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Homework Help: Expectation Value Question

  1. Nov 11, 2004 #1
    If the expectation value <x> of a particle trapped in a box L wide is L/2, which means its average position in the middle of the box. Find the expectation value <x squared>. How do I go about doing this? I am really confused.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2004 #2


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    The expectation value of x^2 can be calculated if you know the probability density function of x. If it is f(x)


    For a classical particle f(x) = 1/L as it has equal probability of being anywhere in the box.

    If it is a quantum particle, find out how the wavefunction of that particle, trapped in a box extending from x=0 to x=L, looks like. The probability density function is the square of the absolute value of the wavefunction.

    [tex]f(x)= \phi \phi^* \rightarrow <x^2>=\int_0^L{x^2\phi \phi^*dx}[/tex]

  4. Nov 12, 2009 #3
    I have the same problem as one part of a larger question, and was hoping to check my answer. Did you get a2(1/3 + 3/(2*pi2*n2) for the nth state?
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