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- I am wondering at the striking similarity between the expressions for creation/annihilation operators in terms of position and momentum operators and the expressions for sine and cosine in terms of the exponential.

Hello everyone,

I have noticed a striking similarity between expressions for creation/annihilation operators in terms position and momentum operators and trigonometric expressions in terms of exponentials. In the treatment by T. Lancaster and S. Blundell, "Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur", Chapter 2, eqns. 2.9-2.13, the creation/annihilation operators for energy levels of the simple harmonic oscillators are given as

## \hat{a} = \sqrt{\dfrac{m\omega}{2\hbar}} \left(\hat{x} + \dfrac{i}{m\omega}\hat{p}\right) ##

## \hat{a}^\dagger = \sqrt{\dfrac{m\omega}{2\hbar}} \left(\hat{x} - \dfrac{i}{m\omega}\hat{p}\right) ##

and the inverse formulae are

## \hat{x} =\sqrt{\dfrac{\hbar}{2m\omega}} (\hat{a} +\hat{a}^\dagger ) =\dfrac{1}{2}\sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}} (\hat{a} +\hat{a}^\dagger ) ##

## \hat{p} =-i\sqrt{\dfrac{\hbar}{2m\omega}} (\hat{a} +\hat{a}^\dagger ) =\dfrac{-i}{2}\sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}} (\hat{a} -\hat{a}^\dagger ) ##

Now, my observation is that the first pair of expressions have the same structure as the Euler's formula

## e^{iz} = \cos(z)+i\sin(z), \;e^{-iz} = \cos(z)-i\sin(z)##,

upon substitution

##e^{iz} \rightarrow \sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}}\hat{a}, \;e^{-iz} \rightarrow \sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}}\hat{a}^{\dagger},##

## \cos(z) \rightarrow \hat{x},\; \sin(z) \rightarrow \dfrac{1}{m\omega}\hat{p}##,

and the second pair of equations is recovered with the same substitution from the inverse formulae

## \cos(z) = \dfrac{1}{2}(e^{iz}+e^{-iz}), ##

## \sin(z)=\dfrac{-i}{2}(e^{iz}-e^{-iz}).##

Now, I realize that the structural similarity stems from the definition ## \hat{a}= \hat{x}+i\hat{p}##, but there seems to be a geometrical meaning to this. Can we indeed interpret the interplay between the position and momentum as the connection between trigonometric functions? What is the meaning of the commutation relations then? Are you familiar with any textbook treating this aspect of quantization?

Thank you in advance!

I have noticed a striking similarity between expressions for creation/annihilation operators in terms position and momentum operators and trigonometric expressions in terms of exponentials. In the treatment by T. Lancaster and S. Blundell, "Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur", Chapter 2, eqns. 2.9-2.13, the creation/annihilation operators for energy levels of the simple harmonic oscillators are given as

## \hat{a} = \sqrt{\dfrac{m\omega}{2\hbar}} \left(\hat{x} + \dfrac{i}{m\omega}\hat{p}\right) ##

## \hat{a}^\dagger = \sqrt{\dfrac{m\omega}{2\hbar}} \left(\hat{x} - \dfrac{i}{m\omega}\hat{p}\right) ##

and the inverse formulae are

## \hat{x} =\sqrt{\dfrac{\hbar}{2m\omega}} (\hat{a} +\hat{a}^\dagger ) =\dfrac{1}{2}\sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}} (\hat{a} +\hat{a}^\dagger ) ##

## \hat{p} =-i\sqrt{\dfrac{\hbar}{2m\omega}} (\hat{a} +\hat{a}^\dagger ) =\dfrac{-i}{2}\sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}} (\hat{a} -\hat{a}^\dagger ) ##

Now, my observation is that the first pair of expressions have the same structure as the Euler's formula

## e^{iz} = \cos(z)+i\sin(z), \;e^{-iz} = \cos(z)-i\sin(z)##,

upon substitution

##e^{iz} \rightarrow \sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}}\hat{a}, \;e^{-iz} \rightarrow \sqrt{\dfrac{2\hbar}{m\omega}}\hat{a}^{\dagger},##

## \cos(z) \rightarrow \hat{x},\; \sin(z) \rightarrow \dfrac{1}{m\omega}\hat{p}##,

and the second pair of equations is recovered with the same substitution from the inverse formulae

## \cos(z) = \dfrac{1}{2}(e^{iz}+e^{-iz}), ##

## \sin(z)=\dfrac{-i}{2}(e^{iz}-e^{-iz}).##

Now, I realize that the structural similarity stems from the definition ## \hat{a}= \hat{x}+i\hat{p}##, but there seems to be a geometrical meaning to this. Can we indeed interpret the interplay between the position and momentum as the connection between trigonometric functions? What is the meaning of the commutation relations then? Are you familiar with any textbook treating this aspect of quantization?

Thank you in advance!