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Group 43

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Abstract

Classical vs. Quantum mechanics. Classical mechanics dates back to ancient Greece while Quantum Theory was developed just in the last century. What are the differences? Is there any common ground between them? This report illustrates the differences between the two, while comparing them through the Harmonic Oscillator, one of the most important model systems in physics. We came to the conclusion that as energy levels of a particle increase the quantum model becomes a good approximation for the classical model of the simple harmonic oscillator.

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Contents

Classical vs. Quantum Mechanics................................................................................................. - 0 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................ - 1 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................ - 3 The Classical Harmonic Oscillator............................................................................................. - 4 The Quantum Harmonic Oscillator........................................................................................... - 4 Classical Probability Density ......................................................................................................... - 5 Time Independent Schrodinger Equation .................................................................................... - 6 Hermite Polynomials .......................................................................................................... - 10 Time Dependent Schrdinger Equation ..................................................................................... - 13 The Two Dimensional Harmonic Oscillator ................................................................................ - 19 The 3D Harmonic Oscillator.................................................................................................... - 20 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................. - 21 References .................................................................................................................................. - 22 Appendices ................................................................................................................................. - 23 -

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INTRODUCTION

Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics that was developed in the first half of the 20th Century, long after Isaac Newtons laws of motion. The ideas of Quantum theory originated from the study of Max Planks study of black body radiation. Quantum theory is based on the fact that energy is not continuous, but is quantized in small discrete units, and that all particles have both, wave and particle properties, an idea that came forth through the study of light dating back to the 17th Century. Einsteins theories of relativity have expanded mechanics far beyond Newton and Galileo, and have made significant corrections to them at speeds approaching the speed of light. However, theres no real conflict between quantum and classical mechanics, as each is used for specific situations, just many differences which is what we will demonstrate throughout this report. For example, quantum mechanics has superseded classical at a subatomic and molecular level, but not at a macroscopic one, where quantum can be incredibly difficult to manage and classical is still a more fit model. However with quantum we are able to model phenomena such as superconductivity and the properties of material that could not be explained before. A fundamental difference between the two is that in quantum mechanics it is impossible to calculate the momentum and position of a particle at the same time, you can only calculate the probability that a particle is in a given state at a given time, known as the wave function, using Schrdingers wave equation. The wave function basically describes the time evolution of a system. It is particularly difficult to model results of quantum mechanics in classical because of yet another difference between the, energy. In classical mechanics a system is considered at rest when it has zero kinetic energy, where as in quantum mechanics theres no such thing as zero energy. A system can only have lowest permitted non-zero energy level, which is known as the ground state. Although it seems as theres no connection between the two it is possible to take a time average to define a classical probability function which would be the probability that a classical particle with a given energy is located in a given interval, hence giving you a way to compare them. This report aims to find a solution to the harmonic oscillator using quantum mechanics and then proceed to analyze that solution and compare it to the solution of the classical harmonic oscillator using , the classical probability density function. In order to find the wave function of the quantum harmonic oscillator we have to solve Schrodingers wave equation.

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In classical mechanics we represent the simple harmonic oscillator as a point mass m attached to an ideal spring that exerts on the mass a force, equation for the position of the particle as a function of time: (1) where is the frequency and ( ) are the Kinetic and Potential . We assume that the rest a differential position is at the origin (x=o), which yields, using Newtons second law

energy of the particle, respectively. The general solution to the differential equation is: Where A and B are arbitrary constants.

However, in quantum mechanics the particle is described by a wave function function has the property that | about its point at time . To find the wave function for the harmonic oscillator, we have to solve the Schrdinger wave equation (time-dependent): , since

the momentum and position of the particle can no longer be defined at the same time. The wave | is the probability of finding the particle in the interval

(2)

In order to do so, first we need to solve the time-independent Schrodinger equation, [ ] (3)

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A particle that oscillates between two turning points a and b travels is in periodic motion. The time it takes for the particle to travel from one turning point to the other and back again we shall define as the period, . The probability of finding the particle in a small area dx, near the point x given the amount of time the particle stays in this region for dt, is defined by the ratio of the time spent in the region to the total time for the particle to travel between the turning points (/2). [ where which gives us . ] ( )

This is the classical probability density for finding the probability that a classical particle with energy E is located on average in the interval dx about a point x. However, we can simplify this further with some simple substitutions. Were given the kinetic energy above, and as this is related to the speed of the particle we can express the probability density in terms of energy: Where ( ) and [ ] as given, where We also want to

We can now introduce the amplitude, A where it is defined as substitute in that the period can be expressed as

This means the classical turning points are now at (-A,A). This section is based on pp.2 of Robinett (1994).

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Solving for the ground state, we modify the time-independent Schrodinger equation to look like: [ Where ]

, E0 is the ground state energy level and 0 is the assumed solution of the form

( )

( )

Because E0 is constant, and that for this to be a solution for all values of x, the coefficients of the orders of x must be equal. Hereby applying the boundary conditions (

| |

):

Now that we have the ground state energy level and a value for , we can take an assumption that for the general solution, the eigenfunctions looks like:

( )

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To obtain a nice differential equation for the eigenfunctions we make it the problem dimensionless so that we can later express it as a power series. We do this by making two simple substitutions; and ( ) .

Substituting these differential operators back into the time-independent Schrodinger equation:

We can now see why we have taken an assumed form for the general eigenfunction solution, because if we look at small energy values where y2 dominates 2 we can observe that it suggests a Gaussian form. Having already made the valid substitutions, we find the differentials of the now substituted general eigenfunction solution so that we can insert them into the differential equation above:

( ( ( ) ( ) ) ) ( ( ) ) ( )

( ) ( ) ( ) ( )

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We can remove the Gaussian terms, as they represent a general multiplying factor [Webb, The QHO], giving us a differential equation for fn(y): Following the methods used by Stephen Webb, to find a series solution we make a substitution: And therefore,

We substitute this into the differential equation for fn(y) that we have just derived: From inspection we can see that: Therefore

For our series to converge, before the Gaussian differential equation diverges we must truncate (approximate by ignoring all terms beyond a chosen one) the series. We do this by setting hereby making the numerator disappear and the series truncate. From our substitution earlier, we can now find the n-th energy level En eigenvalues:

( When

, we can see by inspection that the series solution behaves like a Hermite

polynomial with an extra normalisation constant. This is shown by the general hermite polynomial form below [from Planetmath.org]:

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( )

Where An represents the normalisation constant. The following section regarding normalisation is based on chapter 7 of Murray, Quantum Mechanics. We normalise the eigenfunctions using: Starting with the ground state eigenfunction: Recalling that

( )

From the Gaussian integral tables, we find that ( Normalisation of the next eigenfunction gives us: )

, and so:

If we continue finding the normalised eigenfunctions, we can see that the normalisation constant can be written: ( )

( )

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And to finalise, we put our original variables back into the equation so that our solution to the time-independent Schrodinger equation becomes the eigenfunctions: ( ) [( ) ]

( )

Hermite Polynomials

The Hermite Polynomials take their name after Charles Hermit, they are classical a orthogonal polynomial sequence in the interval to . There are two subcategories in which the Hermite polynomials are divided, the Probabilists (1) and the Physicists (2):

In order to solve the Schrdinger Equation we will use the Physicists polynomials. Since the Hermite polynomials are orthogonal it means that, using a weight function, in this case, they form a set which if integrated vanishes: Where and are Hermite polynomials with . The use of the weight function also ,

means that the polynomials can now become bounded and therefore we can solve the Schrdinger equation. Here are the first five Physicists Hermite Polynomials:

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Now that we have understood the Hermite polynomials it would be a good idea to plot some probability functions for some significant energy levels to help interpret the meaning of the energy levels. It makes sense to compare the different energy levels of the quantum probability densities and the classical probability densities to illustrate the difference between the two models of the harmonic oscillator. For the ground state energy level we can see that the oscillator is most likely to be at x=0 which doesnt bare any resemblance to the classical model where at x=0 the oscillator reaches its maximum speed, which means it is least likely to be found there and more likely to be found at the ends of the oscillation where it slows down.

For the second energy level probability density you can see that the probability density has split compared to the ground state. This is a feature of the probability density of the harmonic oscillator as, the higher energy you observe; the greater the number of higher order terms that are being superposed.

As you can see with the n=3 probability density there are now more than two peaks. This is significant as you can start to see the desired pattern emerging as we have larger - 11 -

probability at the edges of the function and a peak-trough in between the outer peaks. This may be a promising progression from the lower energy levels but we need to look at much higher levels to see a decent comparison to the classical probability density develop.

Now we examine the n=10 energy level and find a very promising structure of the function as it is clear to see the parabolic shape of the distribution of the probability density peaks. However, this is still not a very good approximation of the classical probability density, as the peaks are still relatively far apart.

And now just to illustrate how well the quantum problem approaches a close approximation here is n=30.

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Schrdingers time dependent equation for the harmonic oscillator:

Using separation of variables, the wave function will have the form,

Transforming the equation using the wave function, ( )

Which is the same as the time-independent equation, therefore the solution is:

*(

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Now that we have found the time-dependent solution to the quantum harmonic oscillator we can plot the results over a whole period of oscillation to show hoe the systems progress during the cycle. Ground state solution

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Now I will consider what happens if you superpose more than one wave function and look at the resulting probability density. First let us have a look at what happens if we simply superpose the ground state wave function and the wave function for the first energy level. So we have,

Now we need to normalise the wave function So we now have the normalised superposition of two wave functions. Now when we plot the Probability distribution for this superposition we obtain;

As you can see the probability distribution looks a lot like the ground state solution, unsurprisingly, but is now off centre and localized at the right hand side turning point due to the constructive interference from the two waves there. Note also that there is a small peak at the left hand side turning point due to the destructive interference of the two waves there. Now we can have a look at a more complex superposition of the wave function solutions. Once again normalizing we obtain, So we calculate the normalized wave packet,

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As you can see this probability density is much more complicated than the previous one with two peaks of similar height and one dominating peak, which is obviously where the lions share of the density resides. The way the peaks link together is worth noting as between the left most peak and the middle peak the density goes down to a turning point at 0 before climbing up to the next peak, whereas the transition from the centre to the right most tip is still providing a sizeable portion of the density. Now we will consider a wave packet of the form ( ) Where

represents the initial displacement of the wave packet from the centre of the

harmonic trapping potential. When you plot this wave packet over one full period of oscillation you end up with a very interesting progression of the function.

