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# 4. The Postulates of Quantum Mechanics 4A. Revisiting Representations

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4. The Postulates of Quantum Mechanics 4A. Revisiting Representations
Recall our position and momentum operators P and R They have corresponding eigenstate r and k If we measure the position of a particle: The probability of finding it at r is proportional to If it is found at r, then afterwards it is in state If we measure the momentum of a particle: The probability of momentum k is proportional to After the measurement, it is in state This will generalize to any observable we might want to measure When we aren’t doing measurements, we expect Schrödinger’s Equation to work

Vectors Space and Schrödinger’s Equation
4B. The Postulates Vectors Space and Schrödinger’s Equation Postulate 1: The state vector of a quantum mechanical system at time t can be described as a normalized ket |(t) in a complex vector space with positive definite inner product Positive definite just means At the moment, we don’t know what this space is Postulate 2: When you do not perform a measurement, the state vector evolves according to where H(t) is an observable. Recall that observable implies Hermitian H(t) is called the Hamiltonian

The Results of Measurement
Postulate 3: For any quantity that one might measure, there is a corresponding observable A, and the results of the measurement can only be one of the eigenvalues a of A All measurements correspond to Hermitian operators The eigenstates of those operators can be used as a basis Postulate 4: Let {|a,n} be a complete orthonmormal basis of the observable A, with A|a,n = a|a,n, and let |(t) be the state vector at time t. Then the probability of getting the result a at time t will be This is like saying the probability it is at r is proportional to |(r)|2

The State Vector After You Measure
Postulate 5: If the results of a measurement of the observable A at time t yields the result a, the state vector immediately afterwards will be given by The measurement is assumed to take zero time THESE ARE THE FIVE POSTULATES We haven’t specified the Hamiltonian yet The goal is not to show how to derive the Hamiltonian from classical physics, but to find a Hamiltonian that matches our world

Comments on the Postulates
I have presented the Schrödinger picture with state vector postulates with the Copenhagen interpretation Other authors might list or number them differently There are other, equally valid ways of stating equivalent postulates Heisenberg picture Interaction picture State operator vs. state vector Even so, we almost always agree on how to calculate things There are also deep philosophical differences in some of the postulates More on this in chapter 11

Continuous Eigenvalues
The postulates as stated assume discrete eigenstates It is possible for one or more of these labels to be continuous If the residual labels are continuous, just replace sums by integrals If the eigenvalue label is continuous, the probability of getting exactly  will be zero We need to give probabilities that  lies in some range, 1 <  < 2. We can formally ignore this problem After all, all actual measurements are to finite precision As such, actual measurements are effectively discrete (binning)

Modified Postulates for Continuous States
Postulate 4b: Let {|,} be a complete orthonmormal basis of the observable A, with A|, = |,, and let |(t) be the state vector at time t. Then the probability of getting the result  between 1 and 2 at time t will be Postulate 5b: If the results of a measurement of the observ-able A at time t yields the result  in the range 1 <  < 2, the state vector immediately afterwards will be given by

4C. Consistency of the Postulates Consistency of Postulates 1 and 2
Postulate 1 said the state vector is always normalized; postulate 2 describes how it changes Is the normalization preserved? Take Hermitian conjugate Mulitply on left and right to make these: Subtract:

Consistency of Postulates 1 and 5
Postulate 1 said the state vector is always normalized; postulate 5 des-cribes how it changes when measured Is the normalization preserved?

Postulate 4 Independent of Basis Choice?
Probabilities Sum to 1? Probabilities must be positive and sum to 1 Postulate 4 Independent of Basis Choice? Yes Postulate 5 Independent of Basis Choice? Yes

Sample Problem A system is initially in the state When S2 is measured,
(a) What are the possible outcomes and corresponding probabilities, (b) For each outcome in part (a), what would be the final state vector? We need eigenvalues and eigenvectors

Sample Problem (2) (b) For each outcome in part (a), what would be the final state vector? If 0: If 22:

Comments on State Afterwards:
The final state is automatically normalized The final state is always in an eigenstate of the observable, with the measured eigenvalue If you measure it again, you will get the same value and the state will not change When there is only one eigenstate with a given eigenvalue, it must be that eigenvector exactly Up to an irrelevant phase factor

4D.Measurement and Reduction of State Vector
How Measurement Changes Things Whenever you are in an eigenstate of A, and you measure A, the results are certain, and the measurement doesn’t change the state vector Eigenstates with different eigenvalues are orthogonal The probability of getting result a is then The state vector afterwards will be: Corollary: If you measure something twice, you get the same result twice, and the state vector doesn’t change the second time

Sample Problem We need eigenvalues and eigenvectors for both operators
Eigenvalues for both are  ½ A single spin ½ particle is described by a two-dimensional vector space. Define the operators The system starts in the state If we successively measure Sz, Sz, Sx, Sz, what are the possible outcomes and probabilities, and the final state? It starts in an eigenstate of Sz So you get + ½ , and eigenvector doesn’t change 100% 100%

Sample Problem (2) If we successively measure Sz, Sz, Sx, Sz, what are the possible outcomes and probabilities, and the final state? When you measure Sx next, we find that the probabilities are: Now when you measure Sz, the probabilities are: 50% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50%

Commuting vs. Non-Commuting Observables
The first two measurements of Sz changed nothing It was still in an eigenstate of Sz But when we measured Sx, it changed the state Subsequent measurement of Sz then gave a different result The order in which you perform measurements matters This happens when operators don’t commute, AB  BA If AB = BA then the order you measure doesn’t matter Order matters when order matters Complete Sets of Commuting Observables (CSCO’s) You can measure all of them in any order The measurements identify | uniquely up to an irrelevant phase

4E. Expectation Values and Uncertainties
If you measure A and get possible eigenvalues {a}, the expectation value is There is a simpler formula: Recall: The old way of calculating P: The new way of calculating P:

Uncertainties In general, the uncertainty in a measurement is the root-mean-squared difference between the measured value and the average value There is a slightly easier way to calculate this, usually:

Generalized Uncertainty Principle
We previously claimed and we will now prove it Let A and B be any two observables Consider the following mess: The norm of any vector is positive: The expectation values are numbers, they commute with everything Now substitute This is two true statements, the stronger one says:

Example of Uncertainty Principle
Let’s apply this to a position and momentum operator This provides no useful information unless i = j. Sample Problem Get three uncertainty relations involving the angular momentum operators L

4F. Evolution of Expectation Values
General Expression How does A change with time due to Schrödinger’s Equation? Take Hermitian conj. of Schrödinger. The expectation value will change In particular, if the Hamiltonian doesn’t depend explicitly on time:

Ehrenfest’s Theorem: Position
Suppose the Hamiltonian is given by How do P and R change with time? Let’s do X first: Now generalize:

Ehrenfest’s Theorem: Momentum
Let’s do Px now: Generalize Interpretation: R evolution: v = p/m P evolution: F = dp/dt

Sample Problem The 1D Harmonic Oscillator has Hamiltonian
Calculate X and P as functions of time We need 1D versions of these: Combine these: Solve it: A and B determined by initial conditions:

4G. Time Independent Schrödinger Equation
Finding Solutions Before we found solution when H was independent of time We did it by guessing solutions with separation of variables: Left side is proportional to |, right side is independent of time Both sides must be a constant times | Time Equation is not hard to solve It remains only to solve the time- independent Schrödinger Equation

Solving Schrödinger in General
Given |(0), solve Schrödinger’s equation to get |(t) Find a complete set of orthonormal eigenstates of H: Easier said than done This will be much of our work this year These states are orthonormal Most general solution to time-independent Schrödinger equation is The coefficients cn can then be found using orthonormality:

in the allowed region. What is (x,t)?
Sample Problem An infinite 1D square well with allowed region 0 < x < a has initial wave function in the allowed region. What is (x,t)? First find eigenstates and eigenvalues Next, find the overlap constants cn > assume(n::integer,a>0);sqrt(6)/a^2* integrate(sin(n*Pi*x/a)*(a-abs(2*x-a)),x=0..a); sin(½n) = 1, 0, -1, 0, 1, 0, -1, 0, …

in the allowed region. What is (x,t)?
Sample Problem (2) An infinite 1D square well with allowed region 0 < x < a has initial wave function in the allowed region. What is (x,t)? Now, put it all together

Irrelevance of Absolute Energy
In 1D, adding a constant to the energy makes no difference Are these two Hamiltonians equivalent in quantum mechanics? These two Hamiltonians have the same eigenstates The solutions of Schrödinger’s equation are closely related The solutions are identical except for an irrelevant phase

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