Key experiments that could not work without quantum mechanics: Section "Quantum mechanics experiment".
Ciro Santilli feels that the largest technological revolutions since the 1950's have been quantum related, and will continue to be for a while, from deeper understanding of chemistry and materials to quantum computing, understanding and controlling quantum systems is where the most interesting frontier of technology lies.
Atoms exist and last for a long time, while in classical electromagnetic theory punctual orbiting electrons should emit radiation quickly and fall into the nucleus: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/20003/why-dont-electrons-crash-into-the-nuclei-they-orbit
- web.mit.edu/course/5/5.73/oldwww/Fall04/notes/Experimental_Evidence_for_Quantum_Mechanics.pdf Experimental Evidence for Quantum Mechanics
A single line in the emission spectrum.
Has been the leading motivation of the development of quantum mechanics, all the way from the:
- Schrödinger equation: major lines predicted, including Zeeman effect, but not finer line splits like fine structure
- Dirac equation: explains fine structure 2p spin split due to electron spin/orbit interactions, but not Lamb shift
- quantum electrodynamics: explains Lamb shift
- hyperfine structure: due to electron/nucleus spin interactions, offers a window into nuclear spin
Let's do a sanity check.
Searching for "H" for hydrogen leads to: physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/ASD/lines1.pl?spectra=H&limits_type=0&low_w=&upp_w=&unit=1&submit=Retrieve+Data&de=0&format=0&line_out=0&en_unit=0&output=0&bibrefs=1&page_size=15&show_obs_wl=1&show_calc_wl=1&unc_out=1&order_out=0&max_low_enrg=&show_av=2&max_upp_enrg=&tsb_value=0&min_str=&A_out=0&intens_out=on&max_str=&allowed_out=1&forbid_out=1&min_accur=&min_intens=&conf_out=on&term_out=on&enrg_out=on&J_out=on
From there we can see for example the 1 to 2 lines:
- 1s to 2p: 121.5673644608 nm
- 1s to 2: 121.56701 nm TODO what does that mean?
- 1s to 2s: 121.5673123130200 TODO what does that mean?
We see that the table is sorted from lower from level first and then by upper level second.
So it is good to see that we are in the same 121nm ballpark as mentioned at hydrogen spectral line.
TODO why I can't see 2s to 2p transitions there to get the fine structure?
phys.libretexts.org/Courses/University_of_California_Davis/UCD%3A_Physics_9HE_-_Modern_Physics/06%3A_Emission_and_Absorption_of_Photons/6.2%3A_Selection_Rules_and_Transition_Times has some very good mentions:
So it appears that if a hydrogen atom emits a photon, it not only has to transition between two states whose energy difference matches the energy of the photon, but it is restricted in other ways as well, if its mode of radiation is to be dipole. For example, a hydrogen atom in its 3p state must drop to either the n=1 or n=2 energy level, to make the energy available to the photon. The n=2 energy level is 4-fold degenerate, and including the single n=1 state, the atom has five different states to which it can transition. But three of the states in the n=2 energy level have l=1 (the 2p states), so transitioning to these states does not involve a change in the angular momentum quantum number, and the dipole mode is not available.So what's the big deal? Why doesn't the hydrogen atom just use a quadrupole or higher-order mode for this transition? It can, but the characteristic time for the dipole mode is so much shorter than that for the higher-order modes, that by the time the atom gets around to transitioning through a higher-order mode, it has usually already done so via dipole. All of this is statistical, of course, meaning that in a large collection of hydrogen atoms, many different modes of transitions will occur, but the vast majority of these will be dipole.It turns out that examining details of these restrictions introduces a couple more. These come about from the conservation of angular momentum. It turns out that photons have an intrinsic angular momentum (spin) magnitude of , which means whenever a photon (emitted or absorbed) causes a transition in a hydrogen atom, the value of l must change (up or down) by exactly 1. This in turn restricts the changes that can occur to the magnetic quantum number: can change by no more than 1 (it can stay the same). We have dubbed these transition restrictions selection rules, which we summarize as:
A fundamental component of three-level lasers.
phys.libretexts.org/Courses/University_of_California_Davis/UCD%3A_Physics_9HE_-_Modern_Physics/06%3A_Emission_and_Absorption_of_Photons/6.3%3A_Lasers mentions that they are kept in that excited state due to selection rules.
A line set for hydrogen spectral line.
Formula discovered in 1885, was it the first set to have an empirical formula?
Split in energy levels due to interaction between electron up or down spin and the electron orbitals.
Small splits present in all levels due to interaction between the electron spin and the nuclear spin if it is present, i.e. the nucleus has an even number of nucleons.
As the name suggests, this energy split is very small, since the influence of the nucleus spin on the electron spin is relatively small compared to other fine structure.
21 cm is very long and very low energy, because he energy split is very small!
Compare it e.g. with the hydrogen 1-2 spectral line which is 121.6 nm!
Non-anomalous: number of splits matches predictions of the Schrödinger equation about the number of possible states with a given angular momentum. TODO does it make numerical predictions?
www.pas.rochester.edu/~blackman/ast104/zeeman-split.html contains the hello world that everyone should know: 2p splits into 3 energy levels, so you see 3 spectral lines from 1s to 2p rather than just one.
p splits into 3, d into 5, f into 7 and so on, i.e. one for each possible azimuthal quantum number.
It also mentions that polarization effects become visible from this: each line is polarized in a different way. TODO more details as in an experiment to observe this.
Well explained at: Video "Quantum Mechanics 7a - Angular Momentum I by ViaScience (2013)".
Amazingly confirms the wave particle duality of quantum mechanics.
This experiment seems to be really hard to do, and so there aren't many super clear demonstration videos with full experimental setup description out there unfortunately.
Wikipedia has a good summary at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment#Overview
For single-photon non-double-slit experiments see: single photon production and detection experiments. Those are basically a pre-requisite to this.
It would be amazing to answer this with single particle double slit experiment measurements!
Quantum version of the Hall effect.
Gotta understand this because the name sounds cool. Maybe also because it is used to define the fucking ampere in the 2019 redefinition of the SI base units.
At least the experiment description itself is easy to understand. The hard part is the physical theory behind.
TODO experiment video.
The effect can be separated into two modes:
TODO original experiment?
Laughlin paper: 1981 Quantized Hall conductivity in two dimensions.
Shows a cool new type of matter: Abelian anyons.
The discovery of the photon was one of the major initiators of quantum mechanics.
Light was very well known to be a wave through diffraction experiments. So how could it also be a particle???
This was a key development for people to eventually notice that the electron is also a wave.
This process "started" in 1900 with Planck's law which was based on discrete energy packets being exchanged as exposed at On the Theory of the Energy Distribution Law of the Normal Spectrum by Max Planck (1900).
In the next big development was the Bohr model in 1913, which supposed non-classical physics new quantization rules for the electron which explained the hydrogen emission spectrum. The quantization rule used made use of the Planck constant, and so served an initial link between the emerging quantized nature of light, and that of the electron.
This event opened the floodgates, and soon matrix mechanics was published in quantum mechanical re-interpretation of kinematic and mechanical relations by Heisenberg (1925), as the first coherent formulation of quantum mechanics.
Inward Bound by Abraham Pais (1988) summarizes his views of the main developments of the subjectit:
- Planck's on the discovery of the quantum theory (1900);
- Einstein's on the light-quantum (1905);
- Bohr's on the hydrogen atom (1913);
- Bose's on what came to be called quantum statistics (1924);
- Heisenberg's on what came to be known as matrix mechanics (1925);
- and Schroedinger's on wave mechanics (1926).
- physics.stackexchange.com/questions/18632/good-book-on-the-history-of-quantum-mechanics on Physics Stack Exchange
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hVmeOCJjOU A Brief History of Quantum Mechanics by Sean Carroll (2020) Given at the Royal Institution.
