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Physics news on Phys.org

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Instanton

An operator is a mathematical function that takes in one or more input variables and produces an output. In the context of operator theory, operators are specifically used to describe linear transformations between vector spaces.

A linear operator follows the principle of superposition, meaning that the output is directly proportional to the input. In contrast, a nonlinear operator does not follow this principle and may have a more complex relationship between the input and output.

In quantum mechanics, operators are used to represent physical observables, such as position, momentum, and energy. These operators act on the wave function of a quantum system, allowing us to calculate the probabilities of different outcomes of a measurement.

The spectrum of an operator is the set of all complex numbers for which the operator does not have an inverse. It can be divided into three parts: the point spectrum, which consists of eigenvalues of the operator; the continuous spectrum, which consists of non-eigenvalues that are not isolated; and the residual spectrum, which consists of non-eigenvalues that are isolated.

Compact operators are operators that map bounded sets to relatively compact sets. They have many important applications in functional analysis, such as in the study of compactness and convergence of sequences of operators. In addition, many important theorems in operator theory, such as the Fredholm alternative and the spectral theorem, involve compact operators.

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