format_list_numbered Sequence

Curvilinear Coordinate Sequence
The curvilinear coordinate sequence introduces cylindrical and spherical coordinates (including inconsistencies between physicists' and mathematicians' notational conventions) and the basis vectors adapted to these coordinate systems.

group Small Group Activity

10 min.

Generalized Leibniz Notation
Static Fields 2022 (4 years) This short small group activity introduces students to the Leibniz notation used for partial derivatives in thermodynamics; unlike standard Leibniz notation, this notation explicitly specifies constant variables. Students are guided in linking the variables from a contextless Leibniz-notation partial derivative to their proper variable categories.

assignment Homework

Series Notation 2

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Write (a good guess for) the following series using sigma $\left(\sum\right)$ notation. (If you only know a few terms of a series, you don't know for sure how the series continues.)

1. $1 - 2\,\theta^2 + 4\,\theta^4 - 8\,\theta^6 +\,\dots$

2. $\frac14 - \frac19 + \frac{1}{16} - \frac{1}{25}+\,\dots$

format_list_numbered Sequence

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

The first three activities provide an active-engagement version of the canonical mathematical and geometric fundamentals for power series. The subsequent activities apply these ideas to physical situations that are appropriate for an upper-division electromagnetism course, using concepts, terminology, and techniques that are common among physicists, but not often taught in mathematics courses. In particular students use the memorized formula for the binomial expansion to evaluate various electrostatic and magnetostatic field in regions of high symmetry. By factoring out a physical quantity which is large compared to another physical quantity, they manipulate the formulas for these fields into a form where memorized formulas apply. The results for the different regions of high symmetry are compared and contrasted. A few homework problems that emphasize the meaning of series notation are included.

Note: The first two activities are also included in Power Series Sequence (Mechanics) and can be skipped in E&M if already taught in Mechanics.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Expectation Values for a Particle on a Ring
Central Forces 2021

Quantum Ring Sequence

Students calculate the expectation value of energy and angular momentum as a function of time for an initial state for a particle on a ring. This state is a linear combination of energy/angular momentum eigenstates written in bra-ket notation.

group Small Group Activity

60 min.

Going from Spin States to Wavefunctions

Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States

Students review using the Arms representation to represent states for discrete quantum systems and connecting the Arms representation to histogram and matrix representation. The student then extend the Arms representation to begin exploring the continuous position basis.

assignment_ind Small White Board Question

10 min.

Curvilinear Coordinates Introduction
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

Curvilinear Coordinate Sequence

First, students are shown diagrams of cylindrical and spherical coordinates. Common notation systems are discussed, especially that physicists and mathematicians use opposite conventions for the angles $\theta$ and $\phi$. Then students are asked to check their understanding by sketching several coordinate equals constant surfaces on their small whiteboards.

assignment Homework

Series Notation 1

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

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}

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Energy and Angular Momentum for a Quantum Particle on a Ring

Quantum Ring Sequence

Students calculate probabilities for a particle on a ring using three different notations: Dirac bra-ket, matrix, and wave function. After calculating the angular momentum and energy measurement probabilities, students compare their calculation methods for notation.

assignment Homework

Visualization of Wave Functions on a Ring
Central Forces 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.

assignment Homework

Quantum Particle in a 2-D Box
Central Forces 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.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Time Dependence for a Quantum Particle on a Ring
Central Forces 2021

Quantum Ring Sequence

Students calculate probabilities for energy, angular momentum, and position as a function of time for an initial state that is a linear combination of energy/angular momentum eigenstates for a particle confined to a ring written in bra-ket notation. This activity helps students build an understanding of when they can expect a quantity to depend on time and to give them more practice moving between representations.

group Small Group Activity

120 min.

Representations of the Infinite Square Well
Quantum Fundamentals 2021

group Small Group Activity

10 min.

Using Tinker Toys to Represent Spin 1/2 Quantum Systems

Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States

Students use Tinker Toys to represent each component in a two-state quantum spin system in all three standard bases ($x$, $y$, and $z$). Through a short series of instructor-led prompts, students explore the difference between overall phase (which does NOT change the state of the system) and relative phase (which does change the state of the system). This activity is optional in the Arms Sequence Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Calculating Coefficients for a Power Series
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

This activity starts with a brief lecture introduction to power series and a short derivation of the formula for calculating the coefficients of a power series for a particular function:

$c_n={1\over n!}\, f^{(n)}(z_0)$

After a brief lecture deriving the formula for the coefficients of a power series, students compute the power series coefficients for a $\sin\theta$ (around both the origin and $\frac{\pi}{6}$). The meaning of these coefficients and the convergence behavior for each approximation is discussed in the whole-class wrap-up.

group Small Group Activity

60 min.

Expectation Value and Uncertainty for the Difference of Dice
Quantum Fundamentals 2021

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Superposition States for a Particle on a Ring

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.

assignment Homework

Frequency
Quantum Mechanics Time Evolution Spin Precession Expectation Value Bohr Frequency Quantum Fundamentals 2021 Consider a two-state quantum system with a Hamiltonian \begin{equation} \hat{H}\doteq \begin{pmatrix} E_1&0\\ 0&E_2 \end{pmatrix} \end{equation} Another physical observable $M$ is described by the operator \begin{equation} \hat{M}\doteq \begin{pmatrix} 0&c\\ c&0 \end{pmatrix} \end{equation} where $c$ is real and positive. Let the initial state of the system be $\left|{\psi(0)}\right\rangle =\left|{m_1}\right\rangle$, where $\left|{m_1}\right\rangle$ is the eigenstate corresponding to the larger of the two possible eigenvalues of $\hat{M}$. What is the frequency of oscillation of the expectation value of $M$? This frequency is the Bohr frequency.

accessibility_new Kinesthetic

10 min.

Using Arms to Represent Time Dependence in Spin 1/2 Systems

Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States

Students, working in pairs, use their left arms to demonstrate time evolution in spin 1/2 quantum systems.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Time Evolution of a Spin-1/2 System
Quantum Fundamentals 2021

In this small group activity, students solve for the time dependence of two quantum spin 1/2 particles under the influence of a Hamiltonian. Students determine, given a Hamiltonian, which states are stationary and under what circumstances measurement probabilities do change with time.