- 1859-1900: see Section "Black-body radiation experiment". Continuously improving culminating in Planck's law black-body radiation and Planck's law
- 1905 photoelectric effect and the photon
- TODO experiments
- 1905 Einstein's photoelectric effect paper. Planck was intially thinking that light was continuous, but the atoms vibrated in a discrete way. Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect throws that out of the window, and considers the photon discrete.
- 1913 atomic spectra and the Bohr model
- 1885 Balmer series, an empirical formula describes some of the lines of the hydrogen emission spectrum
- 1888 Rydberg formula generalizes the Balmer series
- 1896 Pickering series makes it look like a star has some new kind of hydrogen that produces half-integer entries in the Pickering series
- 1911 Bohr visits J. J. Thomson in the University of Cambridge for his postdoc, but they don't get along well
- Bohr visits Rutherford at the University of Manchester and decides to transfer there. During this stay he becomes interested in problems of the electronic structure of the atom.Bohr was forced into a quantization postulate because spinning electrons must radiate energy and collapse, so he postulated that electrons must somehow magically stay in orbits without classically spinning.
- 1913 february: young physics professor Hans Hansen tells Bohr about the Balmer series. This is one of the final elements Bohr needed.
- 1913 Bohr model published predicts atomic spectral lines in terms of the Planck constant and other physical constant.
- explains the Pickering series as belonging to inoized helium that has a single electron. The half term in the spectral lines of this species come from the nucleus having twice the charge of hydrogen.
- 1913 March: during review before publication, Rutherford points out that instantaneous quantum jumps don't seem to play well with causality.
- 1916 Bohr-Sommerfeld model introduces angular momentum to explain why some lines are not observed, as they would violate the conservation of angular momentum.
This LibreTexts book does have some interest!
100 10-20 minute videos properly split by topic, good resource!
Instructor: Barton Zwiebach.
Free material from university courses:
- physics.weber.edu/schroeder/quantum/QuantumBook.pdf (archive) "Notes on Quantum Mechanics" pusbliehd by Daniel V. Schroeder (2019) The author is from from Weber State University.
Author: David Tong.
- Chapter 2 "Band Structure" covers electronic band theory
Looks very impressive! Last update marked 2011 as of 2020.
Goes up to "A.15 quantum field theory in a Nanoshell", Ciro have to review it to see if there's anything worthwhile in that section.
Personal page says he retired as of 2020: www.eng.fsu.edu/~dommelen/ But hopefully he has more time for these notes!
For the UCSD Physics 130 course.
Last updated: 2013.
Very good! Goes up to the Dirac equation.
There were apparently some lecture videos at: web.archive.org/web/20030604194654/http://physicsstream.ucsd.edu/courses/spring2003/physics130a/ as pointed out by Matthew Heaney[ref], .mov files can be found at: web.archive.org/web/*/http://physicsstream.ucsd.edu/courses/spring2003/physics130a/*, but we were yet unable to open them, related:
These are the key mathematical ideas to understand!!
To better understand the discussion below, the best thing to do is to read it in parallel with the simplest possible example: Schrödinger picture example: quantum harmonic oscillator.
The state of a quantum system is a vector of unit length in a Hilbert space. TODO why Hilbert Space.
"Making a measurement" for an observable means applying a self-adjoint operator to the state, and after a measurement is done:
Those last two rules are also known as the Born rule.
- the state collapses to an eigenvector of the self adjoint operator
- the result of the measurement is the eigenvalue of the self adjoint operator
- the probability of a given result happening when the spectrum is discrete is proportional to the modulus of the projection on that eigenvector.For continuous spectra such as that of the position operator in most systems, e.g. Schrödinger equation for a free one dimensional particle, the projection on each individual eigenvalue is zero, i.e. the probability of one absolutely exact position is zero. To get a non-zero result, measurement has to be done on a continuous range of eigenvectors (e.g. for position: "is the particle present between x=0 and x=1?"), and you have to integrate the probability over the projection on a continuous range of eigenvalues.In such continuous cases, the probability collapses to an uniform distribution on the range after measurement.The continuous position operator case is well illustrated at: Video "Visualization of Quantum Physics (Quantum Mechanics) by udiprod (2017)"
Self adjoint operators are chosen because they have the following key properties:
- their eigenvalues form an orthonormal basis
- they are diagonalizable
This naturally generalizes to Schrödinger equation solution for the hydrogen atom.
The solution to the Schrödinger equation for a free one dimensional particle is a bit harder since the possible energies do not make up a countable set.
This formulation was apparently called more precisely Dirac-von Neumann axioms, but it because so dominant we just call it "the" formulation.
Quantum Field Theory lecture notes by David Tong (2007) mentions that:
if you were to write the wavefunction in quantum field theory, it would be a functional, that is a function of every possible configuration of the field .
The idea the the wave function of a small observed system collapses "obviously" cannot be the full physical truth, only a very useful approximation of reality.
Because then are are hard pressed to determine the boundary between what collapses and what doesn't, and there isn't such a boundary, as everything is interacting, including the observer.
The many-worlds interpretation is an elegant explanation for this. Though it does feel a bit sad and superfluous.
Notation used in quantum mechanics.
The projection operator is completely specified by the vector that we are projecting it on. This is why the bracket notation makes sense.
It also has the merit of clearly differentiating vectors from operators. E.g. it is not very clear in that is an operator and is a vector, except due to the relative position to the dot. This is especially bad when we start manipulating operators by themselves without vectors.
This notation is widely used in quantum mechanics because calculating the probability of getting a certain outcome for an experiment is calculated by taking the projection of a state on one an eigenvalue basis vector as explained at: Section "Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics".
Ciro Santilli thinks that this notation is a bit over-engineered. Notably the bra's are just vectors, which we should just write as usual with ... the bra thing makes it look scarier than it needs to be. And then we should just find a different notation for the projection part.
But in any case, alas, we are now stuck with it.
This is basically what became the dominant formulation as of 2020 (and much earlier), and so we just call it the "mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics".
An "alternative" formulation of quantum mechanics that does not involve operators.
The first quantum mechanics theories developed.
Their most popular formulation has been the Schrödinger equation.
- via the Schrödinger equation solution for the hydrogen atom it predicts:
- Schrödinger equation solution for the helium atom: perturbative solutions give good approximations to the energy levels
- double-slit experiment: I think we have a closed solution for the max and min probabilities on the measurement wall, and they match experiments
The easiest to understand case of the equation which you must have in mind initially that of the Schrödinger equation for a free one dimensional particle.
Then, with that in mind, the general form of the Schrödinger equation is:
- is the reduced Planck constant
- is the wave function
- is the time
- is a linear operator called the Hamiltonian. It takes as input a function , and returns another function. This plays a role analogous to the Hamiltonian in classical mechanics: determining it determines what the physical system looks like, and how the system evolves in time, because we can just plug it into the equation and solve it. It basically encodes the total energy and forces of the system.
The argument of could be anything, e.g.:
Note however that there is always a single magical time variable. This is needed in particular because there is a time partial derivative in the equation, so there must be a corresponding time variable in the function. This makes the equation explicitly non-relativistic.
- we could have preferred polar coordinates instead of linear ones if the potential were symmetric around a point
- we could have more than one particle, e.g. solutions of the Schrodinger equation for two electrons, which would have e.g. and for different particles. No matter how many particles there are, we have just a single , we just add more arguments to it.
- we could have even more generalized coordinates. This is much in the spirit of Hamiltonian mechanics or generalized coordinates
The cool thing about the Time-independent Schrödinger equation is that we can always reduce solving the full Schrödinger equation to solving this slightly simpler time-independent version, as described at: Section "Solving the Schrodinger equation with the time-independent Schrödinger equation".
Once that example is clear, we see that the exact same separation of variables can be done to the Schrödinger equation. If we name the constant of the separation of variables for energy, we get:
- a time-only part that does not depend on space and does not depend on the Hamiltonian at all. The solution for this part is therefore always the same exponentials for any problem, and this part is therefore "boring":
- a space-only part that does not depend on time, bud does depend on the Hamiltonian:Note that the here is not the same as the in the time-dependent Schrodinger equation of course, as that psi is the result of the multiplication of the time and space parts. This is a bit of imprecise terminology, but hey, physics.
