform Real? Unique History? Avoids
Hidden
Variables?
Avoids
Collapsing
Wavefunctions?
Copenhagen
interpretation
(Waveform not
real)
No No Yes Yes No
Copenhagen
interpretation
(Waveform
real)
No Yes Yes Yes No
Consistent
histories
(Decoherent
approach)
Agnostic
1
Agnostic
1
No Yes Yes
Many-worlds
interpretation
(Decoherent
approach)
Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Bohm-de
Broglie
interpretation
("Pilot-wave"
approach)
Yes Yes
2
Yes
3
No Yes
Transactional
interpretation
No Yes Yes Yes No
Consciousness
causes collapse
No Yes Yes Yes No
1
If wavefunction is real then this becomes the Many-Worlds Interpretation. If
wavefunction less than real, but more than just information, then Zurek calls
this the Existential Interpretation.
2
Both particle AND guiding wavefunction are real.
3
Unique particle history, but multiple wave histories.
Each interpretation has many variants. It is difﬁcult to get a precise deﬁnition
of the Copenhagen Interpretation — in the table above, two variants are shown
— one that regards the waveform as being a tool for calculating probabilities
only, and the other regards the waveform as an "element of reality".
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• Afshar experiment
• Bell’s theorem
• Bohm interpretation
• Bohr-Einstein debates
• Consistent Histories
• Copenhagen interpretation
• Many-minds interpretation
• Many-worlds interpretation
• Measurement problem
• →Penrose Interpretation
• Philosophical interpretation of classical physics
• Quantum computation
• →Quantum indeterminacy
• →Quantum mechanics
• Quantum metaphysics
• Transactional interpretation
• Wavefunction collapse
Related lists
• List of physics topics
• Unsolved problems in physics
References
• Bub, J. and Clifton, R. 1996. “A uniqueness theorem for interpretations of
quantum mechanics,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics,
27B, 181-219
• R. Carnap, The interpretation of physics, Foundations of Logic and Math-
ematics of the International Encyclopedia of Uniﬁed Science, University of
Chicago Press, 1939.
• D. Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality, Allen Lane, 1997. Though written for
general audiences, in this book Deutsch argues forcefully against instru-
mentalism.
• Dickson, M. 1994. Wavefunction tails in the modal interpretation, Proceed-
ings of the PSA 1994, Hull, D., Forbes, M., and Burian, R. (eds), Vol. 1, pp.
366-376. East Lansing, Michigan: Philosophy of Science Association.
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• Dickson, M. and Clifton, R. 1998. Lorentz-invariance in modal interpre-
tations The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Dieks, D. and
Vermaas, P. (eds), pp. 9-48. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers
• A. Einstein, B. Podolsky and N. Rosen, Can quantum-mechanical descrip-
tion of physical reality be considered complete? Phys. Rev. 47 777, 1935.
• C. Fuchs and A. Peres, Quantum theory needs no ‘interpretation’ , Physics
Today, March 2000.
• Christopher Fuchs, Quantum Mechanics as Quantum Information (and only
a little more), arXiv:quant-ph/0205039 v1, (2002)
• N. Herbert. Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics, New York: Double-
day, ISBN 0385235690, LoC QC174.12.H47 1985.
• R. Jackiw and D. Kleppner, One Hundred Years of Quantum Physics, Sci-
ence, Vol. 289 Issue 5481, p893, August 2000.
• M. Jammer, The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.
• M. Jammer, The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics. New York: Wiley,
1974.
• W. M. de Muynck, Foundations of quantum mechanics, an empiricist ap-
proach, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002, ISBN 1-4020-0932-
1
• R. Omnès, Understanding Quantum Mechanics, Princeton, 1999.
• K. Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963.
The chapter "Three views Concerning Human Knowledge", addresses,
among other things, the instrumentalist view in the physical sciences.
• H. Reichenbach, Philosophic Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1944.
• M. Tegmark and J. A. Wheeler, 100 Years of Quantum Mysteries", Scientiﬁc
American 284, 68, 2001.
• van Fraassen, B. 1972. A formal approach to the philosophy of science, in
main, Colodny, R. (ed.), pp. 303-366. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh
Press.
• J. A. Wheeler and H. Z. Wojciech (eds), Quantum Theory and Mea-
surement, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 0691083169, LoC
QC174.125.Q38 1983.
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• Willem M. de Muynck
109
Broad overview, realist vs. empiricist interpreta-
tions, against oversimpliﬁed view of the measurement process
• Comparative interpretations
110
• Skeptical View of "New Age" Interpretations of QM
111
• The many worlds of quantum mechanics
112
• Erich Joos’ Decoherence Website
113
Basic and indepth information on deco-
herence
• Quantum Mechanics for Philosophers
114
An argument for the superiority of
the Bohm interpretation.
• Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
115
• Numerous Many Worlds-related Topics and Articles
116
• Relational Quantum Mechanics
117
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretation_of_quantum_mechanics
Principal Authors: CSTAR, Charles Matthews, Roadrunner, LC, Linas
Introduction to quantum mechanics
proper encyclopedia article, please see →Quantum mechanics.
http://www.phys.tue.nl/ktn/Wim/muynck.htm#quantum
109
http://members.aol.com/jmtsgibbs/Interpretation.htm
110
http://www.csicop.org/si/9701/quantum-quackery.html
111
http://www.sankey.ws/qm.html
112
http://www.decoherence.de
113
http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/qm.htm
114
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-manyworlds/
115
http://www.station1.net/DouglasJones/many.htm
116
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-relational/
117
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Introduction to quantum mechanics
Quantummechanics is a physical science dealing with the behaviour of matter
and waves on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It also forms the ba-
sis for the contemporary understanding of how large objects such as stars and
galaxies, and cosmological events such as the Big Bang, can be analyzed and
explained. Its acceptance by the general physics community is due to its accu-
rate prediction of the physical behaviour of systems, including systems where
Newtonian mechanics fails. This difference between the success of classical
and quantum mechanics is most often observed in systems at the atomic scale
or smaller, or at very low or very high energies, or at extremely low tempera-
tures. Quantum mechanics is the basis of modern developments in chemistry,
molecular biology, and electronics, and the foundation for the technology that
has transformed the world in the last ﬁfty years.
Background
Through a century of experimentation and applied science, quantum mechan-
ical theory has proven to be very successful and practical. The term "quantum
mechanics" was ﬁrst coined by Max Born in 1924. Quantum mechanics is the
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Introduction to quantum mechanics
foundation for other sciences including condensed matter physics, quantum
chemistry, and particle physics.
Despite the success of quantum mechanics, it does have some controversial el-
ements. For example, the behaviour of microscopic objects described in quan-
tum mechanics is very different from our everyday experience, which may pro-
voke an incredulous reaction. Moreover, some of the consequences of quantum
mechanics appear to be inconsistent with the consequences of other successful
theories, such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, especially general relativity.
Some of the background of quantum mechanics dates back to the early 1800’s,
but the real beginnings of quantum mechanics date from the work of Max
Planck in 1900. Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Louis de Broglie soon made
important contributions. However, it was not until the mid-1920’s that a
more complete picture emerged, and the true importance of quantum me-
chanics became clear. Some of the most prominent scientists to contribute
were Max Born, Paul Dirac, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, and Erwin
Schrödinger
[#endnote_Schrödinger1]
.
Later, the ﬁeld was further expanded with work by Julian Schwinger, Mur-
ray Gell-Mann, and Richard Feynman, in particular, with the development of
Quantum Electrodynamics in 1947.
Early researchers differed in their explanations of the fundamental nature of
what we now call electromagnetic radiation. In 1690, Christian Huygens ex-
plained the laws of reﬂection and refraction on the basis of a wave theory.
Sir Isaac Newton believed that light consisted of particles which he designated
corpuscles. In 1827 Thomas Young and Augustin Fresnel made experiments
on interference that showed that a corpuscular theory of light was inadequate.
Then in 1873 James Clerk Maxwell showed that by making an electrical circuit
oscillate it should be possible to produce electromagnetic waves. His theo-
ry made it possible to compute the speed of electromagnetic radiation purely
on the basis of electrical and magnetic measurements, and the computed val-
ue corresponded very closely to the empirically measured speed of light. In
1888, Heinrich Hertz made an electrical device that actually produced what
we would now call microwaves — essentially radiation at a lower frequency
than visible light. Everything up to that point suggested that Newton had been
entirely wrong to regard light as corpuscular. Then it was discovered that when
light strikes an electrical conductor it causes electrons to move away from their
original positions, and, furthermore, the phenomenon observed could only be
explained if the light delivered energy in deﬁnite packets. In a photoelectric
device such as the light meter in a camera, when light hits the metallic detector
electrons are caused to move. Greater intensities of light at one frequency can
cause more electrons to move, but they will not move any faster. In contrast,
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Introduction to quantum mechanics
Figure 22 The interference that produces colored bands on bubbles cannot be explained
by a model that depicts light as a particle. It can be explained by a model that depicts it
as a wave. The drawing shows sine waves that resemble waves on the surface of water
being reﬂected from two surfaces of a ﬁlm of varying width, but that depiction of the wave
nature of light is only a crude analogy.
higher frequencies of light can cause electrons to move faster. So intensity of
light controls the amperes of current produced, but frequency of light controls
the voltage produced. This appeared to raise a contradiction when compared
to sound waves and ocean waves, where only intensity was needed to predict
the energy of the wave. In the case of light, frequency appeared to predict en-
ergy. Something was needed to explain this phenomenon and also to reconcile
experiments that had shown light to have a particle nature with experiments
that had shown it to have a wave nature.
Spectroscopy and Onward
It is fairly easy to see a spectrum produced by white light when it passes
through a prism, the beveled edge of a mirror or a special pane of glass, or
through drops of rain to form a rainbow. When samples of single elements
are caused to emit light they may emit light at several characteristic frequen-
cies. The frequency proﬁle produced is characteristic of that element. Instead
of there being a wide band ﬁlled with colors from violet to red, there will be
isolated bands of single colors separated by darkness. Such a display is called
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a line spectrum. Some lines go beyond the visible frequencies and can only
be detected by special photographic ﬁlm or other such devices. Scientists hy-
pothesized that an atom could radiate light the way the string on a ﬁne violin
radiates sound – not only with a fundamental frequency (in which the entire
string moves the same way at once) but with several higher harmonics (formed
when the string divides itself into halves and other divisions that vibrate in co-
ordination with each other as when one half of the string is going one way as
the other half of the string is going the opposite way). For a long time nobody
could ﬁnd a mathematical way to relate the frequencies of the line spectrum of
any element.
Figure 23 NASA photo of the bright-line spectrum of hydrogen
In 1885, Johann Jakob Balmer (1825-1898) ﬁgured out how the frequencies
of atomic hydrogen are related to each other. The formula is a simple one:
1
L
= R

1
4

1
n
2

where L is wavelength, R is Rydberg’s constant and n is an in-
teger (2, 3, n).
This formula can be generalized to apply to atoms that are more complicated
than hydrogen, but we will stay with hydrogen for this general exposition.
(That is the reason that the denominator in the ﬁrst fraction is expressed as a
square.)
The next development was the discovery of the →Zeeman effect, named after
Pieter Zeeman (1865-1943). The physical explanation of the Zeeman effect
was worked out by Hendrik Anton Lorentz (1853-1928). Lorentz hypothesized
that the light emitted by hydrogen was produced by vibrating electrons. It
was possible to get feedback on what goes on within the atom because moving
electrons create a magnetic ﬁeld and so can be inﬂuenced by the imposition
of an external magnetic ﬁeld in a manner analogous to the way that one iron
magnet will attract or repel another magnet.
The Zeeman effect could be interpreted to mean that light waves are originated
by electrons vibrating in their orbits, but classical physics could not explain why
electrons should not fall out of their orbits and into the nucleus of their atoms,
nor could classical physics explain why their orbits would be such as to produce
the series of frequencies derived by Balmer’s formula and displayed in the line
spectra. Why did the electrons not produce a continuous spectrum?
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Old quantum theory
Quantum mechanics developed from the study of electromagnetic waves
through spectroscopy which includes visible light seen in the colors of the rain-
bow, but also other waves including the more energetic waves like ultraviolet
light, x-rays, and gamma rays plus the waves with longer wavelengths includ-
ing infrared waves, microwaves and radio waves. We are not, however, speak-
ing of sound waves, but only of those waves that travel at the speed of light.
Also, when the word "particle" is used below, it always refers to elementary or
subatomic particles.
Planck’s constant
Classical physics predicted that a black-body radiator would produce inﬁnite
energy, but that result was not observed in the laboratory. If black-body radi-
ation was dispersed into a spectrum, then the amount of energy radiated at
various frequencies rose from zero at one end, peaked at a frequency related
to the temperature of the radiating object, and then fell back to zero. In 1900,
Max Planck developed an empirical equation that could account for the ob-
served energy curves, but he could not harmonize it with classical theory. He
concluded that the classical laws of physics do not apply on the atomic scale as
In this theoretical account, Planck allowed all possible frequencies, all possible
wavelengths. However, he restricted the energy that is delivered. "In classical
physics,... the energy of a given oscillator depends merely on its amplitude,
and this amplitude is subject to no restriction." But, according to Planck’s the-
ory, the energy emitted by an oscillator is strictly proportional to its frequency.
The higher the frequency, the greater the energy. To reach this theoretical
He postulated that a radiating body consisted of an enormous number of el-
ementary oscillators, some vibrating at one frequency and some at another,
with all frequencies from zero to inﬁnity being represented....The energy
E of any one oscillator was not permitted to take on any arbitrary value,
but was proportional to some integral multiple of the frequency f of the
oscillator. That is,
E = nhf,
where n = 1, 2, 3,... etc. The proportionality constant h is called Planck’s
constant.One of the most direct applications is ﬁnding the energy of photons.
If you know h (Planck’s constant), and you know the frequency of the photon,
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then you can calculate the energy of the photons. For instance, if a beam of
light illuminated a target, and the light frequency was 540 10
12
hertz, then
the energy of each photon would be h 540 10
12
hertz. The value of h
itself is exceedingly small, about 6.6260693 x 10
-34
joule seconds in scientiﬁc
notation). This means that the photons in the beam of light have a energy of
−19
Joules which is approximately 2.23 eV.
When you describe the energy of a wave in this manner, it seems that the wave
is carrying its energy in a certain number of little packets per second. This
discovery then seemed to remake the wave into a particle. These packets of
energy carried along with the wave were called quanta by Planck. Quantum
mechanics began with the discovery that energy is delivered in packets whose
size is related to the frequencies of all electromagnetic waves (and to the col-
or of visible light since in that case frequency determines color). Be aware,
however, the descriptions in terms of wave and particle import macro world
concepts into the quantum world, where they have only provisional relevance
or appropriateness.
In early research on light, there were two competing ways to describe light, ei-
ther as a wave propagated through empty space, or as small particles traveling
in straight lines. Because Planck showed that the energy of the wave is made
up of packets, the particle analogy became favored to help understand how
light delivers energy in multiples of certain set values designated as quanta
of energy. Nevertheless, the wave analogy is also indispensable for helping to
understand other light phenomena. In 1905, Albert Einstein used Planck’s con-
stant to postulate that the energy in a beam of light occurs in concentrations
that he called photons. According to that account, a single photon of a given
frequency delivers an invariant amount of energy. In other words, individual
photons can deliver more or less energy, but only depending on their frequen-
cies. Although the description that stemmed from Planck’s research sounds
like Newton’s corpuscular account, Einstein’s photon was still said to have a
frequency, and the energy of the photon was accounted proportional to that
frequency. The particle account had been compromised once again.
Both the idea of a wave and the idea of a particle are models derived from
our everyday experience. We cannot see photons. We can only investigate
their properties indirectly. We look at some phenomena, such as the rainbow
of colors that we see when a thin ﬁlm of oil rests on the surface of a puddle of
water, and we can explain that phenomenon to ourselves by comparing light
to waves. We look at other phenomena, such as the way a photoelectric meter
in our camera works, and we explain it by analogy to particles colliding with
the detection screen in the meter. In both cases we take concepts from our
everyday experience and apply them to a world we have never seen.
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Neither form of explanation is entirely satisfactory. In general any model can
only approximate that which it models. A model is useful only within the range
of conditions where it is able to predict the real thing with accuracy. Newtonian
physics is still a good predictor of many of the phenomena in our everyday life.
To remind us that both "wave" and "particle" are concepts imported from our
macro world to explain the world of atomic-scale phenomena, some physicists
such as George Gamow have used the term "wavicle" to refer to whatever it
is that is really there. In the following discussion, "wave" and "particle" may
both be used depending on which aspect of quantum mechanical phenomena
is under discussion.
Reduced Planck’s constant
Figure 24 Relation between a cycle and a wave;
half of a circle describes half of the cycle of a wave
Planck’s constant originally represented the energy that a light wave carries as
a function of its frequency. A step in the development of this concept appeared
in Bohr’s work. Bohr was using a "planetary" or particle model of the electron,
and could not understand why a 2π factor was essential to his experimentally
derived formulae. Later, de Broglie postulated that electrons have frequencies,
just as do photons, and that the frequency of an electron must conform to the
conditions for a standing wave that can exist in a certain orbit. That is to say,
the beginning of one cycle of a wave at some point on the circumference of a
circle (since that is what an orbit is) must coincide with the end of some cycle.
There can be no gap, no length along the circumference that is not participating
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in the vibration, and there can be no overlap of cycles. So the circumference of
the orbit, C, must equal the wavelength, , of the electron multiplied by some
positive integer (n = 1, 2, 3...). Knowing the circumference one can calculate
wavelengths that ﬁt that orbit, and knowing the radius, r, of the orbit one can
calculate its circumference. To put all that in mathematical form, C = 2π*r =
n* and so = 2πr/n and the appearance of the 2π factor is seen to occur simply
because we need it to calculate possible wavelengths (and therefore possible
Again in 1925 when Werner Heisenberg developed his full quantum theory,
calculations involving wave analysis called Fourier series were fundamental,
and so the "reduced" version of Planck’s constant (h/2π) became invaluable
because it includes a conversion factor to facilitate calculations involving wave
analysis. Finally, when this reduced Planck’s constant appeared naturally in
Dirac’s equation it was then given an alternate designation, "Dirac’s constant."
Therefore, it is appropriate to begin with an explanation of what this constant
is, even though we haven’t yet touched on the theories that made its use con-
venient.
As noted above, the energy of any wave is given by its frequency multiplied by
Planck’s constant. A wave is made up of crests and troughs. In a wave, a cycle
is deﬁned by the return from a certain position to the same position such as
from the top of one crest to the next crest. A cycle actually is mathematically
related to a circle, and both have 360 degrees. A degree is a unit of measure
for the amount of turn needed to produce an arc of a certain length at a given
distance. A sine curve is generated by a point on the circumference of a circle
as that circle rotates. (See a demonstration at: Rotation Applet
118
) There are
2 π radians per cycle in a wave, which is mathematically related to the way
a circle has 360

(which are equal to two π radians). (A radian is simply the
angle you would get if you measured a distance along the circumference of the
circle equal to the radius of the circle, and then drew lines to the center of the
circle and looked at the angle thus formed.) Since one cycle is 2 π radians,
when h is divided by 2 π the two "2 π" factors will cancel out leaving just the
radian to contend with. So, dividing h by 2 π describes a constant that, when
multiplied by the frequency of a wave, gives the energy in joules per radian.
And h/2 π is h-bar or =
h

.
The reduced Planck’s constant is written in mathematical formulas as , and
is read as "h-bar". The reduced Planck’s constant allows computation of the
energy of a wave in units per radian instead of in units per cycle. These two
constants h and h-bar are merely conversion factors between energy units and
http://www.math.utah.edu/~cherk/ccli/bob/Rotation/sin12.swf
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frequency units. The reduced Planck’s constant is used more often than h
(Planck’s constant) alone in quantum mechanical mathematical formulas for
many reasons, one of which is that angular velocity or angular frequency is
ordinarily measured in radians per second so using h-bar that works in radians
too will save a computation to put radians into degrees or vice-versa. Also,
when equations relevant to those problems are written in terms of , the fre-
quently occurring 2 π factors in numerator and denominator can cancel out,
saving a computation. However, in other cases, as in the orbits of the Bohr
atom, h/π was obtained naturally for the angular momentum of the orbits.
Another expression for the relation between energy and wave length is giv-
en in electron volts for energy and angstroms for wavelength: E
photon
(eV)
= 12,400/(Å) – it appears not to involve h at all, but that is only because a
different system of units has been used and now, numerically, the appropriate
conversion factor is 12,400.
Bohr atom
Figure 25 The Bohr model of the atom, show-
ing electron quantum jumping to ground state n=1
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In 1897 the particle called the electron was discovered. By means of the gold
foil experiment physicists discovered that matter is, volume for volume, largely
space. Once that was clear, it was hypothesized that negative charge entities
called electrons surround positively charged nuclei. So at ﬁrst all scientists be-
lieved that the atom must be like a miniature solar system. But that simple
analogy predicted that electrons would, within about one hundredth of a mi-
crosecond, crash into the nucleus of the atom. The great question of the early
20th century was, "Why do electrons normally maintain a stable orbit around
the nucleus?"
In 1913, Niels Bohr removed this substantial problem by applying the idea
of discrete (non-continuous) quanta to the orbits of electrons. This account
became known as the Bohr model of the atom. Bohr basically theorized that
electrons can only inhabit certain orbits around the atom. These orbits could
be derived by looking at the spectral lines produced by atoms.
Bohr explained the orbits that electrons can take by relating the angular mo-
mentum of electrons in each "permitted" orbit to the value of h, Planck’s con-
stant. He held that an electron in the lowest orbital has an angular momentum
equal to h/2π. Each orbit after the initial orbit must provide for an electron’s
angular momentum being an integer multiple of that lowest value. He depict-
ed electrons in atoms as being analogous to planets in a solar orbit. However,
he took Planck’s constant to be a fundamental quantity that introduces spe-
cial requirements at this subatomic level and that explains the spacing of those
"planetary" orbits.
Bohr’s analysis of electron orbits as circular
A little math on circular orbits. Bohr was very
familiar with the dynamics of simple circular
orbits in an inverse square ﬁeld as described in
classical mechanics.
Simply explained: To ﬁnd the acceleration of a
circle, place it inside the shape of a square
where tangents meet, then ﬁnd the linear speed
along one side of the square, then square the
speed of one side to complete the speed of the
entire square, then divide by the radius of the
circle placed in the square to get the speed
around the circle. Therefore, circular
(centripetal) acceleration is v squared over r
where v is speed and r is radius. The equation for
the centripetal acceleration is a = v
2
/r. That
is, acceleration is inversely proportional to the
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then the acceleration is halved.
Also, Kepler’s Third Law is that the radius cubed
equals the circumference of the orbit squared.
It immediately follows that the radius of any n
orbit is proportional to the orbit n squared, and
the speed in that orbit is proportional to 1/n. Speed
times radius gives angular momentum. That leaves
n-squared over n. It then follows that the angular
momentum for any orbit n is just proportional to
n. Bohr argued then that the angular momentum
in any orbit n was nKh, where h is Planck’s
constant and K is some multiplying factor, the
same for all the orbits, which was later
determined to be 1/2π.
Bohr considered one revolution in orbit to be equivalent to one cycle in an os-
cillator (as in Planck’s initial measurements to deﬁne the constant h) which is
in turn similar to one cycle in a wave. The number of revolutions per second is
(or deﬁnes) what we call the frequency of that electron or that orbital. Spec-
ifying that the frequency of each orbit must be an integer multiple of Planck’s
constant h would only permit certain orbits, and would also ﬁx their size.
Bohr generalized Balmer’s formula for hydrogen by replacing denominator in
the term 1/4 with an explicit squared variable:
1
λ
= R
H

