# Normalization of Linear Superposition of ψ States

## Homework Statement

An electron in an infinitely deep potential well of thickness 4 angstroms is placed in a linear superposition of the first and third states. What is the frequency of oscillation of the electron probability density?

E=hω

## The Attempt at a Solution

My main problem right now is with the normalization of the wave function:

I have ψTotal=Aψ1+ Bψ3
∫|ψT|^2=1=∫(|A|^2*sin^2(pi*z/Lz) +|B|^2*sin^2(3pi*z/Lz))dz (the other terms with A*B and B*A become zero after integration)
=(Lz(|A|^2+|B|^2))/2=1

So
|A|^2+|B|^2=2/Lz

What I'd like to do next is calculate the probability density of the electrons, but I end up with |A|^2, |B|^2, A*B, & B*A terms and don't know how to get actual numbers for all these constants, or otherwise to properly normalize this. I know what to do if the superposition of states was equally split, but it does not say that here.

Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong? Thanks

Last edited:

TSny
Homework Helper
Gold Member
You don't need to worry about the values of A and B to answer the question. The frequency of oscillation of the probability distribution does not depend on A or B. So, you can leave A and B unspecified. Since you are interested in the time dependence of the probability distribution, you will need to include the time dependence of each of the two stationary states when you calculate ##|\Psi_{total}(t)|^2##.

So would the only thing that really matters be the exp(+/-(E3-E1)it/h), where ω=(E3-E1)/h? It just seems strange to me that whether one eigenstate dominates or not does not affect the frequency of electron probability density.

Also, I have difficulty in general with normalization. If I needed to normalize this sort of function, would that be possible with the information given, or would I need something else?

Thank you & I appreciate your help.

TSny
Homework Helper
Gold Member
So would the only thing that really matters be the exp(+/-(E3-E1)it/h), where ω=(E3-E1)/h? It just seems strange to me that whether one eigenstate dominates or not does not affect the frequency of electron probability density.

Yes, ω=(E3-E1)/$\hbar$.

When you write out ##|\Psi_{total}(t)|^2##, you should be able to see the effect of changing the relative sizes of A and B. In particular, you should think about the case where A = B and the case where A >> B or A << B.

Also, I have difficulty in general with normalization. If I needed to normalize this sort of function, would that be possible with the information given, or would I need something else?

From the information given in the problem, you cannot determine the magnitudes of A and B. As you showed, all you can determine is the value of |A|2 + |B|2.

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