I have a question, and I'm positive it has a really simple answer, but I can't think of it right now.(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

In the infinite square well (the simplest bound problem), the wave functions have discrete energy values. We can have a wave function that's a linear superposition of any number of these so that theaveragevalue of the energy we measure is any value (above the ground state energy, of course), but at the end of the day each measurement will yield one of the discrete energy values allowed.

So, let's say we have an electron moving in 0 potential with a well defined momentum p. This means it has a well defined energy [itex]E = p^2/2m[/itex], and let's say this E isn't one of the discrete energy levels of the infinite square well we're looking at. Now let's say and it gets captured in this infinite square well. It could have the sameaverageenergy that it had before capture, but necessarily some measurements would yield a higher energy than its initial energy, if you constructed some wave function that had the average energy equal to its initial (pre-capture) energy.

So what happens? Can it not be captured? If it is, does it form some new wave function with the average energy equal to the initial one? This would seem sketchy to me, because there are obviously an infinite number of combos that could give that average energy.

Thanks!

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**

Dismiss Notice

Join Physics Forums Today!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Really stupid question about bound electron

Loading...

Similar Threads for Really stupid question | Date |
---|---|

B Does Quantum Immortality really mean we are immortal? | Dec 23, 2017 |

I Does reality really exist when not measured? | May 25, 2017 |

B Do wave packets really represent a free particle? | Apr 18, 2017 |

I My stupid question about particle-wave duality | Apr 4, 2017 |

A Do all photons really follow all available paths? | Feb 1, 2017 |

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**