Because the time part of the equation is always the same and always trivial to solve, all we have to do to actually solve the Schrodinger equation is to solve the time independent one, and then we can construct the full solution trivially.
Once we've solved the time-independent part for each possible , we can construct a solution exactly as we did in heat equation solution with Fourier series: we make a weighted sum over all possible to match the initial condition, which is analogous to the Fourier series in the case of the heat equation to reach a final full solution:
- if there are only discretely many possible values of , each possible energy . we proceed such that at time we match the initial condition:
- if there are infinitely many values of E, we do something analogous but with an integral instead of a sum. This is called the continuous spectrum. One notable
The fact that this approximation of the initial condition is always possible from is mathematically proven by some version of the spectral theorem based on the fact that The Schrodinger equation Hamiltonian has to be Hermitian and therefore behaves nicely.
It is interesting to note that solving the time-independent Schrodinger equation can also be seen exactly as an eigenvalue equation where:matrix eigenvectors is that we are now dealing with an infinite dimensional vector space.
- we immediately see from the equation that the time-independent solutions are states of deterministic energy because the energy is an eigenvalue of the Hamiltonian operator
- by looking at Equation 3. "Solution of the Schrodinger equation in terms of the time-independent and time dependent parts", it is obvious that if we take an energy measurement, the probability of each result never changes with time, because it is only multiplied by a constant
Where derivation == "intuitive routes", since a "law of physics" cannot be derived, only observed right or wrong.
TODO also comment on why are complex numbers used in the Schrodinger equation?.
- en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation&oldid=964460597#Derivation: holy crap, this just goes all in into a Lie group approach, nice
- Richard Feynman's derivation of the Schrodinger equation:
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ1d0M19LsM "Class Y. Feynman's Derivation of the Schrödinger Equation" by doctorphys (2020)
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC_gYfAqjZY&list=PL54DF0652B30D99A4&index=53 "I5. Derivation of the Schrödinger Equation" by doctorphys
Why is there a complex number in the equation? Intuitively and mathematically:
The Schrödinger equation Hamiltonian has to be a Hermitian so we will have only positive energies I think: quantumcomputing.stackexchange.com/questions/12113/why-does-a-hamiltonian-have-to-be-hermitian
As always, the best way to get some intuition about an equation is to solve it for some simple cases, so let's give that a try with different fixed potentials.
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z9wo2CzJO8 "Schrodinger equation solved numerically in 3D" by Tetsuya Matsuno. 3D hydrogen atom, code may be hidden in some paper, maybe
- www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdCdV2GBGyXM0j66zrpDy2aMXr6cgrBJA "Computational Quantum Mechanics" by Let's Code Physics. Uses a 1D trinket.io.
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBt8EugN03Q Simulating Quantum Systems [Split Operator Method] by LeiosOS (2018)
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x0_-JGlGQ Simulating the Quantum World on a Classical Computer by Garnet Chan (2016) discusses how modeling only local entanglement can make certain simulations feasible
This is basically how quantum computing was first theorized by Richard Feynman: quantum computers as experiments that are hard to predict outcomes.
TODO answer that: quantumcomputing.stackexchange.com/questions/5005/why-it-is-hard-to-simulate-a-quantum-device-by-a-classical-devices. A good answer would be with a more physical example of quantum entanglement, e.g. on a photonic quantum computer.
Schrödinger equation for a one dimensional particle with . The first step is to calculate the time-independent Schrödinger equation for a free one dimensional particle
Then, for each energy , from the discussion at Section "Solving the Schrodinger equation with the time-independent Schrödinger equation", the solution is: plane wave functions.
The plane wave function appears for example in the solution of the Schrödinger equation for a free one dimensional particle. This makes sense, because when solving with the time-independent Schrödinger equation, we do separation of variable on fixed energy levels explicitly, and the plane wave solutions are exactly fixed energy level ones.
This equation is a subcase of Equation "Schrödinger equation for a one dimensional particle" with .
