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spastic
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A very general question:
What do the real and imaginary parts of a wave function correspond to physically?
Cheers
What do the real and imaginary parts of a wave function correspond to physically?
Cheers
spastic said:A very general question:
What do the real and imaginary parts of a wave function correspond to physically?
Cheers
The real part of a wave function represents the physical amplitude of a wave, while the imaginary part represents the phase or frequency of the wave. In other words, the real part determines the strength of the wave, while the imaginary part determines how it oscillates.
In quantum mechanics, waves behave both as particles and as waves. The real part of a wave function represents the particle-like behavior, while the imaginary part represents the wave-like behavior. Both are needed to fully describe the behavior of a quantum system.
The real and imaginary parts of a wave function are related through the complex conjugate, which is the complex number with the same real part but opposite imaginary part. This means that when one part of the wave function is positive, the other part is negative, and vice versa.
No, the real and imaginary parts of a wave function cannot be measured separately. In quantum mechanics, only the magnitude of the entire wave function can be measured, not its individual components.
If the imaginary part of a wave function is zero, the wave function is said to be purely real. In this case, the wave behaves only as a particle and does not exhibit any wave-like behavior. This is often the case for classical systems, as quantum effects are not significant at that scale.