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Homework Help: Z operator and spherical harmonics

  1. Feb 27, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I want to show that <n',l',m'|[itex]\hat{z}[/itex]|n,l,m> = 0 unless m=m', using the form of the spherical harmonics.

    2. Relevant equations
    Equations for spherical harmonics

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Not sure how to begin here since there aren't any simple eigenvalues for [itex]\hat{z}[/itex]|n,l,m>. I have a feeling that it may have something to do with normalization of the spherical harmonics (because they have Legendre polynomials that are P(cosΘ) = P(z) and would also give you a exp(imø)*exp(im'ø) term), but I have no idea how this could actually give you something for [itex]\hat{z}[/itex]as an operator, or something you could actually use to figure out [itex]\hat{z}[/itex]|n,l,m>.

    Any help at all would be appreciated!
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2014 #2


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    You essentially have the answer already. In the coordinate basis, the operator ##\hat{z}## is represented by ##r\cos\theta##. Just write down the integral for the inner product and evaluate it.
  4. Feb 27, 2014 #3
    Thanks! I guess I was thinking about it in an operator sense, so it had not occurred to me to do it as an integral instead.
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