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Homework Help: Physical difference between various wave functions

  1. Sep 4, 2016 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Is there a physical difference between the following wave functions? If yes, why? If no, why not?

    [itex] \Psi(x,0) =5e^{-ax^2}[/itex]
    [itex] \Psi(x,0) =\frac{1+i}{\sqrt{3}}e^{-ax^2}[/itex]
    [itex] \Psi(x,0) =e^{i\pi/7}e^{-ax^2}[/itex]

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    They only differ in the constant factors, and since we are speaking about physical significance we are interested in [itex] |\Psi(x,0)|^2[/itex], which contain no imaginary parts. If I assume that these are realizable states they would have to be normalizable, in which case the a's in the exponents would have set values depending on the constant factor in front? If that is the case then yes these wave functions differ in how quickly they decay as we move away from [itex] x=0 [/itex]. I am just not completely convinced by my own argument, and if this is what is meant in the exercise. Any input would be very welcome.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2016 #2


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    Science Advisor
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    'Normalisable' only means that they can be converted to a ket of norm (magnitude) 1 by multiplying by a constant. It doesn't mean they already have a norm of 1. That would be 'normalised' not 'normalisable'.

    If we normalise those three wave functions we will end up with three identical functions.
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