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How does a quantum harmonic oscillator oscillate?

  1. Jul 16, 2010 #1
    A classical harmonic oscillator follows a smooth, sinusoidal path of oscillation. Since on a quantum level energy levels are discrete, does a quantum harmonic oscillator actually oscillate in the everyday sense?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2010 #2


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    Science Advisor

    No, it doesn't.

    In classical physics x=x(t) is moving around. In qm what is moving around with the classical frequency is the qm operator x(t) in the Heisenberg picture.
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