# A Particle in a Energy Well

1. Jan 30, 2009

### TFM

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

Consider a particle that is confined in a one-dimensional box, ie in a potential

$$V(x) = 0 for 0 \leq x \leq L, or \infty when x < 0, x > L$$

(i) Determine the solutions Φn(x) of the stationary Schrödinger equation for this problem. Make sure that you have normalized them correctly.

(ii) Calculate the energy eigenvalue En corresponding to Φn(x).

(iii) Use the results of (i) and (ii) and write down the complete time-dependent wave function Ψn(x,t) for the nth stationary state in this potential.

( iv) For the nth stationary state calculate .

(v) Use the results of (iv) to check whether the Heisenberg Uncertainty relation is satisfied for the nth stationary state? Which state comes closest to the minimum uncertainty?

2. Relevant equations

3. The attempt at a solution

Okay, I have done (i), and have got:

$$k = \frac{n\pi}{L}$$

and

$$\phi(x) = Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

Where n is plus/minus 1,2,3...

Okay, but I am not sure on the second part.

I have a book, and it has:

$$E_n = \frac{\hbar^2k_n^2}{2m}$$

And I think this is the irght formula. The trouble is that IO believe that this equation isbasically the answer, just sub in the result I got above, but I don't know where the equation has come from. Could anyone help me out here?

TFM

2. Jan 30, 2009

### Dick

E=p^2/(2m) in operator notation since the potential in the box is 0. What's the operator p? Apply that to your wavefunction. (p^2/(2m))psi=E*psi.

Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
3. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Okay, so would the operator p be:

$$\int\Psi^*(\frac{\hbar}{i}\frac{\partial}{\partial x})\Psi dx$$

Or, since it s a operator, is it:

$$\hat{p} = -i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial x}$$

???

Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
4. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Okay, I have checked out the $$\hat{p}$$ version, and I think it has given me the right answer:

$$E = \frac{\hat{p}^2}{2m}$$

$$\psi(x) = Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

$$E\psi(x) = \frac{\hat{p}^2}{2m} \psi(x)$$

$$E\psi(x) = \frac{-i^2 \hbar^2}{2m} \frac{\partial^2}{\partial x^2}Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

$$E\psi(x) = \frac{\hbar^2}{2m} A\frac{\partial^2}{\partial x^2}sin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

Do the first differential:

$$E\psi(x) = \frac{\hbar^2}{2m} A\frac{n\pi}{L}\frac{\partial}{\partial x}cos(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

And the second:

$$E\psi(x) = \frac{\hbar^2}{2m} A\frac{n^2\pi^2}{L^2}[-sin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)]$$

Slightly rearrange:

$$E\psi(x) = -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \frac{n^2\pi^2}{L^2}[Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)]$$

Since:

$$\psi(x) = Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

We can take out psi from both sides:

$$E = -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \frac{n^2\pi^2}{L^2}$$

rearrange very slightly:

$$E = -\frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}$$

And this is the same as the answer that is given in the book. Does this look okay?

Assuming it is okay, could you advise me what o do for the third part?

Use the results of (i) and (ii) and write down the complete time-dependent wave function Ψn(x,t) for the nth stationary state in this potential.

How do we get the time dependent equation from these two equations?

Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
5. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

That looks ok, but you've got an extra minus sign hanging around. E should come out to be positive. Shouldn't the -i^2 at the beginning be +i^2? Now write down the time dependent Schrodinger equation. You've got that H|psi>=E|psi>. You just have to attach the correct time dependence.

6. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Well, if:

$$\hat{p} = -i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial x}$$

p hat squared should give:

i^2 = -1

-*-1 = 1, so that does still give

$$E\psi(x) = \frac{\hbar^2}{2m} A\frac{\partial^2}{\partial x^2}sin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

but to get rid of the final minus, it should be

$$E\psi(x) = -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} A\frac{\partial^2}{\partial x^2}sin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

I am not sure what has gone wrong there...?

So now I need to use the time dependent Schrodinger equation, I need to use:

$$i\hbar \frac{\partial \phi}{\partial x} = -\frac{\hbar}{2m}{\partial^2 \phi}{\partial x^2} + V\phi$$

Does this:

H|psi>=E|psi>

mean that the Energy eigenvector I just calculated is equal to the Hamiltonian operator?

7. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

(-i)^2=(-1)^2*i^2=1*(-1)=(-1). I'm not sure how you are making it a plus one. And, yes, p^2/(2m) is the Hamiltonian operator.

8. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

OKay thanks for that.

