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QM. subjective questions about wavefunction

  1. Feb 22, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Nothing that big, just some questinos that i had about wavefunctions. i was reading this handout and came across this.
    Suppose i am given an equation of a wave function, how do i know whether or not does it describe the state of definite energy and/or in the state od definite momentum.


    2. Relevant equations
    i just took an equation from the handout
    ѱ=Asin2(nx)


    3. The attempt at a solution
    I normalized the function, and then I didnt really have anywhere to go.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2009 #2

    malawi_glenn

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    This is a quite good tutorial on that subject I think

    http://physics.nmt.edu/~raymond/classes/ph13xbook/node94.html [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Feb 22, 2009 #3
    hey, its you again.
    so i did some reading and about eigenfunction, how do i find the eigenfunction of a wavefunction? like the one i mentioned earlier? does the state of definite energy mean whether or not is the energy an eigenfunction of the given function?
     
  5. Feb 22, 2009 #4

    malawi_glenn

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    careful of the language.

    You don't find the eigenfunction of a wavefunction, you determine IF a given wavefunction IS an eigenfuction to a given operator.

    now, turning to your ѱ=Asin^2(nx), you can do the same arguments as in that web-page
     
  6. Feb 22, 2009 #5
    "you determine IF a given wavefunction IS an eigenfuction to a given operator"
    so i find the eigenfunction of the operator and see if it is any similiar to the wavefunction?
     
  7. Feb 22, 2009 #6

    malawi_glenn

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    no, you operate with the operator on the given wavefunction and se if you get the same thing back. For instance psi(x) = x^2 is not an eigenfunction to the momentum operator.
     
  8. Feb 22, 2009 #7
    okay so i operate the momentum operator on ѱ=Asin2(nx) ie find p(with hat) ѱ? i've been scanning through this forum and see "psi" a lot, what does psi mean?
     
  9. Feb 22, 2009 #8

    malawi_glenn

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    psi =[tex]\Psi , \qquad \psi[/tex]

    A greek letter, very often used to label the wavefunction.

    Now. plane wave solutions are a bit trickier, sin^2(nx) is not an eigenfunction to the momentum operator, but it carries momentum n*hbar.

    What book do you use in your course?
     
  10. Feb 22, 2009 #9
    we dont have a book. my teacher provides us with handouts, daily. why is ѱ=sin2 nx not an eigenfunction of the momentum operator?
    how does it carry the ih bar; i was just wondering as it is not in the equation of the wavefunction.
     
  11. Feb 22, 2009 #10

    malawi_glenn

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    well, hmm the derivative of sin^2 x with respect to x is 2sinx cosx... so it is not an eigenfunction.

    The hbar is there for uniti considerations. n is the wavenumber, and has units length^-1, so one has to have hbar to make units of momentum (mass*velocity)

    Now sin^2 x is a WAVEfunction in that sense that it describes a wave, but not a QUANTUM wave. Many textbooks starts to introduce and recall properties of waves before moving on to quantum waves and the Schrödinger equation. That is why I asked which book you used.

    Here are some good lecture notes

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=220904 [Broken]

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=220901
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Feb 22, 2009 #11
    so does that mean trig functions like
    ѱ=sin (kx) cos(kx) or other such functions are not in the state of an energy eigenfunction?
    if they are not an enery eigenfunction, is it possible for them to be a momentum eigenfunction, or not?
     
  13. Feb 22, 2009 #12

    malawi_glenn

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    We have only discussed momentum so far.

    Energy is (h-bar^2 momentum^2) /(2*Mass)
     
  14. Feb 22, 2009 #13
    well since energy=(momentum)2 /2*mass, and they are related; if it is not an eigen function of energy operator, is it possible for it to be a eigenfunction of the momentum operator then?
     
  15. Feb 22, 2009 #14

    malawi_glenn

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    what is the second derivative on sine-function? Recall our earlier discussion today! ;-)

    sin^2(x) can be eigenfunction to p^2, but not p. You have to try.

    Sin(x) is not eigenfunction to p, but it is an eigenfunction for p^2.

    You can't argue the way you just did.
     
  16. Feb 22, 2009 #15
    so trig functions need not be the eigen function of energy operator but they can be eigenfunction of momentum operator??
    but from the last post it sounds like the other way around.
     
  17. Feb 22, 2009 #16

    malawi_glenn

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    No, you are mixing things up.

    You argued since that sin ^2 x is not eigenfunction of p, then it can't be eigenfunction to p^2. But I just demonstrated that you can have an eigenfunction to p^2, even if that function is not an eigenfunction to p.
     
  18. Feb 22, 2009 #17
    so the wave function
    ѱ=Asin2(nx) is an eigenfunction of momentum(why?) but not energy,
    while
    ѱ=sin (kx) cos(kx) is not an eigen function of energy or momentum?
     
  19. Feb 22, 2009 #18

    malawi_glenn

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    Look at post 8,9 & 10
     
  20. Feb 22, 2009 #19
    okay this is getting way to confusing; can you just tell me, what conditions are needed for any given wavefunction to be the eigenfunction of:
    a. energy operator
    b. momentum operator
    c. position operator
     
  21. Feb 22, 2009 #20

    malawi_glenn

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    Why is it confusing? I have been totally coherent.

    A function F is an Eigenfunction to an operator O, if:

    O F= o*F

    o is then said to be the Eigenvalue to the operator O on the eigenfunction F.

    For instance, the function G is an eigenfunction to the derivative operator D, if DG=d*G, where d is some number, called the Eigenvalue of the derivative operator on the eigenfunction G.
     
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