1
m
2

1
n
2

, m=1,2,3,4,5,..., and n > m
where is the wavelength of the light and R
H
is the Rydberg constant for hy-
drogen. This generalization predicted many more line spectra than had been
previously detected, and experimental conﬁrmation of this prediction followed.
It follows almost immediately that if λ is quantized as the formula above indi-
cates, then the momentum of any photon must be quantized. The frequency of
light, v, at a given wavelength λ is given by the relationship
v =
c
λ
and :λ =
c
v
and multiplying by h/h = 1,
λ =
hc
hv
, and we know that
E = hv so λ =
hc
E
which we can rewrite as:
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λ =
h
E/c
, and E/c = p (momentum) so
λ =
h
p
or p =
h
λ
Beginning with line spectra, physicists were able to deduce empirically the
rules according to which the orbits of electrons are determined and to discover
something vital about the momentums involved–that they are quantized.
Bohr next realized how the angular momentum of an electron in its orbit, L,
is quantized, i.e., he determined that there is some constant value K such that
when it is multiplied by Planck’s constant, h, it will yield the angular momen-
tum that pertains to the lowest orbital. When it is multiplied by successive
integers it will then give the values of other possible orbitals. He later deter-
mined that K = 1/2π . (See the detailed argument at
119
.)
Bohr’s theory represented electrons as orbiting the nucleus of an atom in a way
that was amazingly different from what we see in the world of our everyday
experience. He showed that when an electron changed orbits it did not move in
a continuous trajectory from one orbit around the nucleus to another. Instead,
it suddenly disappeared from its original orbit and reappeared in another or-
bit. Each distance at which an electron can orbit is a function of a quantized
amount of energy. The closer to the nucleus an electron orbits, the less en-
ergy it takes to remain in that orbital. Electrons that absorb a photon gain a
quantum of energy, so they jump to an orbit that is farther from the nucleus,
while electrons that emit a photon lose a quantum of energy and so jump to
an inner orbital. Electrons cannot gain or lose a fractional quantum of energy,
and so, it is argued, they cannot have a position that is at a fractional distance
between allowed orbitals. Allowed orbitals were designated as whole numbers
using the letter n with the innermost orbital being designated n = 1, the next
out being n = 2, and so on. Any orbital with the same value of n is called an
electron shell.
Bohr’s model of the atom was essentially two-dimensional because it depicts
electrons as particles in circular orbits. In this context, two-dimensional means
something that can be described on the surface of a plane. One-dimensional
means something that can be described by a line. Because circles can be de-
scribed by their radius, which is a line segment, sometimes Bohr’s model of the
atom is described as one-dimensional.
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Wave-particle duality
Figure 26 Probability distribution of the Bohr atom
Niels Bohr determined that it is impossible to describe light adequately by the
sole use of either the wave analogy or of the particle analogy. Therefore he
enunciated the principle of complementarity, which is a theory of pairs, such
as the pairing of wave and particle or the pairing of position and momentum.
Louis de Broglie worked out the mathematical consequences of these ﬁndings.
In quantum mechanics, it was found that electromagnetic waves could react in
certain experiments as though they were particles and in other experiments as
though they were waves. It was also discovered that subatomic particles could
sometimes be described as particles and sometimes as waves. This discovery
led to the theory of wave-particle duality by Louis-Victor de Broglie in 1924,
which states that subatomic entities have properties of both waves and particles
at the same time.
The Bohr atom model was enlarged upon with the discovery by de Broglie that
the electron has wave-like properties. In accord with de Broglie’s conclusions,
electrons can only appear under conditions that permit a standing wave. A
standing wave can be made if a string is ﬁxed on both ends and made to vibrate
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(as it would in a stringed instrument). That illustration shows that the only
standing waves that can occur are those with zero amplitude at the two ﬁxed
ends. The waves created by a stringed instrument appear to oscillate in place,
simply changing crest for trough in an up-and-down motion. A standing wave
can only be formed when the wave’s length ﬁts the available vibrating entity.
In other words, no partial fragments of wave crests or troughs are allowed. In
a round vibrating medium, the wave must be a continuous formation of crests
and troughs all around the circle. Each electron must be its own standing wave
in its own discrete orbital.
Development of modern quantum mechanics
Full quantum mechanical theory
Werner Heisenberg developed the full quantum mechanical theory in 1925 at
the young age of 23. Following his mentor, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg
began to work out a theory for the quantum behavior of electron orbitals. Be-
cause electrons could not be observed in their orbits, Heisenberg went about
creating a mathematical description of quantum mechanics built on what could
be observed, that is, the light emitted from atoms in their characteristic atomic
spectra. Heisenberg studied the electron orbital on the model of a charged ball
on a spring, an oscillator, whose motion is anharmonic (not quite regular). For
a picture of the behavior of a charged ball on a spring see: Vibrating Charges
120
.
Heisenberg ﬁrst explained this kind of observed motion in terms of the laws of
classical mechanics known to apply in the macro world, and then applied quan-
tum restrictions, discrete (non-continuous) properties, to the picture. Doing so
causes gaps to appear between the orbitals so that the mathematical descrip-
tion he formulated would then represent only the electron orbitals predicted
on the basis of the atomic spectra.
In 1925 Heisenberg published a paper (in Z. Phys. vol. 33, p. 879-893)
entitled "Quantum-mechanical re-interpretation of kinematic and mechanical
relations." So ended the old quantum theory and began the age of quantum
mechanics. Heisenberg’s paper gave few details that might aid readers in de-
termining how he actually contrived to get his results for the one-dimensional
models he used to form the hypothesis that proved so useful. In his paper,
Heisenberg proposed to "discard all hope of observing hitherto unobservable
quantities, such as the position and period of the electron," and restrict himself
strictly to actually observable quantities. He needed mathematical rules for
predicting the relations actually observed in nature, and the rules he produced
worked differently depending on the sequence in which they were applied. "It
120
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quickly became clear that the non-commutativity (in general) of kinematical
quantities in quantum theory was the really essential new technical idea in
the paper." (Aitchison, p. 5) But it was unclear why this non-commutativity
was essential. Could it have a physical interpretation? At least the matter was
made more palatable when Max Born discovered that the Heisenberg compu-
tational scheme could be put in a more familiar form present in elementary
mathematics.
The special type of multiplication that turned out to be required in his formula
was most elegantly described by using special arrays of numbers called matri-
ces. In ordinary situations it does not matter in which order the operations
involved in multiplication are performed, but matrix multiplication does not
commute. Essentially that means that it matters which order given operations
are performed in. Multiplying matrix A by matrix B is not the same as multiply-
ing matrix B by matrix A. In symbols, AxB is in general not equal to BxA. (The
important thing in quantum theory is that it turned out to matter whether one
measures velocity ﬁrst and then measures position, or vice-versa.) The matrix
convention turned out to be a convenient way of organizing information and
making clear the exact sequence in which calculations must be made.
In matrix mathematics sets of numbers are given in rows and columns, and
there are conventions for the way multiplication of matrices is performed. If
everybody arranged their matrices entirely as they pleased, then understand-
ing every new matrix calculation would involve learning the personal plan of
the person who made the matrix, so certain conventions have evolved. Re-
verse the order of the multiplication of the matrices and the numerical results
will go wrong. In other words, Matrix multiplication is noncommutative (to be
precise, reversing the order will in general cause the multiplication to become
undeﬁned except for the special case where the matrices are square). Because
these complex operations are, by analogy, called "multiplication," it is tempting
to imagine that it ought to be irrelevant whether one multiplies matrix A by
matrix B, or one multiplies matrix B by matrix A. Because of the complications
involved in the rules of matrix multiplication, in almost every case the ordinary
mathematical expectation of commutation does not hold. (Sometimes matrices
even anticommute.) In Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics, the sets of numbers are
inﬁnite, representing all possible positions of the electron, and those matrices
cannot be multiplied in reverse order and still produce the correct results. The
essential point is that Heisenberg ﬁrst learned what ways he had to operate on
measured quantities to be able to account for the line spectra that had been
observed. The operations to be performed seemed complicated and arbitrary,
but when specialists realized that what he was doing could be represented in a
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coherent and structurally straightforward way by the use of matrix mathemat-
ics it became much easier to get through the calculations successfully and also
lessened the appearance of arbitrariness of the process.
Heisenberg approached quantum mechanics from the historical perspective
that treated an electron as an oscillating charged particle. Bohr’s use of this
trons could only take on certain values. It followed from this interpretation
of the experimental results available and the quantum theory that Heisenberg
subsequently created that an electron could not be at any intermediate position
between two "permitted" orbits. Therefore electrons were described as "jump-
ing" from orbit to orbit. The idea that an electron might now be in one place
and an instant later be in some other place without having traveled between
the two points was one of the earliest indications of the "spookiness" of quan-
tum phenomena. Although the scale is smaller, the "jump" from orbit to orbit is
as strange and unexpected as would be a case in which someone stepped out
of a doorway in London onto the streets of Los Angeles.
Amplitudes of position and momentum that have a period of 2 π like a cycle in
a wave are called Fourier series variables. Heisenberg described the particle-
like properties of the electron in a wave as having position and momentum in
his matrix mechanics. When these amplitudes of position and momentum are
measured and multiplied together, they give intensity. However, he found that
when the position and momentum were multiplied together in that respective
order, and then the momentum and position were multiplied together in that
respective order, there was a difference or deviation in intensity between them
of h/2π. Heisenberg would not understand the reason for this deviation until
two more years had passed, but for the time being he satisﬁed himself with the
idea that the math worked and provided an exact description of the quantum
behavior of the electron.
Matrix mechanics was the ﬁrst complete deﬁnition of quantum mechanics, its
laws, and properties that described fully the behavior of the electron. It was
later extended to apply to all subatomic particles. Schrödinger subsequently
produced a quantum wave theory that was computationally easier and avoid-
ed some of the odd-sounding ideas like "quantum leaps" of an electron from
one orbit to another, and ﬁnally Dirac made the idea of non-commutativity
central to his own theory that proved the formulations of Heisenberg and of
Schrödinger to be special cases of his own.
Schrödinger wave equation
Because particles could be described as waves, later in 1925 Erwin Schrödinger
analyzed what an electron would look like as a wave around the nucleus of the
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atom. Using this model, he formulated his equation for particle waves. Rather
than explaining the atom by analogy to satellites in planetary orbits, he treated
everything as waves whereby each electron has its own unique wavefunction. A
wavefunction is described in Schrödinger’s equation by three properties (later
Paul Dirac added a fourth). The three properties were (1) an "orbital" designa-
tion, indicating whether the particle wave is one that is closer to the nucleus
with less energy or one that is further from the nucleus with more energy, (2)
the shape of the orbital, i.e. an indication that orbitals were not just spherical
but other shapes, and (3) the magnetic moment of the orbital, which is a man-
ifestation of force exerted by the charge of the electron as it rotates around the
nucleus.
These three properties were called collectively the wavefunction of the elec-
tron and are said to describe the quantum state of the electron. "Quantum
state" means the collective properties of the electron describing what we can
say about its condition at a given time. For the electron, the quantum state is
described by its wavefunction which is designated in physics by the Greek let-
ter ψ (psi, pronounced "sigh"). The three properties of Schrödinger’s equation
that describe the wavefunction of the electron and therefore also describe the
quantum state of the electron as described in the previous paragraph are each
called quantum numbers. The ﬁrst property which describes the orbital was
numbered according to Bohr’s model where n is the letter used to describe the
energy of each orbital. This is called the principal quantum number. The next
quantum number that describes the shape of the orbital is called the azimuthal
quantum number and it is represented by the letter l (lower case L). The shape
is caused by the angular momentum of the orbital. The rate of change of the
angular momentum of any system is equal to the resultant external torque
acting on that system. In other words, angular momentum represents the re-
sistance of a spinning object to speed up or slow down under the inﬂuence of
external force. The azimuthal quantum number "l" represents the orbital angu-
lar momentum of an electron around its nucleus. However, the shape of each
orbital has its own letter as well. So for the letter "l" there are other letters to
describe the shapes of "l". The ﬁrst shape is spherical and is described by the
letter s. The next shape is like a dumbbell and is described by the letter p. The
other shapes of orbitals become more complicated (see Atomic Orbitals
121
) and
are described by the letters d, f, and g. To see the shape of a carbon atom,
see Carbon atom
122
. The third quantum number of Schrödinger’s equation de-
scribes the magnetic moment of the electron and is designated by the letter m
http://orbitals.com/orb/
121
http://library.thinkquest.org/C0110925/carbon.htm
122
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and sometimes as the letter m with a subscript l because the magnetic moment
depends upon the second quantum number l.
In May 1926 Schrödinger published a proof that Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics
and Schrödinger’s wave mechanics gave equivalent results: mathematically
they were the same theory. Both men claimed to have the superior theory.
Heisenberg insisted on the existence of discontinuous quantum jumps in his
particle-like examination of the oscillation of a charged electron giving more
precise deﬁnitions and Schrödinger insisted that a theory based on continuous
wave-like properties which he called "matter-waves" was better.
Uncertainty Principle
Main article: →Uncertainty principle
In 1927, Heisenberg made a new discovery on the basis of his quantum theory
that had further practical consequences of this new way of looking at matter
and energy on the atomic scale. In Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics formula,
Heisenberg had encountered an error or difference of h/2π between position
and momentum. This represented a deviation of one radian of a cycle when
the particle-like aspects of the wave were examined. Heisenberg analyzed this
difference of one radian of a cycle and divided the difference or deviation of
one radian equally between the measurement of position and momentum. This
had the consequence of being able to describe the electron as a point particle
in the center of one cycle of a wave so that its position would have a standard
deviation of plus or minus one-half of one radian of the cycle (1/2 of h-bar). A
standard deviation can be either plus or minus the measurement i.e. it can add
to the measurement or subtract from it. In three-dimensions a standard devia-
tion is a displacement in any direction. What this means is that when a moving
particle is viewed as a wave it is less certain where the particle is. In fact, the
more certain the position of a particle is known, the less certain the momen-
tum is known. This conclusion came to be called "Heisenberg’s Indeterminacy
Principle," or Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. To understand the real idea
behind the uncertainty principle imagine a wave with its undulations, its crests
and troughs, moving along. A wave is also a moving stream of particles, so you
have to superimpose a stream of particles moving in a straight line along the
middle of the wave. An oscillating ball of charge creates a wave larger than
its size depending upon the length of its oscillation. Therefore, the energy of a
moving particle is as large as the cycle of the wave, but the particle itself has a
location. Because the particle and the wave are the same thing, then the parti-
cle is really located somewhere in the width of the wave. Its position could be
anywhere from the crest to the trough. The math for the uncertainty principle
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says that the measurement of uncertainty as to the position of a moving parti-
cle is one-half the width from the crest to the trough or one-half of one radian
of a cycle in a wave.
For moving particles in quantum mechanics, there is simply a certain degree
of exactness and precision that is missing. You can be precise when you take a
measurement of position and you can be precise when you take a measurement
of momentum, but there is an inverse imprecision when you try to measure
both at the same time as in the case of a moving particle like the electron. In
the most extreme case, absolute precision of one variable would entail absolute
imprecision regarding the other.
Heisenberg voice recording in an early lecture on the uncertainty principle pointing to a Bohr
model of the atom: "You can say, well, this orbit is really not a complete orbit. Actually at every
moment the electron has only an inactual position and an inactual velocity and between these
two inaccuracies there is an inverse correlation."
The consequences of the uncertainty principle were that the electron could no
longer be considered as in an exact location in its orbital. Rather the electron
had to be described by every point where the electron could possibly inhabit.
By creating points of probable location for the electron in its known orbital,
this created a cloud of points in a spherical shape for the orbital of a hydro-
gen atom which points gradually faded out nearer to the nucleus and farther
from the nucleus. This is called a probability distribution. Therefore, the Bohr
atom number n for each orbital became known as an n-sphere in the three
dimensional atom and was pictured as a probability cloud where the electron
surrounded the atom all at once.
This led to the further description by Heisenberg that if you were not making
measurements of the electron that it could not be described in one particular
location but was everywhere in the electron cloud at once. In other words,
quantum mechanics cannot give exact results, but only the probabilities for the
occurrence of a variety of possible results. Heisenberg went further and said
that the path of a moving particle only comes into existence once we observe
it. However strange and counter-intuitive this assertion may seem, quantum
mechanics does still tell us the location of the electron’s orbital, its probability
cloud. Heisenberg was speaking of the particle itself, not its orbital which is in
a known probability distribution.
It is important to note that although Heisenberg used inﬁnite sets of positions
for the electron in his matrices, this does not mean that the electron could be
anywhere in the universe. Rather there are several laws that show the electron
must be in one localized probability distribution. An electron is described by its
energy in Bohr’s atom which was carried over to matrix mechanics. Therefore,
an electron in a certain n-sphere had to be within a certain range from the
nucleus depending upon its energy. This restricts its location. Also, the number
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of places an electron can be is also called "the number of cells in its phase
space". The uncertainty principle set a lower limit to how ﬁnely one can chop
up classical phase space. Therefore, the number of places that an electron can
be in its orbital becomes ﬁnite due to the Uncertainty Principle. Therefore,
an electron’s location in an atom is deﬁned to be in its orbital and its orbital
although being a probability distribution does not extend out into the entire
universe, but stops at the nucleus and before the next n-sphere orbital begins
and the points of the distribution are ﬁnite due to the Uncertainty Principle
creating a lower limit.
Classical physics had shown since Newton that if you know the position of stars
and planets and details about their motions that you can predict where they
will be in the future. For subatomic particles, Heisenberg denied this notion
showing that due to the uncertainty principle one cannot know the precise
position and momentum of a particle at a given instant, so its future motion
cannot be determined, but only a range of possibilities for the future motion of
the particle can be described.
These notions arising from the uncertainty principle only arise at the subatomic
level and were a consequence of wave-particle duality. As counter-intuitive
as they may seem, quantum mechanical theory with its uncertainty principle
has been responsible for major improvements in the world’s technology from
computer components to ﬂuorescent lights to brain scanning techniques.
Wavefunction collapse
Schrödinger’s wave equation with its unique wavefunction for a single elec-
tron is also spread out in a probability distribution like Heisenberg’s quantized
particle-like electron. This is because a wave is naturally a widespread dis-
turbance and not a point particle. Therefore, Schrödinger’s wave equation
has the same predictions made by the uncertainty principle because uncertain-
ty of location is built into the deﬁnition of a widespread disturbance like a
wave. Uncertainty only needed to be deﬁned from Heisenberg’s matrix me-
chanics because the treatment was from the particle-like aspects of the elec-
tron. Schrödinger’s wave equation shows that the electron is in the probabil-
ity cloud at all times in its probability distribution as a wave that is spread
out. Max Born discovered in 1928 that when you compute the square of
Schrödinger’s wavefunction (psi-squared), you get the electron’s location as
a probability distribution. Therefore, if a measurement of the position of an
electron is made as an exact location in space instead of as a probability dis-
tribution, it ceases to have wave-like properties. Without wave-like properties,
none of Schrödinger’s deﬁnitions of the electron being wave-like make sense
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anymore. The measurement of the position of the particle nulliﬁes the wave-
like properties and Schrödinger’s equation then fails. Because the electron can
no longer be described by its wavefunction when measured due to it becoming
particle-like, this is called wavefunction collapse.
Eigenstates and eigenvalues
The term eigenstate is derived from the German/Dutch word "eigen," which
means "inherent" or "characteristic." The word eigenstate is descriptive of the
measured state of some object that possesses quantiﬁable characteristics such
as position, momentum, etc. The state being measured and described must
be an "observable" (i.e. something that can be experimentally measured either
directly or indirectly like position or momentum), and must have a deﬁnite
value. In the everyday world, it is natural and intuitive to think of everything
being in its own eigenstate. Everything appears to have a deﬁnite position, a
deﬁnite momentum, a deﬁnite value of measure, and a deﬁnite time of occur-
rence. However, quantum mechanics afﬁrms that it is impossible to pinpoint
exact values for the momentum of a certain particle like an electron in a given
location at a particular moment in time, or, alternatively, that it is impossible
to give an exact location for such an object when the momentum has been
measured. Due to the uncertainty principle, statements regarding both the po-
sition and momentum of particles can only be given in terms of a range of
probabilities, a "probability distribution". Eliminating uncertainty in one term
maximizes uncertainty in regard to the second parameter.
Therefore it became necessary to have a way to clearly formulate the difference
between the state of something that is uncertain in the way just described, such
as an electron in a probability cloud, and effectively contrast it to the state of
something that is not uncertain, something that has a deﬁnite value. When
something is in the condition of being deﬁnitely "pinned-down" in some regard,
it is said to possess an eigenstate. For example, if the position of an electron
has been made deﬁnite, it is said to have an eigenstate of position.
A deﬁnite value, such as the position of an electron that has been successfully
located, is called the eigenvalue of the eigenstate of position. The German
word "eigen" was ﬁrst used in this context by the mathematician David Hilbert
in 1904. Schrödinger’s wave equation gives wavefunction solutions, mean-
ing the possibilities where the electron might be, just as does Heisenberg’s
probability distribution. As stated above, when a wavefunction collapse occurs
because something has been done to locate the position of an electron, the
electron’s state becomes an eigenstate of position, meaning that the position
has a known value.
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The Pauli Exclusion Principle
There was a doublet, meaning a pair of lines, in the spectrum of a hydrogen
atom that was unaccounted for. This meant that there was more energy in the
electron orbital from magnetic moment than had previously been described.
Wolfgang Pauli when studying alkali metals had introduced what he called a
"two-valued quantum degree of freedom" associated with the electron in the
outermost shell. "Degrees of freedom" simply means the number of possible in-
dependent ways a particle may move. This led to the Pauli Exclusion Principle
that predicted that no more than two electrons can inhabit the same orbital. It
also predicted that any neutron, electron, or proton (types of fermions) could
not exist in the same quantum state. We learned in Schrödinger’s equation that
there were three quantum states of the electron, but if two electrons could be
in the same orbital, there had to be another quantum number to distinguish
those two electrons from each other and to describe the extra magnetic mo-
ment shown in the atomic spectrum. In early 1925, the young physicist Ralph
Kronig had introduced a theory to Pauli that the electron rotates in space in
the same way that the earth rotates on its axis. This would account for the
missing magnetic moment and allow for two electrons in the same orbital to
be different if their spin was in opposite directions to each other thus satisfying
the Exclusion Principle.
The Pauli Exclusion Principle states that no electron (or other fermion) can be
in the same quantum state as another. This has an effect on the probability dis-
tribution of the electron further deﬁning the number of cells in its phase space.
The minimum limit is the limit of the Uncertainty Principle and the Exclusion
Principle states that no two electrons can be within this same minimum space
deﬁned by the Uncertainty Principle.
Therefore, a single electron in its orbital when deﬁned by its quantum state
which is its wavefunction which is deﬁned by its four quantum numbers cannot
have the same four quantum numbers of another electron in that atom. Where
two electrons are in the same n-sphere and therefore share the same principal
quantum number, they must then have some other unique quantum number of
shape l, magnetic moment m or spin s. Even in the formation of degenerate
gases where the electrons are not in an orbital around the nucleus of an atom,
they must still follow the Pauli Exclusion Principle when in a conﬁned space.
Dirac wave equation
In 1928, Paul Dirac worked out a variation of Schrödinger’s equation that ac-
counted for a fourth property of the electron in its orbital. Paul Dirac intro-
duced the fourth quantum number called the spin quantum number designated
by the letter s to the new Dirac equation of the wavefunction of the electron. In
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1930, Dirac combined Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics with Schrödinger’s wave
mechanics into a single quantum mechanical representation in his Principles of
Quantum Mechanics. The quantum picture of the electron was now complete.
All of the above development of quantum theory was based mainly on the
atomic spectrum of the hydrogen atom. This is due to the fact that each atomof
each element produces a unique pattern of spectral lines when light from each
different kind of element is passed through a prism. Scientists could not study
the electron and nucleus of the atom itself because they cannot be seen. Even
today with High-resolution Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscopes we can
only get images of the atom as a blurry fuzzball. However, the spectral lines of
the atom reveal the orbits of electrons and the energy that can be expected. It
was basically this study of the spectroscopic analysis of ﬁrst the hydrogen atom
and then the helium atom that led to quantum theory. Therefore, the mathe-
matical formula were made to ﬁt the picture of the atomic spectrum. That is
why quantum mechanics is sometimes referred to as a form of mathematical
physics.
Quantum entanglement
Albert Einstein rejected Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle insofar as it seemed
to imply more than a necessary limitation on human ability to actually know
what occurs in the quantum realm. In a letter to Max Born in 1926, Ein-
stein claimed that God "does not play dice." Heisenberg’s quantum mechanics,
based on Bohr’s initial explanation, became known as the Copenhagen Inter-
pretation of quantum mechanics. Both Bohr and Einstein spent many years
defending and attacking this interpretation. After the 1930 Solvay conference,
Einstein never again challenged the Copenhagen interpretation on technical
points, but did not cease a philosophical attack on the interpretation, on the
grounds of realism and locality. Einstein, in trying to show that it was not a
complete theory, recognized that the theory predicted that two or more parti-
cles which have interacted in the past exhibit surprisingly strong correlations
when various measurements are made on them. Einstein called this "spooky
action at a distance". In 1935, Schrödinger published a paper explaining the
1935). Einstein showed that the Copenhagen Interpretation predicted quan-
tum entanglement which he was trying to prove was incorrect in that it would
defy the law of physics that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light.
Quantum entanglement means that when there is a change in one particle at a
distance from another particle then the other particle automatically changes to
counter-balance the system. In quantum entanglement, the act of measuring
one entangled particle deﬁnes its properties and seems to inﬂuence the proper-
ties of its partner or partners instantaneously, no matter how far apart they are.
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Because the two particles are in an entangled state, changes to the one cause
instantaneous effects on the other. Einstein had calculated that quantum theo-
ry would predict this, he saw it as a ﬂaw and therefore challenged it. However,
instead of showing a weakness in quantum mechanics, this forced quantum
mechanics to acknowledge that quantum entanglement did in fact exist and it
became another foundation theory of quantum mechanics. The 1935 paper is
currently Einstein’s most cited publication in physics journals.
Bohr’s original response to Einstein was that the particles were in a system.
However, Einstein’s challenge led to decades of substantial research into this
quantum mechanical phenomenon of quantum entanglement. This research
clariﬁed by Yanhua Shih points out that the two entangled particles can be
viewed as somehow not separate, which removes the locality objection. This
means that no matter the distance between the entangled particles, they re-
main in the same quantum state so that one particle is not sending information
to another particle faster than the speed of light, but rather a change to one
particle is a change to the entire system or quantum state of the entangled
particles and therefore changes the state of the system without information
transference.
Interpretations
As a system becomes larger or more massive (action » h ) the classical picture
tends to emerge, with some exceptions, such as superﬂuidity. The emergence
of behaviour as we scale up that matches our classical intuition is called the
correspondence principle and is based on Ehrenfest’s theorem. This why we
can usually ignore quantum mechanics when dealing with everyday objects.
Even so, trying to make sense of quantum theory is an ongoing process which
has spawned a number of interpretations of quantum theory, ranging from the
conventional Copenhagen Interpretation to hidden variables & many worlds.
There seems to be no end in sight to the philosophical musings on the sub-
ject; however the empirical or technical success of the theory is unrivalled; all
modern fundamental physical theories are quantum theories.
• Atom
• →Quantum mechanics
• →Uncertainty principle
• Correspondence principle
• Quantum number
• Principal quantum number
• Azimuthal quantum number
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• Magnetic quantum number
• Spin quantum number
• Planck’s constant
• Standard Model
• →Matrix mechanics
• Schrödinger’s equation
• →Quantum mechanics, philosophy and controversy
• →Interpretation of quantum mechanics
References
• Mara Beller, Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution. University of
Chicago Press, Chicago, 2001.
• Bohr, Niels (1958). Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. John Wiley
and Sons. ISBN 000000000X.
• De Broglie, Louis. The Revolution in Physics, Noonday Press, 1953.
• Feynman, Richard P., QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, Prince-
ton University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-691-08388-6
• Feigl, Herbert and May Brodbeck, Readings in the Philosophy of Science,
Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1953.
• Einstein, Albert. Essays in Science, Philosophical Library, 1934.
• Prof. Michael Fowler, The Bohr Atom, A series of lectures, 1999, University
of Virginia.
• Heisenberg, Werner. Physics and Philosophy, Harper and Brothers, 1958.
• S Lakshmibala, "Heisenberg, Matrix Mechanics and the Uncertainty Princi-
ple", Resonance, Journal of Science Education, Volume 9, Number 8, August
2004.
• Richard L. Liboff, Introductory Quantum Mechanics, 2nd ed. 1992.
• Lindsay, Robert Bruce and Henry Margenau, Foundations of Physics, Dover,
1936.
• McEnvoy, J.P., and Zarate, Oscar. Introducing Quantum Theory, ISBN 1-
84046-577-9
• Carl Rod Nave, Hyperphysics-Quantum Physics, Department of Physics and
Astronomy, Georgia State University, CD 2005.
• F. David Peat, "From Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and
Ideas in the Twenty-First Century", Joseph Henry Press, 2002.
• Reichenbach, Hans, Philosophic Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Uni-
versity of California Press, 1944.
• Schilpp, Paul Arthur, Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, Tudor Publish-
ing Commpany, 1949.
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• Sears, Francis Weston, Optics, Addison-Wesley, 1949.
• Dr. Kenjiro Takada, Emeritus professor of Kyushu University, Microscop-
ic World-Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Internet seminar, http:
//www2.kutl.kyushu-u.ac.jp/seminar/MicroWorld1_E/MicroWorld_1_E.
html.
• "Uncertainty Prirnciple" Werner Heisenberg actual voice recording, http:
//www.thebigview.com/spacetime/index.html.
• J.H. Van Vleck, The Correspondence Principle in the Statistical Interpreta-
tion of Quantum Mechanics, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., Vol. 14, p.179, 1928.
• Carl Wieman and Katherine Perkins, "Transforming Physics Education",
Physics Today, November 2005,
Notes
↑ Events leading up to the December 1900 publication of Planck’s quantum
hypothesis are related by Werner Heisenberg in his Physics and Philosophy,
pp. 30f. Heisenberg believes that Planck was clearly aware that his ideas
would have very far-reaching consequences.
↑ It is remarkable that Einstein made signiﬁcant contributions to quantum
mechanics at the same time he was revolutionizing physics with his relativity
theories. The far-reaching nature of his contributions to quantum mechanics is
noted by Richard Feynman in QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, p.
112: "[The] phenomenon of ’stimulated emission’ was discovered by Einstein
when he launched the quantum theory proposing the photon model of light.
Lasers work on the basis of this phenomenon."
↑ Albert Einstein characterized Niels Bohr’s contributions to the quantum rev-
olution by saying that history "will have to connect one of the most important
advances ever made in our knowledge of the nature of the atom with the name
of Niels Bohr." He added, "The boldly selected hypothetical basis of his specu-
lations soon became a mainstay for the physics of the atom....The theory of the
Röntgen spectra of the visible spectra, and the periodic system of the elements
is primarily based on the ideas of Bohr." See Einstein’s Essays in Science, p. 46f.
↑ Niels Bohr records the contributions of Louis de Broglie toward "a more
comprehensive quantum theory" that would take into account that "the wave-
corpuscle duality was not conﬁned to the properties of radiation, but was
equally unavoidable in accounting for the behaviour of material particles." See
his Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge, p. 37 et passim.
↑ See Max Born, Atomic Physics, especially p. 90, where he says of quantum
mechanics that it is "in the nature of the case indeterministic, and therefore the
affair of statistics."
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↑ A two-page account of the highlights of Dirac’s work, including his specu-
lation that a positron would be found, appears in an article on "The Ultimate
Particles" by George W. Gray, in The Scientiﬁc American Reader, p. 100f. (Si-
mon and Schuster, 1953).
↑ Werner Heisenberg is well known for his "indeterminancy principle" or "un-
certainty principle."
↑ Wolfgang Pauli’s name is most closely associated with what is known as the
"Pauli Exclusion Principle," according to which, it is impossible, in the words
of Louis de Broglie, "for two electrons to have rigorously identical quantized
states, i.e., deﬁned by the same quantum numbers.... Translated into wave
mechanics, Pauli’s principle is expressed as follows: ’for electrons, the only
states realized in nature are the antisymmetric states.’" (See de Broglie’s The
Revolution in Physics, p. 267)
↑ Schrödinger’s cat was originally a character in an example intended to be
critical of an apparent difﬁculty in Heisenberg’s exposition of his principle of
indeterminancy. The story has been taken somewhat out of context and the cat
has assumed a minor literary life of its own. Schrödinger’s other contributions
to understanding quantum mechanics and to making the mathematics easier
to handle were, of course, much more important. The translation of his 1935
essay that includes the story is to be found at http://www.qedcorp.com/pcr
/pcr/qcat.html. Schrödinger describes a situation in which a cat will live or die
depending on whether a quantum mechanically probabalistic radioactive emis-
sion event occurs within the hour the cat is conﬁned to a box. To Heisenberg’s
interpretation of quantum mechanics he objects: "If one has left this entire sys-
tem to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no
atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by
having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared
out in equal parts."
↑ Huygens’ principle is explained in Optics, by Francis Weston Sears, Addison-
Wesley, 1949, pp. 5f.
↑ Sears, Optics, p. 2.
↑ Sears, Optics, p. 2f.
↑ Lindsay and Margenau, Foundations of Physics, p. 388¦¦
↑ Sears, Mechanics, Wave Motion, and Heat, p. 537.
↑ See Sears, Optics, pp. 282-293.
↑ Planck is quoted by Louis de Broglie, The Revolution in Physics, p. 106. The
material in this paragraph summarizes de Broglie’s account given on pages 105
to 108. (Noonday Press, New York, 1953)
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↑ A. Einstein, Ann. d. Phys., 17, 132, (1905).
↑ J. P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate, Introducing Quantum Theory, p. 114 and p.
118.
↑ A. P. French and Edwin F. Taylor, An Introduction to Quantum Physics,, p.
18.
↑ For the length of time involved, see George Gamow’s One, Two,
Three...Inﬁnity, p. 140.
↑ A. P. French and Edwin F. Taylor, An Introduction to Quantum Physics,, p.
23.
↑ A very clear explanation of interference in thin ﬁlms may be found in Sears,
op. cit., p. 203ff.
↑ See Linus Pauling, The Nature of the Chemical Bond, p. 35f. He explains
that a circular electron orbit in the case of the ﬁrst orbital of the hydrogen
atom would predict orbital angular momentum for the atom, which it does not
in fact have. He therefore depicts the electron as moving from the nucleus and
back in a straight line.
↑ The German and English forms of this quotation appear in slightly dif-
ferent versions from place to place, probably because Einstein repeated his
original remark several time. The earliest German version can be found at
http://www.goettingen.de/kultur/gott_wuerfelt_nicht.htm. In it, Einstein ﬁrst
speaks of God and then says, "And this one does not (dice =) play dice."
↑ Hans Reichenback works out the mathematics in one sample case of quantum
entanglement. See his Philosophic Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, p. 170
ff.
↑ Yanhua H. Shih (2001), "Quantum Entanglement and Quantum Teleporta-
tion" Annals of Physics 10 (2001) 1-2 pp.45-61 as referenced by Amir Aczel
(2003), Entanglement p.252 ISBN 0-452-28457-0
• Development of Current Atomic Theory
123
• Quantum Mechanics
124
• Planck’s original paper on Planck’s constant
125
http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/topicreview/bp/ch6/bohr.html
123
http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p07.htm
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http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Planck-1901/Planck-1901.html
125
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Josephson effect
• Everything you wanted to know about the quantum world
126
— Provided
by New Scientist.
• Quantum Articles
127
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_quantum_mechanics
Principal Authors: Voyajer, Patrick0Moran, Paulc1001, Ancheta Wis, David R. Ingham
Josephson effect
The Josephson effect is a term given to the phenomenon of current ﬂow
across two superconductors separated by a very thin insulating barrier.
This arrangement—two superconductors linked by a non-conducting oxide
barrier—is known as a Josephson junction; the current that crosses the barri-
er is the Josephson current. The terms are named eponymously after British
physicist Brian David Josephson, who predicted the existence of the effect in
1962
128
. It has important applications in quantum-mechanical circuits.
The effect
The basic equations
129
governing the dynamics of the Josephson effect are
U(t) =

2e
∂φ
∂t
, I(t) = I
c
sin(φ(t))
where U(t) and I(t) are the voltage and current across the Josephson junction,
φ(t) is the phase difference between the wave functions in the two supercon-
ductors comprising the junction, and I
c
is a constant, the critical current of the
junction. The critical current is an important phenomenological parameter of
the device that can be affected by temperature as well as by an applied mag-
netic ﬁeld. The physical constant,
h
2e
is the magnetic ﬂux quantum, the inverse
of which is the Josephson constant.
The three main effects predicted by Josephson follow from these relations:
http://www.newscientist.com/channel/fundamentals/quantum-world
126
http://www.thequantumsite.com/
127
B. D. Josephson. The discovery of tunnelling supercurrents(http://prola.aps.org/abstract/RMP/v46
128
/i2/p251_1). Rev. Mod. Phys. 1974; 46(2): 251-254.
Barone A, Paterno G. Physics and Applications of the Josephson Effect. New York: John Wiley & Sons;
129
1982.
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Josephson effect
• The DC Josephson effect. This refers to the phenomenon of a direct cur-
rent crossing the insulator in the absence of any external electromagnetic
ﬁeld, owing to tunneling. This DC Josephson current is proportional to
the sine of the phase difference across the insulator, and may take values
between −I
c
and I
c
.
• The AC Josephson effect. With a ﬁxed voltage U
DC
across the junctions,
the phase will vary linearly with time and the current will be an AC current
with amplitude I
c
and frequency
2e
h
U
DC
. This means a Josephson junction
can act as a perfect voltage-to-frequency converter.
• The inverse AC Josephson effect. If the phase takes the form φ(t) =
φ
0
+nωt +a sin(ωt), the voltage and current will be
• :U(t) =

2e
ω(n + a cos(ωt)), I(t) = I
c
¸

m=−∞
J
n
(a) sin(φ
0
+ (n + m)ωt)
The DC components will then be
• :U
DC
= n

2e
ω, I(t) = I
c
J
−n
(a) sin φ
0
Hence, for distinct DC voltages,
the junction may carry a DC current and the junction acts like a perfect
frequency-to-voltage converter.
The device
The Josephson junction ﬁnds numerous important applications. Its proper-
ties are exploited in →SQUIDs used to measure magnetic ﬂux at the quantum
level. This ﬁnds application in medicine for measurement of small currents
in the brain and the heart. A version using different superﬂuids can be used
as a quantum gyroscope. Josephson junctions are also used in Rapid Single
Flux Quantum integrated circuits, and some other of their properties can be
exploited to build photon or particle detectors. Josephson junctions are used
as microwave detectors in the giga- and terahertz range. When assembled in
two dimensional arrays, "testboards" for the physical realization of mathemat-
ical model systems are created. When assembled in linear arrays (connected
in series) the inverse Josephson effect is used as a representation of the SI unit
volt. It is also speculated that Josephson junctions may allow the realisation of
qubits, the key elements of a future quantum computer.
There are two general types of Josephson junctions: overdamped and under-
damped. In overdamped junctions, the barrier is conducting (ie. it is a normal
metal or superconductor bridge). The effects of the junction’s internal electri-
cal resistance will be large compared to its small capacitance. An overdamped
junction will quickly reach a unique equilibrium state for any given set of con-
ditions.
The barrier of an underdamped junction is an insulator. The effects of the
junction’s internal resistance will be minimal. Underdamped junctions do not
have unique equilibrium states, but are hysteretic.
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Josephson effect
Figure 27 The current - voltage curve of a Josephson junction at low temperature. The ver-
tical portions (zero voltage) of the curve represent Cooper pair tunnelling. There is a small
magnetic ﬁeld applied, so that the maximum Josephson current is severely reduced. Hysteresis
is clearly visible around 100 microvolts. The portion of the curve between 100 and 300 micro-
volts is current independent, and is the regime where the device can be used as a detector.
A Josephson junction can be transformed into the so-called Giaever tunneling
junction by the application of a small, well deﬁned magnetic ﬁeld. In such
a situation, the new device is called a superconducting tunneling junction
(STJ)
130
and is used as a very sensitive photon detector throughout a wide
range of the spectrum, from infrared to hard x-ray. Each photon breaks up
a number of Cooper pairs. This number depends on the ratio of the photon
energy to approximately twice the value of the gap parameter of the material of
the junction. The detector can be operated as a photon-counting spectrometer,
with a spectral resolution limited by the statistical ﬂuctuations in the number of
released charges. The detector has to be cooled to extremely low temperature,
typically below 1 kelvin, to distinguish the signals generated by the detector
from the thermal noise. Small arrays of STJs have demonstrated their potential
130
(STJ)(http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=33525). Last updated: Febru-
ary 17 2005.
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Klein-Gordon equation
as spectro-photometers and could further be used in astronomy. They are also
used to perform energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and in principle they
could be used as elements in infrared imaging devices as well.
131
• Quantum gyroscope
• Quantum computer
References
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephson_effect
Principal Authors: Filou, Encephalon, Danko Georgiev MD, Rorro, Marudubshinki
Klein-Gordon equation
The Klein-Gordon equation (Klein-Fock-Gordon equation or sometimes
Klein-Gordon-Fock equation) is the relativistic version of the →Schrödinger
equation. It was named after Oskar Klein and Walter Gordon.
Details
The Schrödinger equation for a free particle is
p
2
2m
ψ = i

∂t
ψ
where
p = −i∇ is the momentum operator (∇ being the del operator).
The Schrödinger equation suffers from not being relativistically covariant,
meaning it does not take into account Einstein’s special relativity.
It is natural to try to use the identity from special relativity
E =

p
2
c
2
+m
2
c
4
for the energy; then, just inserting the quantum mechanical momentum oper-
ator, yields the equation
Enss C (ed). Cryogenic Particle Detection. Topics in Applied Physics Vol. 99. Springer; 2005. ISBN
131
3-540-20113-0
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Klein-Gordon equation

(−i∇)
2
c
2
+m
2
c
4
ψ = i

∂t
ψ.
This, however, is a cumbersome expression to work with because of the square
root. In addition, this equation, as it stands, is nonlocal.
Klein and Gordon instead worked with the more general square of this equa-
tion (the Klein-Gordon equation for a free particle), which in covariant notation
(
2

2
)ψ = 0,
where
µ =
mc

and

2
=
1
c
2

2
∂t
2
−∇
2
.
This operator is called the d’Alembert operator. Today this form is interpreted
as the relativistic ﬁeld equation for a scalar (i.e. spin-0) particle.
The Klein-Gordon equation was allegedly ﬁrst found by Schrödinger, before
he made the discovery of the equation that now bears his name. He reject-
ed it because he couldn’t make it include the spin of the electron. The way
Schrödinger found his equation was by making simpliﬁcations in the Klein-
Gordon equation.
In 1926, soon after the Schrödinger equation was introduced, Fock wrote an
article about its generalization for the case of magnetic ﬁelds, where forces
were dependent on velocity, and independently derived this equation. Both
Klein and Fock used Kaluza and Klein’s method. Fock also determined the
gauge theory for the wave equation. The Klein-Gordon equation for a free
particle has a simple plane wave solution.
Relativistic free particle solution
The Klein-Gordon equation for a free particle can be written as

2
ψ −
1
c
2

2
∂t
2
ψ =
m
2
c
2

2
ψ
with the same solution as in the non-relativistic case:
ψ(r, t) = e
i(kr−ωt)
except with the constraint
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Klein-Gordon equation
−k
2
+
ω
2
c
2
=
m
2
c
2

2
.
Just as with the non-relativistic particle, we have for energy and momentum:
'p` = 'ψ[ −i∇[ψ` = k,
'E` = 'ψ[i

∂t
[ψ` = ω.
Except that now when we solve for k and ω and substitute into the constraint
equation, we recover the relationship between energy and momentum for rel-
ativistic massive particles:
'E`
2
= m
2
c
4
+'p`
2
c
2
.
For massless particles, we may set m = 0 in the above equations. We then
recover the relationship between energy and momentum for massless particles:
'E` = '[p[`c.
• Dirac equation
• Oskar Klein
• →Quantum ﬁeld theory
References
ISBN 0201067102.
• Linear Klein-Gordon Equation
132
at EqWorld: The World of Mathematical
Equations.
• Nonlinear Klein-Gordon Equation
133
at EqWorld: The World of Mathemati-
cal Equations.
• generalizing the Klein-Gordon equation
134
to include a generalized space
http://eqworld.ipmnet.ru/en/solutions/lpde/lpde203.pdf
132
http://eqworld.ipmnet.ru/en/solutions/npde/npde2107.pdf
133
http://www.public.asu.edu/~kevinlg/i256/grand_paper.pdf
134
D
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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein-Gordon_equation
Principal Authors: PAR, Charles Matthews, Kurtan, Light current, MarSch, Cyp, Phys
In linear algebra (and its application to quantum mechanics), a raising or
lowering operator (collectively known as ladder operators) is an operator
that increases or decreases the eigenvalue of another operator. In quantum
mechanics, the raising operator is sometimes called the creation operator, and
the lowering operator the annihilation operator. Well-known applications of
ladder operators in quantum mechanics are in the formalisms of the quantum
harmonic oscillator and angular momentum.
Suppose that two operators X and N have the commutation relation
[N, X] = cX
for some scalar c. Then the operator X will act in such a way as to shift the
eigenvalue of an eigenstate of N by c:
In other words, if [n` is an eigenstate of N with eigenvalue n then X[n` is an
eigenstate of N with eigenvalue n + c. A raising operator for N is an operator
X for which c is real and positive and a lowering operator is one for which c is
real and negative.
If N is a Hermitian operator then c must be real and the Hermitian adjoint of
X obeys the commutation relation:
[N, X

] = −cX

.
In particular, if X is a lowering operator for N then X

is a raising operator for
N (and vice-versa).
• →Creation and annihilation operators
Principal Authors: Fropuff, Aza, Yevgeny Kats, RedWordSmith
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Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
In the classical mechanics of a particle moving under a central force, the
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector is deﬁned as:
A = p L −mk
r
r
where:
• r is the position vector of the particle of mass m,
• L is the angular momentum,
• k is a parameter that describes strength of the central force
The Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector is constant when only inverse-square central
forces such as gravity or electrostatics act on the particle. In quantum mechan-
ics, the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector can be used to derive the spectrum of the
hydrogen atom (without using the →Schrödinger equation).
The conservation of both the angular momentum vector and the Laplace-
Runge-Lenz vector results from a special symmetry of the system when only
inverse-square central forces act on the particle. Other central forces reduce
the system to a simpler rotational symmetry that conserves angular momentum
but not the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector.
Conservation of the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
By assumption, the force F acting on the particle is a central force
F =
dp
dt
= f(r)
r
r
for some function f(r) of the radius r. The angular momentum L ≡ r p is
conserved under central forces, i.e.,
d
dt
L = 0. Therefore,
d
dt
(p L) =
dp
dt
L = f(r)
r
r
r m
dr
dt
= f(r)
m
r

r

r
dr
dt

−r
2 dr
dt

where the momentum p ≡ m
dr
dt
as usual and where we have simpliﬁed the
triple cross product using Lagrange’s formula
r r
dr
dt
= r

r
dr
dt

−r
2 dr
dt
Exploiting the identity
d
dt
(r r) = 2r
dr
dt
=
d
dt

r
2

= 2r
dr
dt
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261
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
we arrive at
d
dt
(p L) = −mf(r)r
2

1
r
dr
dt

r
r
2
dr
dt

= −mf(r)r
2 d
dt

r
r

In the special case of an inverse-square force f(r) =
−k
r
2
, this becomes
d
dt
(p L) = mk
d
dt

r
r

=
d
dt

mkr
r

Therefore, A is conserved for inverse-square forces
d
dt
A ≡
d
dt
(p L) −
d
dt

mkr
r

= 0
Analogous conserved quantities can be deﬁned for other central forces, but
none are as simple as the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector A.
Properties of the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
By its deﬁnition, A is perpendicular to L, i.e., A L = 0. (Recall that r L = 0,
because L ≡ r p).
The Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector can be used to derive the elliptical orbits of the
Kepler problem
A r ≡ Ar cos θ = r (p L) −mkr
where θ is the angle between the position and Laplace-Runge-Lenz vectors.
Permuting the scalar triple product r(p L) = L(r p) = L
2
and rearranging
yields the formula for an ellipse
1
r
=
mk
L
2

1 +
A
mk
cos θ

The vector points toward the pericenter, from the geometric center of the or-
bit to the attracting, central body. The magnitude for a periodic orbit with
eccentricity e is given by:
[A[ = mke
The seven quantities A, L and E are related by the equations A L = 0 and
A
2
= m
2
k
2
+ 2mEL
2
giving ﬁve independent constants of motion. This is consistent with the six
degrees of freedom (the particle’s initial position and velocity vectors, each
with three components) that specify the orbit of the particle, after removing
the initial time (which is not determined by A, L and E).
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Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
All central forces conserve angular momentum, but the Laplace-Runge-Lenz
vector is conserved only for inverse-square central forces. As shown by
Bertrand’s theorem, inverse-square forces can produce closed, elliptical orbits;
the constancy of the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector corresponds to the constancy
of the axes of the ellipse. The introduction of even small deviations from the
inverse-square force causes the axes of the ellipse to precess, i.e., to vary with
time.
History of the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
Laplace calculated the components of the vector A explicitly and showed that it
was conserved in his Traite de Mecanique Celeste (1799). It was rediscovered
independently by Hamilton in 1845. A vector derivation was given in 1900
by Gibbs (the inventor of vectors). This derivation was repeated by Runge
in a popular German textbook on vectors, which was referenced by Lenz in a
paper on the perturbed hydrogen atom (1924). Thus, it is also known as the
Runge-Lenz vector.
Poisson brackets of the angular momentum and
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
The Poisson brackets of the three components of the angular momentumvector,
L
i
, i = 1, 2, 3 are

L
i
, L
j

=
ijk
L
k
where
ijk
is the fully antisymmetric tensor (i.e., the Levi-Civita symbol). The
Poisson brackets are represented here with square brackets, both for consis-
tency with the references below and because they will be interpreted as Lie
brackets in the next section.
Deﬁning a reduced Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector D with the same units as angu-
lar momentum
D ≡
A

2m[E[
the Poisson brackets of D with the angular momentum vector L can be written
in a similar form

D
i
, L
j

=
ijk
D
k
The Poisson brackets of the reduced Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector D with itself
depend on whether the total energy E is negative (closed, elliptical orbits) or
D
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263
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
positive (open, hyperbolic orbits). For negative energies, the Poisson brackets
are

D
i
, D
j

=
ijk
L
k
whereas, for positive energy, the Poisson brackets have the opposite sign

D
i
, D
j

= −
ijk
L
k
The Casimir invariants for negative energies are deﬁned
C
1
≡ D D +L L
C
2
≡ D L
which have zero Poisson brackets with all components of D and L
[C
1
, L
i
] = [C
1
, D
i
] = [C
2
, L
i
] = [C
2
, D
i
] = 0
For the Kepler problem, C
2
= 0, since the two vectors are perpendicular.
Quantum mechanics and the Laplace-Runge-Lenz
vector
A simple prescription for quantizing a classical systemis to set the commutation
relations of the quantum mechanical operators equal to the Poisson bracket of
the corresponding classical variables, multiplied by i.
By carrying out this quantization and calculating the eigenvalues of the C
1
Casimir operator for the Kepler problem, Wolfgang Pauli was able to derive the
spectrum of hydrogen-like atoms. Speciﬁcally, he was able to show that the
energy levels vary as 1/n
2
where n is an integer. This elegant derivation was
obtained prior to the development of wave mechanics; see the Bohm reference
below for details.
Symmetry and the classical Laplace-Runge-Lenz
vector
Noether’s theorem states that every conserved quantity in a physical system
corresponds to a continuous symmetry of the system, and vice versa. For gen-
eral central forces, one of the conserved quantities is the angular momentum,
for which the corresponding Noether symmetry is the rotation group SO(3).
For the special case of inverse-square force laws, a greater symmetry is pos-
sible, which results in the conservation of both the angular momentum and
D
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264
Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector
the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector. For negative energies, the symmetry is that of
four-dimensional rotation group SO(4) which conserves the length of a four-
dimensional vector
[e[
2
= e
2
1
+e
2
2
+e
2
3
+e
2
4
By contrast, for positive energies, the symmetry is that of the group of Lorentz
transformations SO(3,1), which conserves the Minkowski length of a 4-vector
ds
2
= e
2
1
+e
2
2
+e
2
3
−e
2
4
These symmetries may be identiﬁed as follows. The Poisson brackets above
can be interpreted as Lie brackets that deﬁne a Lie algebra that corresponds
to a symmetry group. For negative energies, that group is SO(4) whereas, for
positive energies, that group is SO(3,1).
• Astrodynamics: Orbit, Eccentricity vector, Orbital elements
• →Quantum mechanics
References
• Goldstein H. (1980) Classical Mechanics, 2nd ed., Addison Wesley, pp. 102-
105, 421-422.
• Landau LD and Lifshitz EM (1976) Mechanics, 3rd. ed., Pergamon Press.
ISBN 0080210228 (hardcover) and ISBN 0080291414 (softcover).
• Goldstein H. (1975) "Prehistory of the Runge-Lenz vector", Am. J. Phys.,
43, 735-738.
• Goldstein H. (1976) "More on the prehistory of the Runge-Lenz vector", Am.
J. Phys., 44, 1123-1124.
• Lenz W. (1924) "Über den Bewegungsverlauf und Quantenzustaende der
gestörten Keplerbewegung", Z. Phys., 24, 197-207.
• Pauli W., Jr. (1926) "Über das Wasserstoffspektrum vom Standpunkt der
neuen Quantenmechanik", Z. Phys., 36, 336–363.
• Bohm A. (1986) Quantum Mechanics: Foundations and Applications, 2nd
ed., Springer Verlag, pp. 208-222.
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Large Area Neutron Detector
• John Baez, Mysteries of the gravitational 2-body problem
135
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace-Runge-Lenz_vector
Principal Authors: WillowW, 0.39, AugPi, Charles Matthews, Agentsoo
Large Area Neutron Detector
The Large Area Neutron Detector is also know as LAND. It is the name of a
detector for neutrons installed at GSI (Institute for Heavy Ion Research) situat-
ed in Arheilgen close to the city of Darmstadt, Germany.
The detector is built of 10 planes with 20 paddles each. The paddles have
a size of 10x10x200cm
3
and are composed of a converter (iron) and plastic
scintillator material. Within the paddle the 5mm thick converters serve as a
dense target for neutrons (uncharged particles) leading to processes that eject
charged particles through the process of hadronic showers. The interspersed
5mm plastic scintillator stripes produce light for the passing charged particles.
The stripes of one paddle are viewed at both ends by photomultipliers.
The detector system was built in 1990.
A research group at GSI is named after this detector. They aim at studying the
nuclear structure of radioactive (short-lived) nuclei.
• T. Blaich et al., Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Sec-
tion A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment,
A314(1992), p. 136-154, Elsevier NORTH-HOLLAND, ISSN: 0168-9002
• GSI
136
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Area_Neutron_Detector
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/gravitational.html
135
http://www.gsi.de
136
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London moment
In quantum mechanics, the Lindblad equation or master equation in the Lind-
blad form is the most general type of master equation allowed by quantum
mechanics to describe non-unitary (dissipative) evolution of the density matrix
ρ (such as ensuring normalisation and hermiticity of ρ). It reads:
˙ ρ = −
i

[H, ρ] −
1

¸
n,m
h
n,m

ρL
m
L
n
+L
m
L
n
ρ −2L
n
ρL
m

+ h.c.
where ρ is the density matrix, H is the Hamiltonian part, L
m
are operators
deﬁned by the system to model as are the constants h
n,m
. It is a quantum
analog of the Liouville equation in classical mechanics. A related equation
describes the time evolution of the expectation values of observables, it is given
by the →Ehrenfest theorem.
The most common Lindblad equation is that describing the damping of a quan-
tum harmonic oscillator, it has L
0
= a, L
1
= a

, h
0,1
= −(γ/2)(¯ n + 1),
h
1,0
= −(γ/2)¯ n with all others h
n,m
= 0. Here ¯ n is the mean number of excita-
tions in the reservoir damping the oscillator and γ is the decay rate. Additional
Lindblad operators can be included to model various forms of dephasing and
vibrational relaxation. These methods have been incorporated into grid-based
density matrix propagation methods.
Principal Authors: Laussy, Charles Matthews, Hansbethe
London moment
The →London moment is a quantum-mechanical phenomenon whereby a
spinning superconductive metal sphere generates a magnetic ﬁeld whose axis
lines up exactly with the spin axis. The term may also refer to the magnetic
moment of any rotation of any superconductor, caused by the electrons lagging
behind the rotation of the object.
Etymology
Named for the physical scientist Fritz London, and moment as in magnetic
moment.
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Many-body problem
• London force
• Proton conductor
References
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_moment
Many-body problem
the n-body problem in classical mechanics, see n-body problem.
Deﬁnition
The many-body problem may be deﬁned as the study of the effects of inter-
action between bodies on the behaviour of a many-body system, i.e. a closed
system which does not contains just a few bodies in action, such as the colli-
sions discussed in classical mechanics. Due to the amount of particles/bodies
contained in such a system, we cannot any longer describe the mechanics of the
system, by using a small system of equations, as we do in classical mechanics.
The sheer number and high-energy chaotic interaction of each body with an-
other forces us to use result in such mathimatical techniques as the canonical
transformation technique. Another preferred method for solving the problem,
is simply to ignore any interactions present. The many-body problem is usu-
ally posed in quantum mechanics, as the question of solving for more complex
problems than the hydrogen atom — for example, the chemistry of all realistic
molecules, such as a molecule of plastic.
Quotes
"It would indeed be remarkable if Nature fortiﬁed herself against further
advances in knowledge behind the analytical difﬁculties of the many-body
problem."
- Max Born, 1960
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Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics
• Hartree-Fock approximation
• Jenkins, Stephen. "3. The Many Body Problem and Density Functional
Theory". Many Body Problem and Density Functional Theory
137
• D. J. Thouless, "The quantum mechanics of many-body systems", 2d ed.,
New York, Academic Press, 1972. ISBN 0126915601
• D. J. Thouless, "The quantum mechanics of many-body systems", New York,
Academic Press, 1961. LCCN 61012282 /L/r842
• Evidence for Eﬁmov quantum states in an ultracold gas of Cs atoms
138
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-body_problem
Principal Authors: The Anome, Hephaestos, Omegatron, Grendelkhan, Pt, Conscious, Oneboy, Sev-
entyThree
Mathematical formulation of quantum me-
chanics
One of the remarkable characteristics of the mathematical formulation of
quantum mechanics, which distinguishes it from mathematical formulations
of theories developed prior to the early 1900s, is its use of abstract mathemat-
ical structures, such as →Hilbert spaces and operators on these spaces. Many
of these structures had not even been considered before the twentieth century.
In a general sense they are drawn from functional analysis, a subject within
pure mathematics that developed in parallel with, and was inﬂuenced by the
needs of quantum mechanics. In brief, physical observables such as energy and
momentum were no longer considered as functions on some phase space, but
as eigenvalues of operators which act on such functions.
http://newton.ex.ac.uk/research/qsystems/people/jenkins/mbody/mbody3.html
137
http://www2.uibk.ac.at/exphys/ultracold/
138
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Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics
This formulation of quantum mechanics, called canonical quantization, con-
tinues to be used today, and still forms the basis of ab-initio calculations in
atomic, molecular and solid-state physics. At the heart of the description is
an idea of quantum state which, for systems of atomic scale, is radically dif-
ferent from the previous models of physical reality. While the mathematics
is a complete description and permits calculation of many quantities that can
be measured experimentally, there is a deﬁnite limit to access for an observer
with macroscopic instruments. This limitation was ﬁrst elucidated by Heisen-
berg through a thought experiment, and is represented mathematically by the
non-commutativity of quantum observables.
Prior to the emergence of quantum mechanics as a separate theory, the math-
ematics used in physics consisted mainly of differential geometry and partial
differential equations; probability theory was used in statistical mechanics. Ge-
ometric intuition clearly played a strong role in the ﬁrst two and, according-
ly, theories of relativity were formulated entirely in terms of geometric con-
cepts. The phenomenology of quantum physics arose roughly between 1895
and 1915, and for the 10 to 15 years before the emergence of quantum theo-
ry (around 1925) physicists continued to think of quantum theory within the
conﬁnes of what is now called classical physics, and in particular within the
same mathematical structures. The most sophisticated example of this is the
Sommerfeld-Wilson-Ishiwara quantization rule, which was formulated entirely
on the classical phase space.
History of the formalism
The "old quantum theory" and the need for new mathematics
Main article: Old quantum theory
In the decade of 1890, Planck was able to derive the blackbody spectrum and
solve the classical ultraviolet catastrophe by making the unorthodox assump-
tion that, in the interaction of radiation with matter, energy could only be
exchanged in discrete units which he called quanta. Planck postulated a direct
proportionality between the frequency of radiation and the quantum of ener-
gy at that frequency. The proportionality constant, h is now called Planck’s
constant in his honour.
In 1905, Einstein explained certain features of the photoelectric effect by as-
suming that Planck’s light quanta were actual particles, which he called pho-
tons.
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Figure 28 A sketch to justify spectroscopy observations for hydrogen atoms
In 1913, Bohr calculated the spectrum of the hydrogen atom with the help of
a new model of the atom in which the electron could orbit the proton only
on a discrete set of classical orbits, determined by the condition that angular
momentum was an integer multiple of Planck’s constant. Electrons could make
quantum leaps from one orbit to another, emitting or absorbing single quanta
of light at the right frequency.
All of these developments were phenomenological and ﬂew in the face of the
theoretical physics of the time. Bohr and Sommerfeld went on to modify clas-
sical mechanics in an attempt to deduce the Bohr model from ﬁrst principles.
They proposed that, of all closed classical orbits traced by a mechanical system
in its phase space, only the ones that enclosed an area which was a multiple
of Planck’s constant were actually allowed. The most sophisticated version
of this formalism was the so-called Sommerfeld-Wilson-Ishiwara quantization.
Although the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom could be explained in this way,
the spectrum of the helium atom (classically an unsolvable 3-body problem)
could not be predicted. The mathematical status of quantum theory remained
uncertain for some time.
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In 1923 de Broglie proposed that wave-particle duality applied not only to
photons but to electrons and every other physical system.
The situation changed rapidly in the years 1925-1930, when working math-
ematical foundations were found through the groundbreaking work of Erwin
Schrödinger and Werner Heisenberg and the foundational work of John von
Neumann, Hermann Weyl and Paul Dirac, and it became possible to unify sev-
eral different approaches in terms of a fresh set of ideas.
The "new quantum theory"
Erwin Schrödinger’s wave mechanics originally was the ﬁrst successful at-
tempt at replicating the observed quantization of atomic spectra with the
help of a precise mathematical realization of de Broglie’s wave-particle duality.
Schrödinger proposed an equation (now bearing his name) for the wave asso-
ciated to an electron in an atom according to de Broglie, and explained energy
quantization by the well-known fact that differential operators of the kind ap-
pearing in his equation had a discrete spectrum. However, Schrödinger himself
initially did not understand the fundamental probabilistic nature of quantum
mechanics, as he thought that the (squared amplitude of the) wavefunction
of an electron must be interpreted as the charge density of an object smeared
out over an extended, possibly inﬁnite, volume of space. It was Max Born who
introduced the probabilistic interpretation of the (squared amplitude of the)
wave function as the probability distribution of the position of a pointlike ob-
ject. With hindsight, Schrödinger’s wave function can be seen to be closely
related to the classical Hamilton-Jacobi equation.
Werner Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics formulation, introduced contempora-
neously to Schrödinger’s wave mechanics and based on algebras of inﬁnite ma-
trices, was certainly very radical in light of the mathematics of classical physics.
In fact, at the time linear algebra was not generally known to physicists in its
present form.
The reconciliation of the two approaches is generally associated to Paul Dirac,
who wrote a lucid account in his 1930 classic Principles of Quantummechanics.
In it, he introduced the bra-ket notation, together with an abstract formulation
in terms of the →Hilbert space used in functional analysis, and showed that
Schödinger’s and Heisenberg’s approaches were two different representations
of the same theory. Dirac’s method is now called canonical quantization. The
ﬁrst complete mathematical formulation of this approach is generally credited
to John von Neumann’s 1932 book Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Me-
he called unitary spaces) in his 1927 classic book. It was developed in parallel
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with a new approach to the mathematical spectral theory based on linear op-
erators rather than the quadratic forms that were David Hilbert’s approach a
generation earlier.
Though theories of quantum mechanics continue to evolve to this day, there
is a basic framework for the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics
which underlies most approaches and can be traced back to the mathematical
work of John von Neumann. In other words, discussions about interpretation
of the theory, and extensions to it, are now mostly conducted on the basis of
shared assumptions about the mathematical foundations.
Later developments
The application of the new quantum theory to electromagnetism resulted in
quantum ﬁeld theory, which was developed starting around 1930. Quantum
ﬁeld theory has driven the development of more sophisticated formulations
of quantum mechanics, of which the one presented here is a simple special
case. In fact, the difﬁculties involved in implementing any of the following
formulations cannot be said yet to have been solved in a satisfactory fashion
except for ordinary quantum mechanics.
• Feynman path integrals
• axiomatic, algebraic and constructive quantum ﬁeld theory
• geometric quantization
• quantum ﬁeld theory in curved spacetime
• C* algebra formalism
On a different front, von Neumann originally dispatched quantum measure-
ment with his infamous postulate on the collapse of the wavefunction, raising
a host of philosophical problems. Over the intervening 70 years, the problem
of measurement became an active research area and itself spawned some new
formulations of quantum mechanics.
• Relative state/Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics
• Decoherence
• Consistent histories formulation of quantum mechanics
• Quantum logic formulation of quantum mechanics
A related topic is the relationship to classical mechanics. Any new physical
theory is supposed to reduce to successful old theories in some approximation.
For quantum mechanics, this translates into the need to study the so-called
classical limit of quantum mechanics. Also, as Bohr emphasized, human cog-
nitive abilities and language are inextricably linked to the classical realm, and
so classical descriptions are intuitively more accessible than quantum ones. In
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particular, quantization, namely the construction of a quantum theory whose
classical limit is a given and known classical theory, becomes an important area
of quantum physics in itself.
Finally, some of the originators of quantum theory (notably Einstein and
Schrödinger) were unhappy with what they thought were the philosophical
implications of quantum mechanics. In particular, Einstein took the position
that quantum mechanics must be incomplete, which motivated research into
so-called hidden-variable theories. The issue of hidden variables has become
in part an experimental issue with the help of quantum optics.
• de Broglie- Bohm- Bell pilot wave formulation of quantum mechanics
• Bell’s inequalities
• Kochen-Specker theorem
Mathematical structure of quantum mechanics
A physical system is generally described by three basic ingredients: states; ob-
servables; and dynamics (or law of time evolution) or, more generally, a group
of physical symmetries. A classical description can be given in a fairly direct
way by a phase space model of mechanics: states are points in a symplec-
tic phase space, observables are real-valued functions on it, time evolution is
given by a one-parameter group of symplectic transformations of the phase
space, and physical symmetries are realized by symplectic transformations. A
quantum description consists of a →Hilbert space of states, observables are
self adjoint operators on the space of states, time evolution is given by a one-
parameter group of unitary transformations on the Hilbert space of states, and
physical symmetries are realized by unitary transformations.
Postulates of quantum mechanics
The following summary of the mathematical framework of quantum mechanics
can be partly traced back to von Neumann’s postulates.
• Each physical system is associated with a (topologically) separable complex
→Hilbert space H with inner product 'φ [ ψ`. Rays (one-dimensional sub-
spaces) in H are associated with states of the system. In other words, phys-
ical states can be identiﬁed with equivalence classes of vectors of length 1
in H, where two vectors represent the same state if they differ only by a
phase factor. Separability is a mathematically convenient hypothesis, with
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the physical interpretation that countably many observations are enough to
uniquely determine the state.
• The Hilbert space of a composite system is the Hilbert space tensor product
of the state spaces associated with the component systems. For a non-
relativistic system consisting of a ﬁnite number of distinguishable particles,
the component systems are the individual particles.
• Physical symmetries act on the Hilbert space of quantum states unitarily or
antiunitarily (supersymmetry is another matter entirely).
• Physical observables are represented by densely-deﬁned self-adjoint opera-
tors on H.
The expected value (in the sense of probability theory) of the observable A
for the system in state represented by the unit vector [ψ` ∈ H is
'ψ [ A [ ψ`
By spectral theory, we can associate a probability measure to the values of
A in any state ψ. We can also show that the possible values of the observ-
able A in any state must belong to the spectrum of A. In the special case A
has only discrete spectrum, the possible outcomes of measuring A are its
eigenvalues.
More generally, a state can be represented by a so-called density operator,
which is a trace class, nonnegative self-adjoint operator ρ normalized to be
of trace 1. The expected value of A in the state ρ is
tr(Aρ)
If ρ
ψ
is the orthogonal projector onto the one-dimensional subspace of H
spanned by [ψ`, then
tr(Aρ
ψ
) = ψ | A | ψ
Density operators are those that are in the closure of the convex hull of
the one-dimensional orthogonal projectors. Conversely, one-dimensional
orthogonal projectors are extreme points of the set of density operators.
Physicists also call one-dimensional orthogonal projectors pure states and
other density operators mixed states.
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One can in this formalism state Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and prove
it as a theorem, although the exact historical sequence of events, concerning
who derived what and under which framework, is the subject of historical in-
Superselection sectors. The correspondence between states and rays needs
to be reﬁned somewhat to take into account so-called superselection sectors.
States in different superselection sectors cannot inﬂuence each other, and the
relative phases between them are unobservable.
Pictures of dynamics
In the so-called →Schrödinger picture of quantum mechanics, the dynamics is
given as follows:
The time evolution of the state is given by a differentiable function from the
real numbers R, representing instants of time, to the Hilbert space of system
states. This map is characterized by a differential equation as follows: If [ψ (t)`
denotes the state of the system at any one time t, the following →Schrödinger
equation holds:
i
d
dt
[ψ(t)` = H[ψ(t)`
where H is a densely-deﬁned self-adjoint operator, called the system Hamil-
tonian, i is the imaginary unit and is the reduced Planck constant. As an
observable, H corresponds to the total energy of the system.
Alternatively, by Stone’s theorem one can state that there is a strongly contin-
uous one-parameter unitary group U(t): H →H such that
[ψ(t +s)` = U(t) [ψ(s)`
for all times s, t. The existence of a self-adjoint Hamiltonian H such that
U(t) = e
−(i/)tH
is a consequence of Stone’s theorem on one-parameter unitary groups.
The →Heisenberg picture of quantum mechanics focuses on observables and
instead of considering states as varying in time, it regards the states as ﬁxed
and the observables as changing. To go from the Schrödinger to the Heisen-
berg picture one needs to deﬁne time-independent states and time-dependent
operators thus:
[ψ` = [ψ(0)`
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A(t) = U(−t)AU(t)
It is then easily checked that the expected values of all observables are the
same in both pictures
'ψ [ A(t) [ ψ` = 'ψ(t) [ A [ ψ(t)`
and that the time-dependent Heisenberg operators satisfy
i
d
dt
A(t) = [A(t), H]
This assumes A is not time dependent in the Schrödinger picture. Notice the
commutator expression is purely formal when one of the operators is unbound-
ed. One would specify a representation for the expression to make sense of it.
The so-called Dirac picture or interaction picture has time-dependent states
and observables, evolving with respect to different Hamiltonians. This picture
is most useful when the evolution of the states can be solved exactly, conﬁn-
ing any complications to the evolution of the operators. For this reason, the
Hamiltonian for states is called "free Hamiltonian" and the Hamiltonian for
observables is called "interaction Hamiltonian". In symbols:
i
d
dt
|ψ(t) = H
0
|ψ(t)
i
d
dt
A(t) = [A(t), H
int
]
The interaction picture does not always exist, though. In interacting quantum
ﬁeld theories, Haag’s theorem states that the interaction picture does not exist.
This is because the Hamiltonian cannot be split into a free and an interacting
part within a superselection sector.
The Heisenberg picture is the closest to classical mechanics, but the
Schrödinger picture is considered easiest to understand by most people, to
judge from pedagogical accounts of quantum mechanics. The Dirac picture
is the one used in perturbation theory, and is specially associated to quantum
ﬁeld theory.
Similar equations can be written for any one-parameter unitary group of sym-
metries of the physical system. Time would be replaced by a suitable coor-
dinate parameterizing the unitary group (for instance, a rotation angle, or a
translation distance) and the Hamiltonian would be replaced by the conserved
quantity associated to the symmetry (for instance, angular or linear momen-
tum).
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Representations
The original form of the →Schrödinger equation depends on choosing a par-
ticular representation of Heisenberg’s canonical commutation relations. The
Stone-von Neumann theorem states all irreducible representations of the ﬁnite-
dimensional Heisenberg commutation relations are unitarily equivalent. This
is related to quantization and the correspondence between classical and quan-
tum mechanics, and is therefore not strictly part of the general mathematical
framework.
The quantum harmonic oscillator is an exactly-solvable system where the pos-
sibility of choosing among more than one representation can be seen in all its
glory. There, apart from the Schrödinger (position or momentum) represen-
tation one encounters the Fock (number) representation and the Bargmann-
Segal (phase space or coherent state) representation. All three are unitarily
equivalent.
Time as an operator
The framework presented so far singles out time as the parameter that every-
thing depends on. It is possible to formulate mechanics in such a way that time
becomes itself an observable associated to a self-adjoint operator. At the clas-
sical level, it is possible to arbitrarily parameterize the trajectories of particles
in terms of an unphysical parameter s, and in that case the time t becomes an
additional generalized coordinate of the physical system. At the quantum level,
translations in s would be generated by a "Hamiltonian" H-E, where E is the
energy operator and H is the "ordinary" Hamiltonian. However, since s is an
unphysical parameter, physical states must be left invariant by "s-evolution",
and so the physical state space is the kernel of H-E (this requires the use of a
rigged Hilbert space and a renormalization of the norm).
This is related to quantization of constrained systems and quantization of
gauge theories. It is also possible to formulate a quantum theory of "events"
where time becomes an observable( see D. Edwards ).
The problem of measurement
The picture given in the preceding paragraphs is sufﬁcient for description of a
completely isolated system. However, it fails to account for one of the main
differences between quantum mechanics and classical mechanics, that is the
effects of measurement. The von Neumann description of quantum measure-
ment of an observable A, when the system is prepared in a pure state ψ is the
following:
• Let A have spectral resolution
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A =

λd E
A
(λ)
,
where E
A
is the resolution of the identity (also called projection-valued mea-
sure) associated to A. Then the probability of the measurement outcome lying
in an interval B of R is [E
A
(B) ψ[
2
. In other words, the probability is obtained
by integrating the characteristic function of B against the countably additive
measure
ψ | E
A
ψ
.
• If the measured valued is contained in B, then immediately after the mea-
surement, the system will be in the (generally non-normalized) state E
A
ψ.
If the measured value does not lie in B, replace B by its complement for the
above state.
For example, suppose the state space is the n-dimensinal complex Hilbert space
C
n
and A is a Hermitian matrix with eigenvalues
i
, with corresponding eigen-
vectors ψ
i
. The projection-valued measure associated with A is E
A
is then
E
A
(B) = |ψ
i
ψ
i
|
,
where B is a Borel set containing only the single eigenvalue
i
. If the system is
prepared in state
[ψ`
Then the probability of a measurement returning the value
i
can be calculated
by integrating the spectral measure
ψ | E
A
ψ
over B
i
. This gives trivially
'ψ[ψ
i
`'ψ
i
[ ψ` = ['ψ [ ψ
i
`[
2
.
The characteristic property of the von Neumann measurement scheme is that
repeating the same measurement will give the same results. This is also called
the projection postulate.
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A more general formulation replaces the projection-valued measure with a
positive-operator valued measure(POVM). To illustrate, take again the ﬁnite-
dimensional case. Here we would replace the rank-1 projections [ψ
i
`'ψ
i
[ by a
ﬁnite set of positive operators F
i
F

i
, whose sum is still the identity operator
as before. Just as a set of possible outcomes λ
1
λ
n
is associated to a PVM,
the same can be said for a POVM. Suppose the measurement outcome is λ
i
.
Instead of collapsing to the (unnormalized) state [ψ
i
`'ψ
i
[ψ` after the measure-
ment, the system now will be in the state F
i
[ψ`. Since the F
i
F

i
’s need not be
mutually orthogonal projections, the projection postulate of von Neumann no
longer holds.
Both of the above approaches apply to general mixed ensembles.
In von Neumann’s approach, the state transformation due to measurement is
distinct from that due to time evolution in several ways. For example, time evo-
lution is determinisic and unitary whereas measurement is non-deterministic
and non-unitary. However, since both types of state transformation take one
quantumstate to another, this difference was viewed by many as unsatisfactory.
The POVM formalism views measurement as one among many other quantum
operations, which are described by completely positive maps which do not in-
crease the trace.
The relative state interpretation
An alternative interpretation of measurement is Everett’s relative state interpre-
tation, which was later dubbed the "many-worlds interpretation" of quantum
mechanics.
List of mathematical tools
Part of the folklore of the subject concerns the mathematical physics textbook
Courant-Hilbert, put together by Richard Courant from David Hilbert’s Göttin-
gen University courses. The story is told (by mathematicians) that physicists
had dismissed the material as not interesting in the current research areas, un-
til the advent of Schrödinger’s equation. At that point it was realised that the
mathematics of the new quantum mechanics was already laid out in it. It is
and Hilbert observed that his own experience with inﬁnite-dimensional matri-
missing the opportunity to unify the theory as Weyl and Dirac did a few years
later. Whatever the basis of the anecdotes, the mathematics of theory was
conventional at the time, where the physics was radically new.
The main tools include:
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• linear algebra: complex numbers, eigenvectors, eigenvalues
• functional analysis: →Hilbert spaces, linear operators, spectral theory
• differential equations: Partial differential equations, Separation of vari-
ables, Ordinary differential equations, Sturm-Liouville theory, eigenfunc-
tions
• harmonic analysis: Fourier transforms
References
• S. Auyang, How is Quantum Field Theory Possible?, Oxford University
Press, 1995.
• D. Edwards, The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Syn-
these, 42 (1979),pp.1-70.
• G. Emch, Algebraic Methods in Statistical Mechanics and Quantum Vield
Theory, Wiley-Interscience, 1972.
• R. Jost, The General Theory of Quantized Fields, American Mathematical
Society, 1965.
• A. Gleason, Measures on the Closed Subspaces of a Hilbert Space, Journal
of Mathematics and Mechanics, 1957.
• G. Mackey, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, W. A. Ben-
jamin, 1963 (paperback reprint by Dover 2004).
• J. von Neumann, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics,
Princeton University Press, 1955. Reprinted in paperback form.
• R. F. Streater and A. S. Wightman, PCT, Spin and Statistics and All That,
Benjamin 1964 (Reprinted by Princeton University Press)
• M. Reed and B. Simon, Methods of Mathematical Physics, vols 1-IV, Aca-
demic Press 1972.
• H. Weyl, The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics, Dover Publica-
tions, 1950.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_formulation_of_quantum_mechanics
Principal Authors: Miguel, CSTAR, Charles Matthews, Phys, Mct mht
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Matrix mechanics
Matrix mechanics
Matrix mechanics is a formulation of quantum mechanics created by Werner
Heisenberg in 1925.
Matrix mechanics was the ﬁrst complete deﬁnition of quantum mechanics, its
laws, and properties that described fully the behavior of subatomic particles
by associating their properties with matrices. It has been shown to be exactly
equivalent to the Schroedinger wave formulation of quantum mechanics and is
the basis of the bra-ket notation used to summarize quantum mechanical wave
functions.
Development of matrix mechanics
When it was introduced by Werner Heisenberg, Max Born and Pascual Jordan
in 1925, matrix mechanics was not immediately accepted and was a source of
great controversy.
Schrödinger’s later introduction of wave mechanics was favored because there
were no visual aids to fall back on in matrix mechanics and the mathematics
were unfamiliar to most physicists.
Matrix mechanics consists of an array of quantities which when appropriate-
ly manipulated gave the observed frequencies and intensities of spectral lines.
Heisenberg said himself that once and for all he had gotten rid of all electron
orbits that did not exist. However, in Heisenberg’s theory, the result of multipli-
cation changes depending on its order. This means that the physical quantities
in Heisenberg’s theory are not ordinary variables but mathematical matrices.
Heisenberg developed matrix mechanics by interpreting the electron as a par-
ticle with quantum behavior. It is based on sophisticated matrix computations
which introduce discontinuities and quantum jumps.
In atomic physics, through spectroscopy, it was known that observational da-
ta related to atomic transitions arise from interactions of the atoms with light
quanta. Heisenberg was the ﬁrst to say that the atomic spectrum which showed
spectral lines only in places where photons were being absorbed or emitted as
electrons changed orbitals were the only relevant objects to be deﬁned. Heisen-
berg recognized that the matrix formulation was built on the premise that all
physical observables must be represented by matrices. The set of eigenval-
ues of the matrix representing an observable is the set of all possible values
that could arise as outcomes of experiments conducted on a system to mea-
sure the observable. Since the outcome of an experiment to measure a real
observable must be a real number, Hermitian matrices would represent such
observables as their eigenvalues are real. If the result of a measurement is a
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Matrix mechanics
certain eigenvalue, the corresponding eigenvector represents the state of the
system immediately after the measurement.
Instead of using three dimensional orbitals, Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics de-
scribed the space in which the state of a quantum system inhabits as being
one-dimensional as in the case of an anharmonic oscillator. To illustrate, con-
sider the simple example of a point particle like an electron that is free to move
on a line. An observable in this case could be the position of the particle, rep-
resented by the matrix X. Since the particle could be anywhere on the line,
the possible outcome of a measurement of its position could be any one of
an inﬁnite set of eigenvalues of X, denoted by x. Thus X must be an inﬁnite-
dimensional matrix, and hence so is the corresponding linear vector space.
Thus even one-dimensional motion could have an inﬁnite-dimensional linear
vector space associated with it. This made operators, functions, and spaces
necessary to describe quantum mechanics.
The act of measurement in matrix mechanics is taken to ’collapse’ the state
of the system to that eigenvector (or eigenstate). Anyone familiar with
Schroedinger’s wave equation which came later in 1925 will be familiar with
this concept in the form of wavefunction collapse. If one were to make simul-
taneous measurements of two or more observables, the system will collapse to
a common eigenstate of these observables right after the measurement.
Further, from matrix theory we know that eigenvectors corresponding to dis-
tinct eigenvalues of a Hermitian matrix are orthogonal to each other which is
analogous to the x, y, z axes of the Cartesian coordinate system except with an
inﬁnite number of distinct eigenvalues, and hence as many mutually orthogo-
nal eigenvectors directed along different independent directions in the linear
vector space.
Prior to measurement, the system could have been in a linear superposition of
different eigenstates, with impossible to know coefﬁcients. The precise state of
the quantum system before the measurement cannot be known. The Copen-
hagen interpretation is concerned only with outcomes of experiments.
Since a single measurement of any observable A yields one of the eigenvalues
of A as the outcome, and collapses the state of the system to the correspond-
ing eigenstate, subsequent measurements made immediately thereafter would
continue to yield the same eigenvalue. So the correct thing to do would be to
prepare a collection of a very large number of identical copies of the system
and conduct a single trial on each copy. The arithmetic mean of all the results
thus obtained is the average value we see, denoted by (A).
The Uncertainty Principle in matrix mechanics stems from the fact that, in gen-
eral, two matrices A and B do not obey the arithmetical law of commutation.
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The commutator A B - B A = [A, B] does not equal 0. The famous commuta-
tion relation that is the basis for Quantum Mechanics and the later Uncertainty
Principle is:

k
p(n, k)q(k, n) −q(n, k)p(k, n) = h/2πi
In 1925, Werner Heisenberg was not yet 24 years old.
Mathematical details
In quantum mechanics in the Heisenberg picture the state vector, [ψ> does
not change with time, and an observable A satisﬁes
d
dt
A = (i)
−1
[A, H] +

∂A
∂t

classical
.
In some sense, the Heisenberg picture is more natural and fundamental than
the →Schrödinger picture, especially for relativistic theories. Lorentz invari-
ance is manifest in the Heisenberg picture.
Moreover, the similarity to classical physics is easily seen: by replacing the
commutator above by the Poisson bracket, the Heisenberg equation becomes
an equation in Hamiltonian mechanics.
By the Stone-von Neumann theorem, the Heisenberg picture and the
→Schrödinger picture are unitarily equivalent.
Deriving Heisenberg’s equation
Suppose we have an observable A (which is a Hermitian linear operator). The
expectation value of A for a given state [ψ(t)> is given by:
'A`
t
= 'ψ(t)[A[ψ(t)`
or if we write following the →Schrödinger equation
[ψ(t)` = e
−iHt/
[ψ(0)`
(where H is the Hamiltonian and h`hbar is Planck’s constant divided by 2*pi )
we get
'A`
t
= 'ψ(0)[e
iHt/
Ae
−iHt/
[ψ(0)`
and so we deﬁne
A(t) := e
iHt/
Ae
−iHt/
Now,
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d
dt
A(t) =
i

He
iHt/
Ae
−iHt/
+

∂A
∂t

classical
+
i

e
iHt/
A (−H)e
−iHt/
(differentiating according to the product rule),
=
i

e
iHt/
(HA−AH) e
−iHt/
+

∂A
∂t

classical
=
i

(HA(t) −A(t)H) +

∂A
∂t

classical
(the last passage is valid since exp(-iHt/hbar) commutes with H)
=
i

[H, A(t)] +

∂A
∂t

classical
(where [X,Y] is the commutator of two operators and deﬁned as [X, Y ] :=
XY −Y X)
So we get
d
dt
A(t) =
i

[H, A(t)] +

∂A
∂t

classical
Though matrix mechanics does not include concepts such as the wave function
of Erwin Schrödinger’s wave equation, the two approaches were proven to be
mathematically equivalent by the mathematician John von Neumann.
• →Interaction picture
• →Quantum mechanics
• →Schrödinger equation
• →Bra-ket notation
• Basic quantum mechanics
• An Overview of Matrix Mechanics
139
• Matrix Methods in Quantum Mechanics
140
• Heisenberg Quantum Mechanics
141
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrix_mechanics
Principal Authors: Voyajer, Zowie, Elroch, Snoyes, Neilc
http://www.cobalt.chem.ucalgary.ca/ziegler/educmat/chm386/rudiment/tourquan/matmech.htm
139
http://www.cobalt.chem.ucalgary.ca/ziegler/educmat/chm386/rudiment/quanmath/matrix.htm
140
http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p08.htm
141
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Matrix model
The term matrix model may refer to one of several concepts:
• In theoretical physics, a matrix model is a system (usually a quantum me-
chanical system) with matrix-valued physical quantities. See, for example,
Lax pair.
• The "old" matrix models are relevant for string theory in two spacetime
dimensions. The "new" matrix model is a synonym for Matrix theory.
• Matrix population models are used to model wildlife and human population
dynamics.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrix_model
Principal Authors: QFT, Conscious, Charles Matthews, A2Kaﬁr, Shenme
Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
In statistical mechanics, Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics describes the statisti-
cal distribution of material particles over various energy states in thermal equi-
librium, when the temperature is high enough and density is low enough to
render quantum effects negligible. Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are therefore
applicable to almost any terrestrial phenomena for which the temperature is
above a few tens of kelvins.
The expected number of particles with energy
i
for Maxwell-Boltzmann statis-
tics is N
i
where:
N
i
N
=
g
i
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
=
g
i
e

i
/kT
Z
where:
• N
i
is the number of particles in state i

i
is the energy of the i -th state
• g
i
is the degeneracy of state i, the number of microstates with energy
i
• µ is the chemical potential
• k is Boltzmann’s constant
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Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
• T is absolute temperature
• N is the total number of particles
N =
¸
i
N
i
• Z is the partition function
Z =
¸
i
g
i
e

i
/kT
• e
(...)
is the exponential function
Equivalently, the distribution is sometimes expressed as
N
i
N
=
1
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
=
e

i
/kT
Z
where the index i now speciﬁes an individual microstate rather than the set of
all states with energy
i
Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics apply when quantum effects have to
be taken into account and the particles are considered "indistinguishable". The
quantum effects appear if the concentration of particles (N/V) ≥ n
q
(where
n
q
is the quantum concentration). The quantum concentration is when the
interparticle distance is equal to the thermal de Broglie wavelength i.e. when
the wavefunctions of the particles are touching but not overlapping. As the
quantum concentration depends on temperature; high temperatures will put
most systems in the classical limit unless they have a very high density e.g.
a White dwarf. Fermi-Dirac statistics apply to fermions (particles that obey
the Pauli exclusion principle), Bose-Einstein statistics apply to bosons. Both
Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein become Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics at high
temperatures or low concentrations.
Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are often described as the statistics of "distin-
guishable" classical particles. In other words the conﬁguration of particle A in
state 1 and particle B in state 2 is different from the case where particle B is
in state 1 and particle A is in state 2. When this idea is carried out fully, it
yields the proper (Boltzmann) distribution of particles in the energy states, but
yields non-physical results for the entropy, as embodied in →Gibbs paradox.
These problems disappear when it is realized that all particles are in fact in-
distinguishable. Both of these distributions approach the Maxwell-Boltzmann
distribution in the limit of high temperature and low density, without the need
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Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
for any ad hoc assumptions. Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics are particularly use-
ful for studying gases F-D statistics are most often used for the study of elec-
trons in solids. As such, they form the basis of semiconductor device theory
and electronics.
A derivation of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution
In this particular derivation, the Boltzmann distribution will be derived using
the assumption of distinguishable particles, even though the ad hoc correction
for Boltzmann counting is ignored, the results remain valid.
Suppose we have a number of energy levels, labelled by index i , each level
having energy
i
and containing a total of N
i
particles. To begin with, lets
ignore the degeneracy problem. Assume that there is only one way to put N
i
particles into energy level i.
The number of different ways of performing an ordered selection of one object
from N objects is obviously N. The number of different ways of selecting
2 objects from N objects, in a particular order, is thus N(N − 1) and that
of selecting n objects in a particular order is seen to be N!/(N − n)!. The
number of ways of selecting 2 objects from N objects without regard to order
is N(N −1) divided by the number of ways 2 objects can be ordered, which is
2!. It can be seen that the number of ways of selecting n objects from N objects
without regard to order is the binomial coefﬁcient: N!/n!(N −n)!. If we have
a set of boxes numbered 1, 2, . . . , k, the number of ways of selecting N
1
objects
from N objects and placing them in box 1, then selecting N
2
objects from the
remaining N −N
1
objects and placing them in box 2 etc. is
W =

N!
N
1
!(N−N
1
)!

(N−N
1
)!
N
2
!(N−N
1
−N
2
)!

. . .

N
k
!
N
k
!0!

= N!
¸
k
i=1
(1/N
i
!)
where the extended product is over all boxes containing one or more objects.
If the i -th box has a "degeneracy" of g
i
, that is, it has g
i
sub-boxes, such that
any way of ﬁlling the i -th box where the number in the sub-boxes is changed is
a distinct way of ﬁlling the box, then the number of ways of ﬁlling the i -th box
must be increased by the number of ways of distributing the N
i
objects in the
g
i
boxes. The number of ways of placing N
i
distinguishable objects in g
i
boxes
is g
N
i
i
. Thus the number of ways (W) that N atoms can be arranged in energy
levels each level i having g
i
distinct states such that the i -th level has N
i
atoms
is:
W = N!
¸
g
N
i
i
N
i
!
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Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
For example, suppose we have three particles, a, b, and c, and we have three
energy levels with degeneracies 1, 2, and 1 respectively. There are 6 ways to
arrange the three particles
. . . . . .
c . . c b . . b a . . a
ab ab ac ac bc bc
The six ways are calculated from the formula:
W = N!
¸
g
N
i
i
N
i
!
= 3!

1
2
2!

2
1
1!

1
0
0!

= 6
We wish to ﬁnd the set of N
i
for which W is maximised, subject to the con-
straint that there be a ﬁxed number of particles, and a ﬁxed energy. The maxi-
ma of W and ln(W) are achieved by the same values of N
i
and, since it is easier
to accomplish mathematically, we will maximise the latter function instead. We
constrain our solution using Lagrange multipliers forming the function:
f(N
i
) = ln(W) +α(N −
¸
N
i
) +β(E −
¸
N
i

i
)
Using Stirling’s approximation for the factorials and taking the derivative with
respect to N
i
, and setting the result to zero and solving for N
i
yields the
Maxwell-Boltzmann population numbers:
N
i
=
g
i
e
α+β
i
It can be shown thermodynamically that β = 1/kT where k is Boltzmann’s
constant and T is the temperature, and that α = -µ/kT where µ is the chemical
potential, so that ﬁnally:
N
i
=
g
i
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
Note that the above formula is sometimes written:
N
i
=
g
i
e

i
/kT
/z
where z = exp(µ/kT) is the absolute activity.
Alternatively, we may use the fact that
¸
i
N
i
= N
to obtain the population numbers as
N
i
= N
g
i
e

i
/kT
Z
where Z is the partition function deﬁned by:
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Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
Z =
¸
i
g
i
e

i
/kT
Another derivation
In the above discussion, the Boltzmann distribution function was obtained via
directly analysing the multiplicities of a system. Alternatively, one can make
use of the canonical ensemble. In a canonical ensemble, a system is in thermal
contact with a reservoir. While energy is free to ﬂow between the system and
the reservoir, the reservoir is thought to have inﬁnitely large heat capacity as
to maintain constant temperature, T, for the combined system.
In the present context, our system is assumed to be have energy levels
i
with
degeneracies g
i
. As before, we would like to calculate the probability that our
system has energy
i
.
If our system is in state s
1
, then there would be a corresponding number of
microstates available to the reservoir. Call this number Ω
R
(s
1
). By assumption,
the combined system (of the system we are interested in and the reservoir) is
isolated, so all microstates are equally probable. Therefore, for instance, if

R
(s
1
) = 2 Ω
R
(s
2
), we can conclude that our system is twice as likely to be in
state s
2
than s
1
. In general, if P(s
i
) is the probability that our system is in
state s
i
,
P(s
1
)
P(s
2
)
=

R
(s
1
)

R
(s
2
)
.
Since the entropy of the reservoir S
R
= k ln Ω
R
, the above becomes
P(s
1
)
P(s
2
)
=
e
S
R
(s
1
)
/k
e
S
R
(s
1
)
/k
= e
(S
R
(s
1
)−S
R
(s
2
))/k
.
Next we recall the thermodynamic identity:
dS
R
=
1
T
(dU
R
+PdV
R
−µdN
R
).
In a canonical ensemble, there is no exchange of particles, so the dN
R
term is
zero. Similarly, dV
R
= 0. This gives
(S
R
(s
1
) −S
R
(s
2
) =
1
T
(U
R
(s
1
) −U
R
(s
2
)) = −
1
T
(E(s
1
) −E(s
2
))
, where U
R
(s
i
) and E(s
i
) denote the energies of the reservoir and the system
at s
i
, respectively. For the second equality we have used the conservation of
energy. Substituting into the ﬁrst equation relating P(s
1
), P(s
2
):
P(s
1
)
P(s
2
)
=
e
−E(s
1
)/kT
e
−E(s
2
)/kT
, which implies, for any state s of the system
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Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
P(s) =
1
Z
e
−E(s)/kT
, where Z is an appropriately chosen "constant" to make total probability 1. (Z
is constant provided that the temperature T is invariant.) It is obvious that
Z =
¸
s
e
−E(s)/kT
where the index s run through all microstates of the system. (Z is sometimes
called the Boltzmann sum over states.) If we index the summation via the
energy eigenvalues instead of all possible states, degeneracy must be taken into
account. The probability of our system having energy
i
is simply the sum of
the probabilities of all corresponding microstates:
P(
i
) =
1
Z
g
i
e

i
/kT
where, with obvious modiﬁcation, Z =
¸
j
g
j
e

j
/kT
. This is the same result as
before.
• Notice that in this formulation, the initial assumption "... suppose the sys-
tem has total N particles..." is dispensed with. Indeed, the number of par-
ticles possessed by the system plays no role in arriving at the distribution.
Rather, how many particles would occupy states with energy
i
follows as
an easy consequence.
• What has been presented above is essentially a derivation of the canoni-
cal partition function. As one can tell by comparing the deﬁnitions, the
Boltzman sum over states is really no different from the canonical partition
function.
• Exactly the same approach can be used to derive Fermi-Dirac and Bose-
Einstein statistics. However, there one would replace the canonical ensem-
ble with the grand canonical ensemble, since there is exchange of particles
between the system and the reservoir. Also, the system one considers in
those cases is a single particle state, not a particle. (In the above discus-
sion, we could have assumed our system to be a single atom.)
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Limits of applicability
The Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions may be written:
N
i
=
g
i
e
(
i
−µ)/kT
±1
Assuming the minimum value of
i
is small, it can be seen that the conditions
under which the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is valid is when
e
−µ/kT
1
For an ideal gas, we can calculate the chemical potential using the development
in the Sackur-Tetrode article to show that:
µ =

∂E
∂N

S,V
= −kT ln

V

3

where E is the total internal energy, S is the entropy, V is the volume, and Λ
is the thermal de Broglie wavelength. The condition for the applicability of the
Maxwell Boltzmann distribution for an ideal gas is again shown to be
V

3
1.
• →Bose-Einstein statistics
• →Fermi-Dirac statistics
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell-Boltzmann_statistics
Principal Authors: Mct mht, PAR, Jheald, LifeStar, Sam Korn
Measurement in quantum mechanics
The framework of quantum mechanics requires a careful deﬁnition of mea-
surement, and a thorough discussion of its practical and philosophical impli-
cations.
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Formalism of measurement
Measurable quantities ("observables") as operators
An observable quantity is represented mathematically by an Hermitian or self
adjoint operator. The set of the operator’s eigenvalues represent the set of
possible outcomes of the measurement. For each eigenvalue there is a corre-
sponding eigenstate (or "eigenvector"), which will be the state of the system
after the measurement. Some properties of this representation are
• The eigenvalues of Hermitian matrices are real. The possible outcomes of a
measurement are precisely the eigenvalues of the given obervable.
• A Hermitian matrix can be unitarily diagonalized (See Spectral theorem),
generating an orthonormal basis of eigenvectors which spans the state
space of the system. In general, the state of a system can be represented
as a linear combination of eigenvectors of any Hermitian operator. Physi-
cally, this is to say that any state can be expressed as a superposition of the
eigenstates of an observable.
Important examples are:
• The Hamiltonian operator, representing the total energy of the system; with
the special case of the nonrelativistic Hamiltonian operator:
ˆ
H =
ˆ p
2
2m
+
V (ˆ x).
• The momentum operator: ˆ p =

i

∂x
(in the position basis).
• The position operator: ˆ x, where ˆ x =

i

∂p
(in the momentum basis).
Operators can be noncommuting. In the ﬁnite dimensional case, two Hermi-
tian operators commute if they have the same set of ¦normalized¦ eigenvec-
tors. Noncommuting observables are said to be incompatible and can not be
measured simultaneously. This can be seen via the uncertainty principle.
Eigenstates and projection
Assume the system is prepared in state [ψ`. Let
ˆ
O be a measurement operator,
an observable, with eigenstates [n` for n = 1, 2, 3, ... and corresponding eigen-
values O
1
, O
2
, O
3
, .... If the measurement outcome is O
N
, the system will then
"collapse" to the state [N` after measurement.
The case of a continuous spectrum is more involved, since, physically speak-
ing, the basis has uncountably many eigenstates, but the general concept is
the same. In the position representation, for instance, the eigenstates can be
represented by the set of delta functions, indexed by all possible positions of
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Measurement in quantum mechanics
the particle. In the experimental setting, the resolution of any given measure-
ment is ﬁnite, and therefore the continuous space may be divided into discrete
segments. Another solution is to approximate any lab experiments by a "box"
potential (which bounds the volume in which the particle can be found, and
thus ensures a discrete spectrum).
Wavefunction collapse
Given any quantum state which is a superposition of eigenstates at
time t
[ψ` = c
1
e
−iE
1
t
[1` +c
2
e
−iE
2
t
[2` +c
3
e
−iE
3
t
[3` + ,
if we measure, for example, the energy of the system and receive E
2
(this result is chosen randomly according to probability given by
Pr(E
n
) =
[c
n
[
2
¸
k
[c
k
[
2
),
then the system’s quantum state after the measurement is
[ψ` = e
−iE
2
t
[2`
so any repeated measurement of energy will yield E
2
.
Figure 1. The process of wavefunction collapse illustrated.
The process in which a quantum state becomes one of the eigenstates of the op-
erator corresponding to the measured observable is called "collapse", or "wave-
function collapse". The ﬁnal eigenstate appears randomly with a probability
equal to the square of its overlap with the original state. The process of col-
lapse has been studied in many experiments, most famously in the double-slit
experiment. The wavefunction collapse raises serious questions of determinism
and locality, as demonstrated in the EPR paradox and later in GHZ entangle-
ment.
understanding of the collapse process. This new theoretical framework, called
quantum decoherence, supersedes previous notions of instantaneous collapse
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Measurement in quantum mechanics
and provides an explanation for the absence of quantum coherence after mea-
surement. While this theory correctly predicts the form and probability distri-
bution of the ﬁnal eigenstates, it does not explain the randomness inherent in
the choice of ﬁnal state.
There are two major approaches toward the "wavefunction collapse":
• Accept it as it is. This approach was supported by Niels Bohr and his
Copenhagen interpretation which accepts the collapse as one of the elemen-
tary properties of nature (at least, for small enough systems). According to
this, there is an inherent randomness embedded in nature, and physical
observables exist only after they are measured (for example: as long as a
particle’s speed isn’t measured it doesn’t have any deﬁned speed).
• Reject it as a physical process and relate to it only as an illusion. This
approach says that there is no collapse at all, and we only think there is.
Those who support this approach usually offer another interpretation of
quantum mechanics, which avoids the wavefunction collapse.
von Neumann measurement scheme
The von Neumann measurement scheme, an ancestor of quantum decoherence
theory, describes measurements by taking into account the measuring appara-
tus which is also treated as a quantum object. Let the quantum state be in
the superposition [ψ` =
¸
n
c
n

n
`, where [ψ
n
` are eigenstates of the operator
that needs to be measured. In order to make the measurement, the measured
system described by [ψ` needs to interact with the measuring apparatus de-
scribed by the quantum state [φ`, so that the total wave function before the
interaction is [ψ`[φ`. After the interaction, the total wave function exhibits
the unitary evolution [ψ`[φ` →
¸
n
c
n

n
`[φ
n
`, where [φ
n
` are orthonormal
states of the measuring apparatus. The unitary evolution above is referred to
as premeasurement. One can also introduce the interaction with the environ-
ment [e`, so that, after the interaction, the total wave function takes a form
¸
n
c
n

n
`[φ
n
`[e
n
`, which is related to the phenomenon of decoherence. The
above is completely described by the →Schrödinger equation and there are not
any interpretational problems with this. Now the problematic wavefunction
collapse does not need to be understood as a process [ψ` → [ψ
n
` on the level
of the measured system, but can also be understood as a process [φ` → [φ
n
`
on the level of the measuring apparatus, or as a process [e` →[e
n
` on the level
of the environment. Studying these processes provides considerable insight in-
to the measurement problem by avoiding the arbitrary boundary between the
quantum and classical worlds, though it does not explain the presence of ran-
domness in the choice of ﬁnal eigenstate. If the set of states ¦[ψ
n
`¦, ¦[φ
n
`¦, or
¦[e
n
`¦ represents a set of states that do not overlap in space, the appearance
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of collapse can be generated by either the Bohm interpretation or the Everett
interpretation which both deny the reality of wavefunction collapse; they both,
though, predict the same probabilities for collapses to various states as does
the conventional interpretation. The Bohm interpretation is held to be correct
only by a small minority of physicists, since there are difﬁculties with the gen-
eralization for use with relativistic quantum ﬁeld theory. However, there is no
proof that the Bohm interpretation is inconsistent with quantum ﬁeld theory,
and work to reconcile the two is ongoing. The Everett interpretation easily
accommodates relativistic quantum ﬁeld theory.
Example
Suppose that we have a particle in a box. If the energy of the particle is
measured to be E
N
=
N
2
π
2

2
2mL
2
then the corresponding state of the system is

N
` =

[x`'x[ψ
N
`dx where 'x[ψ
N
` = 'x[N` =

2
L
sin

Nπx
L

, which is
determined by solving the Time-Independent →Schrödinger equation for the
given potential.
Alternatively, if instead of knowing the energy of the particle the particle’s
position is determined to be a distance S from the left wall of the box, the
corresponding system state is [ψ
S
` =

[x`'x[ψ
S
`dx where 'x[ψ
S
` = 'x[S` =
δ(S −x).
These two state functions [ψ
N
` and [ψ
S
` are distinct functions (of the posi-
tion x after we left multiply by the bra state 'x[), but they are in general not
orthogonal to each other:

S

N
` = 'S[N` =

'S[x`'x[N`dx =

L
0
δ(S − x)

2
L
sin

Nπx
L

dx =

2
L
sin

NπS
L

.
The two systems are therefore distinct; a position measurement is instanta-
neous whereas a deﬁnite value of energy E
N
is established only in the limit of
an inﬁnitely long observation period.
Completeness of eigenvectors of Hermitian operators guarantees that either
system state, being the eigenvector to one measurement operator, can be ex-
pressed as a linear combination of eigenvectors of the other measurement op-
erator:
[S` =
¸
n
[n` 'n[S` =
¸
n
[x`'x[n` 'n[S` dx =

[x`
2
L
¸
n
sin

nπx
L

sin

nπS
L

dx =

[x`δ(S −x)dx, i.e. [S` =

[x`δ(S −x)dx
and
[N` =

[s` 's[N` ds =

[s`

2
L
sin

Nπs
L

ds.
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The time dependence of the systemstates is determined by the Time Dependent
→Schrödinger equation. In the preceding example, with energy eigenvalues
E
n
, it follows that the time dependent solution is
[ψ(t)` =
¸
n
[n`'n[ψ
S
` e
−itE
n
/
,
where t represents the time since the particle’s location in space was measured.
Consequently
'n[ψ(t)` = 'n[ψ
S
` e
−itE
n
/
=

2
L
sin

nπS
L

e
−itE
n
/
= 0
at least for several distinct energy eigenstates [n`, for all values t, and for all
0 < S < L.
The particle state [ψ
S
` therefore can not have evolved (in the above technical
sense) into state [ψ
N
` (which is orthogonal to all energy eigenstates, except
itself), for any duration t. While this conclusion may be characterized accord-
ingly instead as "the wave function of the particle having been projected, or
having collapsed into" the energy eigenstate [ψ
N
`, it is perhaps worth empha-
sizing that any deﬁnite value of energy E
N
can be established only in the limit
of a long-lasting trial and never for any ﬁnite value of time.
Optimal quantum measurement
What is the optimal quantum measurement to distinguish mixed states from
a given ensemble? This is a natural question of which the solution is well
understood, and is given by a semideﬁnite programming.
More speciﬁcally, suppose a mixed state ρ
i
is drawn from the ensemble
with probability p
i
, we wish to ﬁnd a POVM measurement ¦Π
i
¦ so that
¸
i
p
i
tr(Π
i
ρ
i
) is maximized. This is clearly a semideﬁnit programming:
max

i
p
i
tr(Π
i
ρ
i
) s.t. Π
i
≥ 0,

i
Π
i
= I.
Interestingly, the dual problem has a nice description:
min tr(X) s.t. X −p
i
ρ
i
≥ 0.
Let
ˆ
Π
i
and
ˆ
X be the solutions of the primal and the dual, we have
ˆ
Π
i
(
ˆ
X −p
i
ρ
i
) = 0.
From this one can conclude that if all ρ
i
are pure states, then
ˆ
Π
i
must also be
of rank 1. Furthermore, if ρ
i
’s are in addition independent, then the optimal
measure is a von Neumann measurement.
Philosophical problems of quantum measurements
What physical interaction constitutes a measurement?
Until the advent of quantum decoherence theory in the late 20th century, a ma-
jor conceptual problem of quantum mechanics and especially the Copenhagen
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interpretation was the lack of a distinctive criterion for a given physical interac-
tion to qualify as "a measurement" and cause a wavefunction to collapse. This
best illustrated by the →Schrödinger’s cat paradox.
Major philosophical and metaphysical questions surround this issue:
• The concept of weak measurements.
• Macroscopic systems (such as chairs or cats) do not exhibit counterintuitive
quantum properties, which can only be observed in microscopic particles
such as electrons or photons. This invites the question of when a system is
"big enough" to behave classically and not quantum mechanically?
Quantum decoherence theory has successfully addressed other questions that
previously haunted quantum measurement theory:
• Does a measurement depend on the existence of a self-aware observer?
Answer: No. Coupling an isolated quantum system to another quantum sys-
tem with many degrees of freedom generically transfers the coherence of the
ﬁrst system into mutual coherence of the two systems. The initially isolated
quantum system then appears to "collapse." Interpreting the second system as
a measurement apparatus, as in the von Neumann scheme, shows that no con-
sciousness or self-awareness is necessary for collapse of the ﬁrst system.
• What interactions are strong enough to constitute a measurement?
This question is quantitatively answered by decoherence theory, given a model
for the measurement apparatus. The scaling of the measurement effects with
the system/apparatus interaction strength usually only weakly depends on the
choice of a model for the apparatus, so one can give a generic description of
the strength of a measurement induced by a given interaction.
Does measurement actually determine the state?
The question of whether a measurement actually determines the state, is
deeply related to the Wavefunction collapse.
Most versions of the Copenhagen interpretation answer this question with an
unqualiﬁed "yes".
• Philosophies: Copenhagen interpretation.
• People (actualist philosophers): Henri Poincaré, Niels Bohr.
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The quantum entanglement problem
• Measurement related problems and paradoxes
• Afshar experiment
• Measurement problem
• Wavefunction collapse
• Renninger negative-result experiment
• Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-testing problem
• →Schrödinger’s cat
• Interpretations of quantum mechanics
• Transactional interpretation
• Copenhagen interpretation
• Many-worlds interpretation
• Quantum mechanics formalism
• →Quantum mechanics
• →Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics
• →Schrödinger equation
• →Bra-ket notation
• Generalized measurement (POVM, Positive operator valued measure)
• Analog: A Farewell to Copenhagen?
142
• " The Double Slit Experiment
143
". (physicsweb.org)
• Shahriar S. Afshar, " Waving Copenhagen Good-bye: Were the founders of
Quantum Mechanics wrong?
144
" This link presents a view that is not en-
dorsed by the majority of physicists.
• " Variation on the similar two-pin-hole "which-way" experiment
145
". (report-
ed in New Scientist; July 24), Reprint at irims.org
146
http://www.analogsf.com/0410/altview2.shtml
142
http://physicsweb.org/article/world/15/9/1
143
http://my.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/webevent/webevent.cgi?cmd=showevent&ncmd=calmonth&cal=9719
144
&y=2004&m=3&d=23&id=10416384&token=G6409379:1&sb=0&cf=cal&lc=calmonth&swe=1&set=0
&sa=0&sort=e,m,t&ws=0&sib=0&de=0&tf=0
http://www.sciencefriday.com/images/shows/2004/073004/AfsharExperimentSmall.jpg
145
http://www.irims.org/quant-ph/030503/
146
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Molecular Hamiltonian
• " Measurement in Quantum Mechanics
147
" Henry Krips in the Stanford En-
cyclopedia of Philosophy
• Decoherence, the measurement problem, and interpretations of quantum
mechanics
148
• Measurements and Decoherence
149
• Yonina C. Eldar, Alexandre Megretski, and George C. Verghese. Designing
optimal quantum detectors via semideﬁnite programming. IEEE Transac-
tions on Information Theorey, Vol. 49, No. 4, 1007–1012, 2003.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_in_quantum_mechanics
Principal Authors: MathKnight, Fwappler, MichaelCPrice, William M. Connolley, Dave Kielpinski
Molecular Hamiltonian
The non relativistic molecular Hamiltonian for a multi-electron molecule in
atomic units is:
H = T
N
+H
el
where
T
N
=
¸
a

1
2M
a

2
a
is the kinetic energy operator corresponding to the molecular dynamics and
H
el
is the electronic molecular Hamiltonian. M
a
are the masses of the nuclei.

2
a
is the Laplacian with respect to the cartesian nuclear coordinates associated
to the molecular geometry.
The relativistic molecular hamiltonian differs because it contains terms that
depend upon the electron spin and the nuclear spin. The electron spin appears
naturally in the solution of the Dirac equation, but the nuclear spins are added
in phenomenologically as if the nuclei were "heavy" electrons.
The electronic molecular Hamiltonian can be replaced within the Born-
Oppenheimer approximation by the potential energy surfaces. The
→Schrödinger equation becomes then an equation describing the "motion" of
the nuclei only. The "motion" of the electrons has been taken into account
during the diagonalization of the electronic molecular Hamiltonian (see com-
putational chemistry for more details).
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-measurement/
147
http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0312059
148
http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0505070
149
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Multiplicative quantum number
The discrete eigenvalues of the molecular Hamiltonian are called molecular
energy levels.
References
• Richard Moss, Advanced Molecular Quantum Mechanics, ISBN 412-10490-
3.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_Hamiltonian
Principal Authors: Vb, Iain.mcnab, Karol Langner
Multiplicative quantum number
In quantum ﬁeld theory, multiplicative quantum numbers are conserved
quantum numbers of a special kind. A given quantum number q is said to
be additive if in a particle reaction the sum of the q-values of the interacting
particles is the same before and after the reaction. Most conserved quantum
numbers are additive in this sense; the electric charge is one example. A mul-
tiplicative quantum number q is one for which the corresponding product,
rather than the sum, is preserved.
Any conserved quantum number is a symmetry of the Hamiltonian of the sys-
tem (see Noether’s theorem). Symmetry groups which are examples of the
abstract group called Z
2
give rise to multiplicative quantum numbers. This
group consists of an operation, P, whose square is the identity, P
2
= 1. Thus,
all symmetries which are mathematically similar to parity (physics) give rise to
multiplicative quantum numbers.
In principle, mutliplicative quantum numbers can be deﬁned for any Abelian
group. An example would be to trade the electric charge, Q, (related to
the Abelian group U(1) of electromagnetism), for the new quantum number
exp(2i π Q). Then this becomes a multiplicative quantum number by virtue of
the charge being an additive quantum number. However, this route is usual-
ly followed only for discrete subgroups of U(1), of which Z
2
ﬁnds the widest
possible use.
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Neutral particle oscillations
• Parity, C-symmetry, →T-symmetry and G-parity
References
• Group theory and its applications to physical problems, by M. Hamermesh
(Dover publications, 1990) ISBN 0486661814
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiplicative_quantum_number
Principal Authors: Bambaiah, Michael Hardy, Phys, Shimgray, Agentsoo
Neutral particle oscillations
In particle physics, neutral particle oscillation is the transmutation of a
neutral particle with nonzero internal quantum numbers into its antiparticle.
These oscillations and the associated mixing of particles gives insight into
the realization of discrete parts of the Poincare group, ie, parity (P), charge
conjugation (C) and time reversal invariance (T).
The phenomenon
Neutral particles such as the kaon, neutron, bottom quark mesons or neutrinos
have internal quantum numbers called ﬂavour. This means that the particle
and antiparticle are different. If both particle and antiparticle can decay into
the same ﬁnal state, then it is possible for the decay and its time reversed
process to contribute to oscillations—
A → F → B → F → A → ...
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Neutral particle oscillations
where A is the particle, B is the antiparticle, and F is the common set of particles
into which both can decay. The example of the neutral kaon is pictured here.
Such a process is actually connected to the mass renormalization of the states
A and B in quantum ﬁeld theory. However, under certain circumstances it can
be tackled through a simpler quantum mechanics model which neglects these
intermediate multi-particle quantum states and concentrates only on the states
A and B.
Quantum mechanical model
Consider a state [ψ(t)> = a(t)[A> + b(t)[B>. Its time evolution is gov-
erned by the Hamiltonian, H, through the action of the evolution operator
U(t) = exp(iHt) on [ψ(0)>. The 22 matrix Hamiltonian can be written as
H =

H
AA
H
AB
H
BA
H
BB

= M −
i
2
Γ,
where the Hamiltonian can be decomposed into a mass matrix M and a decay
width matrix Γ, both of which are 22 Hermitean matrices. We introduce the
notation M
AB
= [M
AB
[ e

and Γ
AB
= [Γ
AB
[ e
i(α+β)
.
A and B are both ﬂavour eigenstates. Oscillations mix these states, and the
mass eigenstates are the states which propagate without mixing, ie, the eigen-
vectors of H.
CPT symmetry
The action of the discrete spacetime symmetries are
C[A> = -[B>, P[A> = -[A> and T[A> = +[A>.
If the Hamiltonian is CPT symmetric, then (CPT)H(CPT)
-1
=H. The transforma-
tion properties above imply that CPT[A>=[B>. Then <A[H[A> = <B[H[B>,
so a test of CPT symmetry is that the masses and the decay widths of the parti-
cle and the antiparticle are equal. This is a major class of experimental tests of
CPT symmetry.
Any 22 matrix can be written in the form E
0
I+Eu.σ, where I is the identity
matrix, σ
i
are the Pauli matrices and u is an unit vector. With CPT symmetry,
the diagonal elements of H are equal, so
u =

sin φ
cos φ
0

, e

=
M

AB
−iΓ

AB
/2
M
AB
−iΓ
AB
/2
= e

|M
AB
|+
1
2

AB
|e
−i(β+π/2)
|M
AB
|+
1
2

AB
|e
i(β+π/2)
,
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Normalisable wavefunction
where φ is a complex angle. H is diagonalized by rotating u into an unit vector
in the z-direction. The eigenvectors and eigenvalues are
[1, 2` =
1

2
([A` ±e

[B`),
E
1,2
= M
AA

1
2
Γ
AA
±e

[M
AB
[ +
1
2

AB
[e
i(β+π/2)

,
where the plus signs are for the state [1> and minus, for [2>. A change in the
phase convention, [B> → e
-iθ
[B> changes the deﬁnition of the eigenstates,
but not the eigenvalues. By appropriate choice of this phase, the angle φ can
always be set equal to zero, so that the eigenstates are orthogonal.
Oscillations, regeneration and CP violation
CPT symmetry breaking
• Kaons, B-Bbar oscillations and neutrino oscillations
• CP violation and CPT symmetry
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_particle_oscillations
Principal Authors: Bambaiah, Phys, Pearle, Agentsoo, DavidWBrooks
Normalisable wavefunction
In quantum mechanics, wave functions which describe real particles must be
normalisable
1
: the probability of the particle to occupy any place must equal
1. Mathematically, in one dimension this is expressed as

B
A
ψ

(x)ψ(x) dx = 1
in which the integration parameters A and B indicate the interval in which the
particle must exist.
All wavefunctions which represent real particles must be normalizable, that
is, they must have a total probability of one - they must describe the proba-
bility of the particle existing as 100%. This trait enables anyone who solves
the →Schrödinger equation for certain boundary conditions to discard solu-
tions which do not have a ﬁnite integral at a given interval. For example, this
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Normalisable wavefunction
disqualiﬁes periodic functions as wave function solutions for inﬁnite intervals,
while those functions can be solutions for ﬁnite intervals.
Derivation of normalisation
In general, ψ is a complex function. However,
ψ

ψ =[ ψ [
2
is real, greater than zero, and is known as a probability density function.
This means that
p(−∞≤ x ≤ ∞) =

−∞
[ ψ [
2
dx. (1)
where p(x) is the probability of ﬁnding the particle at x. Equation (1) is given
by the deﬁnition of a probability density function. Since the particle exists,
its probability of being anywhere in space must be equal to 1. Therefore we
integrate over all space:
p(−∞≤ x ≤ ∞) =

−∞
[ ψ [
2
dx = 1. (2)
If the integral is ﬁnite, we can multiply the wavefunction, ψ, by a constant
such that the integral is equal to 1. Alternatively, if the wavefunction already
contains an appropriate arbitrary constant, we can solve equation (2) to ﬁnd
the value of this constant which normalises the wavefunction.
Example of normalisation
A particle is restricted to a 1D region between x=0 and x=l; its wavefunction
is:
ψ(x, t) =

Ae
i(kx−ωt)
, 0 ≤ x ≤ l
0, elsewhere.
To normalise the wavefunction we need to ﬁnd the value of the arbitrary con-
stant A, i.e., solve

−∞
[ ψ [
2
dx = 1
to ﬁnd A.
Substituting ψ into [ ψ [
2
we get
[ ψ [
2
= A
2
e
i(kx−ωt)
e
−i(kx−ωt)
= A
2
so
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Normalisable wavefunction

0
−∞
0dx +

l
0
A
2
dx +

l
0dx = 1
therefore
A
2
l = 1 ⇒A =

1

l

.
The normalised wavefunction is:
ψ(x, t) =

1

l

e
i(kx−ωt)
, 0 ≤ x ≤ l
0, elsewhere.
Proof that wavefunction normalisation doesn’t change
associated properties
If normalisation of a wavefunction changed the properties associated with the
wavefunction, the process becomes pointless as we still cannot yield any infor-
mation about the properties of the particle associated with the un-normailied
wavefunction. It is therefore important to establish that the properties associ-
ated with the wavefunction are not altered by normalisation.
All properties of the particle such as probability distribution, momentum, en-
ergy, expectation value of position etc. are derived from the Schrödinger wave
equation. The properties are therefore unchanged if the Schrödinger wave
equation is invariant under normalisation.
The Schrödinger wave equation is

2m
d
2
ψ
dx
2
+V (x)ψ(x) = Eψ(x).
If ψ is normalised and replaced with Aψ, then
d(Aψ)
dx
= A

dx
and
d
2
(Aψ)
dx
2
=
d
dx

d(Aψ)
dx

= A
d
2
ψ
dx
2
.
The Schrödinger wave equation therefore becomes:

2m
A
d
2
ψ
dx
2
+V (x)Aψ(x) = EAψ(x)
⇒A

2m
d
2
ψ
dx
2
+V (x)ψ(x)

= A(Eψ(x))

2m
d
2
ψ
dx
2
+V (x)ψ(x) = Eψ(x)
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Normal mode
which is the original Schrödinger wave equation. That is to say, the
Schrödinger wave equation is invariant under normalisation, and consequently
associated properties are unchanged.
Note
Note 1: The spelling normalisable is a British variant spelling of normalizable.
• →Quantum mechanics
• →Schrödinger equation
• →Wavefunction
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalisable_wavefunction
Principal Authors: Germen, Charles Matthews, Oleg Alexandrov, Stevertigo, Conscious
Normal mode
Normal modes in an oscillating system are special solutions where all the
parts of the system are oscillating with the same frequency (called normal
frequencies or allowed frequencies). The concept of normal modes is of
vital importance in wave theory, optics and quantum mechanics.
Finding normal modes in harmonic oscillation uses the strength of linear alge-
bra and linear sets of differential equations. One can present the problem as a
matrix-vector equation and then solve for its eigenvectors. After ﬁnding them,
the normal modes are the eigenvectors where the normal frequencies are the
eigenvalues.
Example - normal modes of coupled oscillators
Consider two bodies (not affected by gravity), each of mass M, attached to
three springs with stiffness K. They are attached in the following manner:
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Normal mode
Figure 29 Various normal modes in a 1D-lattice.
where the edge points are ﬁxed and cannot move. We’ll use x
1
(t) to denote
the displacement of the leftmost mass, and x
2
(t) to denote the displacement
of the rightmost.
If we denote the second derivative of x(t) with respect to time as x”, the equa-
tions of motion are:
Mx
//
1
= −K(x
1
) −K(x
1
−x
2
)
Mx
//
2
= −K(x
2
) −K(x
2
−x
1
)
Since we expect oscillatory motion, we try:
x
1
(t) = A
1
e
iωt
x
2
(t) = A
2
e
iωt
Substituting these into the equations of motion gives us:
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Normal mode
−ω
2
MA
1
e
iωt
= −2KA
1
e
iωt
+KA
2
e
iωt
−ω
2
MA
2
e
iωt
= KA
1
e
iωt
−2KA
2
e
iωt
Since the exponential factor is common to all terms, we omit it and simplify:

2
M −2K)A
1
+KA
2
= 0
KA
1
+ (ω
2
M −2K)A
2
= 0
And in matrix representation:

ω
2
M −2K K
K ω
2
M −2K

A
1
A
2

= 0
For this equation to have a non-trivial solution, the determinant of the matrix
on the left (the characteristic polynomial of the system) must be equal to 0, so:

2
M −2K)
2
−K
2
= 0
Solving for ω, we have:
ω
1
=

K
M
ω
2
=

3K
M
If we substitute ω
1
into the matrix and solve for (A
1
, A
2
), we get (1, 1). If
we substitute ω
2
, we get (1, -1). (These vectors are eigenvectors, and the
frequencies are eigenvalues.)
The ﬁrst normal mode is:

x
1
(t)
x
2
(t)

= c
1

1
1

cos (ω
1
t +φ
1
)
and the second normal mode is:

x
1
(t)
x
2
(t)

= c
2

1
−1

cos (ω
2
t + φ
2
)
The general solution is a superposition of the normal modes where c
1
, c
2
, φ
1
,
and φ
2
, are determined by the initial conditions of the problem.
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Normal mode
The process demonstrated here can be generalized and formulated using the
formalism of Lagrangian mechanics or Hamiltonian mechanics.
Standing waves
A standing wave is a continuous form of normal mode. In a standing wave,
all the space elements (i.e (x,y,z) coordinates) are oscillating in the same fre-
quency and in phase (reaching the equilibrium point together), but each has a
different amplitude.
The general form of a standing wave is:
Ψ(t) = f(x, y, z)(Acos(ωt) +Bsin(ωt))
where f (x, y, z) represents the dependence of amplitude on location and the
cosine`sine are the oscillations in time.
Physically, standing waves are formed by the interference (superposition) of
waves and their reﬂections (although one may also say the opposite; that a
moving wave is a superposition of standing waves). The geometric shape of the
medium determines what would be the interference pattern, thus determines
the f (x, y, z) form of the standing wave. This space-dependence is called a
normal mode.
Usually, for problems with continuous dependence on (x,y,z) there is no single
or ﬁnite number of normal mode, but there are inﬁnitely normal modes. If
the problem is bounded (i.e it is deﬁned on a ﬁnite section of space) there are
countably many (a discrete inﬁnity of ) normal modes (usually numbered n
= 1,2,3,...). If the problem is not bounded, there is a continuous spectrum of
normal modes.
The allowed frequencies are dependent on the normal modes, as well on phys-
ical constants of the problem (density, tension, pressure, etc.) which sets the
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Normal mode
phase velocity of the wave. The range of all possible normal frequencies is
called the frequency spectrum. Usually, each frequency is modulated by the
amplitude at which it has arisen, creating a graph of the power spectrum of the
oscillations.
When relating to music, normal modes of a vibrating instruments (strings, air
pipes, drums, etc.) are called "harmonics".
Normal modes in quantum mechanics
In quantum mechanics, a state [ψ` of a system is described by a wavefunction
ψ(x, t)which solves the →Schrödinger equation. The square of the absolute
value of ψ ,i.e.
P(x, t) = [ψ(x, t)[
2
is the probability (density) to measure the particle in place x at time t.
Usually, when involving some sort of potential, the wavefunction is decom-
posed into a superposition of energy eigenstates, each oscillating with frequen-
cy of ω = E
n
/. Thus, we may write
[ψ(t)` =
¸
n
[n` 'n[ψ(t = 0)` e
−iE
n
t/
The eigenstates have a physical meaning further than an orthonormal basis.
When the energy of the system is measured, the wavefunction collapses into
one of its eigenstates and so the particle wavefunction is described by the pure
eigenstate corresponding to the measured energy.
• Physical applications:
• Waves
• Optics
• harmonic oscillator
• vibrational spectroscopy
• quantum theory
• →Schrödinger equation
• →Wavefunction
• →Measurement in quantum mechanics
• harmonic series (music)
• Mathematical tools:
• linear algebra
• eigenvectors
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Nuclear physics
• differential equations
• Fourier analysis
• Sturm-Liouville theory
• Boundary value problem
• Java simulation of coupled oscillators
150
.
• Java simulation of the normal modes of a string
151
, drum
152
, and bar
153
.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_mode
Principal Authors: MathKnight, Michael Hardy, Charles Matthews, Pfalstad, Omegatron
Nuclear physics
Nuclear physics is the branch of physics concerned with the nucleus of the
atom. It has three main aspects: probing the fundamental particles (protons
and neutrons) and their interactions, classifying and interpreting the properties
of nuclei, and providing technological advances.
Nuclei do not lend themselves to exact theoretical understanding, because they
are composed of many particles (mesons as well as protons and neutrons),
but are not large enough to be accurately described as periodic, as done with
crystals. So "nuclear models" that, singly or in combination, account for most
nuclear behavior are used. Three of the four types of fundamental interaction
play important roles in nuclei, the strong, electromagnetic and, on a longer
time scale, weak.
Nuclei are held together by strong interactions (mostly exchanging pions), but
electromagnetic repulsion of the positively charged protons tends to push them
apart, according to Coulomb’s law. The stable nuclei all have close to the low-
est energy ratio of protons to neutron for their atomic weight. Nuclei near
enough to this ratio to be bound but not close enough to be stable, give off
electrons or positrons (beta decay) or take in electrons (and also give off neu-
trinos), to move closer to that ratio. This is the main place where the weak
150
151
152
153
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Nuclear physics
interactions come in. Nuclei that are too massive to be stable are pulled apart
by the coulomb repulsion of their protons and either ﬁssion or give off alpha
particles.
Though the number of energy levels is not inﬁnite, as it is for the electron wave
functions of atoms, most stable or nearly stable nuclei have many bound levels.
These usually decay toward the ground state by emitting gamma ray photons.
Protons and neutrons are fermions, with different value of the isospin quantum
number, so two protons and two neutrons can share the same space wave
function. In the rare case of a hypernucleus, a third baryon called a hyperon,
with a different value of the strangeness quantum number can also share the
wave function.
The binding energies of the protons and neutrons are on the order of 1 %
of their relativistic rest masses, so non-relativistic quantum mechanics can be
used with errors usually smaller than those from other approximations.
Often, nuclear physicists will use Nuclear Units where h, c, and the mass of the
proton m
p
have been set to unity.
History
Once the chemists of the 18th century had elucidated the chemical elements,
the rules governing their combinations in matter, and their systematic classiﬁ-
cation (Mendeleev’s periodic table of elements) and John Dalton had, in 1803,
applied Democritus’s idea of atom to them, it was natural that the next step
would be a study of the fundamental properties of individual atoms of the vari-
ous elements, an activity that we would today classify as atomic physics. These
studies led to the discovery in 1896 by Becquerel of the radioactivity of certain
species of atoms and to the further identiﬁcation of radioactive substances by
the Curies in 1898. Ernest Rutherford next took up the study of radiation and
its properties; once he had achieved an understanding of the nature of the ra-
dioactivity, he turned around and used radiated particles to probe the atoms
themselves. In the process he proposed in 1911 the existence of the atom-
ic nucleus, the conﬁrmation of which (through the painstaking experiments
of Geiger and Marsden) provided a new branch of science, nuclear physics.
Investigations into the properties of the nucleus have continued from Ruther-
ford’s time to the present. In the 1940s and 1950s, it was discovered that there
was yet another level of structure even more fundamental than the nucleus,
which is itself composed of protons and neutrons. Thus nuclear physics can be
regarded as the descendant of chemistry and atomic physics and in turn the
progenitor of particle physics.
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Nuclear physics
Experiments with nuclei continue to contribute to the understanding of basic
interactions. Investigation of nuclear properties and the laws governing the
structure of nuclei is an active and productive area of research, and practical
applications, such as nuclear power, smoke detectors, cardiac pacemakers, and
medical imaging devices, have become common.
• Important publications in nuclear physics
• Nuclear ﬁssion
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• Nuclear Structure
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• Models of the nucleus
• Interacting boson model
• Liquid drop model
• Shell model
Applications
• Mossbauer effect
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• SCK.CEN Belgian Nuclear Research Centre
154
Mol, Belgium
• A Free E-Learning Course on Nuclear Physics
155
• Nuclear Physics-Nuclear Medicine Information
156
http://www.sckcen.be/
154
http://www.VirtualClassroom.de.vu/
155
http://www.nucmedinfo.com/Pages/physic.html
156
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Observable
References
• Kenneth S. Krane, "Introductory Nuclear Physics", Wiley & Sons (1988).
• Tien T. Tong, "Fifty Years of Seeing Atoms", Physics Today, March 2006, p.
31
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_physics
Principal Authors: David R. Ingham, Philipum, Heron, Securiger, Icairns, DV8 2XL, Yhr, Zoicon5,
Android 93, Stevegiacomelli
Observable
In physics, particularly in quantum physics, a system observable is a proper-
ty of the system state that can be determined by some sequence of physical
operations. These operations might involve submitting the system to various
electromagnetic ﬁelds and eventually reading a value off some gauge. In sys-
tems governed by classical mechanics, any experimentally observable value can
be shown to be given by a real-valued function on the set of all possible system
states. In quantum physics, on the other hand, the relation between system
state and the value of an observable is more subtle, requiring some basic linear
algebra to explain. In the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics,
states are given by non-zero vectors in a →Hilbert space V (where two vectors
are considered to specify the same state if, and only if, they are scalar multi-
ples of each other) and observables are given by self-adjoint operators on V.
However, as indicated below, not every self-adjoint operator corresponds to a
physically meaningful observable. For the case of a system of particles, the
space V consists of functions called wave functions.
In quantum mechanics, measurement of observables exhibits some seemingly
nature of quantum mechanics itself. The facts of the matter, however, are far
more prosaic. Speciﬁcally, if a system is in a state described by a wave function,
the measurement process affects the state in a non-deterministic, but statisti-
cally predictable way. In particular, after a measurement is applied, the state
description by a single wave function may be destroyed, being replaced by a
statistical ensemble of wave functions. The irreversible nature of measurement
operations in quantum physics is sometimes referred to as the measurement
problem and is described mathematically by quantum operations. By the struc-
ture of quantum operations, this description is mathematically equivalent to
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Oil-drop experiment
that offered by relative state interpretation where the original system is re-
garded as a subsystem of a larger system and the state of the original system is
given by the partial trace of the state of the larger system.
Physically meaningful observables must also satisfy transformation laws which
relate observations performed by different observers in different frames of ref-
erence. These transformation laws are automorphisms of the state space, that
is bijective transformations which preserve some mathematical property. In
the case of quantum mechanics, the requisite automorphisms are unitary (or
antiunitary) linear transformations of the Hilbert space V. Under Galilean rela-
tivity or special relativity, the mathematics of frames of reference is particularly
simple, and in fact restricts considerably the set of physically meaningful ob-
servables.
References
• S. Auyang, How is Quantum Field Theory Possible, Oxford University Press,
1995.
• G. Mackey, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, W. A. Ben-
jamin, 1963.
• V. Varadarajan, The Geometry of Quantum Mechanics vols 1 and 2,
Springer-Verlag 1985.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable
Principal Authors: CSTAR, Michael Hardy, Phys, ABCD, Mushin
Oil-drop experiment
The purpose of Robert Millikan’s oil-drop experiment (1909) was to measure
the electric charge of the electron. He did this by carefully balancing the grav-
itational and electric forces on tiny charged droplets of oil suspended between
two metal electrodes. Knowing the electric ﬁeld, the charge on the droplet
could be determined. Repeating the experiment for many droplets, it was
found that the values measured were always multiples of the same number.
This was taken to be the charge on a single electron: 1.602 10
-19
coulombs
(SI unit for electric charge).
In 1923, Millikan won the Nobel Prize for physics in part because of this ex-
periment. This experiment has since been repeated by generations of physics
students, although it is rather expensive and difﬁcult to do properly.
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Oil-drop experiment
A version of the oil drop experiment has subsequently been used to search
for free quarks (which, if they exist, would have a charge of 1/3 e), without
success. Current theories of quarks predict that they are tightly bound and
will not exist in a free form, however it is interesting to note that in Millikan’s
original notebooks he observed and recorded the existence of an oil droplet
which had a +1/3 partial charge, which he at the time dismissed as an error.
Experimental procedure
The apparatus
The diagram shows a simpliﬁed version of Millikan’s set up. A uniform electric
ﬁeld is provided by a pair of horizontal parallel plates with a high potential
difference between them. A charged drop of oil is allowed to drift in between
them. By varying the potential, the drop can be made to rise, descend or stay
steady. The plates are held together by a ring of insulating material (not shown
in the diagram). There are two holes cut into the ring. A bright light source is
shone through one of the holes, and focused on the region where the oil drops
drift between the plates. A low-powered microscope is inserted through the
other hole. The oil drops reﬂect the light and look like bright points on a dark
ﬁeld of view through the microscope. The microscope has a graduated scale in
the eyepiece which allows for the velocity of the drop to be measured by timing
how long it takes to travel from one division to another.
The oil used is the type that is usually used in vacuum apparatus. This is
because this type of oil has an extremely low vapour pressure. Ordinary oil
would evaporate away under the heat of the light source and so the mass of
the oil drop would not remain constant over the course of the experiment.
Some oil drops will pick up a charge through friction with the nozzle as they
are sprayed, but more can be charged by allowing an ionising radiation source
(such as an x ray tube) to ionise the air in the chamber.
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Oil-drop experiment
Method
Initially the oil drops are allowed to fall between the plates with the electric
ﬁeld turned off. They very quickly reach a terminal velocity because of fric-
tion with the air in the chamber. The ﬁeld is then turned on and, if it is large
enough, some of the drops (the charged ones) will start to rise. (This is be-
cause the upwards electric force F
E
is greater for them than the downwards
gravitational force W). A likely looking drop is selected and kept in the middle
of the ﬁeld of view by alternately switching off the voltage until all the other
drops have fallen. The experiment is then continued with this one drop.
The drop is allowed to fall and its terminal velocity v
1
in the absence of an
electric ﬁeld is calculated. The drag force acting on the drop can then be
worked out using Stokes’ law:
F = 6πrηv
1
where v
1
is the terminal velocity (i.e. velocity in the absence of an electric
ﬁeld) of the falling drop, η is the viscosity of the air, and r is the radius of
the drop.
The weight W is the volume V multiplied by the density ρ and the acceleration
due to gravity g. However what is needed is the apparent weight. The apparent
weight in air is the true weight minus the upthrust (which equals the weight
of air displaced by the oil drop). For a perfectly spherical droplet the apparent
weight can be written as:
W =
4
3
πr
3
g(ρ −ρ
air
)
Now at terminal velocity the oil drop is not accelerating. So the total force
acting on it must be zero. So the two forces F and W must cancel one another
out.
F = W implies:
r
2
=
9ηv
1
2g(ρ−ρ
air
)
Once r is calculated, W can easily be worked out.
Now the ﬁeld is turned back on.
F
E
= qE
where q is the charge on the oil drop and E is the electric ﬁeld between the
plates. For parallel plates
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Oil-drop experiment
E =
V
d
where V is the potential difference and d is the distance between the plates.
One conceivable way to work out q would be to adjust V until the oil drop
remained steady. Then we could equate F
E
with W. But in practice this is
extremely difﬁcult to do precisely. A more practical approach is to turn V up
slightly so that the oil drop rises with a new terminal velocity v
2
. Then
qE −W = 6πrηv
2
=
Wv
2
v
1
Millikan’s experiment and cargo cult science
Richard Feynman said in a commencement lecture he gave at Caltech in 1974
We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of the ways
we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron
by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know
not to be quite right. It’s a little bit off because he had the incorrect value for
the viscosity of air. It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of
the charge of an electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time,
you ﬁnd that one is a little bit bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little
bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until ﬁnally
they settle down to a number which is higher.
Why didn’t they discover the new number was higher right away? It’s a thing
that scientists are ashamed of - this history - because it’s apparent that people
did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s,
they thought something must be wrong - and they would look for and ﬁnd a
reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number close to
Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers
that were too far off, and did other things like that. We’ve learned those tricks
nowadays, and now we don’t have that kind of a disease.
• Karlsson, Magnus, " Millikan’s oildrop experiment
157
". (Simpliﬁed version)
http://www.edu.falkenberg.se/gymnasieskolan/fysik/elektron/millikaneng.html
157
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Oil-drop experiment
• Graphical simulation of the experiment - examples of the difﬁculties
• Thomsen, Marshall, " Good to the Last Drop
158
". Millikan Stories as
"Canned" Pedagogy. Eastern Michigan University.
• CSR/TSGC Team, " Quark search experiment
159
". The University of Texas at
Austin.
• The oil-drop experiment appears in a list of Science’s 10 Most Beautiful
Experiments
160
originally published in the New York Times.
• Delpierre, G.R. and B.T. Sewell, " Millikan’s Oil Drop Experiment
161
". 25
April 2005
• Engeness, T.E., " The Millikan Oil Drop Experiment
162
". 25 April 2005
• Millikan R. A. (1913). "On the elementary electrical charge and the Avo-
163
. The Physical Review, Series II 2: 109–143., Paper by
Millikan discussing modiﬁcations to his original experiment to improve its
accuracy
• Cargo cult science
164
, text of the Feynman lecture.
• Millikan Oil Drop Experiment in space
165
. A variation of this experiment has
been suggested for the International Space Station.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil-drop_experiment
Principal Authors: Michael Hardy, Mjmcb1, Reddi, Popefelix, Theresa knott, Raul654, Gene Nygaard,
Linas
http://www.physics.emich.edu/mthomsen/sege.htm
158
http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/floatn/1997/teams/UT-austin.html
159
160
http://www.physchem.co.za/Static%20Electricity/Millikan.htm
161
http://people.ccmr.cornell.edu/~muchomas/8.04/Lecs/lec_Millikan/Mill.html
162
http://www.aip.org/history/gap/PDF/millikan.pdf
163
http://www.physics.brocku.ca/etc/cargo_cult_science.html
164
http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=APCPCS000504000001000715000001
165
&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes
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Optical theorem
Open quantum system
In physics, an open quantum system is a quantum system which is found
to be in interaction with an external quantum system, the environment. The
open quantum system can be viewed as a distinguished part of a larger closed
quantum system, the other part being the environment.
Open quantum systems are an important concept in quantum optics, measure-
ment theory, quantum statistical mechanics, quantum cosmology and semiclas-
sical approximations.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_quantum_system
Principal Authors: Daniel Arteaga, Sn0wﬂake, Conscious
Optical theorem
In physics, the optical theorem is a very general law of wave scattering theory,
which relates the forward scattering amplitude to the total cross section of the
scatterer. It is usually written in the form
σ
tot
=

k
Imf(0),
where f(0) is the scattering amplitude with an angle of zero, that is, the ampli-
tude of the wave scattered to the center of a distant screen. Because the optical
theorem is derived using only conservation of energy, or in quantum mechan-
ics from conservation of probability, the optical theorem is widely applicable
and, in quantum mechanics, σ
tot
includes both elastic and inelastic scattering.
Note that the above form is for an incident plane wave; a more general form
discovered by Werner Heisenberg can be written
Im f(
ˆ
k
/
,
ˆ
k) =
k

f(
ˆ
k
/
,
ˆ
k
//
)f(
ˆ
k
//
,
ˆ
k) d
ˆ
k
//
.
Notice that as a natural consequence of the optical theorem, an object that
scatters any light at all ought to have a nonzero forward scattering amplitude,
and so a bright central spot.
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Optical theorem
History
The optical theorem was originally discovered independently by Sellmeier and
Lord Rayleigh in 1871. Lord Rayleigh recognized the forward scattering am-
plitude in terms of the index of refraction as
n = 1 + 2πNf(0)/k
2
which he used in a study of the color and polarization of the sky. The equation
was later extended to quantum scattering theory by several individuals, and
came to be known as the Bohr-Peierls-Placzek relation after a 1939 publication.
It was ﬁrst referred to as the Optical Theorem in print in 1955 by Hans Bethe
and de Hoffman, after it had been known as a "well known theorem of optics"
for some time.
Derivation
The theoremcan be derived rather directly froma treatment of a scalar wave. If
a plane wave is incident on an object, then the wave amplitude a great distance
away from the scatterer is given approximately by
ψ(r) ≈ e
ikz
+f(θ)
e
ikr
r
.
All higher terms, when squared, vanish more quickly than 1/r
2
, and so are
negligible a great distance away. Notice that for large values of z and small
angles the binomial theorem gives us
r =

x
2
+y
2
+z
2
≈ z +
x
2
+y
2
2z
.
We would now like to use the fact that the intensity is proportional to the
square of the amplitude ψ. Approximating the r in the denominator as z, we
have
[ψ[
2
= [e
ikz
+
f(θ)
r
e
ikz
e
ik(x
2
+y
2
)/2z
[
2
= 1 +
f(θ)
z
e
ik(x
2
+y
2
)/2z
+
f

(θ)
z
e
−ik(x
2
+y
2
)/2z
+
[f(θ)[
2
z
2
.
If we drop the 1/z
2
term and use the fact that A+A

= 2 Re A we have
[ψ[
2
≈ 1 + 2 Re
f(θ)
z
e
ik(x
2
+y
2
)/2z
.
Now suppose we integrate over a screen in the x-y plane, which is small enough
for the small angle approximations to be appropriate, but large enough that we
can integrate the intensity from −∞to ∞with negligible error. In optics, this
D
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Parity (physics)
is equivalent to including many fringes of the diffraction pattern. To further
simplify matters, let’s approximate f(θ) = f(0). We quickly obtain

[ψ[
2
da ≈ A+ 2 Re
f(0)
z

−∞
e
ikx
2
/2z
dx

−∞
e
iky
2
/2z
dy
where A is the area of the surface integrated over. The exponentials can be
treated as Gaussians and so

[ψ[
2
da = A+ 2 Re
f(0)
z
2ziπ
k
= A−

k
Im f(0),
which is just the amount of energy that would reach the screen if none was
scattered, lessened by an amount (4π/k) Im f(0). Therefore, because of con-
servation of energy, that must be the total amount of energy scattered, and
thus it is the effective scattering cross section of the scatterer.
References
• R. G. Newton (1976). "Optical Theorem and Beyond". Am. J. Phys 44:
639-642.
• John David Jackson (1999). Classical Electrodynamics. Hamilton Printing
Company. ISBN 047130932X.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_theorem
Principal Authors: Hyandat, Michael Hardy, Pﬂatau, That Guy, From That Show!, Phys
Parity (physics)
In physics, a parity transformation (also called parity inversion) is the simul-
taneous ﬂip in the sign of all spatial coordinates:
P :

x
y
z

−x
−y
−z

A 33 matrix representation of P would have determinant equal to –1, and
hence cannot reduce to a rotation. In a two-dimensional plane, parity is the
same as a rotation by 180 degrees.
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Simple symmetry relations
Under rotations, classical geometrical objects can be classiﬁed into scalars, vec-
tors, and tensors of higher rank. In classical physics, physical conﬁgurations
need to transform under representations of every symmetry group.
In a quantum theory states in a →Hilbert space do not need to transform under
representations of the group of rotations, but only under projective representa-
tions. The word projective refers to the fact that if one projects out the phase of
each state, where we recall that the overall phase of a quantum state is not an
observable, then a projective representation reduces to an ordinary representa-
tion. All representations are also projective representations, but the converse is
not true, therefore the projective representation condition on quantum states
is weaker than the representation condition on classical states.
The projective representations of any group are isomorphic to the ordinary rep-
resentations of a central extension of the group. For example, projective repre-
sentations of the 3-dimensional rotation group, which is the special orthogonal
group SO(3), are ordinary representations of the special unitary group SU(2).
Projective representations of the rotation group that are not representations
are called spinors, and so quantum states may transform not only as tensors
but also as spinors.
If one adds to this a classiﬁcation by parity, these can be extended, for example,
into notions of
• scalars (P = 1) and pseudoscalars (P = –1) which are rotationally invariant
• vectors (P = –1) and axial vectors (also called pseudo-vectors) (P = 1)
which both transform as vectors under rotation.
One can deﬁne reﬂections such as
V
x
:

x
y
z

−x
y
z

,
which also have negative determinant. Then, combining them with rotations
one can generate the parity transformation deﬁned earlier. In any even number
of dimensions, the ﬁrst deﬁnition of parity has positive determinant, and hence
can be obtained as some rotation. One then uses reﬂections to extend the
notion of scalars and vectors to pseudo-scalars and pseudo-vectors.
Parity forms the Abelian group Z
2
due to the relation P
2
= 1. All Abelian
groups have only one dimensional irreducible representations. For Z
2
, there
are two irreducible representations: one is even under parity (P φ = φ), the
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Parity (physics)
other is odd (P φ = –φ). These are useful in quantum mechanics. However,
as is elaborated below, in quantum mechanics states need not transform under
actual representations of parity but only under projective representations and
so in principle a parity transformation may rotate a state by any phase.
Classical mechanics
Newton’s equation of motion F = ma (if mass is constant) equates two vectors,
and hence is invariant under parity. The law of gravity also involves only vec-
tors and is also, therefore, invariant under parity. However angular momentum
is an axial vector.
L = r p ,
P(L) = (–r) (–p) = L.
In classical electrodynamics, charge density ρ is a scalar, the electric ﬁeld, E,
and current j are vectors, but the magnetic ﬁeld, H is an axial vector. However,
Maxwell’s equations are invariant under parity because the curl of an axial
vector is a vector.
Quantum mechanics
Possible eigenvalues
In quantum mechanics, spacetime transformations act on quantum states. The
parity transformation, P, is a unitary operator in quantum mechanics, acting
on a state ψ as follows: P ψ(r) = ψ(-r). One must have P
2
ψ(r) = e
i φ
ψ(r),
since an overall phase is unobservable.
The operator P
2
, which reverses the parity of a state twice, leaves the spacetime
invariant and so is an internal symmetry which rotates its eigenstates by phases
e
i φ
. If P
2
is an element e
i Q
of a continuous U(1) symmetry group of phase
rotations then e
-i Q/2
is part of this U(1) and so is also a symmetry. In particular
we can deﬁne P’=Pe
-i Q/2
which is also a symmetry and so we can choose to call
P’ our parity operator instead of P. Notice that P’
2
=1 and so P’ has eigenvalues
±1. However when no such symmetry group exists, it may be that all parity
transformations have some eigenvalues which are phases other than ±1.
Consequences of parity symmetry
When parity generates the Abelian group Z
2
, one can always take linear com-
binations of quantum states such that they are either even or odd under parity
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Parity (physics)
Figure 30 Two dimensional representations of parity
are given by a pair of quantum states which go into
each other under parity. However, this representation
can always be reduced to linear combinations of states,
each of which is either even or odd under parity. One
says that all irreducible representations of parity are
one-dimensional.
(see the ﬁgure). Thus the parity of such states is ±1. The parity of a multipar-
ticle state is the product of the parities of each state; in other words parity is a
multiplicative quantum number.
In quantum mechanics, Hamiltonians are invariant (symmetric) under a parity
transformation if P commutes with the Hamiltonian. In non-relativistic quan-
tum mechanics, this happens for any potential which is scalar, ie, V = V(r),
hence the potential is spherically symmetric. The following facts can be easily
proven:
• If [A> and [B> have the same parity, then <A[ X [B> = 0 where X is the
position operator.
• For a state [L,m> of orbital angular momentum L with z-axis projection m,
P [L,m> = (-1)
L
[L, m>.
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• If [H,P] = 0, then no transitions occur between states of opposite parity.
• If [H,P] = 0, then a non-degenerate eigenstate of H is also an eigenstate
of the parity operator; i.e., a non-degenerate eigenfunction of H is either
invariant to P or is changed in sign by P.
Some of the non-degenerate eigenfunctions of H are unaffected (invariant) by
parity P and the others will be merely be reversed in sign when the Hamiltonian
operator and the parity operator commute:
P Ψ = c Ψ,
where c is a constant, the eigenvalue of P,
P P Ψ = P c Ψ.
Quantum ﬁeld theory
The intrinsic parity assignments in this section are true for relativistic quan-
tum mechanics as well as quantum ﬁeld theory.
If we can show that the vacuum state is invariant under parity (P [0> = [0>),
the Hamiltonian is parity invariant ([H,P] = 0) and the quantization conditions
remain unchanged under parity, then it follows that every state has good parity,
and this parity is conserved in any reaction.
To show that quantum electrodynamics is invariant under parity, we have to
prove that the action is invariant and the quantization is also invariant. For
simplicity we will assume that canonical quantization is used; the vacuum state
is then invariant under parity by construction. The invariance of the action
follows from the classical invariance of Maxwell’s equations. The invariance
of the canonical quantization procedure can be worked out, and turns out to
depend on the transformation of the annihilation operator:
P a(p,±) P
+
= -a(-p,±)
where p denotes the momentum of a photon and ± refers to its polarization
state. This is equivalent to the statement that the photon has odd intrinsic
parity. Similarly all vector bosons can be shown to have odd intrinsic parity,
and all axial-vectors to have even intrinsic parity.
There is a straightforward extension of these arguments to scalar ﬁeld theories
which shows that scalars have even parity, since
P a(p) P
+
= a(-p).
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This is true even for a complex scalar ﬁeld. (Details of spinors are dealt with
in the article on the Dirac equation, where it is shown that fermions and an-
tifermions have opposite intrinsic parity.)
With fermions, there is a slight complication because there is more than one
pin group. (See the article on pin groups for more details.)
Parity in the standard model
Fixing the global symmetries
In the standard model of fundamental interactions there are precisely three
global internal U(1) symmetry groups available, with charges equal to the bary-
on number B, the lepton number L and the electric charge Q. The product of the
parity operator with any combination of these rotations is another parity oper-
ator. It is conventional to choose one speciﬁc combination of these rotations to
deﬁne a standard parity operator, and other parity operators are related to the
standard one by internal rotations. One way to ﬁx a standard parity operator is
to assign the parities of three particles with linearly independent charges B, L
and Q. In general one assigns the parity of the most common massive particles,
the proton, the neutron and the electron, to be +1.
Steven Weinberg has shown that if P
2
=(-1)
F
, where F is the fermion number
operator, then, since the fermion number is the sum of the lepton number plus
the baryon number, F=B+L, for all particles in the standard model and since
lepton number and baryon number are charges Q of continuous symmetries
e
i Q
, it is possible to redeﬁne the parity operator so that P
2
=1. However, if
there exist Majorana neutrinos, which experimentalists today believe is quite
likely, their fermion number is equal to one because they are neutrinos while
their baryon and lepton numbers are zero because they are Majorana, and so
(-1)
F
would not be embedded in a continuous symmetry group. Thus Majorana
neutrinos would have parity ±i.
Parity of the pion
In the 1954 paper Absorption of Negative Pions in Deuterium: Parity of the
Pion
166
, William Chinowsky and Jack Steinberger demonstrated that the pion π
has negative parity. They studied the decay of an atom made from a deuterium
nucleus d and a negatively charged pion π
-
in a state with zero orbital angular
momentum L=0 into two neutrons n
d π

−→n n.
http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v95/i6/p1561_1
166
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Neutrons are fermions and so obey Fermi statistics, which implies that the ﬁnal
state is antisymmetric. Using the fact that the deuteron has spin one and the
pion spin zero together with the antisymmetry of the ﬁnal state they concluded
that the two neutrons must have orbital angular momentum L=1. The total
parity is the product of the intrinsic parities of the particles and the extrinsic
parity (-1)
L
. Since the orbital momentum changes from zero to one in this
process, if the process is to conserve the total parity then the products of the
intrinsic parities of the initial and ﬁnal particles must have opposite sign. A
deuteron nucleus is made from a proton and a neutron, and so using the fore-
mentioned convention that protons and neutrons have intrinsic parities equal
to +1 they argued that the parity of the pion is equal to minus the product of
the parities of the two neutrons divided by that of the proton and neutron in
deuterium, (-1)(1)
2
/(1)
2
, which is equal to minus one. Thus they concluded
that the pion is a pseudoscalar particle.
Parity violation
Parity is not a symmetry of our universe. Although it is conserved in electro-
magnetism, strong interactions and gravity, it turns out to be violated in weak
interactions. The Standard Model incorporates parity violation by expressing
the weak interaction as a chiral gauge interaction. Only the left-handed com-
ponents of particles and right-handed components of antiparticles participate
in weak interactions in the Standard Model.
The history of the discovery of parity violation is interesting. It was suggested
several times and in different contexts that parity might not be conserved, but
in the absence of compelling evidence these were not taken seriously. A care-
ful review by theoretical physicists Tsung Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang went
further, showing that while parity conservation had been veriﬁed in decays by
the strong or electromagnetic interactions, it was untested in the weak inter-
action. They proposed several possible direct experimental tests. They were
almost ignored, but Lee was able to convince his Columbia colleague Chien-
Shiung Wu to try it. She needed special cryogenic facilities and expertise, so
the experiment was done at the National Bureau of Standards.
In 1956-1957 Wu, E. Ambler, R. W. Hayward, D. D. Hoppes, and R. P. Hudson
found a clear violation of parity conservation in the beta decay of cobalt-60. As
the experiment was winding down, with doublechecking in progress, Wu in-
formed her colleagues at Columbia of their positive results. Three of them, R.
L. Garwin, Leon Lederman, and R. Weinrich modiﬁed an existing cyclotron ex-
periment and immediately veriﬁed parity violation. They delayed publication
until after Wu’s group was ready; the two papers appeared back to back.
D
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Parity (physics)
After the fact, it was noted that an obscure 1928 experiment had in effect
reported parity violation in weak decays, but as the appropriate concepts had
not been invented yet, it had no impact. The discovery of parity violation
immediately explained the outstanding τ-θ puzzle in the physics of kaons.
To every particle one can assign an intrinsic parity as long as nature pre-
serves parity. Although weak interactions do not, one can still assign a parity
to any hadron by examining the strong interaction reaction that produces it, or
through decays not involving the weak interaction, such as
π
0
→γγ.
• Charge conjugation, time reversal and CPT symmetry
• Standard model of particle physics, and the electroweak theory
• Vector
• CP violation, by I.I. Bigi and A.I. Sanda
167
[ISBN 0521443490]]
• Weinberg, S. (1995). The Quantum Theory of Fields. Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 0-521-67053-5.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parity_%28physics%29
Principal Authors: Xerxes314, JarahE, Bambaiah, Raghunathan, Patrick
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0521443490
167
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Particle in a box
Particle in a box
In physics, the particle in a box (also known as the inﬁnite potential well
or the inﬁnite square well) is a very simple problem consisting of a single
particle bouncing around inside of an immovable box, from which it cannot
escape, and which loses no energy when it collides with the walls of the box.
In classical mechanics, the solution to the problem is trivial: The particle moves
in a straight line, always at the same speed, until it reﬂects from a wall. When
it reﬂects from a wall, it always reﬂects at an equal but opposite angle to its
angle of approach, and its speed does not change.
The problem becomes very interesting when one attempts a quantum-
mechanical solution, since many fundamental quantum mechanical concepts
need to be introduced in order to ﬁnd the solution. Nevertheless, it remains a
very simple and solvable problem. This article will only be concerned with the
quantum mechanical solution.
The problem may be expressed in any number of dimensions, but the simplest
problem is one dimensional, while the most useful solution is the particle in the
three dimensional box. In one dimension this amounts to the particle existing
on a line segment, with the "walls" being the endpoints of the segment.
In physical terms, the particle in a box is deﬁned as a single point particle,
enclosed in a box inside of which it experiences no force whatsoever, i.e. it is
at zero potential energy. At the walls of the box, the potential rises to inﬁnity,
forming an impenetrable wall. Using this description in terms of potentials
allows the →Schrödinger equation to be used to determine the solution.
As mentioned above, if we were studying this systemunder the rules of classical
mechanics we would apply Newton’s laws of motion to the initial conditions
and the result would seem reasonable and intuitive. In quantum mechanics,
when the →Schrödinger equation is applied to the proposed system, the results
are not intuitive. In the ﬁrst place, the particle can only have certain speciﬁc
energy levels, and the zero energy level is not one of them. Secondly, the
chances of detecting the particle in the box at any speciﬁc energy level is not
uniform - there are certain locations in the box where the particle might be
found, but there are also places where it can never be found. Both of these
results differ from the usual way we perceive the world, yet rest on principles
that have been extensively experimentally veriﬁed.
Formal Introduction
The particle in a box (or the inﬁnite potential well or inﬁnite square well)
is a simple idealized system that can be completely solved within quantum
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Particle in a box
mechanics. It is the situation of a particle conﬁned within a ﬁnite region of
space (the box) by an inﬁnite potential that exists at the walls of the box. The
particle experiences no forces while inside the box, but is constrained by the
walls to remain in the box. This is similar to the situation of a gas conﬁned in a
container. For simplicity we start with the 1-dimensional case, where all motion
is constrained to a single dimension. Later we will extend the discussion to the
2 and 3 dimensional cases. See also the →Particle in a spherically symmetric
potential where the case is treated of a particle in a spherical box, or the particle
in a ring which shows the case for a particle in a 1D ring. The statistical
mechanics of many particles in a box is developed in the gas in a box article.
As we shall see, the solution of the →Schrödinger equation for the particle in
a box problem reveals some decidedly quantum behavior of the particle that
agrees with observation but contrasts sharply with the predictions of classical
mechanics. This is a particularly useful illustration because this behaviour is
not "forced" on the system, it arises naturally from the initial conditions. It
neatly demonstrates that quantum behaviour is a natural outcome of any wave-
like system, contrary to the common concept of a "quantum leap" where the
behavior is almost magical.
The quantum behavior in the box includes:
• Energy quantization - It is not possible for the particle to have any arbitrary
deﬁnite energy. Instead only discrete deﬁnite energy levels are allowed (if
the state is not a steady state, however, any energy past zero-point energy
is allowed on average).
• Zero-point energy - The lowest possible energy level of the particle, called
the zero-point energy, is nonzero.
• Nodes - In contrast to classical mechanics the Schrödinger equation predicts
that for some energy levels there are nodes, implying positions at which the
particle can never be found.
One can solve analytically the Schrödinger equation for such a simple potential.
However trivial, this case is both of great technical value for the insights it
allows, and of paramount physical importance. Depending on the boundary
conditions, one can use the solutions to describe two important systems. If one
considers real valued solutions (of which detailed derivation is given below),
one describes actual potentials of heterostructures called quantum wells which
trap spatially particles, typically electrons and holes. If one considers complex
valued solutions, one describes conveniently a particle propagating freely in a
constrained volume (like a solid).
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Particle in a box
Solutions
The particle in a 1-dimensional box
For the 1-dimensional case in the x direction, the time-independent
Schrödinger equation can be written as:

2
2m
d
2
ψ
dx
2
+V (x)ψ = Eψ (1)
where
=
h

h is Planck’s constant
m is the mass of the particle
ψ is the complex-valued stationery time-independent wavefunction that
we want to ﬁnd
V (x) is a function describing the potential at each point x and
E is the energy, a real number.
For the case of the particle in a 1-dimensional box of length L, the potential is
zero inside the box, but rises abruptly to inﬁnity at x = 0 and x = L. Thus for
the region inside the box V(x) = 0 and Equation 1 reduces to:

2
2m
d
2
ψ
dx
2
= Eψ (2)
This is a well studied differential equation and eigenvalue problem with a gen-
eral solution of:
ψ = Asin(kx) +Bcos(kx)
E =
k
2

2
2m
(3)
Here, A and B can be any complex numbers, and k can be any real number (k
must be real because E is real).
Now in order ﬁnd the speciﬁc solution for the problem at hand, we must spec-
ify the appropriate boundary conditions and ﬁnd the values for A and B that
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Particle in a box
Figure 31 The Potential is 0 inside the box, and inﬁnite elsewhere
satisfy those conditions. One usually resorts to one of the following two choic-
es, describing two kinds of systems. The ﬁrst case, with which we shall pursue
our derivation, demands that ψ equal zero at x = 0 and x = L. A handwaving
argument to motivate these boundary conditions is that the particle is unlikely
to be found at a location with a high potential (the potential repulses the par-
ticle), thus the probability of ﬁnding the particle, [ψ[
2
, must be small in these
regions and decreases with increasing potential. For the case of an inﬁnite po-
tential, [ψ[
2
must inﬁnitesimally small or 0, thus ψ must also be zero in this
region. In summary,
ψ(0) = ψ(L) = 0 (4)
The second case, to which solutions are given in section free propagation
at the end of this article, does not compel the wavefunction to vanish at the
boundary. This means that when the particle reaches one border of the well, it
instantaneously disappears from this side to reappear on the opposite side, as
if the well was some kind of torus. The value of the solutions are discussed in
the appropriate section. We now resume derivation with vanishing boundary
conditions.
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Particle in a box
Substituting the general solution from Equation 3 into Equation 2 and evaluat-
ing at x = 0 (ψ = 0), we ﬁnd that B = 0 (since sin(0) = 0 and cos(0) = 1). It
follows that the wavefunction must be of the form:
ψ = Asin(kx) (5)
and at x = L we ﬁnd:
ψ = Asin(kL) = 0 (6)
One solution for Equation 6 is A = 0, however, this "trivial solution" would
imply that ψ = 0 everywhere (I.e. the particle isn’t in the box.) and can be
thrown out. If A = 0 then sin(kL) = 0, which is only true when:
kL = nπ where n = 1, 2, . . .
or k =

L
(7)
(note that n = 0 is ruled out because then ψ = 0 everywhere, corresponding
to the case where the particle is not in the box. Negative values of n are also
neglected, since they merely change the sign of sin(nx)). Now in order to ﬁnd
A we must undertake a process called normalising the wavefunction. We rec-
ognize that the particle must exist somewhere in space. [ψ[
2
is the probability
of ﬁnding the particle at a particular point in space, so the integral of this value
over all x must be equal to 1:
1 =

−∞
[ψ[
2
dx = [A[
2

L
0
sin
2
kxdx = [A[
2 L
2
or
[A[ =

2
L
(8)
Thus, A may be any complex number with absolute value

(2/L); these dif-
ferent values of A yield the same physical state, so we choose A =

(2/L) to
simplify.
Finally, substituting the results from Equations 7 and 8 into Equation 3, the
complete set of energy eigenfunctions for the 1-dimensional particle in a box
problem is:
ψ
n
=

2
L
sin

nπx
L

(9)
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Particle in a box
E
n
=
n
2

2
π
2
2mL
2
=
n
2
h
2
8mL
2
(10)
with
n = 1, 2, 3, . . .
Note, that as mentioned previously, only "quantized" energy levels are possi-
ble. Also, since n cannot be zero, the lowest energy from Equation 10 is also
non-zero. This zero-point energy, as it is called, can be explained in terms
of the uncertainty principle. Because the particle is constrained within a ﬁnite
region, the variance in its position is upper-bounded. Thus due to the uncer-
tainty principle the variance in the particle’s momentum cannot be zero, so the
particle must contain some amount of energy that increases as the length of
the box, L, decreases.
Also, since ψ consists of sine waves, for any value of n greater than one, there
are regions within the box for which ψ and thus ψ
2
both equal zero, indicating
that for these energy levels, nodes exist in the box where the probability of
ﬁnding the particle is zero.
The particle in a 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional rectangular
box
For the 2-dimensional case the particle is conﬁned to a rectangular surface of
length L
x
in the x-direction and L
y
in the y-direction. Again the potential is zero
inside the "box" and inﬁnite at the walls. For the region inside the box, where
the potential is zero, the two dimensional analogue of Equation 2 applies:

2
2m

2
ψ
∂x
2
+

2
ψ
∂y
2

= Eψ (11)
In this case ψ is a function of both x and y, so ψ=ψ(x,y). In order to solve
Equation 11, we use the method of separation of variables. First, we assume
that ψ can be expressed as the product of two independent functions, the ﬁrst
depending only on x and the second depending only on y; i.e.:
ψ(x, y) = X(x)Y (y) (12)
Substituting Equation 12 into Equation 11 and evaluating the partial deriva-
tives gives:

2
2m

Y

2
X
∂x
2
+X

2
Y
∂y
2

= EXY (13)
which upon dividing by XY and rewriting d
2
X/dx
2
as X" and d
2
Y/dy
2
as Y"
becomes:
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Particle in a box

2
2m

X
//
X
+
Y
//
Y

= E (14)
Now we note that since X"/X is independent of y, varying y can only change
the Y"/Y term. However, from Equation 14 we see that changing Y"/Y without
varying X"/X, would also change E, but E is a constant, so Y"/Y must also be
a constant, independent of y. The same argument can be applied to show that
X"/X is independent of x. Since X"/X and Y"/Y are constants, we can write:

2
2m
X
//
X
= E
x
and −

2
2m
Y
//
Y
= E
y
(15)
where E
x
+ E
y
= E. Expanding X" and Y" in terms of the derivatives and
rearranging gives:

2
2m

2
X
∂x
2
= E
x
X (16)

2
2m

2
Y
∂y
2
= E
y
Y (17)
each of which are of the same form as the 1-dimensional Schrödinger equation
(Equation 2) we solved in the previous section. Thus, adapting the results from
the previous section gives:
X
n
x
=

2
L
x
sin

n
x
πx
L
x

(18)
Y
n
y
=

2
L
y
sin

n
y
πy
L
y

(19)
Finally, since ψ=XY and E = E
x
+ E
y
, we obtain the solutions:
ψ
n
x
,n
y
=

4
L
x
L
y
sin

n
x
πx
L
x

sin

n
y
πy
L
y

(20)
E
n
x
,n
y
=
h
2
8m
¸

n
x
L
x

2
+

n
y
L
y

2

(21)
The same separation of variables technique can be applied to the three di-
mensional case to give the energy eigenfunctions:
ψ
n
x
,n
y
,n
z
=

8
L
x
L
y
L
z
sin

n
x
πx
L
x

sin

n
y
πy
L
y

sin

n
z
πz
L
z

(22)
E
n
x
,n
y
,n
z
=

2
π
2
2m
¸

n
x
L
x

2
+

n
y
L
y

2
+

n
z
L
z

2

(23)
with
n
i
= 1, 2, 3, . . .
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Particle in a box
An interesting feature of the above solutions is that when two or more of the
lengths are the same (e.g. L
x
= L
y
), there are multiple wavefunctions corre-
sponding to the same total energy. For example the wavefunction with n
x
=
2, n
y
= 1 has the same energy as the wavefunction with n
x
= 1, n
y
= 2. This
situation is called degeneracy and for the case where exactly two degener-
ate wavefunctions have the same energy that energy level is said to be doubly
degenerate. Degeneracy results from symmetry in the system. For the above
case two of the lengths are equal so the system is symmetric with respect to a
90

rotation.
Free propagation
If the potential is zero (or constant) everywhere, one describes a free particle.
This leads to some difﬁculties of normalization of the momentum or energy
eigenfunctions. One way around is to constrain the particle in a ﬁnite volume
V of arbitrary (large) extension, in which it is free to propagate. It is expected
that in the limit of V→ ∞ we recover the free particle while allowing in the
intermediate calculations the use of properly normalized states. Also, when
describing for instance a particle propagating in a solid, one does not expect
spatially localized states but instead completely delocalized states (within the
solid), meaning that the particles propagates inside it (since it can be every-
where with the same probability, conversely to the sine solutions we encoun-
tered where the particle has favored locations). This understanding follows
from the solutions of the Schrödinger equation for zero potential following
from the so-called Von-Karman boundary conditions; i.e., the wavefunction as-
sumes same values on opposite sides of the box but it is not required to be zero
here. One can then check that the following solutions obey eq. 1:
in 1D : ψ
k
(x) =
1

L
e
ikx
; k =
2nπ
L
; n ∈ Z
in 3D : ψ
k
(x) =
1

L
3
e
ik·r
; k
x
=
2n
x
π
L
; k
y
=
2n
y
π
L
; k
z
=
2n
z
π
L
; n
x
, n
y
, n
z
∈ Z
The energy remains
2
k
2
/2m (cf. eq. 3) but interestingly, now the k are twice
as before (cf. eq. 7). This is because in the previous case, n was strictly positive
whereas now it can be negative or zero (the ground state). The solutions
where the sine does not superpose to itself after a translation of L can not be
recovered with exponentials, since in this propagating particle interpretation,
the derivative is discontinuous at the border, meaning that the particle acquires
inﬁnite velocity here. This shows how the two interpretations bear intrinsically
differing behaviours.
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Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic potential)
References
• Grifﬁths, David J. (2004). Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2nd ed.).
Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131118927.
• ﬁnite potential well
• particle in a ring
• Scienceworld
168
(Inﬁnite Potential Well)
• Scienceworld
169
(Finite Potential Well)
• 1-D quantum mechanics java applet
170
simulates particle in a box, as well
as other 1-dimensional cases.
• 2-D particle in a box applet
171
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_in_a_box
Principal Authors: PAR, Dgrant, Pfalstad, Heron, AxelBoldt, Paul August, Laussy, JabberWok
Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (peri-
odic potential)
In quantum mechanics, the particle in a one-dimensional lattice is problem
that occurs in the model of a periodic crystal lattice. The problem can be
simpliﬁed from the 3D inﬁnite potential barrier (particle in a box) to a one-
dimensional case. The potential is caused by ions in the periodic structure of
the crystal creating an electromagnetic ﬁeld so electrons are subject to a regular
potential inside the lattice. This is an extension of the free electron model that
assumes zero potential inside the lattice.
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/InfiniteSquarePotentialWell.html
168
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/FiniteSquarePotentialWell.html
169
170
171
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Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic potential)
Problem deﬁnition
When talking about solid materials, the discussion is mainly around
crystals - periodic lattices. Here we will discuss a 1-dimensional
lattice of positive ions. Assuming the spacing between two ions
is a, the potential in the lattice will look something like this:
The
mathematical representation of the potential is a periodic function with a
period a. According to Bloch’s theorem, the wavefunction solution of the
→Schrödinger equation when the potential is periodic, can be written as:
ψ(x) = e
ikx
u(x)
Where u(x) is a periodic function which satisﬁes:
u(x +a) = u(x)
u
/
(x +a) = u
/
(x)
When nearing the edges of the lattice, there are problems with the boundary
condition. Therefore, we can represent the ion lattice as a ring. If L is the
length of the lattice so that L » a, then the number of ions in the lattice is so
big, that when considering one ion, its surrounding is almost linear, and the
wavefuntion of the electron is unchanged. So now, instead of two boundary
conditions we get one circular boundary condition:
ψ(0) = ψ(L)
If N is the number of Ions in the lattice, then we have the relation: aN = L.
Replacing in the boundary condition and applying Bloch’s theorem will result
in a quantization for k:
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Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic potential)
ψ(0) = e
ik0
u(0) = e
ikL
u(L) = ψ(L)
u(0) = e
ikL
u(Na) →e
ikL
= 1
⇒kL = 2πn →k =

L
n

n = 0, ±1, ±2, ..., ±
N
2

.
Kronig-Penney model
In order to simplify the problem the potential function is approximated by a
rectangular potential:
Using Bloch’s theorem, we only need to ﬁnd a solution for a single period, make
sure it is continuous and smooth, and to make sure the function u(x) is also
continuous and smooth. Considering a single period of the potential:
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Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic potential)
We
have two regions here. We will solve for each independently:
0 < x < a −b :

2
2m
ψ
xx
= Eψ
⇒ψ = Ae
iαx
+A
/
e
−iαx

α
2
=
2mE

2

−b < x < 0 :

2
2m
ψ
xx
= (E +V
0

⇒ψ = Be
iβx
+B
/
e
−iβx

β
2
=
2m(E+V
0
)

2

In order to ﬁnd u(x) in each region we need to manipulate the probability
function:
ψ(0 < x < a −b) = Ae
iαx
+A
/
e
−iαx
= e
ikx

Ae
i(α−k)x
+A
/
e
−i(α+k)x

⇒u(0 < x < a −b) = Ae
i(α−k)x
+A
/
e
−i(α+k)x
And in the same manner:
u(−b < x < 0) = Be
i(β−k)x
+B
/
e
−i(β+k)x
To complete the solution we need to make sure the probability function is
continuous and smooth, i.e:
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Particle in a one-dimensional lattice (periodic potential)
ψ(0

) = ψ(0
+
) ψ
/
(0

) = ψ
/
(0
+
)
And that u(x) and u(x) are periodic
u(−b) = u(a −b) u
/
(−b) = u
/
(a −b).
These conditions yield the following matrix:

1 1 −1 −1
α −α −β β
e
i(α−k)(a−b)
e
−i(α+k)(a−b)
−e
−i(β−k)b
−e
i(β+k)b
(α −k)e
i(α−k)(a−b)
(α +k)e
−i(α+k)(a−b)
−(β −k)e
−i(β−k)b
(β +k)e
i(β+k)b

A
A

B
B

=

0
0
0
0

In order for us not to have the trivial solution, the determinant of the matrix
must be 0. This leads us to the following expression:
cos(ka) = cos(βb) cos[α(a −b)] −
α
2

2
2αβ
sin(βb) sin[α(a −b)]
In order to further simplify the expression, we will perform the following ap-
proximations:
b →0 ; V
0
→∞; V
0
b = constant
⇒βb →0 ; β
2
b = constant ; α
2
b →0 ; sin(βb) →βb ; cos(βb) →1
The expression will now be:
cos(ka) = cos(αa) −P
sin(αa)
αa

P =
β
2
ab
2

• Ralph Kronig Kronig-Penney model
• Free electron model
• Nearly-free electron model
• Crystal structure
• Potential
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Particle in a ring
• 1-D periodic potential applet
172
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_in_a_one-dimensional_lattice_%28periodic_potential
%29
Principal Authors: Michael Hardy, Pfalstad, Rubber hound, Sverdrup, Salty-horse
Particle in a ring
In quantum mechanics, the case of a particle in a one-dimensional ring is
similar to the particle in a box. The →Schrödinger equation for a free particle
which is restricted to a ring (technically, whose conﬁguration space is the circle
S
1
) is

2
2m

2
ψ = Eψ
Using polar coordinates on the 1 dimensional ring, the wave function depends
only on the angular coordinate, and so

2
=
1
r
2

2
∂θ
2
Requiring that the wave function be periodic in θ with a period 2 π (from the
demand that the wave functions be single-valued functions on the circle), and
that they be normalized leads to the conditions

0
[ψ(θ)[
2
dθ = 1 ,
and
ψ(θ) = ψ(θ + 2 π)
Under these conditions, the solution to the Schrödinger equation is given by
ψ(θ) =
1

e
±i
r

2mEθ
The energy eigenvalues E are quantized because of the periodic boundary con-
ditions, and they are required to satisfy
172
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Particle in a ring
e
±i
r

2mEθ
= e
±i
r

2mE(θ+2π)
, or
e
±i2π
r

2mE
= 1 = e
i2πn
This leads to the energy eigenvalues
E =
n
2

2
2mr
2
where n = 0, 1, 2, 3, . . .
The full wave functions are, therefore
ψ(θ) =
1

e
±inθ
Except for the case n = 0, there are two quantum states for every value of n
(corresponding to e
±inθ
). Therefore there are 2n+1 states with energies less
than an energy indexed by the number n.
The case of a particle in a one-dimensional ring is an instructive example when
studying the quantization of angular momentum for, say, an electron orbiting
the nucleus. The azimuthal wave functions in that case are identical to the
energy eigenfunctions of the particle on a ring.
Interestingly, the statement that any wavefunction for the particle on a ring can
be written as a superposition of energy eigenfunctions is exactly identical to
Fourier’s theorem about the development of any periodic function in a Fourier
series.
This simple model can be used to ﬁnd approximate energy levels of some ring
molecules, such as benzene.
• Angular momentum
• Harmonic analysis.
• One-dimensional periodic case
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_in_a_ring
Principal Authors: AmarChandra, Charles Matthews, Creidieki, Michael Hardy, Idril
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Particle in a spherically symmetric potential
Particle in a spherically symmetric poten-
tial
In quantum mechanics, the particle in a spherically symmetric potential de-
scribes the dynamics of a particle in a central force ﬁeld, i.e. with potential
depending only on the distance of the particle to the center of force (radi-
al dependency), having no angular dependency. In its quantum mechanical
formulation, it amounts to solving the →Schrödinger equation with potentials
V(r) which depend only on r, the modulus of r.
Three special cases arise, of special importance:
• V(r)=0, or solving the vacuum in the basis of spherical harmonics, which
serves as the basis for other cases.
• V (r) = V
0
for r < r
0
and 0 (or ∞) elsewhere, or particle in the spherical
equivalent of the square well, useful to describe scattering and bound states
in a nucleus or quantum dot.
• V(r) 1/r to describe bound states of atoms, especially hydrogen.
We outline the solutions in these cases, which should be compared to their
counterparts in cartesian coordinates, cf. particle in a box. This article relies
heavily on Bessel functions.
General considerations
The time independent solution of 3D Schrödinger equation with hamiltonian
p
2
/2m
0
+V (r) where m
0
is the particle’s mass, can be separated in the variables
r, θ and φ so that the wavefunction ψ reads:
ψ(r) = R(r)Y
m
l
(θ, φ)
Y
m
l
are the usual Spherical harmonics, while R needs be solved with the so-

2
2m
0
r
2
d
dr
(r
2 d
dr
) +
2
l(l+1)
2m
0
r
2
+V (r)

R(r) = ER(r)
It has the shape of the 1D Schrödinger equation for the variable u(r) ≡ rR(r),
with a centrifugal term
2
l(l + 1)/2m
0
r
2
added to V, but r ranges from 0 to ∞
rather than over R.
cal symmetry, see Angular momentum, since the spherical harmonics are the
eigenstates of the operator L
2
.
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Particle in a spherically symmetric potential
Vacuum case
Let us now consider V(r)=0 (if V
0
, replace everywhere E with E −V
0
). Intro-
ducing the dimensionless variable
ρ ≡ kr, k ≡

2m
0
E

2
r
the equation becomes a Bessel equation for J deﬁned by J(ρ) ≡

ρR(r)
(whence the notational choice of J):
ρ
2 d
2
J

2

dJ

+

ρ
2

l +
1
2

2

J = 0
which regular solutions for positive energies are given by so-called Bessel func-
tions of the ﬁrst kind J
l+1/2
(ρ) so that the solutions written for R are the
so-called Spherical Bessel function R(r) = j
l
(kr) ≡

π/(2kr)J
l+1/2
(kr).
The solutions of Schrödinger equation in polar coordinates for a particle of
mass m
0
in vacuum are labelled by three quantum numbers: discrete indices l
and m, and k varying continuously in [0, ∞]:
ψ(r) = j
l
(kr)Y
m
l
(θ, φ)
where k ≡

2m
0
E/, j
l
are the spherical Bessel function and Y
m
l
are the
spherical harmonics.
These solutions represent states of deﬁnite angular momentum, rather than of
deﬁnite (linear) momentum, which are provided by plane waves exp(ik r).
Spherical square well
Let us now consider the potential V (r) = V
0
for r < r
0
, i.e., inside a sphere of
0
and zero outside.
We ﬁrst consider bound states, i.e., states which display the particle mostly
inside the box (conﬁned states). Those have an energy E less than the potential
outside the sphere, i.e., they have negative energy, and we shall see that there
are a discrete number of such states, which we shall compare to positive energy
with a continuous spectrum, describing scattering on the sphere (of unbound
states). Also worth noticing is that unlike Coulomb potential, featuring an
inﬁnite number of discrete bound states, the spherical square well has only a
ﬁnite (if any) number because of its ﬁnite range (if it has ﬁnite depth).
The resolution essentially follows that of the vacuum with normalisation of
the total wavefunction added, solving two Schrödinger equations—inside and
outside the sphere—of the previous kind, i.e., with constant potential. Also the
following constraints hold:
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Particle in a spherically symmetric potential
• The wavefunction must be regular at the origin.
• The wavefunction and its derivative must be continuous at the potential
discontinuity.
• The wavefunction must converge at inﬁnity.
The ﬁrst constraint comes from the fact that Neumann N and Hankel H func-
tions are nonsingular at the origin. The physical argument that ψ must be
deﬁned everywhere selected Bessel function of the ﬁrst kind J over the other
possibilities in the vacuum case. For the same reason, the solution will be of
this kind inside the sphere:
R(r) = Aj
l

2m
0
(E−V
0
)

2
r

, r < r
0
with A a constant to be determined later. Note that for bound states, V
0
< E <
0.
Bound states bring the novelty as compared to the vacuum case that E is now
negative (in the vacuum it was to be positive). This, along with third con-
straint, selects Hankel function of the ﬁrst kind as the only converging solution
at inﬁnity (the singularity at the origin of these functions does not matter since
we are now outside the sphere):
R(r) = Bh
(1)
l

i

−2m
0
E

2
r

, r > r
0
Second constraint on continuity of ψ at r = r
0
along with normalization al-
lows the determination of constants A and B. Continuity of the derivative (or
logarithmic derivative for convenience) requires quantization of energy.
Inﬁnite spherical square well
In case where the potential is inﬁnitely deep, so that we can take V
0
= 0
inside the sphere and ∞ outside, the problem becomes that of matching the
wavefunction inside the sphere (the spherical Bessel functions) with identically
zero wavefunction outside the sphere. Allowed energies are those for which
the radial wavefunction vanishes at the boundary. Thus, we use the zeros of
the spherical Bessel functions to ﬁnd the energy spectrum and wavefunctions.
Calling u
l,k
the k
th
zero of j
l
, we have:
E
l
=
u
2
l,k

2
2m
0
r
2
0
So that one is reduced to the computations of these zeros u
l,k
and to their
ordering them (as illustrated graphically below) (note that zeros of j are the
same as those of J).
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Path integral formulation
Zeros of the ﬁrst spherical Bessel equations
Calling s, p, d, f, g, h, etc., states with l =0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., respectively, we
obtain the following spectrum:
Spectrum of the inﬁnitely deep spherical square well
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_in_a_spherically_symmetric_potential
Principal Authors: Laussy, Oleg Alexandrov, Charles Matthews, Fibonacci, Starwed
Path integral formulation
along a path, also known as line or contour integrals, see Line integral.
The path integral formulation of quantum mechanics was developed in 1948
by Richard Feynman. Some preliminaries were worked out earlier, in the
course of his doctoral thesis work with John Archibald Wheeler. It is a de-
scription of quantum theory which generalizes the action principle of classical
mechanics. It replaces the classical notion of a single, unique history for a sys-
tem with a sum, or functional integral, over an inﬁnity of possible histories to
compute a quantum amplitude.
This formulation has proved crucial to the subsequent development of theoret-
ical physics, since it provided the basis for the grand synthesis of the 1970’s
called the renormalization group which uniﬁed quantum ﬁeld theory with sta-
tistical mechanics. It is no surprise, therefore, that path integrals have also
been used in the study of Brownian motion and diffusion.
Formulating quantum mechanics
The path integral method is an alternative formulation of quantum mechan-
ics. The canonical approach, pioneered by Schrödinger, Heisenberg and Paul
Dirac paid great attention to wave-particle duality and the resulting uncertainty
principle by replacing Poisson brackets of classical mechanics by commutators
between operators in quantum mechanics. The →Hilbert space of quantum
states and the superposition law of quantum amplitudes follows. The path in-
tegral starts from the superposition law, and exploits wave-particle duality to
build a generating function for quantum amplitudes.
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Path integral formulation
Figure 32 These are just three of the paths that contribute to the quantum amplitude for
a particle moving from point A at some time t
0
to point B at some other time t
1
.
Quantum amplitudes
Feynman proposed the following postulates:
1. The probability for any fundamental event is given by the absolute
square of a complex amplitude.
2. The amplitude for some event is given by adding together all the histo-
ries which include that event.
3. The amplitude a certain history contributes is proportional to
e
i

[L(q, ˙ q,t)]dt
, where

[L(q, ˙ q, t)]dt is the action of that history, or time
integral of the Lagrangian.
In order to ﬁnd the overall probability amplitude for a given process, then,
one adds up, or integrates, the amplitude of postulate 3 over the space of all
possible histories of the system in between the initial and ﬁnal states, including
histories that are absurd by classical standards. In calculating the amplitude
D
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Path integral formulation
for a single particle to go from one place to another in a given time, it would be
correct to include histories in which the particle describes elaborate curlicues,
histories in which the particle shoots off into outer space and ﬂies back again,
and so forth. The path integral includes them all. Not only that, it assigns
all of them, no matter how bizarre, amplitudes of equal magnitude; only the
phase, or argument of the complex number, varies. The contributions wildly
different from the classical history are suppressed only by the interference of
similar histories (see below).
Feynman showed that his formulation of quantum mechanics is equivalent to
the canonical approach to quantum mechanics. An amplitude computed ac-
cording to Feynman’s principles will also obey the →Schrödinger equation for
the Hamiltonian corresponding to the given action.
Feynman’s postulates are somewhat ambiguous in that they do not deﬁne what
an "event" is or the exact proportionality constant in postulate 3. The pro-
portionality problem can be solved by simply normalizing the path integral by
dividing the amplitude by the square root of the total probability for something
to happen (resulting in that the total probability given by all the normalized
amplitudes will be 1, as we would expect). Generally speaking one can simply
deﬁne the "events" in an operational sense for any given experiment.
The equal magnitude of all amplitudes in the path integral tends to make it
difﬁcult to deﬁne it such that it converges and is mathematically tractable.
For purposes of actual evaluation of quantities using path-integral methods, it
is common to give the action an imaginary part in order to damp the wilder
contributions to the integral, then take the limit of a real action at the end of
the calculation. In quantum ﬁeld theory this takes the form of Wick rotation.
There is some difﬁculty in deﬁning a measure over the space of paths. In
particular, the measure is concentrated on "fractal-like" distributional paths.
Recovering the action principle
Feynman was initially attempting to make sense of a brief remark by Paul Dirac
about the quantum equivalent of the action principle in classical mechanics. In
the limit of action that is large compared to Planck’s constant , the path inte-
gral is dominated by solutions which are stationary points of the action, since
there the amplitudes of similar histories will tend to constructively interfere
with one another. Conversely, for paths that are far frombeing stationary points
of the action, the complex phase of the amplitude calculated according to pos-
tulate 3 will vary rapidly for similar paths, and amplitudes will tend to cancel.
Therefore the important parts of the integral—the signiﬁcant possibilities—in
the limit of large action simply consist of solutions of the Euler-Lagrange equa-
tion, and classical mechanics is correctly recovered.
D
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Path integral formulation
Action principles can seem puzzling to the student of physics because of their
seemingly teleological quality: instead of predicting the future from initial con-
ditions, one starts with a combination of initial conditions and ﬁnal conditions
and then ﬁnds the path in between, as if the system somehow knows where
it’s going to go. The path integral is one way of understanding why this works.
The system doesn’t have to know in advance where it’s going; the path inte-
gral simply calculates the probability amplitude for a given process, and the
stationary points of the action mark neighborhoods of the space of histories for
which quantum-mechanical interference will yield large probabilities.
Time Slicing Deﬁnition
For a particle in a smooth potential, the path integral is approximated by Feyn-
man as the small-step limit over zig-zag paths, which in one dimension is a
product of ordinary integrals. For the motion of the particle from position x
0
at
time 0 to x
n
at time t, the time interval can be divided up into little segments
of ﬁxed duration ∆t. This process is called time slicing. The path integral can
be computed as proportional to
lim
∆t→0,n→∞,n∆t=t

+∞
−∞
dx
1

+∞
−∞
dx
2

+∞
−∞
dx
3
. . .

