# Is this a correct understanding?

1. Oct 30, 2009

### gabrielh

My understanding of the wavefunction is as follows. Say we have a photon. The wavefunction of the photon is simply a mathematical representation of the photon. If you were to take the information provided by the wavefunction and, say, graph it on a coordinate plane or something similar, it would have a wavelike shape.

Is this correct? It's all I can gather from what I've read thus far.

2. Oct 31, 2009

### sweet springs

Hi.

Wave funtion ψ is the function of the position x ,say ψ＝ψ（ｘ）and the complex number, say　ψ(x)＝Reψ(x)＋i Imψ(x).

ψ（ｘ） is sometimes periodical like a wave, but not always so.

Physical meaning of ψ is that ψ*ψ＝Reψ(x)^2 ＋ Imψ(x)^2 gives possibility to find a particle at position x.
Larger ψ*ψ is, more likely the particle be there.
More exactly, ψ*ψdx ＝{Reψ(x)^2 ＋ Imψ(x)^2}dx gives possibility to find a particle at position between x and x+dx.
If there is one particle in the system, ∫ψ*ψdx = 1.

I hope there is something helpful to you. Regards.

3. Oct 31, 2009

### f95toli

It might be worth pointing out that the photon is a bad example since you can't really write down a "normal" wavefunction for it for various reasons (one reason being that is has no mass).
If you want understand the concept of a wavefunction you are better off considering e.g. an electron instead. To make it even easier you should also trap the electron in a potential well; for a free electron you need to consider a wave package (as opposed to just a wave) which is a somewhat more complicated affair.