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Final Exam Study Information

The Final Exam is coming up.


Mon. Dec. 13, 2010
1:30-4:00PM
Duane G2B88, The Physics HelpRoom

Bring a calculator, cheat sheets from Exams 1 and 2, and a


new sheet (three total 8.5"x11" front and back), and
something to write with.
The final exam is cumulative, covering material from the entire course. Since our second exam,
we have had two homework sets, HW11 and HW12, and we have completed our discussion of
the radial equation, the Hydrogen atom, angular momentum algebra, and spin.
What follows are the general learning goals for the course. These are goals from Steve Pollock
and Mike Dubson, that give you a sense for what we hope you have learned and that you might
find on the exam. Do you recognize what were talking about in each of these categories? If so,
then youre probably in good shape.
Chapter 1:
Statistical interpretation: this is our introduction to what "" tells you: you should know how to use it
to figure out probability of measurement. Do you know the difference between probability and
probability density? Can you compute expectation values or standard deviations, given information
about either discrete or continuous probabilities?
Operators: You should be able to interpret and calculate expectation values of any (position space)
operator using the position-space wave function "(x)". Specifically, you should know the "operator
form" of momentum (p = /i d/dx) You should know the connection <p> = m d<x>/dt, and be able to
work through calculations like the one proving "conservation of normalization" using the Schrdinger
equation.
Heisenberg relations: You should have a preliminary sense of the uncertainty principle (be able to state
it, and physically interpret the two "sigma" terms, as well as calculating them given a state)

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Final Exam Study Information


We spent some time talking about the Postulates of quantum mechanics, the motivation for the
Schrdinger equation (including deBroglie's very important idea, the p = / or p = k story), and a little
history - you should be familiar with these.

Chapter 2:
Schrdinger Equation: The relation between the time DEpendent Schrdinger equation, and the time
INdependent SE is quite central here - you should know the "separation of variables" trick, and thus be
able to go from un (stationary states, i.e., solutions of H u = Eu, the TISE) to more general states (with
proper time dependence.)
Stationary States and Expectation Values: You should have a clear idea of our definition of "stationary
state", how you find one (at least, for the specific examples of infinite square well and harmonic
oscillator), what they "look like" (graphs), what their time dependence is, and be able to compute (and
qualitatively explain or predict) what expectation values look like (<x>, <p>, <H>, <x2>, etc.)
Expansion in Stationary States: You should also understand how a more GENERAL state (anything which
might be a starting state - basically a normalizable continuous function that goes to zero where it needs
to) can be expanded as a sum of stationary states. This includes:
-finding the coefficients in that expansion (Fourier's trick)
-interpreting the coefficients (their absolute square tells the probability of the corresponding energy
measurement, this is a biggy!)
-finding the time dependence of the sum (should be easy, right?)
We have done this in many concrete cases, can you extend it to something a little new? Can you think
about ideas like symmetry (and what they tells you), and time evolution (what things evolve, what stays
You should be comfortable working with the stationary states of the Infinite square well and the
Harmonic Oscillator, and "visualizing" them. (I don't expect you to memorize the Hermite polynomials,
but you should have an idea of how they enter the story and what they look like)
Operator Methods how do raising and lowering operators work, what do they teach us about harmonic
oscillators? (How do they teach us about the spectrum? How about the wave functions themselves?)
Given a pair of operators, can you calculate their commutator?
The free particle - Can you describe both the math and the physics of Fourier transforms? Do you have
an interpretation of the free particle states ("plane waves"). Are you prepared to do basic scattering
calculations (including reflection and transmission coefficients. Can you intuit which of these are zero
and why in general?) This also includes the case of tunneling, including the use and interpretations of
the "probability current". (How is it defined? What does it tell you? What is it for plane waves?)

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"momentum space" wave functions: can you find and interpret (p), and relate it to (k) and (x)? In
what ways does writing (p) as a "Fourier integral" remind you of the "expansion in basis states" idea
from earlier in the course?
More bound states - e.g., the finite square well, including setting up the TISE and solving it, making use
of boundary conditions (like continuity of and ') When and where is or ' continuous, and why?
qualitative sketching skills - can you relate the shape and characteristics (curvature, zeros, amplitude)
of a wave function to the potential well, the kinetic energy, etc? Can you related classical properties
(like, where the particle moves slowly, where it spends its time) to aspects of the wave function
(especially, large quantum number wave functions?)

Chapter 3: Formalism.
Hilbert Space: We introduced vector spaces and Hilbert space - you should be able to decide if a space is
a vector space, and if an operator is Hermitian (and if not, what its Hermitian adjoint is). You should
know (and be able to prove) basic facts about hermitian operators (e.g., eigenvalues are real,
eigenstates are orthogonal)
Postulates revisited: We have spent a lot of time on the postulates of QM now, you should be able to
USE those postulates to answer questions, especially ones about: finding the time dependence of a
wave function or various observables, finding the probability of measuring some particular eigenvalue
given a state, what happens to wave functions after you make measurements (collapse), how to
interpret the "expansion coefficients" when you write a wave function in different bases.
Dirac Notation: You should be getting comfortable with the basic "dirac notation" (bras and kets) we've
been using. This portion of the course included generalized uncertainty relations and time dependence
of expectation values (which amounts to more practice with dirac notation and properties of Hermitian
operators)

Chapter 4
Method of separation of variables: How is this used in 3D with central potentials, to get the angular
and radial equations? Could you use the method for new potentials you haven't seen before? When is
the method usable?
you should be able to sketch "effective potentials" (turning a 3-D problem into an effective 1-D problem
for the function u(r)=rR(r) )
Spherical Harmonics: You should be familiar with the Ylm functions (the spherical harmonics), including
recognizing the functional form of the lowest (simplest) ones, and certainly knowing their eigenvalues
when operated on by L2 or Lz.

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Final Exam Study Information


Operator methods: You should be able to construct the operators for the components of L from
components of "r" and "p", and derive any of the commutation relations involving them. This includes
knowing which ones do NOT commute! Can you express in words what it means when operators don't
commute? We built raising and lowering operators - why, what does that tell us? You should be able to
reconstruct the logic by which this tells us why -l m l, that l and m are integer (or half integer!)
Hydrogen: You should know basic ideas of hydrogen atom wave functions - including sketching the
effective potential, understanding the degeneracies in energy, and knowing the general form of the
solutions. (We don't expect you to memorize Laguerre polynomials, but we do expect you to know how
many nodes they have, or roughly what they look like)
Measurements: Given a superposition of hydrogenic states, you should be able to compute the
probability of measuring any of the usual quantities (position, angular momentum, energy), even when
there are degeneracies involved, as well as quickly finding the time dependence.
Spin angular momentum - you should be comfortable writing states and operators in a finite
dimensional basis, and being able to do the "usual things" (like finding expectation values and brackets,
expanding a wave function in any other basis using Fourier's trick, and properly interpreting the
coefficients in that function by the fourth postulate of Quantum mechanics (the square of a coefficient
tells you the probability of measuring the corresponding eigenvalue) You should know the spin 1/2
matrices (Sx, Sy, and Sz), and you should understand how to use them, of course! (E.g,, given a state in
the Sz basis, can you compute expectation values of the various spin operators? If we give you a
Hamiltonian, can you find the time dependence of an arbitrary spin state? If I give you a state, can you
tell the possible outcomes and probabilities for various other spin measurements, including "sequential
measurements" of non-commuting observables? We expect you to be able to use the postulates of QM
to interpret, for instance, simple "experiments" with various configurations of a Stern-Gerlach device
(like the Phet sim shows us!)

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