This wave packet starts as a ground state solution to the quantum harmonic oscillator but is displaced along the x-axis. As time starts to pass the function changes up through the - 16 -

energy levels and oscillates about the x-axis like normal, but it also oscillates in a harmonic fashion about the initial position the wave function would be in without the displacement. The result of this is that when the function becomes centred again it has the best approximation for the probability density of the system. When we compute the average value of the quantum mechanical expectation value we find that the expectation value for the initial wave function is exactly where wed expect it to be.

Next weve plotted the standard deviation and we can see from the graph that it rapidly increases as you move a short distance away from the expectation value and then becomes constant.

Now we will try and find a series solution to the initial state of the wave packet to show an example of how the eigenfunctions can be used in series to form a complicated wave function. Starting with the wave packet and then separating the familiar exponential term at the heart of the harmonic oscillator gives us:

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( )

It becomes obvious that, as the wave packet has no polynomial coefficient of at least degree 1, the only eigenfunction that can have a non-zero coefficient is ( ) ( ) .

So we achieve a coefficient: ( )

The wave packet (at t=0) consisted only of the ground state eigenfunction with a displacement and normalising coefficient.

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Furthermore, we can consider the two dimensional harmonic oscillator where the Schrodinger wave equation becomes:

(1)

(2)

(3)

For which the solution will be of the form, Using separation of variables to solve equation (3) we end up with two separate differential equations: [ ]

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The three dimensional harmonic oscillator is the same as three one dimensional ones. Any product of three solutions of the one dimensional harmonic oscillator time independent Schrdinger equation will be a solution to the three dimensional one, with energy the sum of the three energies. Therefore, given that the one dimensional harmonic oscillator has a ground state energy of , the ground state energy of the three dimensional harmonic oscillator will be . The Schrdinger equation in three dimensions becomes,

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Conclusion

In this group project we have derived the eigenfunctions of the quantum harmonic oscillator problem and analysed the relationship they bear with the eigenfunctions of the classical harmonic oscillator by plotting the probability densities and showing that the approximation becomes more accurate at higher energy levels. We have provided a derivation of the eigenfunctions of the time-dependent and independent Schrodinger equations and how to use these to find the probability of an oscillating particle being located in the interval dx about a point x. In a further study one might want to look at the harmonic oscillator in n dimensions, and how our results will correlate as it is the same as n one dimensional oscillator with a ground state energy level of their sum. One way we could build on the comparison of the two models would be to prove (not just imply) that as n (energy levels) tends to infinity the quantum probability density becomes a perfect model for the classical harmonic oscillator. Another way to compare the two models other than the harmonic oscillator would be to use a different problem, for example the free particle problem where the classical model consists of a particle with constant velocity whereas the quantum model consists of a particle that can carry any energy.

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References

Marco Horbatsch (1995) Quantum mechanics using Maple. New York: Springer. David J. Griffiths (2004) Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice. A.N Ikot, A.D Antia, L.E Akpabio, J.A Obu (2011) Analytical solutions of Schrdinger Equation with Two Dimensional Harmonic Potential in Cartesian and Polar Coordinates via NikiforovUvarov Method. Journal of Vectorial Relativity, (June), pp. 66-75. Stephen Webb, The quantum Harmonic Oscillator (lecture notes) [WWW] Available from: http://www.fisica.net/quantica/quantum_harmonic_oscillator_lecture.pdf [Accessed 01/11/2011] C.R.Nave (2011) 3-D Schrdinger Equation [WWW] Georgia State University. Available from: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/sch3d.html#c1 [Accessed 9/11/2011] Pye Phyo Aung (2004) Application of Hermite Polynomials in the Quantum Simple Harmonic Oscillator [WWW] Physical Chemistry I Legacy Project, Concordia College. Available from: http://www.cord.edu/faculty/ulnessd/legacy/fall04/pye/pye.pdf [Accessed 3/11/2011] R.W Robinett (1994) Quantum and classical Probability distributions for position and momentum. Lambert Murray, Quantum Mechanics, course notes (Phys 431)[WWW] Harding University, Arkansas. Available from: http://www.harding.edu/lmurray/Quantum.HTML [Accessed 29/10/2011] http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/hermitepolynomials.html

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Appendices

Maple derivation of the ground state energy level for the time-independent Schrdinger equation.

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