We get the time-independent Schrödinger equation by substituting this into Equation "time-independent Schrödinger equation for a one dimensional particle":
Now, there are two ways to go about this.
The first is the stupid "here's a guess" + "hey this family of solutions forms a complete bases"! This is exactly how we solved the problem at Section "Solving partial differential equations with the Fourier series", except that now the complete basis are the Hermite functions.
The second is the much celebrated ladder operator method.
A quantum version of the LC circuit!
TODO are there experiments, or just theoretical?
Show up in the solution of the quantum harmonic oscillator after separation of variables leading into the time-independent Schrödinger equation, much like solving partial differential equations with the Fourier series.
Not the same as Hermite polynomials.
www.physics.udel.edu/~jim/PHYS424_17F/Class%20Notes/Class_5.pdf by James MacDonald shows it well.
The operators are a natural guess on the lines of "if p and x were integers".
And then we can prove the ladder properties easily.
The commutator appear in the middle of this analysis.
Is the only atom that has a closed form solution, which allows for very good predictions, and gives awesome intuition about the orbitals in general.
It is arguably the most important solution of the Schrodinger equation.
The explicit solution can be written in terms of spherical harmonics.
In the case of the Schrödinger equation solution for the hydrogen atom, each orbital is one eigenvector of the solution.
Remember from time-independent Schrödinger equation that the final solution is just the weighted sum of the eigenvector decomposition of the initial state, analogously to solving partial differential equations with the Fourier series.
This is the table that you should have in mind to visualize them: en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Atomic_orbital&oldid=1022865014#Orbitals_table
Quantum numbers appear directly in the Schrödinger equation solution for the hydrogen atom.
However, it very cool that they are actually discovered before the Schrödinger equation, and are present in the Bohr model (principal quantum number) and the Bohr-Sommerfeld model (azimuthal quantum number and magnetic quantum number) of the atom. This must be because they observed direct effects of those numbers in some experiments. TODO which experiments.
E.g. The Quantum Story by Jim Baggott (2011) page 34 mentions:
As the various lines in the spectrum were identified with different quantum jumps between different orbits, it was soon discovered that not all the possible jumps were appearing. Some lines were missing. For some reason certain jumps were forbidden. An elaborate scheme of ‘selection rules’ was established by Bohr and Sommerfeld to account for those jumps that were allowed and those that were forbidden.This refers to forbidden mechanism. TODO concrete example, ideally the first one to be noticed. How can you notice this if the energy depends only on the principal quantum number?
Determines energy. This comes out directly from the resolution of the Schrödinger equation solution for the hydrogen atom where we have to set some arbitrary values of energy by separation of variables just like we have to set some arbitrary numbers when solving partial differential equations with the Fourier series. We then just happen to see that only certain integer values are possible to satisfy the equations.
Fixed total angular momentum.
The direction however is not specified by this number.
Fixed quantum angular momentum in a given direction.
Can range between .
E.g. consider gallium which is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p1:
Note that this direction is arbitrary, since for a fixed azimuthal quantum number (and therefore fixed total angular momentum), we can only know one direction for sure. is normally used by convention.
But it is a bit crap that the spin is not given simply as but rather mixes up both the azimuthal quantum number and spin. What is the reason?
- Quantum Mechanics for Engineers by Leon van Dommelen (2011) "5. Multiple-Particle Systems"
TODO. Can't find it easily. Anyone?
This is closely linked to the Pauli exclusion principle.
What does a particle even mean, right? Especially in quantum field theory, where two electrons are just vibrations of a single electron field.
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og13-bSF9kA&list=PLDfPUNusx1Eo60qx3Od2KLUL4b7VDPo9F "Advanced quantum theory" by Tobias J. Osborne says that the course will essentially cover multi-particle quantum mechanics!
- physics.stackexchange.com/questions/54854/equivalence-between-qft-and-many-particle-qm "Equivalence between QFT and many-particle QM"
- Course: Quantum Many-Body Physics in Condensed Matter by Luis Gregorio Dias (2020) from course: Quantum Many-Body Physics in Condensed Matter by Luis Gregorio Dias (2020) give a good introduction to non-interacting particles