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I Normalizing a complex vector

  1. Mar 6, 2016 #1
    If I have an normalized spin superposition |ψ> = (a1+a2i) |1> + (b1+b2i) |2>, and asked to write it in the form |ψ> = cosθ|1> + esinθ|2>, how do I proceed?
    My main problem is that no matter what I try, I cant seem to get rid of some complex component that shows up in the coefficient of |1>. I can try to get rid of that after taking the common phase factor from both the vecotrs but after I take it out, am I allowed to just ignore it???
     
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  3. Mar 6, 2016 #2

    blue_leaf77

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    If the question does not say anything about that, I would factor out the common phase factor to make the coefficient of ##|1\rangle## real. No matter what you try, the two expressions given in the question cannot be equated.
     
  4. Mar 7, 2016 #3

    Strilanc

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    You're probably allowed to adjust the superposition's global phase (since the global phase is an unobservable artifact of the representation).

    Try multiplying by the expression by the conjugate of $| 1 \rangle$'s coefficient, i.e. by $a_1 - a_2 i$. That's how you normally cancel out the phase of a complex coefficient. Then it's just a matter of renormalizing the length.
     
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