So, the Schrödinger Equation with the Hamilton Operator is:

$$\hat{H} = \frac{\hat{p}}{2m} + V$$

Gives Schrödinger's Equation to be:

$$i\hbar \frac{\partial \phi}{\partial x} = \hat{H}\phi$$

and now we have just said that:

$$E = -\frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}$$ is the Hamilton operator. So:

$$i\hbar \frac{\partial \phi}{\partial x} = -\frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}\phi$$

and

$$\phi(x) = Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

Put together:

$$i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial x}Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x) = -\frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

Okay so far?

9. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

Why do you have d/dx on the left side of the Schrodinger equation? Shouldn't it be d/dt? And you should keep in mind that the psi will have a time dependent factor as well. Write it as psi(x)*f(t). f(t) is what you are looking for. 'E' isn't the Hamiltonian operator, it's the 'eigenvalue' of the Hamiltonian (the energy). And you've still got that pesky (-1) in front of the energy. Why won't it go away? Finally your equation will come out to be similar to the ordinary differential equation df(t)/dt=k*f(t). What are the solutions to that?

10. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

okay, that was a typo should have been dt:

and with the f(t):

$$i\hbar \frac{\partial (\phi* f(t)}{\partial t} = \hat{H}(\phi*f(t)$$

and:

$$E = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}$$

This is the eigenvalue of the Hamiltonian Operator.

The Hamiltonian Operator is:

$$\hat{H} = \frac{\hat{p}}{2m} + V(x)$$

So having a look, to get the Hamiltonian, I need:

$$\hat{H}\phi = E\phi$$

now we know that:

$$E = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}$$

And I assume phi is:

$$\phi(x) = Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

so:

$$\hat{H}Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x) = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)$$

Is this okay now?

Eidt: I assume not, since it is giving the same result for the Hamiltonian as before...

11. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

That's fine. But you've already done that.
$$i\hbar \frac{\partial (\phi(x) f(t))}{\partial t}= i\hbar \phi(x) \frac{\partial f(t)}{\partial t}= \hat{H}(\phi(x) f(t))=E \phi(x) f(t)$$

You want to cancel out the phi(x) and solve for the f(t) part.

12. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Okay so:

$$i\hbar \frac{\partial (\phi* f(t)}{\partial t} = \hat{H}(\phi*f(t)$$

goes to:

$$i\hbar\phi(x) \frac{\partial ( f(t)}{\partial t} = \hat{H}(\phi*f(t)$$

So now we need to replace the Hamiltonian with the Energy:

$$i\hbar\phi(x) \frac{\partial ( f(t)}{\partial t} = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}(\phi*f(t)$$

Is this right now?

13. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

Yes. It's right. Now you've got phi(x) on both sides. Cancel them out. You are just trying to find f(t) now. The 'time dependence'.

14. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Excellent so:

$$i\hbar\phi(x) \frac{\partial f(t)}{\partial t} = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}\phi*f(t)$$

So cancel out the phi's:

$$i\hbar \frac{\partial f(t)}{\partial t} = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}f(t)$$

now rearrange so:

$$\frac{\partial f(t)}{\partial t} = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{i \hbar2mL^2}f(t)$$

and:

$$\frac{\partial f(t)}{\partial t} = \frac{\hbar n^2\pi^2}{i 2mL^2}f(t)$$

So would the solution be:

$$f(t) = e^{\frac{\hbar n^2\pi^2}{i 2mL^2}t}$$

Edit: that doesn't seem very cl;ear, it should be:
$$e^ft$$

where:

$$f = \frac{\hbar n^2\pi^2}{i 2mL^2}$$

???

15. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

I think so, yes. But it would probably be a lot more illuminating to write that as exp(-i*t*E_n/hbar) (where E_n is your energy), without trying to simplify it further.

16. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Okay, so:

e^ft, where :

$$f = \frac{\hbar n^2\pi^2}{i 2mL^2}$$

this can be simplified by:

$$E = \frac{\hbar^2n^2\pi^2}{2mL^2}$$

to:

$$f = \frac{E_n}{\hbar}$$

thus:

$$f(t) = e^{(E_n/\hbar)t}$$

not sure where the -i is from???

17. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

$$f = \frac{E_n}{i \hbar}$$
You just forgot the i. And 1/i=(-i).

18. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Oh, I see now, thanks for pointing that out.

so $$f(t) = e^{-(iE/\hbar)t}$$

so is that the answer now for part (iii)?

19. Jan 31, 2009

### Dick

f(t) is just the time part. The complete wavefunction is phi(x)*f(t).

20. Jan 31, 2009

### TFM

Okay so the final answer will be:

$$\phi*f(t)$$

Which is:

$$Asin(\frac{n\pi}{L}x)*e^{-(iE/\hbar)t}$$