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

I Time dependent perturbation theory

  1. Jun 9, 2016 #1


    User Avatar

    I have been looking at some notes for time dependent perturbation theory. The equation for the transition probability involves the matrix element < f | H | i > where f is the final state , i is the initial state and H is the perturbation switched on at t=0. If H is a constant , ie. just a number then it can be taken outside the bracket leaving H < f | i > but the final and initial states are orthonormal meaning the bracket is zero for all transitions. So a constant perturbation produces no change in state ?
    Have i got all this right ? If not , where am i going wrong ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Looks right to me.
  4. Jun 10, 2016 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Sure, if ##\hat{H}=h_0 \hat{1}##, ##h_0=\text{const} \in \mathbb{R}##, it doesn't do anything in the time evolution, just adding a phase factor ##\exp(-\mathrm{i} h_0 t)## to all states (in the Schrödinger picture), but that means indeed it doesn't do anything to the state at all. That's as in classical mechanics: Adding a constant term to the Hamiltonian doesn't change the equations of motion (Hamilton's canonical equations).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted