Student handout: Time Evolution Refresher (Mini-Lecture)

Central Forces Spring 2021
The instructor gives a brief lecture about time dependence of energy eigenstates (e.g. McIntyre, 3.1). Notes for the students are attached.
  • assignment Visualization of Wave Functions on a Ring

    assignment Homework

    Visualization of Wave Functions on a Ring
    Central Forces Spring 2021 Using either this Geogebra applet or this Mathematica notebook, explore the wave functions on a ring. (Note: The Geogebra applet may be a little easier to use and understand and is accessible if you don't have access to Mathematica, but it is more limited in the wave functions that you can represent. Also, the animation is pretty jumpy in some browsers, especially Firefox. Imagine that the motion is smooth.)
    1. Look at graphs of the following states \begin{align} \Phi_1(\phi)&=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}(\left|{2}\right\rangle +\left|{-2}\right\rangle )\\ \Phi_2(\phi)&=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}(\left|{2}\right\rangle -\left|{-2}\right\rangle )\\ \Phi_3(\phi)&=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}(\left|{2}\right\rangle +i\left|{-2}\right\rangle ) \end{align} Write a short description of how these states differ from each other.
    2. Find a state for which the probability density does not depend on time. Write the state in both ket and wave function notation. These are called stationary states. Generalize your result to give a characterization of the set of all possible states that are stationary states.
    3. Find a state that is right-moving. Write the state in both ket and wave function notation. Generalize your result to give a characterization of the set of all possible states that are right-moving.
    4. Find a state that is a standing wave. Write the state in both ket and wave function notation. Generalize your result to give a characterization of the set of all possible states that are standing waves.
  • group Superposition States for a Particle on a Ring

    group Small Group Activity

    30 min.

    Superposition States for a Particle on a Ring

    central forces quantum mechanics eigenstates eigenvalues quantum measurements angular momentum hermitian operators probability superposition

    Quantum Ring Sequence

    Students calculate probabilities for a particle on a ring whose wavefunction is not easily separated into eigenstates by inspection. To find the energy, angular momentum, and position probabilities, students perform integrations with the wavefunction or decompose the wavefunction into a superposition of eigenfunctions.
  • group Working with Representations on the Ring

    group Small Group Activity

    30 min.

    Working with Representations on the Ring
    Central Forces Spring 2021
  • assignment Quantum Particle in a 2-D Box

    assignment Homework

    Quantum Particle in a 2-D Box
    Central Forces Spring 2021

    (2 points each)

    You know that the normalized spatial eigenfunctions for a particle in a 1-D box of length \(L\) are \(\sqrt{\frac{2}{L}}\sin{\frac{n\pi x}{L}}\). If you want the eigenfunctions for a particle in a 2-D box, then you just multiply together the eigenfunctions for a 1-D box in each direction. (This is what the separation of variables procedure tells you to do.)

    1. Find the normalized eigenfunctions for a particle in a 2-D box with sides of length \(L_x\) in the \(x\)-direction and length \(L_y\) in the \(y\)-direction.
    2. Find the Hamiltonian for a 2-D box and show that your eigenstates are indeed eigenstates and find a formula for the possible energies
    3. Any sufficiently smooth spatial wave function inside a 2-D box can be expanded in a double sum of the product wave functions, i.e. \begin{equation} \psi(x,y)=\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\sum_{m=1}^{\infty}\, c_{nm}\; \hbox{eigenfunction}_n(x)\;\hbox{eigenfunction}_m(y) \end{equation} Using your expressions from part (a) above, write out all the terms in this sum out to \(n=3\), \(m=3\). Arrange the terms, conventionally, in terms of increasing energy.

      You may find it easier to work in bra/ket notation: \begin{align*} \left|{\psi}\right\rangle &=\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\sum_{m=1}^{\infty}\, c_{nm}\left|{n}\right\rangle \left|{m}\right\rangle \\ &=\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\sum_{m=1}^{\infty}\, c_{nm}\left|{nm}\right\rangle \end{align*}

    4. Find a formula for the \(c_{nm}\)s in part (b). Find the formula first in bra ket notation and then rewrite it in wave function notation.

  • assignment Sum Shift

    assignment Homework

    Sum Shift
    Central Forces Spring 2021

    In each of the following sums, shift the index \(n\rightarrow n+2\). Don't forget to shift the limits of the sum as well. Then write out all of the terms in the sum (if the sum has a finite number of terms) or the first five terms in the sum (if the sum has an infinite number of terms) and convince yourself that the two different expressions for each sum are the same:

    1. \begin{equation} \sum_{n=0}^3 n \end{equation}
    2. \begin{equation} \sum_{n=1}^5 e^{in\phi} \end{equation}
    3. \begin{equation} \sum_{n=0}^{\infty} a_n n(n-1)z^{n-2} \end{equation}

  • computer Visualization of Quantum Probabilities for a Particle Confined to a Ring

    computer Mathematica Activity

    30 min.

    Visualization of Quantum Probabilities for a Particle Confined to a Ring
    Central Forces Spring 2021

    central forces quantum mechanics angular momentum probability density eigenstates time evolution superposition mathematica

    Quantum Ring Sequence

    Students see probability density for eigenstates and linear combinations of eigenstates for a particle on a ring. The three visual representations: standard position vs probability density plot, a ring with colormapping, and cylindrical plot with height and colormapping, are also animated to visualize time-evolution.
  • assignment Power Series Coefficients 3

    assignment Homework

    Power Series Coefficients 3
    AIMS Maxwell AIMS 21 Static Fields Winter 2021 Use the formula for a Taylor series: \[f(z)=\sum_{n=0}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n!} \frac{d^n f(a)}{dz^n} (z-a)^n\] to find the first three non-zero terms of a series expansion for \(f(z)=\cos(kz)\) around \(z=2\).
  • assignment Power Series Coefficients 2

    assignment Homework

    Power Series Coefficients 2
    AIMS Maxwell AIMS 21 Static Fields Winter 2021 Use the formula for a Taylor series: \[f(z)=\sum_{n=0}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n!} \frac{d^n f(a)}{dz^n} (z-a)^n\] to find the first three non-zero terms of a series expansion for \(f(z)=e^{-kz}\) around \(z=3\).
  • group Representations of the Infinite Square Well

    group Small Group Activity

    120 min.

    Representations of the Infinite Square Well
    Quantum Fundamentals Winter 2021
  • assignment Series Notation 1

    assignment Homework

    Series Notation 1

    Power Series Sequence (E&M)

    AIMS Maxwell AIMS 21 Static Fields Winter 2021

    Write out the first four nonzero terms in the series:

    1. \[\sum\limits_{n=0}^\infty \frac{1}{n!}\]

    2. \[\sum\limits_{n=1}^\infty \frac{(-1)^n}{n!}\]
    3. \begin{equation} \sum\limits_{n=0}^\infty {(-2)^{n}\,\theta^{2n}} \end{equation}

Begin with Schrödinger's Equation: \begin{equation} i\hbar\frac{d}{dt}\left|{\Psi(t)}\right\rangle =\hat{H}\left|{\Psi(t)}\right\rangle \end{equation} If we know how the Hamiltonian acts on a state, we can use Schrodinger's equation to find out how it evolves in time.

Let's do this for the case of the particle on a ring (c.f. McIntyre 3.1 for a spin 1/2 system). Write out the arbitrary state as a superposition of energy eigenstates, putting the time dependence we are trying to find in the expansion coefficient. \begin{equation} i\hbar\frac{d}{dt}\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle =\hat{H}\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle \end{equation} We are writing our state in this basis because we know what the Hamiltonian does to these kets \(\left|{m}\right\rangle \) via the energy eigenvalue equation. \begin{equation} \hat{H}\left|{m}\right\rangle =E_m\left|{m}\right\rangle \end{equation} Using this result, we can calculate: \begin{align} i\hbar\frac{d}{dt}\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle &=\hat{H}\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle \\ &=\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \hat{H}\left|{m}\right\rangle \\ &=\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} E_m c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle \\ &=\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty}\left(\frac{\hbar^2}{2I}\, m^2\right)\, c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle \label{energy} \end{align} The energies \(E_m\) are the energies for the physical system we care about, i.e. a particle on a ring. If we had a different system, a different Hamiltonian, the structure of this equation would be similar but the values of energy in Eqn. (\ref{energy}) would be different.

Because we are solving for the time-dependent coefficients, let's get rid of the sum using an inner product with an arbitratry state \(\left\langle {k}\right|\) by using the orthonormality condition. \begin{align} \left\langle {k}\right|i\hbar\frac{d}{dt}\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle &=\left\langle {k}\right|\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} E_m c_m(t) \left|{m}\right\rangle \\ i\hbar\frac{d}{dt}\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \left\langle {k}\middle|{m}\right\rangle &=\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} E_m c_m(t) \left\langle {k}\middle|{m}\right\rangle \\ i\hbar\frac{d}{dt}\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} c_m(t) \delta_{km} &=\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} E_m c_m(t) \delta_{km}\\ i\hbar\frac{d}{dt} c_k(t) &= E_k c_k(t)\\ \end{align} We now have a first-order ODE for the unknown time-dependent coefficients. \begin{equation} \frac{d}{dt}c_k(t)=-\frac{iE_k}{\hbar}c_k(t) \end{equation} Because this ODE is linear with constant coefficients, the solution is an exponential. \begin{equation} c_k(t)=Ae^{-\frac{iE_k}{\hbar}t} \end{equation} The constant factor \(A\) is what we have been calling the time-independent version of \(c_k\) up to this point; it is the probability amplitude of the eigenstate it accompanies at \(t=0\). You can plug in \(t=0\) to help verify this.

The solution is: \begin{align} \left|{\Psi(t)}\right\rangle &=\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} e^{-\frac{iE_m}{\hbar}t}c_m \left|{m}\right\rangle \\ &=\sum_{m=-\infty}^{\infty} e^{-\frac{i\hbar}{2I}\, m^2t}c_m \left|{m}\right\rangle \end{align} Here are some important features of the solution:

  • We can only put time evolution phases on states that are written in the energy basis;
  • The time dependent phase is pure imaginary; it does not effect the normalization of the state;
  • Each eigenstate gets its own time-dependent phase that includes the energy of that eigenstate.

It would be valuable for you to go through this derivation and see which parts depend on the particular system we are using (the quantum ring) and which parts are generic to any solution of Schrödinger's Equation.


Author Information
Corinne Manogue
Keywords
schrodinger equation time dependence stationary states
Learning Outcomes