+∞
−∞
dx
n−1
e
i

(H(x
1
,...,x
j
,t)dt)
where H is the entire history in which the particle zigzags from its initial to its
ﬁnal position linearly between all the values of
x
j
= x(j∆t).
In the limit of ∆t going to zero, this becomes a functional integral. This limit
does not, however, exist for the most important quantum-mechanical systems,
the atoms, due to the singularity of the Coulomb potential e
2
/r at the origin.
The problem was solved in 1979 by Duru and Kleinert (see here
173
and here
174
)
by choosing ∆t proportional to r and going to new coordinates whose square
length is equal to r (→Duru-Kleinert transformation).
Particle in Curved Space
For a particle in curved space the kinetic term depends on the position and
the above time slicing cannot be applied, this being a manifestation of the
notorious operator ordering problem in Schrödinger quantum mechanics. One
may, however, solve this problem by transforming the time-sliced ﬂat-space
http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/kleiner_re65/65.pdf
173
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174
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Path integral formulation
path integral to curved space using a multivalued coordinate transformation
(nonholonomic mapping explained here
175
).
The path integral and the partition function
The path integral is just the generalization of the integral above to all quantum
mechanical problems—
Z =

Dxe
iS[x]/
where S[x] =

T
0
dtL[x(t)]
is the action of the classical problem in which one investigates the path start-
ing at time t=0 and ending at time t=T, and Dx denotes integration over all
paths. In the classical limit, →0, the path of minimum action dominates the
integral, because the phase of any path away from this ﬂuctuates rapidly and
different contributions cancel.
The connection with statistical mechanics follows. Perform the Wick rotation
t→it, i.e., make time imaginary. Then the path integral resembles the partition
function of statistical mechanics deﬁned in a canonical ensemble with temper-
ature 1/T.
Clearly, such a deep analogy between quantum mechanics and statistical me-
chanics cannot be dependent on the formulation. In the canonical formulation,
one sees that the unitary evolution operator of a state is given by
[α; t` = e
iHt/
[α; 0`
where the state α is evolved from time t=0. If one makes a Wick rotation
here, and ﬁnds the amplitude to go from any state, back to the same state in
(imaginary) time iT is given by
Z = Tr[e
−HT/
]
which is precisely the partition function of statistical mechanics for the same
system at temperature quoted earlier. One aspect of this equivalence was also
known to Schrödinger who remarked that the equation named after himlooked
like the diffusion equation after Wick rotation.
Quantum ﬁeld theory
Today, the most common use of the path-integral formulation is in quantum
ﬁeld theory.
http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/b5/psfiles/pthic10.pdf
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The propagator
A common use of the path integral is to calculate 'q
1
, t
1
[q
0
, t
0
`, a quantity (here
written in bra-ket notation) known as the propagator. As such it is very useful
in quantum ﬁeld theory, where the propagator is an important component of
Feynman diagrams. One way to do this, which Feynman used to explain photon
and electron/positron propagators in quantum electrodynamics, is to apply the
path integral to the motion of a single particle—one, however, that can roam
back and forth through time as well as space in the course of its wanderings.
(Such behavior can be reinterpreted as the contribution of the creation and
annihilation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs, so in this sense the single-
particle restriction has already been loosened.)
Functionals of ﬁelds
However, the path-integral formulation is also extremely important in direct
application to quantum ﬁeld theory, in which the "paths" or histories being con-
sidered are not the motions of a single particle, but the possible time evolutions
of a ﬁeld over all space. The action is referred to technically as a functional of
the ﬁeld: S[φ] where the ﬁeld φ(x
µ
) is itself a function of space and time, and
the square brackets are a reminder that the action depends on all the ﬁeld’s
values everywhere, not just some particular value. In principle, one integrates
Feynman’s amplitude over the class of all possible combinations of values that
the ﬁeld could have anywhere in space-time.
Much of the formal study of QFT is devoted to the properties of the resulting
functional integral, and much effort (not yet entirely successful) has been made
toward making these functional integrals mathematically precise.
Such a functional integral is extremely similar to the partition function in sta-
tistical mechanics. Indeed, it is sometimes called a partition function, and the
two are essentially mathematically identical except for the factor of i in the
exponent in Feynman’s postulate 3. Analytically continuing the integral to an
imaginary time variable (called a Wick rotation) makes the functional inte-
gral even more like a statistical partition function, and also tames some of the
mathematical difﬁculties of working with these integrals.
Expectation values
In quantum ﬁeld theory, if the action is given by the functional S of ﬁeld con-
ﬁgurations (which only depends locally on the ﬁelds), then the time ordered
vacuum expectation value of polynomially bounded functional F, <F>, is giv-
en by
F =
R
DφF[φ]e
iS[φ]
R
Dφe
iS[φ]
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Path integral formulation
The symbol

Dφ here is a concise way to represent the inﬁnite-dimensional
integral over all possible ﬁeld conﬁgurations on all of space-time. As stated
above, we put the unadorned path integral in the denominator to normalize
everything properly.
Schwinger-Dyson equations
Since this formulation of quantum mechanics is analogous to classical action
principles, one might expect that identities concerning the action in classical
mechanics would have quantum counterparts derivable from a functional inte-
gral. This is often the case.
In the language of functional analysis, we can write the Euler-Lagrange equa-
tions as
δ
δφ
S[φ] = 0 (the left-hand side is a functional derivative; the equation
means that the action is stationary under small changes in the ﬁeld conﬁgu-
ration). The quantum analogues of these equations are called the Schwinger-
Dyson equations.
If the functional measure Dφ turns out to be translationally invariant (we’ll
assume this for the rest of this article, although this does not hold for, let’s say
nonlinear sigma models) and if we assume that after a Wick rotation
e
iS[φ]
,
which now becomes
e
−H[φ]
for some H, goes to zero faster than any reciprocal of any polynomial for large
values of φ, we can integrate by parts (after a Wick rotation, followed by a
Wick rotation back) to get the following Schwinger-Dyson equations:

δ
δφ
F[φ]

= −i

F[φ]
δ
δφ
S[φ]

for any polynomially bounded functional F.

F
,i

= −i

FS
,i

in the deWitt notation.
These equations are the analog of the on shell EL equations.
If J (called the source ﬁeld) is an element of the dual space of the ﬁeld conﬁg-
urations (which has at least an afﬁne structure because of the assumption of
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Path integral formulation
the translational invariance for the functional measure), then, the generating
functional Z of the source ﬁelds is deﬁned to be:
Z[J] =

Dφe
i(S[φ]+J,φ)
Note that
δ
n
Z
δJ(x
1
)δJ(x
n
)
[J] = i
n
Z[J] 'φ(x
1
) φ(x
n
)`
J
or
Z
,i
1
...i
n
[J] = i
n
Z[J]

φ
i
1
φ
i
n

J
where
F
J
=
R
DφF[φ]e
i(S[φ]+J,φ)
R
Dφe
i(S[φ]+J,φ)
Basically, if Dφe
iS[φ]
is viewed as a functional distribution (this shouldn’t be
taken too literally as an interpretation of QFT, unlike its Wick rotated statistical
mechanics analogue, because we have time ordering complications here!), then
'φ(x
1
) φ(x
n
)` are its moments and Z is its Fourier transform.
If F is a functional of φ, then for an operator K, F[K] is deﬁned to be the operator
which substitutes K for φ. For example, if
F[φ] =

k
1
∂x
k
1
1
φ(x
1
)

k
n
∂x
k
n
n
φ(x
n
)
and G is a functional of J, then
F

−i
δ
δJ

G[J] = (−i)
n ∂
k
1
∂x
k
1
1
δ
δJ(x
1
)

k
n
∂x
k
n
n
δ
δJ(x
n
)
G[J].
Then, from the properties of the functional integrals, we get the "master"
Schwinger-Dyson equation:
δS
δφ(x)

−i
δ
δJ

Z[J] +J(x)Z[J] = 0
or
S
,i
[−i∂]Z +J
i
Z = 0
If the functional measure is not translationally invariant, it might be possible
to express it as the product M [φ] Dφ where M is a functional and Dφ is
a translationally invariant measure. This is true, for example, for nonlinear
sigma models where the target space is diffeomorphic to R
n
. However, if the
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Path integral formulation
target manifold is some topologically nontrivial space, the concept of a trans-
lation does not even make any sense.
In that case, we would have to replace the S in this equation by another func-
tional
ˆ
S = S −i ln(M)
If we expand this equation as a Taylor series about J=0, we get the entire set
of Schwinger-Dyson equations.
Functional identity
If we performa Wick rotation inside the functional integral, professors J. Garcia
and Gerard T´Hooft showed using a functional differential equation that:

D[x]e
−S[x]/
= −A[x]
¸

n=0
()
n+1
δ
n
e
−J/
where :S is the Wick-rotated classical action of the particle,J is the classical ac-
tion with an extra term "x" and delta here is the functional derivative operator
:A[x] = exp(1/

dtX(t)
Ward-Takahashi identities
See main article Ward-Takahashi identity
Now how about the on shell Noether’s theorem for the classical case? Does it
have a quantum analog as well? Yes, but with a caveat. The functional mea-
sure would have to be invariant under the one parameter group of symmetry
transformation as well.
Let’s just assume for simplicity here that the symmetry in question is local
(not local in the sense of a gauge symmetry, but in the sense that the trans-
formed value of the ﬁeld at any given point under an inﬁnitesimal transfor-
mation would only depend on the ﬁeld conﬁguration over an arbitrarily small
neighborhood of the point in question). Let’s also assume that the action is
local in the sense that it is the integral over spacetime of a Lagrangian, and
that Q[L(x)] = ∂
µ
f
µ
(x) for some function f where f only depends locally on
φ (and possibly the spacetime position).
If we don’t assume any special boundary conditions, this would not be a "true"
symmetry in the true sense of the term in general unless f=0 or something.
Here, Q is a derivation which generates the one parameter group in question.
We could have antiderivations as well, such as BRST and supersymmetry.
Let’s also assume

DφQ[F][φ] = 0 for any polynomially bounded functional
F. This property is called the invariance of the measure. And this does not hold
in general. See anomaly (physics) for more details.
Then,

DφQ[Fe
iS
][φ] = 0
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Path integral formulation
, which implies
'Q[F]` +i

F

∂V
f
µ
ds
µ

= 0
where the integral is over the boundary. This is the quantum analog of
Noether’s theorem.
Now, let’s assume even further that Q is a local integral Q =

d
d
xq(x)
where q(x)[φ(y)]=δ
(d)
(x-y)Q[φ(y)] so that q(x)[S] = ∂
µ
j
µ
(x) where
j
µ
(x) = f
µ
(x) −

∂(∂
µ
φ)
L(x)Q[φ]
(this is assuming the Lagrangian only de-
pends on φ and its ﬁrst partial derivatives! More general Lagrangians would
require a modiﬁcation to this deﬁnition!). Note that we’re NOT insisting that
q(x) is the generator of a symmetry (i.e. we’re NOT insisting upon the gauge
principle), but just that Q is. And let’s also assume the even stronger assump-
tion that the functional measure is locally invariant:

Dφq(x)[F][φ] = 0
.
Then, we’d have
'q(x)[F]` +i 'Fq(x)[S]` = 'q(x)[F]` +i 'F∂
µ
j
µ
(x)` = 0
Alternatively,
q(x)[S][−i
δ
δJ
]Z[J] + J(x)Q[φ(x)][−i
δ
δJ
]Z[J] = ∂
µ
j
µ
(x)[−i
δ
δJ
]Z[J] +
J(x)Q[φ(x)][−i
δ
δJ
]Z[J] = 0
The above two equations are the Ward-Takahashi identities.
Now for the case where f=0, we can forget about all the boundary conditions
and locality assumptions. We’d simply have
'Q[F]` = 0.
Alternatively,

d
d
xJ(x)Q[φ(x)][−i
δ
δJ
]Z[J] = 0
The path integral in quantum-mechanical interpre-
tation
In one philosophical interpretation of quantum mechanics, the "sum over his-
tories" interpretation, the path integral is taken to be fundamental and reality
D
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Path integral formulation
is viewed as a single indistinguishable "class" of paths which all share the same
events. For this interpretation, it is crucial to understand what exactly an event
is. The sum over histories method gives identical results to canonical quantum
mechanics, and Sinha and Sorkin (what is the reference?) claim the inter-
pretation explains the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox without resorting to
nonlocality.
Some advocates of interpretations of quantum mechanics emphasizing deco-
herence have attempted to make more rigorous the notion of extracting a
classical-like "coarse-grained" history from the space of all possible histories.
• Feynman, R. P., and Hibbs, A. R., Quantum Physics and Path Integrals, New
York: McGraw-Hill, 1965 [ISBN 0-070-20650-3]. The historical reference,
written by the Master himself and one of his students.
• Hagen Kleinert, Path Integrals in Quantum Mechanics, Statistics, Polymer
Physics, and Financial Markets, 4th edition, World Scientiﬁc (Singapore,
2004); Paperback ISBN 981-238-107-4 (also available online: PDF-ﬁles
176
)
• Zinn Justin, Jean ; Path Integrals in Quantum Mechanics, Oxford University
Press (2004), [ISBN 0-19-856674-3]. A highly readable introduction to the
subject.
• Schulman, Larry S. ; Techniques & Applications of Path Integration, Jonh
Wiley & Sons (New York-1981) [ISBN ]. The modern reference on the sub-
ject.
• Grosche, Christian & Steiner, Frank ; Handbook of Feynman Path Integrals,
Springer Tracts in Modern Physics 145, Springer-Verlag (1998) [ISBN 3-
540-57135-3]
• Ryder, Lewis H. ; Quantum Field Theory (Cambridge University Press,
1985), [ISBN 0-521-33859-X] Highly readable textbook, certainly the best
introduction to relativistic Q.F.T. for particle physics.
• Rivers, R.J. ; Path Integrals Methods in Quantum Field Theory, Cambridge
University Press (1987) [ISBN 0-521-22979-7]
• Albeverio, S. & Hoegh-Krohn. R. ; Mathematical Theory of Feynman Path
Integral, Lecture Notes in Mathematics 523, Springer-Verlag (1976) [ISBN
].
• Glimm, James, and Jaffe, Arthur, Quantum Physics: A Functional Integral
Point of View, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1981. [ISBN 0-387-90562-6].
http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/b5
176
D
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Path integral formulation
• Gerald W. Johnson and Michel L. Lapidus ; The Feynman Integral and
Feynman’s Operational Calculus, Oxford Mathematical Monographs, Ox-
ford University Press (2002) [ISBN 0-19-851572-3].
• Etingof, Pavel ; Geometry and Quantum Field Theory
177
, M.I.T. Open-
CourseWare (2002). This course, designed for mathematicians, is a rigor-
ous introduction to perturbative quantum ﬁeld theory, using the language
of functional integrals.
Papers on-line
• Grosche, Christian ; An Introduction into the Feynman Path Integral, lecture
given at the graduate college Quantenfeldtheorie und deren Anwendung
in der Elementarteilchen- und Festkörperphysik, Universität Leipzig, 16-26
November 1992. Full text available at : hep-th/9302097
178
.
• MacKenzie, Richard ; Path Integral Methods and Applications, lectures giv-
en at Rencontres du Vietnam: VIth Vietnam School of Physics, Vung Tau,
Vietnam, 27 December 1999 - 8 January 2000. Full text available at :
quant-ph/0004090
179
.
• DeWitt-Morette, Cécile ; Feynman’s path integral - Deﬁnition without lim-
iting procedure, Communication in Mathematical Physics 28(1) (1972) pp.
47–67. Full text available at : Euclide Project
180
.
• Cartier, Pierre & DeWitt-Morette, Cécile ; A new perspective on Functional
Integration, Journal of Mathematical Physics 36 (1995) pp. 2137-2340.
Full text available at : funct-an/9602005
181
.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path_integral_formulation
Principal Authors: Matt McIrvin, Karl-H, AcidFlask, Bambaiah, Charles Matthews
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Mathematics/18-238Fall2002/CourseHome/index.htm
177
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9302097
178
http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0004090
179
http://projecteuclid.org/Dienst/UI/1.0/Summarize/euclid.cmp/1103858329
180
http://fr.arxiv.org/abs/funct-an/9602005
181
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Penrose Interpretation
Penrose Interpretation
Figure 33 Diagram illustrating a less complex version of the ex-
periment to test penrose Interpretation
Penrose Interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics formulated
by Sir Roger Penrose. This theory is a possible step toward Quantum gravity, as
it describes quantum mechanics in terms of General relativity. It states that a
system requires energy to allow it to exist in more than one location. A macro-
scopic system, such as a human, connot exist in more than one position because
its signiﬁcant gravitational ﬁeld requires it to have a large amount of energy to
sustain, and will settle into one position within a trilionth of a second. How-
ever a microscopic system or particle (such as an electron) has an insigniﬁcant
gravitational ﬁeld, and therefore requires so little energy that it could exist in
more than one location almost indeﬁnitly; This is called superposition.
In Einstein’s theory, any object that has mass causes a warp in the structure
of space and time round it. This warping produces the effect we experi-
ence as gravity. Penrose points out that tiny objects-dust specks, atoms,
electrons-produce space-time warps as well. Ignoring these warps is where
D
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Penrose Interpretation
most physicists go awry, he believes. If a dust speck is in two locations at
the same time, each one should create its own distortions in space-time,
yielding two superposed gravitational ﬁelds. According to Penrose’s theory,
it takes energy to sustain these dual ﬁelds. The stability of a system depends
on the amount of energy involved: The higher the energy required to sus-
tain a system, the less stable it is. Over time, an unstable system tends to
settle back to its simplest, lowest-energy state-in this case, one object in one
location producing one gravitational ﬁeld. If Penrose is right, gravity yanks
objects back into a single location, without any need to invoke observers or
parallel universes.
Penrose believes that the transition between macroscopic and quantum begins
on the scale of dust particles, that could exist in more than one location for as
long as one second (a very long time compared to larger objects). An experi-
ment has been developed to test this theory, in which a X-ray laser in space is
directed toward a tiny miror , and ﬁssioned by a beam spliter from thousands
of miles away, in which the photons are directed toward to other mirrors and
reﬂected back. According to modern physics one photon will stike the tiny
mirror moving en route to another mirror and move the tiny mirror back as it
returns, so the tiny mirror exists in two location at one time. If gravity effects
the mirror, it will be unable to exist in two locations at once because gravity
holds it in place.
• Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics
References
• Folger, Tim. "If an Electron Can Be in 2 Places at Once, Why Can’t I?"
Discover. Vol. 25 No. 6 (June 2005). 32.
• Molecules - Quantum Interpretations
182
• QM- the Penrose Interpretation
183
• Roger Penrose discusses his experiment on the BBC (25 minutes in)
184
http://universe-review.ca/F12-molecule.htm#interpretations
182
183
184
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Peres-Horodecki criterion
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose_Interpretation
Peres-Horodecki criterion
The Peres-Horodecki criterion is a necessary condition, for the joint density
matrix ρ of two systems A and B, to be separable. It is also called the PPT
criterion, for Positive Partial Transpose. In the 2x2 and 2x3 dimensional cases
the condition is also sufﬁcient.
If ρ is separable, then the partial transpose
σ
mµnν
:= ρ
nµmν
of ρ, taken in some basis [m`
A
⊗[µ`
B
, has non negative eigenvalues.
In matrix notation, if we write a N X M mixed state ρ as block matrix:
ρ =

ρ
11
· · · ρ
1n
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
ρ
n1
· · · ρ
nn

,where each ρ
i:j
is M X M and n runs from 1 to N. The partial transpose of ρ is
then given by
ρ
PT
=

ρ
T
11
· · · ρ
T
1n
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
ρ
T
n1
· · · ρ
T
nn

So ρ is PPT if (I ⊗ T)(ρ) is positive, where T is the transposition map on
matrices.
That necessity of PPT for separability follows immediately from the fact that
if ρ is separable, then (I ⊗ Φ)(ρ) must be positive for all positive map Φ. The
transposition map is clearly a positive map.
Showing that being PPT is also sufﬁcient for in the 2 X 2 and 2 X 3 (therefore
3 X 2) cases is more involved. It was shown by the Horodecki’s that for every
entangled state there exists an entanglement witness. This is a result of ge-
ometric nature and invokes the Hahn-Banach theorem (see reference below).
From the existence of entanglement witnesses, one can show that (I ⊗ Φ)(ρ)
being positive for all positive map Φ is not only necessary but also sufﬁcient for
D
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
separability of ρ. Furthermore, every positive map from the C*-algebra of 2 2
matrices to 22 or 33 matrices can be decomposed into a sum of completely
positive and completely copositive maps. In other words, every such map can
be written as
Λ = Λ
1
+ Λ
2
◦ T
,where Λ
1
and Λ
2
are completely positive and T is the transposition map. Com-
bining the above two facts, we can conclude PPT is also sufﬁcient for separa-
bility in the 2 X 2 and 2 X 3 cases.
Due to the existence of non-decomposable positive maps in higher dimensions,
PPT is no longer sufﬁcient in higher dimensions. In higher dimension, there
are entangled states which are PPT. Such states have some interesting propeties
including the fact that thay are bound entangled, i.e. they can not be distilled
for quantum communication purposes.
References
• Asher Peres, Separability Criterion for Density Matrices, Phys. Rev. Lett.
77, 1413–1415 (1996)
• M. Horodecki, P. Horodecki, R. Horodecki, Separability of Mixed States:
Necessary and Sufﬁcient Conditions, Physics Letters A 210, 1996.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peres-Horodecki_criterion
Principal Authors: Mct mht, Tinissimo, Stevey7788, Matthew Mattic, Charles Matthews
Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
In quantum mechanics, perturbation theory is a set of approximation schemes
directly related to mathematical perturbation for describing a complicated
quantum system in terms of a simpler one. The idea is to start with a simple
senting a weak disturbance to the system. If the disturbance is not too large,
the various physical quantities associated with the perturbed system (e.g. its
energy levels and eigenstates) will be continuously generated from those of the
simple system. We can therefore study the former based on our knowledge of
the latter.
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
Applications of perturbation theory
Perturbation theory is an extremely important tool for describing real quan-
tum systems, as it turns out to be very difﬁcult to ﬁnd exact solutions to the
→Schrödinger equation for Hamiltonians of even moderate complexity. The
Hamiltonians to which we know exact solutions, such as the hydrogen atom,
the quantum harmonic oscillator and the particle in a box, are too idealized to
adequately describe most systems. Using perturbation theory, we can use the
known solutions of these simple Hamiltonians to generate solutions for a range
of more complicated systems. For example, by adding a perturbative electric
potential to the quantum mechanical model of the hydrogen atom, we can cal-
culate the tiny shifts in the spectral lines of hydrogen caused by the presence
of an electric ﬁeld (the →Stark effect). This is only approximate because the
sum of a Coulomb potential with a linear potential is unstable although the
tunneling time (decay rate) is very long. This shows up as a broadening of
the energy spectrum lines, something which perturbation theory fails to notice
entirely.
The expressions produced by perturbation theory are not exact, but they can
lead to accurate results as long as the expansion parameter, say α, is very
small. Typically, the results are expressed in terms of ﬁnite power series in
α that seem to converge to the exact values when summed to higher order.
After a certain order n ∼ 1/α, however, the results become increasingly worse
since the series are usually divergent, being asymptotic series). There exist
ways to convert them into convergent series, which can be evalauted for large-
expansion parameters, most efﬁciently by variational perturbation theory.
In the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), in which the electron-photon
interaction is treated perturbatively, the calculation of the electron’s magnetic
moment has been found to agree with experiment to eleven decimal places. In
QED and other quantum ﬁeld theories, special calculation techniques known
as Feynman diagrams are used to systematically sum the power series terms.
Under some circumstances, perturbation theory is an invalid approach to take.
This happens when the system we wish to describe cannot be described by
a small perturbation imposed on some simple system. In quantum chromo-
dynamics, for instance, the interaction of quarks with the gluon ﬁeld cannot
be treated perturbatively at low energies because the coupling constant (the
expansion parameter) becomes too large. Perturbation theory also fails to de-
scribe states that are not generated adiabatically from the "free model", includ-
ing bound states and various collective phenomena such as solitons. Imagine,
for example, that we have a system of free (i.e. non-interacting) particles, to
which an attractive interaction is introduced. Depending on the form of the
interaction, this may create an entirely new set of eigenstates corresponding to
D
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
groups of particles bound to one another. An example of this phenomenon may
be found in conventional superconductivity, in which the phonon-mediated at-
traction between conduction electrons leads to the formation of correlated elec-
tron pairs known as Cooper pairs. When faced with such systems, one usually
turns to other approximation schemes, such as the variational method and the
WKB approximation. This is because there is no analogue of a bound particle
in the unperturbed model and the energy of a soliton typically goes as the in-
verse of the expansion parameter. However, if we "integrate" over the solitonic
phenomena, the nonperturbative corrections in this case will be tiny; of the
order of e
−1/g
or e
−1/g
2
in the perturbation parameter g. Perturbation theory
can only detect solutions "close" to the unperturbed solution, even if there are
other solutions (which typically blow up as the expansion parameter goes to
zero).
The problem of non-perturbative systems has been somewhat alleviated by
the advent of modern computers. It has become practical to obtain numerical
non-perturbative solutions for certain problems, using methods such as density
functional theory. These advances have been of particular beneﬁt to the ﬁeld
of quantum chemistry. Computers have also been used to carry out perturba-
tion theory calculations to extraordinarily high levels of precision, which has
proven important in particle physics for generating theoretical results that can
be compared with experiment.
Time-independent perturbation theory
There are two categories of perturbation theory: time-independent and time-
dependent. In this section, we discuss time-independent perturbation theo-
ry, in which the perturbation Hamiltonian is static (i.e., possesses no time
dependence.) Time-independent perturbation theory was invented by Erwin
Schrödinger in 1926, shortly after he produced his theories in wave mechan-
ics.
We begin with an unperturbed Hamiltonian H
0
, which is also assumed to have
no time dependence. It has known energy levels and eigenstates, arising from
the time-independent Schrödinger equation:
H
0
[n
(0)
` = E
(0)
n
[n
(0)
` , n = 1, 2, 3,
For simplicity, we have assumed that the energies are discrete. The (0) super-
scripts denote that these quantities are associated with the unperturbed system.
We now introduce a perturbation to the Hamiltonian. Let V be a Hamiltonian
representing a weak physical disturbance, such as a potential energy produced
by an external ﬁeld. (Thus, V is formally a Hermitian operator.) Let λ be a
D
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
dimensionless parameter that can take on values ranging continuously from 0
(no perturbation) to 1 (the full perturbation). The perturbed Hamiltonian is
H = H
0
+λV
The energy levels and eigenstates of the perturbed Hamiltonian are again given
by the Schrödinger equation:
(H
0
+λV ) [n` = E
n
[n`
Our goal is to express E
n
and [n> in terms of the energy levels and eigenstates
of the old Hamiltonian. If the perturbation is sufﬁciently weak, we can write
them as power series in :
E
n
= E
(0)
n
+λE
(1)
n

2
E
(2)
n
+
[n` = [n
(0)
` +λ[n
(1)
` +λ
2
[n
(2)
` +
When = 0, these reduce to the unperturbed values, which are the ﬁrst term in
each series. Since the perturbation is weak, the energy levels and eigenstates
should not deviate too much from their unperturbed values, and the terms
should rapidly become smaller as we go to higher order.
Plugging the power series into the Schrödinger equation, we obtain
(H
0
+ λV )

|n
(0)
+λ|n
(1)
+ · · ·

=

E
(0)
n
+ λE
(1)
n

2
E
(2)
n
+ · · ·

|n
(0)
+λ|n
(1)
+ · · ·

Expanding this equation and comparing coefﬁcients of each power of results
in an inﬁnite series of simultaneous equations. The zeroth-order equation is
simply the Schrödinger equation for the unperturbed system. The ﬁrst-order
equation is
H
0
[n
(1)
` +V [n
(0)
` = E
(0)
n
[n
(1)
` +E
(1)
n
[n
(0)
`
Multiply through by <n
(0)
[. The ﬁrst term on the left-hand side cancels with
the ﬁrst term on the right-hand side. (Recall, the unperturbed Hamiltonian is
hermitian). This leads to the ﬁrst-order energy shift:
E
(1)
n
= 'n
(0)
[V [n
(0)
`
This is simply the expected value of the perturbation Hamiltonian while the
system is in the unperturbed state. This result can be interpreted in the fol-
lowing way: suppose the perturbation is applied, but we keep the system in
D
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
the quantum state [n
(0)
>, which is a valid quantum state though no longer
an energy eigenstate. The perturbation causes the average energy of this state
to increase by <n
(0)
[V[n
(0)
>. However, the true energy shift is slightly differ-
ent, because the perturbed eigenstate is not exactly the same as [n
(0)
>. These
further shifts are given by the second and higher order deviations.
To obtain the ﬁrst-order deviation in the energy eigenstate, we insert our ex-
pression for the ﬁrst-order energy shift back into the above equation between
the ﬁrst-order coefﬁcients of . We then make use of the resolution of the iden-
tity,
V [n
(0)
` =

¸
k
[k
(0)
`'k
(0)
[

V [n
(0)
`
The result is

E
(0)
n
−H
0

[n
(1)
` =
¸
k=n

'k
(0)
[V [n
(0)
`

[k
(0)
`
For the moment, suppose that this energy level is not degenerate, i.e. there is
no other eigenstate with the same energy. The operator on the left hand side
therefore has a well-deﬁned inverse, and we get
[n
(1)
` =
¸
k=n
'k
(0)
[V [n
(0)
`
E
(0)
n
−E
(0)
k
[k
(0)
`
The ﬁrst-order change in the n-th energy eigenket has a contribution from each
of the energy eigenstates k = n. Each term is proportional to the matrix ele-
ment <k
(0)
[V[n
(0)
>, which is a measure of how much the perturbation mixes
eigenstate n with eigenstate k; it is also inversely proportional to the ener-
gy difference between eigenstates k and n, which means that the perturbation
deforms the eigenstate to a greater extent if there are more eigenstates at near-
by energies. We see also that the expression is singular if any of these states
have the same energy as state n, which is why we assumed that there is no
degeneracy.
We can ﬁnd the higher-order deviations by a similar procedure, though the
calculations become quite tedious with our current formulation. For example,
the second-order energy shift is
E
(2)
n
=
¸
k=n
['k
(0)
[V [n
(0)
`[
2
E
(0)
n
−E
(0)
k
Effects of degeneracy
Suppose that two or more energy eigenstates are degenerate. Our above cal-
culation for the ﬁrst-order energy shift is unaffected, but the calculation of the
change in the eigenstate is problematic because the operator
D
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
E
(0)
n
−H
0
does not have a well-deﬁned inverse.
This is actually a conceptual, rather than mathematical, problem. Imagine
that we have two or more perturbed eigenstates with different energies, which
are continuously generated from an equal number of unperturbed eigenstates
that are degenerate. Let D denote the subspace spanned by these degenerate
eigenstates. The problem lies in the fact that there is no unique way to choose a
basis of energy eigenstates for the unperturbed system. In particular, we could
construct a different basis for D by choosing different linear combinations of
the spanning eigenstates. In such a basis, the unperturbed eigenstates would
not continuously generate the perturbed eigenstates.
We thus see that, in the presence of degeneracy, perturbation theory does not
work with an arbitrary choice of energy basis. We must instead choose a basis
so that the perturbation Hamiltonian is diagonal in the degenerate subspace D.
In other words,
V [k
(0)
` =
k
[k
(0)
` + (terms not in D) ∀ [k
(0)
` ∈ D
In that case, our equation for the ﬁrst-order deviation in the energy eigenstate
reduces to

E
(0)
n
−H
0

[n
(1)
` =
¸
k∈D

'k
(0)
[V [n
(0)
`

[k
(0)
`
The operator on the left hand side is not singular when applied to eigenstates
outside D, so we can write
[n
(1)
` =
¸
k∈D
'k
(0)
[V [n
(0)
`
E
(0)
n
−E
(0)
k
[k
(0)
`
Time-dependent perturbation theory
Time-dependent perturbation theory, developed by Paul Dirac, studies the ef-
fect of a time-dependent perturbation V(t) applied to a time-independent
Hamiltonian H
0
. Since the perturbed Hamiltonian is time-dependent, so are its
energy levels and eigenstates. Therefore, the goals of time-dependent pertur-
bation theory are slightly different from time-independent perturbation theory.
We are interested in the following quantities:
• The time-dependent expected value of some observable A, for a given initial
state.
• The time-dependent amplitudes of those quantum states that are energy
eigenkets (eigenvectors) in the unperturbed system.
D
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
The ﬁrst quantity is important because it gives rise to the classical result of an A
measurement performed on a macroscopic number of copies of the perturbed
system. For example, we could take A to be the displacement in the x-direction
of the electron in a hydrogen atom, in which case the expected value, when
multiplied by an appropriate coefﬁcient, gives the time-dependent electrical
polarization of a hydrogen gas. With an appropriate choice of perturbation (i.e.
an oscillating electric potential), this allows us to calculate the AC permittivity
of the gas.
The second quantity looks at the time-dependent probability of occupation for
each eigenstate. This is particularly useful in laser physics, where one is in-
terested in the populations of different atomic states in a gas when a time-
dependent electric ﬁeld is applied. These probabilities are also useful for cal-
We will brieﬂy examine the ideas behind Dirac’s formulation of time-dependent
perturbation theory. Choose an energy basis ¦[n>¦ for the unperturbed system.
(We will drop the (0) superscripts for the eigenstates, because it is not mean-
ingful to speak of energy levels and eigenstates for the perturbed system.)
If the unperturbed system is in eigenstate [j > at time t = 0, its state at subse-
quent times varies only by a phase (we are following the →Schrödinger picture,
where state vectors evolve in time and operators are constant):
[j(t)` = e
−iE
j
t/
[j`
We now introduce a time-dependent perturbing Hamiltonian V(t). The Hamil-
tonian of the perturbed system is
H = H
0
+V (t)
Let [ψ(t)> denote the quantum state of the perturbed system at time t. It obeys
the time-dependent Schrödinger equation,
H[ψ(t)` = i

∂t
[ψ(t)`
The quantum state at each instant can be expressed as a linear combination of
the basis ¦[n>¦. We can write the linear combination as
[ψ(t)` =
¸
n
c
n
(t)e
−iE
n
t/
[n`
where the c
n
(t)s are undetermined complex functions of t which we will re-
fer to as amplitudes (strictly speaking, they are the amplitudes in the Dirac
picture.) We have explicitly extracted the exponential phase factors exp(-
iE
n
t/<strike>h</strike>) on the right hand side. This is only a matter of
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Perturbation theory (quantum mechanics)
convention, and may be done without loss of generality. The reason we go to
this trouble is that when the system starts in the state [j > and no perturbation
is present, the amplitudes have the convenient property that, for all t, c
j
(t) =
1 and c
n
(t) = 0 if n=j.
The absolute square of the amplitude c
n
(t) is the probability that the system is
in state n at time t, since
[c
n
(t)[
2
= ['n[ψ(t)`[
2
Plugging into the Schrödinger equation and using the fact that ∂/∂t acts by a
chain rule, we obtain
¸
n

i
∂c
n
∂t
−c
n
(t)V (t)

e
−iE
n
t/
[n` = 0
By resolving the identity in front of V, this can be reduced to a set of partial
differential equations for the amplitudes:
∂c
n
∂t
=
−i

