1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Wave Function problem

  1. Jul 22, 2014 #1
    This was in my Introduction to modern physics exam, but i don't quite know what i should do here... My teacher said there was an easy trick. Can you guys help me?

    An electron is described by the following wave function
    ψ(x)=(ax+b for 0<x<L,
    cx+d for L<x<3L,
    0 for x<0 V x>3L)

    a) Determine the constants a, b and c, and sketch the graph of Ψ.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I tried using the boundary conditions, but everything turns out being zero. Guys, please help me, i'm lost here.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2014 #2
    The gist of the problem as you pointed out, is to match the boundary conditions between the different regions. However, I don't see why this should turn out to be zero everywhere. Could you show your work that led you to this conclusion?
  4. Jul 22, 2014 #3
    Ok, so applying the boundary conditions of the wave functions.
    ψ(0-)= ψ(0+)
    ψ(L-)= ψ(L+)
    ψ(3L-)= ψ(3L+)
    i get
    Then i use the continuity of the derivative:

    and i get
    a = 0 = c = b, only d=-3L.

    Is this right? I hope i'm not doing any ridiculous mistake.
  5. Jul 22, 2014 #4
    d = -3Lc. I presume that is a typo since u managed to arrive at a = -2c.

    From this you should be able to figure out the shape of the wavefunction. The values of a, c and d (which are related to each other), can be determined through imposing normalisation.

    It is okay for the derivative not to be continuous. This can happen when the potential function itself is discontinuous to begin with. In this case since the potential is not given, we assume that the wavefunction given is not the trivial (zero) solution.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted