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Lecture 11: Interaction Representation and Time-dependent Perturbation Theory

Lecture 12: Periodic Perturbation and Fermi’s Golden Rule

Lecture 13: Incoherent Perturbations and Spontaneous Emission

Lecture 14: Selection Rules of Electric Dipole Transitions

Lecture 15: Few-level Quantum Systems in Periodic Fields

**Schrodinger Representation: a “default” representation
**

Quantum evolution is a unitary evolution of kets in the Hilbert space:

Time-independent Hamiltonian:

Time-dependent Hamiltonian:

**Heisenberg Representation: Let observables do the job
**

Quantum evolution is equivalently expressed as transformations of observables, but now with the kets fixed. Expectation value of an arbitrary observable at time t in the default representation is

Define Heisenberg operators as:

So system’s Hamiltonian evolution as unitary transformations is all absorbed in the operators in the Heisenberg representation!

Interaction Representation:

an intermediate and very useful picture of quantum evolution

Time-independent

a small perturbation that may be time-dependent

If the time evolution of the unperturbed system is exactly known,

How to find out the evolution in the presence of the perturbation V?

Let us factorize the exact unitary evolution into two parts:

evolution operator without the perturbation

additional correction due to the interaction/perturbation

[It would be wrong (!) to decompose U into the sum of two unitary operators…]

Then:

Hence, in the interaction (intermediate) representation:

Operators/observables evolve as

And kets evolve as

These give identical predictions as in the first two representations because it is just a different perspective of the same quantum evolution and predicts exactly the same expectation values of arbitrary observables and hence exactly the same measurement outcomes…

Solving for

perturbatively (by definition)

by definition

Hence:

Integrate this directly

Iteration scenario:

If V is very small, then to zeroth order:

Plug zeroth order result to the integral eq., obtain 1st order result:

Plug 1st order result to the integral eq., obtain 2nd order result:

Because

&

The results from the previous slide directly lead to:

zeroth order: 1st order:

2nd order:

This order-by-order expansion is also called “Dyson series”.

Feynman diagram depicting the zero, 1st and 2nd order terms

t

t0

Summing these contributions up, we have

What is the expression associated with the following Feynmann diagram ? (which order? explicit expression?)

t

t0

Focusing on the 1st order perturbation result of quantum transitions:

Using eigenstates of

to express the matrix elements:

Transition amplitudes are then given by

This pre-factor can be thrown away if we only ask about transition probabilities between states n and m

Finally, 1st order transition probability between different states:

For

Summary

In the interaction representation, both observables and kets undergo quantum evolution. Its predictions are however identical with those in Heisenberg and Schrodinger representations. If the main part of the Hamiltonian is solvable, then using the interaction representation, the effects of the remaining/perturbing term on the quantum evolution take a rather simple form. We derived (with the assistance of Feynman diagrams) the formal form of the quantum transition amplitudes to an arbitrary order of the perturbation strength (convergence of the perturbation series is however a challenging and formal mathematical issue).

Time-dependent perturbation theory

Time-dependent perturbation theory

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