¸
k
'n[V (t)[k` c
k
(t) e
−i(E
k
−E
n
)t/
The matrix elements of V play a similar role as in time-independent pertur-
bation theory, being proportional to the rate at which amplitudes are shifted
between states. Note, however, that the direction of the shift is modiﬁed by the
exponential phase factor. Over times much longer than the energy difference
E
k
-E
n
, the phase winds many times. If the time-dependence of V is sufﬁcient-
ly slow, this may cause the state amplitudes to oscillate. Such oscillations are
useful for managing radiative transitions in a laser.
Up to this point, we have made no approximations, so this set of differential
equations is exact. By supplying appropriate initial values c
n
(0), we could in
principle ﬁnd an exact (i.e. non-perturbative) solution. This is easily done
when there are only two energy levels (n = 1, 2), and the solution is useful for
modelling systems like the ammonia molecule. However, exact solutions are
difﬁcult to ﬁnd when there are many energy levels, and one instead looks for
perturbative solutions, which may be obtained by putting the equations in an
integral form:
c
n
(t) = c
n
(0) +
−i

¸
k

t
0
dt
/
'n[V (t
/
)[k` c
k
(t
/
) e
−i(E
k
−E
n
)t
/
/
By repeatedly substituting this expression for c
n
back into right hand side, we
get an iterative solution
c
n
(t) = c
(0)
n
+c
(1)
n
+c
(2)
n
+
where, for example, the ﬁrst-order term is
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Photoelectric effect
c
(1)
n
(t) =
−i

¸
k

t
0
dt
/
'n[V (t
/
)[k` c
k
(0) e
−i(E
k
−E
n
)t
/
/
Many further results may be obtained, such as →Fermi’s golden rule, which
relates the rate of transitions between quantum states to the density of states
at particular energies, and the Dyson series, obtained by applying the iterative
method to the time evolution operator, which is one of the starting points for
the method of Feynman diagrams.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perturbation_theory_%28quantum_mechanics%29
Principal Authors: CYD, Phys, A. Wilson, Karol Langner, Sigfpe
Photoelectric effect
The photoelectric effect is the emission of electrons from matter upon the
An older term for the photoelectric effect was the Hertz effect, though this
phrase has fallen out of current use.
185
Introduction
Upon exposing a metallic surface to electromagnetic radiation that is above the
threshold frequency (which is speciﬁc to the type of surface and material), the
photons are absorbed and current is produced. No electrons are emitted for
radiation with a frequency below that of the threshold, as the electrons are
unable to gain sufﬁcient energy to overcome the electrostatic barrier presented
by the termination of the crystalline surface (the material’s work function). In
1905 it was known that the energy of the photoelectrons increased with in-
creasing frequency of incident light, but the manner of the increase was not
experimentally determined to be linear until 1915 when Robert Andrews Mil-
likan showed that Einstein was correct [3].
By conservation of energy, the energy of the photon is absorbed by the electron
and, if sufﬁcient, the electron can escape from the material with a ﬁnite kinetic
energy. A single photon can only eject a single electron, as the energy of one
photon may only be absorbed by one electron. The electrons that are emitted
are often termed photoelectrons.
The photoelectric effect helped further wave-particle duality, whereby physical
systems (such as photons, in this case) display both wave-like and particle-like
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/HertzEffect.html
185
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Photoelectric effect
Figure 34 The photoelectric effect. Incoming EM radiation on the left ejects electrons, depicted
as ﬂying off to the right, from a substance.
properties and behaviours, a concept that was used by the creators of quantum
mechanics. The photoelectric effect was explained mathematically by Albert
Einstein, who extended the work on quanta developed by Max Planck.
Explanation
The photons of the light beam have a characteristic energy given by the wave-
length of the light. In the photoemission process, if an electron absorbs the
energy of one photon and has more energy than the work function, it is ejected
from the material. If the photon energy is too low, however, the electron is
unable to escape the surface of the material. Increasing the intensity of the
light beam does not change the energy of the constituent photons, only their
number, and thus the energy of the emitted electrons does not depend on the
intensity of the incoming light.
Electrons can absorb energy from photons when irradiated, but they follow an
"all or nothing" principle. All of the energy from one photon must be absorbed
and used to liberate one electron from atomic binding, or the energy is re-
emitted. If the photon is absorbed, some of the energy is used to liberate
it from the atom, and the rest contributes to the electron’s kinetic (moving)
energy as a free particle.
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Photoelectric effect
Equations
In analysing the photoelectric effect quantitatively using Einstein’s method, the
following equivalent equations are used:
Energy of photon = Energy needed to remove an electron + Kinetic energy of
the emitted electron
Algebraically:
hf = φ +E
k
max
where
• h is Planck’s constant,
• f is the frequency of the incident photon,
• φ = hf
0
is the work function, or minimum energy required to remove an
electron from atomic binding,
• E
k
max
=
1
2
mv
2
m
is the maximum kinetic energy of ejected electrons,
• f
0
is the threshold frequency for the photoelectric effect to occur,
• m is the rest mass of the ejected electron, and
• v
m
is the velocity of the ejected electron.
Note: If the photon’s energy (hf ) is not greater than the work function (φ), no
electron will be emitted. The work function is sometimes denoted W.
History
Early observations
In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel observed the photoelectric effect via an
electrode in a conductive solution exposed to light. In 1873, Willoughby Smith
found that selenium is photoconductive.
Hertz’s spark gaps
Heinrich Hertz, in 1887, made observations of the photoelectric effect and of
the production and reception of electromagnetic (EM) waves, published in the
journal Annalen der Physik. His receiver consisted of a coil with a spark gap,
whereupon a spark would be seen upon detection of EM waves. He placed
the apparatus in a darkened box in order to see the spark better; he observed,
however, that the maximum spark length was reduced when in the box. A glass
panel placed between the source of EM waves and the receiver absorbed ultra-
violet radiation that assisted the electrons in jumping across the gap. When
removed, the spark length would increase. He observed no decrease in spark
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Photoelectric effect
length when he substituted quartz for glass, as quartz does not absorb UV ra-
diation.
Hertz concluded his months of investigation and reported the results obtained.
He did not further pursue investigation of this effect, nor did he make any
attempt at explaining how the observed phenomenon was brought about.
JJ Thomson: electrons
In 1899, Joseph John Thomson investigated ultraviolet light in Crookes tubes.
Inﬂuenced by the work of James Clerk Maxwell, Thomson deduced that cath-
ode rays consisted of negatively charged particles, later called electrons, which
he called "corpuscles". In the research, Thomson enclosed a metal plate (a
cathode) in a vacuum tube, and exposed it to high frequency radiation. It was
thought that the oscillating electromagnetic ﬁelds caused the atoms’ ﬁeld to
resonate and, after reaching a certain amplitude, caused a subatomic "corpus-
cle" to be emitted, and current to be detected. The amount of this current
varied with the intensity and color of the radiation. Larger radiation intensity
or frequency would produce more current.
On November 5 1901, Nikola Tesla received the U.S. Patent 685957
186
(Appa-
and discharging conductors by "radiant energy". Tesla used this effect to charge
a capacitor with energy by means of a conductive plate. The patent speciﬁed
that the radiation included many different forms.
Von Lenard’s observations
In 1902, Philipp von Lenard observed
187
the variation in electron energy with
light frequency. He used a powerful electric arc lamp which enabled him to
investigate large changes in intensity, and had sufﬁcient power to enable him
to investigate the variation of potential with light frequency. His experiment
directly measured potentials, not electron kinetic energy: he found the elec-
tron energy by relating it to the maximum stopping potential (voltage) in a
phototube. He found that the calculated maximum electron kinetic energy is
determined by the frequency of the light. For example, an increase in frequency
results in an increase in the maximum kinetic energy calculated for an electron
upon liberation - ultraviolet radiation would require a higher applied stopping
potential to stop current in a phototube than blue light. However Lenard’s
results were qualitative rather than quantitative because of the difﬁculty in
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=685957
186
http://www.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/photoelectric_effect.html
187
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Photoelectric effect
performing the experiments: the experiments needed to be done on freshly cut
metal so that the pure metal was observed, but it oxidised in a matter of min-
utes even in the partial vacuums he used. The current emitted by the surface
was determined by the light’s intensity, or brightness: doubling the intensity
of the light doubled the number of electrons emitted from the surface. Lenard
did not know of photons.
Einstein: light quanta
Albert Einstein’s mathematical description in 1905 of how it was caused by
absorption of what were later called photons, or quanta of light, in the inter-
action of light with the electrons in the substance, was contained in the paper
named "On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transforma-
tion of Light". This paper proposed the simple description of "light quanta"
(later called "photons") and showed how they could be used to explain such
phenomena as the photoelectric effect. The simple explanation by Einstein
in terms of absorption of single quanta of light explained the features of the
phenomenon and helped explain the characteristic frequency. Einstein’s expla-
nation of the photoelectric effect won him the Nobel Prize of 1921.
The idea of light quanta was motivated by Max Planck’s published law of black-
body radiation ("On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spec-
trum". Annalen der Physik 4 (1901)) by assuming that Hertzian oscillators
could only exist at energies E proportional to the frequency f of the oscilla-
tor by E = hf, where h is Planck’s constant. Einstein, by assuming that light
actually consisted of discrete energy packets, wrote an equation for the photo-
electric effect that ﬁt experiments. This was an enormous theoretical leap and
the reality of the light quanta was strongly resisted. The idea of light quan-
ta contradicted the wave theory of light that followed naturally from James
Clerk Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetic behavior and, more generally,
the assumption of inﬁnite divisibility of energy in physical systems. Even after
experiments showed that Einstein’s equations for the photoelectric effect were
accurate there was resistance to the idea of photons, since it appeared to con-
tradict Maxwell’s equations, which were believed to be well understood and
well veriﬁed.
Einstein’s work predicted that the energy of the ejected electrons would in-
crease linearly with the frequency of the light. Perhaps surprisingly, that had
not yet been tested. In 1905 it was known that the energy of the photoelec-
trons increased with increasing frequency of incident light, but the manner of
the increase was not experimentally determined to be linear until 1915 when
Robert Andrews Millikan showed that Einstein was correct
188
.
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Photoelectric effect
Effect on wave-particle question
The photoelectric effect helped propel the then-emerging concept of the dual
nature of light, that light exhibits characteristics of waves and particles at dif-
ferent times. The effect was impossible to understand in terms of the classical
wave description of light, as the energy of the emitted electrons did not depend
on the intensity of the incident radiation. Classical theory predicted that the
electrons could ’gather up’ energy over a period of time, and then be emitted.
For such a classical theory to work a pre-loaded state would need to persist
in matter. The idea of the pre-loaded state was discussed in Millikan’s book
Electrons (+ & -) and in Compton and Allison’s book X-Rays in Theory and
Experiment. These ideas were abandoned.
Uses and effects
Solar cells (used in solar power) and light-sensitive diodes use the photoelec-
tric effect. They absorb photons from light and put the energy into electrons,
creating electric current.
Electroscopes
Electroscopes are fork-shaped, hinged metallic leaves placed in a vacuum jar,
partially exposed to the outside environment. When an electroscope is charged
positively or negatively, the two leaves separate, as charge distributes evenly
along the leaves causing repulsion between two like poles. When ultraviolet
outside of the electroscope, a negatively charged scope will discharge and the
leaves will collapse, while nothing will happen to a positively charged scope
(besides charge decay). The reason is that electrons will be liberated from the
negatively charged one, gradually making it neutral, while liberating electrons
from the positively charged one will make it even more positive, keeping the
leaves apart.
Photoelectron spectroscopy
Since the energy of the photoelectrons emitted is exactly the energy of the in-
cident photon minus the material’s work function or binding energy, the work
function of a sample can be determined by bombarding it with a monochro-
matic X-ray source or UV source (typically a helium discharge lamp), and mea-
suring the kinetic energy distribution of the electrons emitted.
This must be done in a high vacuum environment, since the electrons would
be scattered by air.
http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/phys314/lectures/photoe/photoe.html
188
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Photoelectric effect
A typical electron energy analyzer is a concentric hemispherical analyser
(CHA), which uses an electric ﬁeld to divert electrons different amounts de-
pending on their kinetic energies. For every element and core atomic orbital
there will be a different binding energy. The many electrons created from each
will then show up as spikes in the analyzer, and can be used to determine the
elemental composition of the sample.
189
Spacecraft
The photoelectric effect will cause spacecraft exposed to sunlight to develop
a positive charge. This can get up to the tens of volts. This can be a major
problem, as other parts of the spacecraft in shadow develop a negative charge
(up to several kilovolts) from nearby plasma, and the imbalance can discharge
through delicate electrical components. The static charge created by the pho-
toelectric effect is self-limiting, though, because a more highly-charged object
gives up its electrons less easily.
190
Moon dust
Light from the sun hitting lunar dust causes it to become charged through the
photoelectric effect. The charged dust then repels itself and lifts off the surface
of the Moon by electrostatic levitation. This manifests itself almost like an
"atmosphere of dust", visible as a thin haze and blurring of distant features,
and visible as a dim glow after the sun has set. This was ﬁrst photographed
by the Surveyor program probes in the 1960s. It is thought that the smallest
particles are repelled up to kilometers high, and that the particles move in
"fountains" as they charge and discharge.
191 192
Photoelectron spectroscopy(http://www.chem.qmw.ac.uk/surfaces/scc/scat5_3.htm)
189
Spacecraft charging(http://www.eas.asu.edu/~holbert/eee460/spc-chrg.html)
190
- Moon fountains(http://www.firstscience.com/site/articles/moonfountains.asp)
191
- Dust gets a charge in a vacuum(http://www.spacer.com/news/dust-00a.html)
192
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Photoelectric effect
Electronics:
• Photocurrent
• Photomultiplier
• Solar cell
• Solar power
• Transducer
Physics:
• Atom
• Corona discharge
• →Double-slit experiment
• Electron
• Gamma ray
• Nobel Prize in Physics
• Optical phenomenon
• →Planck’s law of black body radiation
• Photon
• →Quantum mechanics
• →Wave-particle duality
People:
• Aleksandr Grigorievich Stoletov
• Albert Einstein
• Heinrich Hertz
• Ernest Lawrence
• Robert Millikan
• Max Planck
• Joseph John Thomson
Lists:
• List of electronics topics
• List of optical topics
• List of physics topics
• Timeline of solar cells
• Scientiﬁc method list
• Timeline of mechanics and physics
General
• Nave, R., " Wave-Particle Duality
193
". HyperPhysics.
• Jpaul’s " Photovoltaics: Theory and Practice
194
". Photoelectric effect
195
.
• " Photoelectric effect
196
". Physics 2000. University of Colorado, Boulder,
• ACEPT W3 Group, " The Photoelectric Effect
197
". Department of Physics and
Astronomy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
• Haberkern, Thomas, and N Deepak " Grains of Mystique: Quantum Physics
for the Layman
198
". Einstein Demystiﬁes Photoelectric Effect
199
, Chapter 3.
• Department of Physics, " The Photoelectric effect
200
". Physics 320 Laborato-
ry, Davidson College, Davidson.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mod1.html
193
http://www.students.uiuc.edu/~jpaul/theory.htm
194
http://www.students.uiuc.edu/~jpaul/photoelectric.htm
195
196
http://acept.la.asu.edu/PiN/rdg/photoelectric/photoelectric.shtml
197
http://www.faqs.org/docs/qp/
198
http://www.faqs.org/docs/qp/chap03.html
199
http://www.phy.davidson.edu/ModernPhysicsLabs/hovere.html
200
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Planck particle
• Fowler, Michael, " The Photoelectric Effect
201
". Physics 252, University of
Virginia.
• Brandl, Michael, " MISN-0-213 The Photoelectric Effect
202
" (PDF ﬁle), Project
PHYSNET
203
.
• Quantum Chemistry I Lecute
204
Applets
• Curull, Xavi Espinal, " Photoelectric effect Applet
205
". (Java)
• Fendt, Walter, and Taha Mzoughi, " The Photoelectric Effect
206
". (Java)
• " Applet: Photo Effect
207
". Open Source Distributed Learning Content Man-
agement and Assessment System. (Java)
Notes
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoelectric_effect
Principal Authors: Reddi, Enochlau, William M. Connolley, Heron, Omegatron
Planck particle
A Planck particle is a hypothetical subatomic particle, deﬁned as a tiny black
hole whose →Compton wavelength is the same as its Schwarzschild radius. Its
mass is thus (by deﬁnition) equal to the Planck mass, and its Compton wave-
length and Schwarzschild radius are equal (also by deﬁnition) to the Planck
length.
• Micro black hole
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_particle
Principal Authors: Jaraalbe, Hidaspal
http://www.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/photoelectric_effect.html
201
http://35.9.69.219/home/modules/pdf_modules/m213.pdf
202
http://www.physnet.org
203
http://cinarz.zdo.com/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=15
204
http://www.ifae.es/xec/phot2.html
205
http://www.walter-fendt.de/ph14e/photoeffect.htm
206
http://lectureonline.cl.msu.edu/~mmp/kap28/PhotoEffect/photo.htm
207
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Planck’s law of black body radiation
Planck postulate
The Planck Postulate (or Planck’s Postulate) was used by Max Planck in his
derivation of his law of black body radiation. It is the postulate that the energy
of oscillators in a black body is quantised by:
E = nhν ,
where n = 1, 2, 3, ..., h is Planck’s constant, and ν is the frequency.
• Planck Postulate
208
— from Eric Weisstein’s World of Physics
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_postulate
Planck’s law of black body radiation
In physics, the spectral intensity of electromagnetic radiation from a black body
at temperature T is given by Planck’s law of black body radiation:
I(ν, T) =
2hν
3
c
2
1
e

kT
−1
where the following table provides the deﬁnition and SI units of measure for
each symbol:
Symbol Meaning SI units of measure
energy per unit time per unit surface area per unit solid angle per
unit frequency
Js
-1
m
-2
sr
-1
Hz
-1
ν frequency hertz
T temperature of the black body kelvin
h Planck’s constant joule per hertz
c speed of light meter per second
e base of the natural logarithm, 2.718282... dimensionless
k Boltzmann’s constant joule per kelvin
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/PlanckPostulate.html
208
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Planck’s law of black body radiation
Figure 35 Black body spectrum as a function of wavelength
The wavelength is related to the frequency by
λ =
c
ν
.
The law is sometimes written in terms of the spectral energy density
u(ν, T) =

c
I(ν, T) =
8πhν
3
c
3
1
e

kT
−1
which has units of energy per unit volume per unit frequency (joule per cubic
meter per hertz).
The spectral energy density can also be expressed as a function of wavelength:
u(λ, T) =
8πhc
λ
5
1
e
hc/λkT
−1
as shown in the derivation below.
Max Planck originally produced this law in 1900 (published in 1901) in an
attempt to improve upon an expression proposed by Wilhelm Wien which ﬁt
the experimental data at short wavelengths but deviated from it at long wave-
lengths. He found that the above function, Planck’s function, ﬁt the data for
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Planck’s law of black body radiation
all wavelengths remarkably well. In constructing a derivation of this law, he
considered the possible ways of distributing electromagnetic energy over the
different modes of charged oscillators in matter. Planck’s law emerged when
he assumed that the energy of these oscillators was limited to a set of discrete,
integer multiples of a fundamental unit of energy, E, proportional to the oscil-
lation frequency ν:
E = hν .
Planck made this quantization assumption ﬁve years before Albert Einstein hy-
pothesized the existence of photons as a means of explaining the photoelectric
effect. At the time, Planck believed that the quantization applied only to the
tiny oscillators that were thought to exist in the walls of the cavity (what we
now know to be atoms), and made no assumption that light itself propagates
in discrete bundles or packets of energy. Moreover, Planck did not attribute any
physical signiﬁcance to this assumption, but rather believed that it was merely
a mathematical device that enabled him to derive a single expression for the
black body spectrum that matched the empirical data at all wavelengths.
Ultimately, Planck’s assumption of energy quantization and Einstein’s pho-
ton hypothesis became the fundamental basis for the later development of
Quantum Mechanics. Both scientists would eventually receive (separate) No-
bel prizes in recognition of these major contributions to the advancement of
physics.
Derivation (Statistical Mechanics)
(See also the gas in a box article for a general derivation.)
Consider a cube of side L with conducting walls ﬁlled with electromagnetic
radiation. At the walls of the cube, the parallel component of the electric ﬁeld
and the orthogonal component of the magnetic ﬁeld must vanish. Analogous
to the wave function of a particle in a box, one ﬁnds that the ﬁelds are su-
perpositions of periodic functions. The wavelength λ
i
in the three directions
i = 1 . . . 3 orthogonal to the walls can be:
λ
i
=
2L
n
i
where the n
i
are integers. For each set of integers n
i
there are two linear inde-
pendent solutions (modes). According to quantum theory, the energy levels of
a mode are given by:
E
n
1
,n
2
,n
3
(r) =

r +
1
2

hc
2L

n
2
1
+n
2
2
+n
2
3
(1)
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Planck’s law of black body radiation
The quantum number r can be interpreted as the number of photons in the
mode. The two modes for each set of n
i
correspond to the two polarization
states of the photon which has a spin of 1. Note that for r = 0 the energy of
the mode is not zero. This vacuum energy of the electromagnetic ﬁeld is re-
sponsible for the Casimir effect. In the following we will calculate the internal
energy of the box at temperature T relative to the vacuum energy.
According to statistical mechanics, the probability distribution over the energy
levels of a particular mode is given by:
P
r
=
exp(−βE(r))
Z(β)
Here
β ≡ 1/ (kT).
The denominator Z (β), is the partition function of a single mode and makes
P
r
properly normalized:
Z (β) =
¸

r=0
exp [−βE (r)] =
1
1−exp[−βε]
Here we have deﬁned
ε ≡
hc
2L

n
2
1
+n
2
2
+n
2
3
which is the energy of a single photon. As explained here, the average energy
in a mode can be expressed in terms of the partition function:
'E` = −
d log(Z)

=
ε
exp(βε)−1
This formula is a special case of the general formula for particles obeying
→Bose-Einstein statistics. Since there is no restriction on the total number
of photons, the chemical potential is zero.
The total energy in the box nowfollows by summing 'E` over all allowed single
photon states. This can be done exactly in the thermodynamic limit L → ∞.
In this limit, ε becomes continuous and we can then integrate 'E` over this
parameter. To calculate the energy in the box in this way, we need to evaluate
how many photon states there are in a given energy range. If we write the total
number of single photon states with energies between ε and ε + dε as g (ε) d,
where g (ε) is the density of states which we’ll evaluate in a moment, then we
can write:
U =

0
ε
exp(βε)−1
g (ε) dε (2)
D
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To calculate the density of states we rewrite equation (1) as follows:
ε ≡
hc
2L
n
where n is the norm of the vector n = (n
1
, n
2
, n
3
):
n =

n
2
1
+n
2
2
+n
2
3
For every vector n with integer components larger or equal than zero there are
two photon states. This means that the number of photon states in a certain
region of n-space is twice the volume of that region. An energy range of dε cor-
responds to shell of thickness dn =
2L
hc
dε in n-space. Because the components
of n have to be positive, this shell spans an octant of a sphere. The number of
photon states g (ε) d in an energy range dε is thus given by:
g (ε) d = 2
1
8
4πn
2
dn =
8πL
3
h
3
c
3
ε
2

Inserting this in Eq. (2) gives:
U = L
3 8π
h
3
c
3

0
ε
3
exp(βε)−1
dε (3)
From this equation one easily derives the spectral energy density as a function
of frequency u(ν, T) and as a function of wavelength u(λ, T):
U
L
3
=

0
u(ν, T)dν
where:
u(ν, T) =
8πhν
3
c
3
1
e
hν/kT
−1
u(ν, T) is known as the black body spectrum. It is a spectral energy density
function with units of energy per unit frequency per unit volume.
And:
U
L
3
=

0
u(λ, T)dλ
where
u(λ, T) =
8πhc
λ
5
1
e
hc/λkT
−1
This is also a spectral energy density function with units of energy per unit
wavelength per unit volume. Integrals of this type for Bose and Fermi gases can
be expressed in terms of polylogarithms. In this case, however, it is possible to
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Planck’s law of black body radiation
calculate the integral in closed form. Let’s ﬁrst make the integration variable
in Eq. (3) dimensionless by substituting ε = kTx:
u(T) =
8π(kT)
4
(hc)
3
J
Here J is given by:
J =

0
x
3
exp(x)−1
dx =
π
4
15
We prove this result in the Appendix below. The total electromagnetic energy
inside the box is thus given by:
U
V
=

5
(kT)
4
15(hc)
3
where V = L
3
is the volume of the box. (Note - This is not the Stefan-
Boltzmann law, which is the total energy radiated by a black body. See
that article for an explanation.) Since the radiation is the same in all direc-
tions, and propagates at the speed of light (c), the spectral intensity (ener-
gy/time/area/solid angle/frequency) is
I(ν, T) =
u(ν,T) c

which yields
I(ν, T) =
2hν
3
c
2
1
e
hν/kT
−1
Derivation (Thermodynamics)
The fact that the energy density of the box containing radiation is proportional
to T
4
was derived by Ludwig Boltzmann in 1884 using thermodynamics. It
follows from classical electrodynamics that the radiation pressure P is related
to the internal energy density:
P =
u
3
The total internal energy of the box containing radiation can thus be written
as:
U = 3PV
Inserting this in the fundamental law of thermodynamics
dU = TdS −PdV
yields the equation:
dS = 4
P
T
dV + 3
V
T
dP
We can now use this equation to derive a Maxwell relation. We read off that:
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Planck’s law of black body radiation
∂S
∂V

P
= 4
P
T
And
∂S
∂P

V
= 3
V
T
The symmetry of second derivatives of S w.r.t. P and V then implies:
4
∂(
P
T
)
∂P

V
= 3
∂(
V
T
)
∂V

P
Because the pressure is proportional to the internal energy density it depends
only on the temperature and not on the volume. In the derivative on the r.h.s.
the temperature is thus a constant. Evaluating the derivatives gives the differ-
ential equation:
1
P
dP
dT
=
4
T
This implies that u = 3P ∝ T
4
History
Many popular science accounts of quantum theory, as well as some physics
textbooks, contain some serious errors in their discussions of the history of
Planck’s Law. Although these errors were pointed out over forty years ago by
historians of physics, they have proved to be difﬁcult to eradicate. The article
by Helge Kragh cited below gives a lucid account of what actually happened.
Contrary to popular opinion, Planck did not quantize light. This is evident from
his original 1901 paper and the references therein to his earlier work. It is also
plainly explained in his book "Theory of Heat Radiation," where he explains
that his constant refers to Hertzian oscillators. The idea of quantization was
developed by others into what we now know as quantum mechanics. The
next step along this road was made by Albert Einstein, who, by studying the
photoelectric effect, proposed a model and equation whereby light was not
only emitted but also absorbed in packets or photons. Then, in 1924, Satyendra
Nath Bose developed the theory of the statistical mechanics of photons, which
allowed a theoretical derivation of Planck’s law.
Contrary to another myth, Planck did not derive his lawin an attempt to resolve
the "ultraviolet catastrophe", the name given to the paradoxical result that the
total energy in the cavity tends to inﬁnity when the equipartition theorem of
classical statistical mechanics is applied to black body radiation. Planck did not
consider the equipartion theorem to be universally valid, so he never noticed
any sort of "catastrophe" — it was only discovered some ﬁve years later by
Einstein, Lord Rayleigh, and Sir James Jeans.
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Planck’s law of black body radiation
Appendix
A simple way to calculate the integral
J =

0
x
3
exp(x)−1
dx
is as follows. After multiplying the numerator and denominator of the inte-
grand we can expand the integrand in powers of exp(−x).
J =

0
x
3
exp(−x)
1−exp(−x)
dx =
¸

n=1

0
x
3
exp (−nx) dx = 6
¸

n=1
1
n
4
=
π
4
15
Here we have used that
¸

n=1
1
n
4
is the Riemann zeta function evaluated for
the argument 4, which is given by
π
4
90
. This fact can be proven by considering
the contour integral

C
R
π cot(πz)
z
4
Where C
R
is a contour of radius R around the origin. In the limit R → ∞
the integral approaches zero. Using the residue theorem the integral can also
be written as a sum of residues at the poles of the integrand. The poles are
at zero, the positive and negative integers. The sum of the residues yields
precisely twice the desired summation plus the residue at zero. This means that
¸

n=1
1
n
4
equals minus
π
4
2
times the coefﬁcient of x
3
of the series expansion of
the series expansion of the cotangent function.
• Planck’s original 1901 paper
209
• Planck, Max, "On the Law of Distribution of Energy in the Normal Spec-
trum". Annalen der Physik, vol. 4, p. 553 ff (1901).
210
- interactive simulation to play with Planck’s
law
• Scienceworld entry on the Planck Law
211
• Kragh, Helge Max Planck: The reluctant revolutionary
212
Physics World,
December 2000
http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Planck-1901/Planck-1901.html
209
http://www.vias.org/simulations/simusoft_blackbody.html
210
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/PlanckLaw.html
211
http://www.physicsweb.org/articles/world/13/12/8/1
212
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Plum pudding model
Principal Authors: Metacomet, PAR, Unc.hbar, Diegueins, Rparson
Plum pudding model
Figure 36 A schematic representation of the plum pudding model of the atom.
In physics, the Plum pudding model of the atom was proposed by J. J. Thom-
son, the discoverer of the electron in 1897. The plum pudding model was
proposed in March, 1904 before the discovery of the atomic nucleus. In this
model, the atom is composed of electrons surrounded by a soup of positive
charge to balance the electron’s charge, like plums surrounded by pudding.
The electrons were thought to be positioned throughout the atom, but with
many electron structures possible, particularly rotating rings (see below). In-
stead of a soup, the atom was also sometimes said to have had a cloud of
positive charge.
The model was disproved by the 1909 gold foil experiment, which was inter-
preted by Ernest Rutherford in 1911 to imply a very small nucleus of the atom
containing its full positive charge, thus leading implicitly to the →Rutherford
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Plum pudding model
model of the atom, and eventually, by 1913, to the solar-system-like (but
quantum-limited) →Bohr model of the atom.
Thomson’s model was compared (though not by Thomson) to a British treat
called plum pudding, hence the name. It has also been called the chocolate
chip cookie model, but only by those who have not read Thomson’s original
paper (On the Structure of the Atom: an Investigation of the Stability and
Periods of Oscillation of a number of Corpuscles arranged at equal intervals
around the Circumference of a Circle; with Application of the Results to the
Theory of Atomic Structure), published in the Philosophical Magazine (the
leading British science journal of the day). For an excerpt see
213
.
A little-known (or now forgotten) fact about the original Thomson "plum pud-
ding" model is that it was dynamic, not static. The electrons were free to rotate
within the blob or cloud of positive substance. These orbits were stabilized
in the model by the fact that when an electron moved farther from the center
of the positive cloud, it felt a larger net positive inward force, because there
was more material of opposite charge, inside its orbit (A particle like a small
black hole would feel the same restorative force if it penetrated the body of
the Earth; such a particle would feel only the gravity of the Earth inside its
radius). In Thomson’s model, electrons were free to rotate in rings which were
further stabilized by interactions between the electrons, and spectra were to be
accounted for by energy differences of different ring orbits. Thomson attempt-
ed to make his model account for some of the major spectral lines known for
some elements, but was not notably successful at this. Still, Thomson’s model
(along with a similar Saturnian ring model for atomic electrons, put forward
by Nagaoka after the Maxwell model of Saturn’s rings), were earlier harbingers
of the later and more successful solar-system like →Bohr model of the atom.
• "On the Structure of the Atom: an Investigation of the Stability and Periods
of Oscillation of a number of Corpuscles arranged at equal intervals around
the Circumference of a Circle; with Application of the Results to the Theory
of Atomic Structure"
214
— J.J. Thomson’s 1904 paper proposing the plum
pudding model.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum_pudding_model
Principal Authors: Linas, Salsb, Sbharris, Fastﬁssion, Ragesoss
http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Thomson-Structure-Atom.html
213
http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Thomson-Structure-Atom.html
214
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Position operator
Position operator
Deﬁnition
In quantum mechanics, the position operator corresponds to the position ob-
servable of a particle. Consider, for example, the case of a spinless particle
moving on a line. The state space for such a particle is L
2
(R), the Hilbert
space of complex-valued and square-integrable (with respect to the Lebesgue
measure) functions on the real line. The position operator, Q, is then deﬁned
by
Q(ψ)(x) = x ψ(x),
with domain D(Q) = ¦ψ ∈ L
2
[Qψ ∈ L
2
¦.
Since all continuous functions with compact support lie in D(Q), Q is densely
deﬁned. Q, being simply multiplication by x, is a self adjoint operator, thus
satisfying the requirement of a quantum mechanical observable. Immediately
from the deﬁnition we can deduce that the spectrum consists of the entire
real line and that Q has purely continuous spectrum, therefore no eigenvalues.
The three dimensional case is deﬁned analogously. We shall keep the one-
dimensional assumption in the following discussion.
Measurement
As with any observable, In order to discuss measurement, we need to calculate
the spectral resolution of Q:
Q =

λdΩ
Q
(λ).
Since Q is just multiplication by x, its spectral resolution is simple. For a Borel
subset B of the real line, let C
B
denote the indicator function of B. We see that
the projection-valued measure Ω
Q
are given by

Q
(B)ψ = C
B
ψ
,i.e. Ω
Q
(B) is multiplication by the indicator fuction of B. Therefore, if the
system is prepared in state Ψ, then the probability of the measured position of
the particle being in a Borel set B is
[Ω
Q
(B)ψ[
2
= [C
B
ψ[
2
=

B
[ψ[
2

,µ being the Lebesgue measure. After the measurement, the wave function
collapses to

Q
(B)ψ
[[Ω
Q
(B)ψ[[
, where [[ [[ is the Hilbert space norm.
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Potential well
Unitary equivalence with momentum operator
For a particle on a line, the momentum operator P is deﬁned by
Pψ = −i

∂x
ψ
,with appropriate domain. P and Q are unitarily equivalent, with the unitary
operator being given explicitly by the Fourier transform. Thus they have the
same spectrum. In physical language, P acting on momentum space wave
functions is the same as Q acting on position space wave functions (under the
image of Fourier transform).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Position_operator
Potential energy surface
A potential energy surface is generally used within the adiabatic or Born-
Oppenheimer approximation in quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics
to model chemical reactions and interactions in simple chemical and physical
systems. There is a natural correspondence between potential energy surfaces
as they exist (as polynomial surfaces) and their application in potential theory,
which associates and studies harmonic functions in relation to these surfaces.
For example, the Morse potential and the simple harmonic potential well are
common one-dimensional potential energy surfaces (potential energy curves)
in applications of quantum chemistry and physics.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_energy_surface
Principal Authors: V8rik, Cypa, Charles Matthews
Potential well
A potential well is the region surrounding a local minimumof potential energy.
Energy captured in a potential well is unable to convert to another type of
energy (kinetic energy in the case of a gravitational potential well) because it
is captured in the local minimum of a potential well. Therefore, a body may
not proceed to the global minimum of potential energy, as it would naturally
tend to due to entropy.
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Potential well
Overview
Energy may be released from a potential well if sufﬁcient energy is added to
the system such that the local minimum is surmounted. In quantum physics,
potential energy may escape a potential well without added energy due to the
probabilistic characteristics of quantum particles; in these cases a particle may
be imagined to tunnel through the walls of a potential well.
The graph of a 2D potential energy function is a potential energy surface that
can be imagined as the Earth’s surface in a landscape of hills and valleys. Then
a potential well would be a valley surrounded on all sides with higher terrain,
which thus could be ﬁlled with water (i.e., be a lake) without any water ﬂowing
away toward another, lower minimum (i.e. sea level).
In the case of gravity, the region around a mass is a gravitional potential well,
unless the density of the mass is so low that tidal forces from other masses are
greater than the gravity of the body itself.
A potential hill is the opposite of a potenti