Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Matrix method to find coefficients of 1-d S.E.

  1. Oct 30, 2015 #1
    I haven't taken a course on quantum mechanics yet, but I was asked to solve (numerically)

    ##[-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\frac{d^2}{dx^2}+V(x)]\phi(x)=E\phi(x) ##

    ##V(x)=2000(x-0.5)^2##

    by supposing the solution is ##\sum_{0}^{\infty} a_n \phi_n(x)## and ##\phi_n(x)## is the typical solution to the a square potential ##\phi_n(x) = \sqrt{\frac{2}{L}} sin(\frac{n \pi x}{L})##.

    Now, to solve this I've done the approximation that my sum is actually a finite sum. Doing some manipulations one can show that you can find coefficients via the matrix equation

    ##\mathbf{M}\mathbf{a}=E\mathbf{a}##.

    where ##M_{mn} = E_m \delta_{mn} + \int_{0}^{L} \phi_m \phi_n V(x) dx##.

    And ##E_m= \frac{\hbar^2 m^2 \pi^2}{2 M L^2}##

    Now, I've implemented a matlab program to solve eigenvalues and eigenvectors for ##\mathbf{M}## and used those coefficients to construct the solution to this problem.

    Now, my question is how do I mathematically know ##\phi(x)## is normalized as well? Regarding the eigenvalues ##E##, does QM say that my system can have any of the eigenvalues as energies when I'm not observing? Is that the interpretation?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2015 #2

    andrewkirk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The vectors ##|\psi\rangle## used in QM (in QM they are usually called 'kets') are normalised by assumption. There can be problems with kets that are based on the Dirac delta function, but the energy eigenfunctions ##|\phi_n\rangle## that are in the above problem are not of that kind.

    Your second question can't really be answered without knowing something about the physical system. All we have above is a differential equation, with no initial conditions and no physical description.
     
  4. Oct 30, 2015 #3
    I guess you mean ##\phi_n## are normalised by assumption, but I see no mathematical reason that justifies why a linear superposition (that satisfies the DE) of them should also be normalised. Perhaps I didn't understand what you said correctly.

    What information would be important to look for here? How does the typical problem statement go? I thought superposition of energy states was relevant to QM.
     
  5. Oct 30, 2015 #4

    andrewkirk

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    If ##\phi## is a solution of the DE then so is ##k\phi##, for any complex constant ##k##. So we can just choose the solution ket that has unit norm.

    In QM, physical states are mapped to one-dimensional vector subspaces, not to individual vectors (kets). So ##|\psi\rangle## and ##k|\psi\rangle## correspond to the same physical state.
     
  6. Oct 31, 2015 #5

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

    To use the box eigenstates as basis for the harmonic oscillator is a very bad idea! The box is of finite extent, and there the given sine functions are proper square-integrable functions. Of course they are not proper square-integrable functions on the state, where space is over the entire real axis. Here, a good choice for bound state problems can be the harmonic-oscillator energy eigenstates, which you are supposed to calculate. Where does this problem come from, i.e., who "asked you" to do this problem in this quite questionable way?
     
  7. Oct 31, 2015 #6
    Absolutely, vanhees71! The original Schrodinger equation is that of a (displaced) harmonic oscillator. Trying to solve it with box eigenstates will not work.
     
  8. Oct 31, 2015 #7
    Its a class on computational physics; and it was my professor. To be fair though, I think the method does work since it gave me the correct functions (which I think are Hermite's, right?) I could annex a plot if anyone is interested.

    Plus: the method produces 300 coefficients in 0.4 secs, which seems pretty decent. It pretty much ties up with a finite element method. Perhaps this is only true in this case.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  9. Oct 31, 2015 #8

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

  10. Oct 31, 2015 #9
    Yeah I'm pretty sure I got those. My particle is confined to [0,L].

    I haven't been able to show if the superposition will be normalized or not. I think andrekirk was implying that I could change the coefficient of my solution (which is true), but I guess it isn't guaranteed the superposition (w/o having to adjust the proper coefficient) will satisfy the normalization condition, which makes sense...

    ##(\sum a_n \phi_n) ( \sum a^*_n \phi*_n) = \sum \sum a^*_m a_n \phi_n \phi*_m##

    Integrating

    ##\sum \sum a_n a^*_m \delta_{mn} = \sum |a_n|^2 = ?##

    Doesn't have to be 1 for sure I guess.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2015 #10

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

    I see, then this is the most simple basis you can choose, and of course you can just multiply your wave function with corresponding normalization factor ##\sqrt{1/\sum_n |a_n|^2}## to normalize it.
     
  12. Oct 31, 2015 #11
    I was thinking this shouldn't be too surprising as its very closely related to a Fourier sine series and this gives pretty good convergence to a lot of functions.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Matrix method to find coefficients of 1-d S.E.
  1. Particle in a 1-D box (Replies: 1)

  2. 1-D potential barrier (Replies: 1)

  3. Wigner D matrix (Replies: 2)

Loading...