# Harmonic oscillator

why is the lowest allowed energy not E=0 but some definite minimum E=E0?

siddharth
Homework Helper
Gold Member
If you solve the Time Independent Schrodinger equation for the Harmonic Oscillator, that is
$$-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \frac{d^2\Psi}{dx^2} + \frac{1}{2}kx^2 \Psi = E \Psi$$

The quantization of energy comes from the boundary conditions (ie, $\Psi = 0$ when $x= \infty$ or $x = -\infty$).

The permitted energy levels will be

$$E_n = (n+\frac{1}{2}) \hbar \omega$$

So the lowest Energy is not E=0.

Last edited:
Galileo