Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Completeness relation

  1. Oct 25, 2007 #1
    can someone please give me a quick description/definition of a completeness relation in QM?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Here you can get some info:

    http://phyastweb.la.asu.edu/phy576-schmidt/dirac/index.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  4. Oct 25, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    very roughly: if a set of functions are "complete", then you can always expand a function with the same boundary conditions in terms of these functions:

    \{\phi_n(x)\} {\rm complete} \Rightarrow \psi(x)=\sum_n a_n\phi_n(x)

    In particular, if you can find a set of energy eigenfunctions (which are complete due to theorems about hermitian operators on Hilbert spaces), you can always decompose any wavefunction in terms of them. This is very useful.

    Slightly more formally, a complete set of functions satisfies:

    \sum_n \phi_n(x)\phi_n(y)=\delta(x-y)

    The above follows (more or less) from these hypotheses.
  5. Oct 25, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If you search the internet for the "spectral decomposition theorem", i'm sure you'll get many useful results.
  6. Apr 2, 2009 #5
    This old thread keeps popping up in Google, so ...

    Quoting from J. J. Sakurai - Modern Quantum Mechanics, Sec. 1.3
    The [tex]\left| a' \right\rangle[/tex] signify orthonormal eigenkets. The above sum is a useful mathematical tool as it can be inserted wherever the identity operator could appropriately be inserted. Check out the book!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook