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

Probability Amplitude phases

  1. Nov 10, 2007 #1
    Quesion in approaching to Path Integral

    I've just read "Quantum Mechanics and Path Integral" book which was written by Feynman, he said the phase of probability amplitude is proportional to "the ACTION [tex] S [/tex] in units of Quantum of action [tex] \hbar [/tex]. What is the reason to be that? Can any body explain it to me physically? Thank you for all replies.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    There might be a better answer than this, but one way to see it is to plug the wavefunction [itex]e^{iS/\hbar}[/itex] into the Schrodinger equation and get an equation for S. The equation you get (to leading order in an expansion in [itex]\hbar[/itex]) is just the (classical) Hamilton-Jacobi equation, where S plays the role of the classical action. This is very strong evidence in favor of Feynman's arguments.

    In the end, I don't think there's an explicit "proof" that you should use the classical action in this way, just like there's no "proof" that the Schrodinger equation is correct - at the end of the day, you just ask if the equations are consistent with experiment (and the other descriptions of QM). And in this case, they are. In particular:

    1. You can derive the Schrodinger equation from the path integral formalism.
    2. There is a nice classical limit as [itex]\hbar\rightarrow 0[/itex].
  4. Nov 12, 2007 #3
    Thank you very much for your answer. I'll review them, then.
  5. Nov 12, 2007 #4
    Read the first few pages of QFT in Nutshell by ZEE

    The motivation for introducing path integral formulation of QM is startted as
    a doubt that feynmann had regarding the inteference of photon as it goes through a doble slit...
    plz read further

    I cannot describe the hapiness that i fealt after reading those few pages.
    I mean after reading it youll feel the basic idea of path integrals is so intuitive
    and that any one could think about that idea if just only he had looked beyond the box
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook